Work stress expert asks, ‘How annoying are you?’

4 Easy Steps to Beat Your Stres

The Essential Guide to Managing Stress

I was sitting in my hairdresser in London the other day at 8 am, which is my normal weekly routine. Sitting in the peace and quiet is something that I really enjoy and look forward to.  However, on this occasion, one of the other clients, had a voice that was so loud and intrusive that the tranquillity of the salon was broken and I was very pleased when she left and fortunately, she only had short hair.

This incident made me wonder how many of us are actually aware that many of our frequent habits may actually annoy others either at home or at work.  At the office, behaviour such as shouting down the telephone, never thinking of making coffee or tea for a colleague or bringing  in smelly food to eat at one’s desk are all stated to be some of the more irritating habits, according to a new survey from Samsung Electronics.  These complaints were followed by slow computer systems, printer jams and unnecessary emails which were also a daily misery for office workers, accordingly to the survey of 1,500 adults.

Why is it, I wonder, that many of us are actually unaware that we are being annoying and the resultant stress that we sometimes cause to others?  Was that woman in the hairdressing salon really not aware that everyone had to listen to her conversation with the stylist, and were very anxious for her to leave so that peace and quiet could
be restored?

Bad Habits

I am afraid, however that we all have bad habits of which we are unaware or if we are aware, we don’t appreciate how they annoy others. For example, there is the husband
who never thinks of helping with the shopping, or the wife who is always late for an appointment, or the child who is always late coming out of school, or the visitor who leaves the bathroom in a mess.

All these in themselves are minor issues – but when they are repeated every day or every week, they can become an important issue in our relationships.

And then back to the office where there is a colleague who borrows your stationery and never returns it.  The one who perches on your desk and insists on talking to you even
though they can see you are on the phone, or the colleague who is always late
in the morning leaving you to do your job and giving you extra work and pressure as a result. Then there is the person who insists on talking to you but who will never listen to your reply, or will interrupt you repeatedly to give their own opinion.  Do you, by
chance, recognise yourself yet?

We all have annoying habits but more often than not, we are not aware of them.    So what can we do about it?

Having Empathy

Well, for start, check-up on the word ‘empathy’.  It means to understand the other person’s point of view, or attitude, by imagining yourself to be in his or her position.   So next time that you find yourself shouting loudly into your cell phone in a public place or in the office, remember what you must sound like to everyone else in the room and how disturbing that must be to them.

If you make a conscious effort to empathise with others, then you may be able to see yourself as others see you – and is that image good or bad?  The idea of mentally holding-up a mirror to see our reflection, is something that can enhance our relationships and improve our career path, because behaviour is important to our internal image just as clothes are important to our external image.

So next time, ask your colleague, or spouse, if you can make them a coffee.  And if you receive a call on your cell-phone, try to leave the room to answer it so that everyone else is not an unwilling party to your conversation.

Suddenly, you may find yourself becoming very popular and being invited to sit on committees or to attend parties that were previously outside of your reach.

Try it! You’ll be a nicer person!

Key Points

  1. Don’t force others to listen to your conversations
  2. Considerationfor colleagues is important
  3. Make a habit of empathising with someone

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

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