5 Things To Do Immediately About Annoying Misunderstood Habits

Being misunderstood sucks!  The worst part is we often don’t realize why our intent is not coming across loud and clear.  Do you know your everyday habits that cause people to form inaccurate or negative opinions of you?   Can you identify your behaviors that annoy others and repulse instead of engage?

I speak and mentor on how to turn annoying situations into amazing experiences, especially in the workplace.   Coaching managers over and over again, three distinct patterns repeat themselves.  The complaints, the explanations come in different forms, but they boil down to these annoying workplace habits: 

  • Being Anxious

Most of us live with some level of anxiety. We’re not really aware of how this shows up to other people. We think we’re covering it up.  You may talk too fast, too loud, or too much.  In reality it shows up as an annoying habit.

  • Controlling Behavior

For over achievers, it usually takes the form of micro-management.  Habits such as being aggressive, only wanting things your way and hovering over your direct reports run rampant.  Really you just want to be appreciated and of service, but to others you appear inflexible, tough, controlling.  Not fun for others.

  • Insecurity

For those who are frightened of not being good enough, it shows up as needing constant reassurance. The habit is asking the same question over and over again. It makes others think you are insecure. Your friends or coworkers, or even your boss feel that you are continually saying the same thing over and over.  You don’t hear yourself and it’s frustrating to them. 

It is important to pay attention as to how you’re being perceived.  The vibe you give off has a direct impact on  advancing your career and your personal goals.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to be around an annoying person.  Take it from someone who thought she was being helpful, although I couldn’t help hammering points home, again and again.  Being anxious, controlling and insecure gives mixed signals.  Instead of making people more sympathetic to you, it turns them off. 

What can you do right now?  

1.  Be Aware.

Follow this analogy.  Body Dysmorphia is a disease where a person doesn’t see their physical self as they exist in reality.  This article on Bustle explains that it’s a much deeper issue.   Consider that you may have “Workplace Dysmorphia” and not see your actions clearly in business situations.  Sometimes, I overwhelm people with my excitement.  I didn’t see that my enthusiasm could be a turn off.  To start to change, I had to be aware that I did not see my habits as they appear to others.  Do you know how your behaviors appears to others?

2.  Breathe and Take a Moment.

This is always good advice whether you are entering a team meeting, an annual review or bungee jumping off of a cliff.  Take a moment, to breathe in success, breathe out fear and  ground yourself. 

3.  Apologize

Not necessarily for the behavior, but for the impact it has on others.  Tied together with awareness, you can tell when someone is not responding in a positive way to you.   In that moment say , “I’m sorry if we are not connecting right now” or “I see we are not on the same page right now”.  Or the line I often need to use is: “I know my ideas are overwhelming, lets start again.”  This will change the dynamic right away. 

4.  Ask for Help

From a friend or colleague you respect.  From your HR department, or from your mother.  Email me!  Ask others for information about how you come across and what would help you to be better heard and understood. 

5.  Replace it

Change your behavior.  If you are the one who keeps asking the same questions about yourself, turn it into questions about others.  If you interrupt when others are speaking (my most annoying habit) write down on a piece of paper what you want to say, instead of saying it aloud.  If you repeat yourself incessantly, say it once and count to 100 in your head, before you speak again.  

What’s Next:  Find a new behavior that doesn’t annoy others.  Take responsibility for your actions.   Understand that others may not grasp your intent.  Adjust your behaviors and see what happens.  What will you change today?

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