How To Not Be An Annoying Guy
Who wants to be "that guy?" You know the one: That guy everybody avoids because he's so annoying.
Whenever I need a pick-me-up lately I thumb through the new book Don't Be That Guy: A Collection of 60 Annoying Guys We All Know And Wish We Didn't (Three Rivers Press, $14.95), by Colin Nissan. I don't qualify as the annoying guy in most of Nissan's 60 examples of common behaviour that bugs other guys, so I'm free to laugh at guy behaviour that drives other guys nuts.
Nissan usually hits the mark with his annoying-guy habits. Some behaviour to avoid from Nissan's list includes:
-Striking up conversations at public urinals.
-Saying "We're pregnant."
-Always trying to turn pickup games into shirts versus skins.
-Verbally encouraging yourself while working out.
-Rubbing your friends' shoulders.
-Asking another guy how much he can bench-press (What are you, 14?).
And Nissan's list isn’t even close to exhaustive. Here's a few more from my personal list of annoying guy habits:
-Talking on your cellphone while using a public bathroom, riding a packed bus or while stuck in the checkout line.
-Driving slow in the passing lane.
-Laughing at your own joke before anyone else does.
Wait. I do that last one. Damn. Actually, I've tried to stop. But if I don’t think my jokes are funny, why make them in the first place? OK, OK, it's still not cool.
So how can we break these annoying habits? For some tips, I called Kim Busch, a psychologist with the Calgary Counselling Centre who does a lot of work with couples and people with self-esteem issues.
Most of us don't consider ourselves to be much less than perfect, let alone "that guy." So the first thing you need to do is figure out if you are, she said.
"That's hard for guys to notice, because they're not really relationship-oriented," Busch says, adding that guys are much more achievement-oriented.
In other words, sometimes we're so deep in our own little world, we don't realize we're irritating everyone around us.
So, to find out if that describes you, you need to start paying attention to the reactions of others around you. Are people avoiding you at work? Are people being socially courteous, but not creating deeper relationships? If so, you're probably that guy.
It's natural to want to blow such things off with a casual "Hey, I gotta be me." Big mistake. When a dude does something annoying, there's often a bigger issue underlying his inconsiderate behaviour.
Usually, a guy's most annoying habits are connected to insecurity, Busch says. If a guy isn't getting the positive attention he's looking for, he might try to replace it with negative attention. It sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes a guy is actually trying to socially isolate himself before others do it for him. That way, he can blame his being ostracized by others on his poor behaviour around them, rather than something he feels he can't change, such as his core personality.
But there is hope for guys with annoying habits. To wean yourself off a bad habit, look for a pattern to your bad behaviour. If you can figure out the underlying reasons for your lapses into boorishness, it will be easier to replace your bad habits with more positive ones, Busch says.
Now, gird your loins. It takes a good three months of focusing on changing a bad habit before you should feel confident you have replaced it with a good one, according to Busch. But it's worth it.
Still not convinced your burping at the office is a big deal? Actually, it's what everyone’s talking about at the water cooler. That excellent report you gave is a distant memory the moment any noises or smells seep out of your cubicle. If your bad habits annoy co-workers enough, you can forget about promotions. In extreme cases, you may even lose your job.
And your love life? Let's face it, if you're annoying other guys, you don't have a chance with women.
"A lot of wives will bring their husbands in for counselling," Busch points out.
So think about it hard before you dismiss it: am I that guy? It takes a big man to own up to it — the kind of big that has nothing to do with how much you can bench press.
Written by: Trent Edwards
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
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