Let me paint a picture for you.You’re driving to school Monday morning (late, of course) only to be caught behind a car crawling at 20 kilometers per hour.
You arrive to class late, and wet from getting caught in the rain, and then spill your coffee. So you are left to endure the rest of your day soaking wet with socks squishing against the soles of your shoes like sponges in puddles of water, all without your daily stimulant.
These mishaps had the power to throw off my Monday morning. We all have things that peeve us, even in the slightest way.
The word “peeve” means to irritate or aggravate, and “pet” implies something or someone that is close to us. Thus, a pet peeve is something that personally irritates you.
The term conveys ownership of the annoyance.
The website pppeeves.com is dedicated to sharing what gets people PO’ed.
Some of the most popular posts of what gets on people’s nerves are: “when you open the DVD case and it’s empty or a different movie is in it,” “people who use the word ‘gay’ to mean ‘lame,’” and “when you take a shower then realize you don’t have a towel.”
In the worst cases, peeves can really be aggravating.
An annoyance with a drunk friend’s behavior might rattle a friendship. A professor’s slurring of words might make him or her hard to listen to. An exam can be unbearable if you’re sitting behind someone who’s tapping their heels together.
According to theBridgeMaker.com, a comprehensive site filled with psychological advice on popular issues, there is a list of eight steps one can take to combat a stubborn pet peeve.
Recognize what peeves you.
This means identifing exactly what it is that annoys you and how you react to it. Do you get frustrated when your professor is inaudible or incomprehensible?
Refocus your attention
Dwelling on what upsets you about your friend will only fuel your aggravation. The idea of refocusing your attention is simply thinking about something else or becoming consumed in a task.
Fast-forward the old tape.
Oftentimes, the root of a pet peeve may stem from the past.
You may have nestled frustration towards an aunt who acted obnoxious and made you feel uncomfortable as a child. Maybe your annoyance with the way your friend acts when drunk has to do with resentment towards an aspect of your own life.
Fight the temptation to internalize.
Most likely, the person is not intentionally trying to annoy you. If they are, that’s a deeper issue, and it should be dealt with accordingly. For instance, the person driving slowly in front of you is not trying to make your head explode. Your pet peeves are your own, and what irritates you doesn’t necessarily irritate someone else.
Control your reaction.
Search for healthy ways to release your tension. When someone is tapping away during an exam, try calling over a TA or supervisor and telling him or her it’s distracting.
But when peeves don’t have a direct solution, avoid confrontation by separating yourself from the situation and doing something positive.
Through classical conditioning, the peeve will be associated with something positive instead of negative.
Don’t neglect the context.
If someone you are dating is constantly late, search to understand an underlying reason for this that may exist. This can help prevent you from making false assumptions.
Whatever approach you decide to take toward your personal peeves, combating them takes discipline and patience.
It’s a trial and error process.