“Shut up.” “Do you have to be so annoying?”
I don’t have that kind of bravery, the one that lets you dismiss other people. The one that compels you to tell them to shut up. Or to let them know that they’re being annoying.
Or that at least that’s what you think.
Instead, I’ve mostly suffered annoying people and things in silence, grinning and bearing it, waiting for them to pass. Never feeling quite like I had to authority to put other people down. Enduring whatever behaviors are obnoxious until I can make my escape.
And I usually find myself on the other side of this phenomenon, when it occurs. Nearly all of my experiences with it have me in the role of Obnoxious Person Being Told They Don’t Have a Right to Speak. It doesn’t happen all that often these days, certainly not as frequently as it did when I was a small child (when it was a common occurrence).
But that’s mostly because I’ve been conditioned to be guarded around people because of the possibility of being dismissed. And these days it really only comes at the hands of people I’ve let in, who I’m close enough to that I relax around them and take social risks. This means that these days it hurts a lot when I hear it, even if it doesn’t happen very often. Because I’m being told I’m annoying or dismissed by the people who have the ability to hurt me the most.
For a long time, I interpreted the fact that other people dismissed me as a clear sign that I was an overly obnoxious person. Because I’m told I’m obnoxious far more than I tell others that they are. But over the years, I’ve come to realize that I find other people annoying quite frequently myself — but that my inclination is to be patient with them, indulgent. I’ll endure a little annoying behavior from a stranger, knowing I can make my escape shortly.
And even with those I’m close to, when they occasionally do something annoying, I find I’ll tolerate that, too — knowing that their positive qualities far outweigh this short-term annoyance.
Once I thought over all of this, it occurred to me that perhaps the reason that I get told I’m annoying a lot more than I tell other people they are annoying isn’t necessarily because I’m super annoying (and those closest to me assure me that I’m not, that I’m frankly less annoying than other people they know)… but it might be because I’m very patient.
Anyway, I don’t have that bravery that makes it easy for you to put down other people. I’m too aware of my own flaws and shortcomings to confront people with their own when they certainly didn’t ask for me to do such a thing.