There are all sorts of people who try your patience.
Many people are difficult to be around, but not always for the same reasons.
Sometimes, people are just very different, and that can make things awkward and uncomfortable. You may simply not understand each other.
Other people make mistakes out of ignorance. They’re not bad; they just don’t always know what they’re doing and what the consequences of their actions will be.
There are also people out there who are actively bad. These toxic people are out to use and abuse others, push them back to get themselves ahead, and just generally make life difficult for everyone.
And then there are people who mean well but still get on your nerves. These people are well-intentioned, but their behavior or their actions still carry negative consequences that you’re left to deal with after interacting with them.
If someone displays these six behaviors, they’re well-meaning but difficult to be around. Unfortunately, you have to decide whether to avoid them or just grin and bear it!
1) They give inappropriate criticism
Have you ever had someone tell you that “your hair looked better long” right after you cut it?
What about letting you know, “That outfit makes you look fat – you should wear something darker in color”?
These are comments that, more often than not, you simply don’t need to hear.
And the problem is that the people who say these types of things have no idea that their criticism is inappropriate. They actually think they’re doing you a favor by giving you their opinion, even though you never asked for it.
People like this are hard work.
I have a friend who does this to everyone. After a while, we started to talk about this behavior, and everyone agreed that it made no one feel good.
So… guess who was elected to talk to him about it?
Yep, yours truly.
And that wasn’t fun because I was essentially coming back to him with criticism about how no one liked his criticism. At least I asked him first if I could talk to him about something that was bothering me.
His response was exactly what you’d expect.
“Oh, I didn’t realize. I was just trying to help people be their best.”
Everyone knew he meant well, but his delivery definitely needed some work!
2) They offer unsolicited advice
Just like criticism that comes when you really don’t need it, unsolicited advice is one more thing that some well-meaning people do without realizing how unappreciated it is.
At best, getting advice when you didn’t ask for it is a bit annoying.
At worst, it makes you feel as though they think you’re dumb.
I hurt my knee the other week and had been limping around wearing a knee brace. I ended up chatting with a stranger in the park who asked what was wrong, and I mentioned I’d strained a ligament.
Immediately, she said, “You need to ice it!”
Well, no problem. I told her I had been.
“You shouldn’t be walking on it at all. You should keep it elevated. And you should go see the doctor. I know a good physiotherapist, and I can give you her number. Also, you shouldn’t eat anything in the nightshade family, like chilies and tomatoes. They’re inflammatory, you know!”
I know that this might sound helpful, and I’m positive her intentions were good.
But it was also a bit much. We were just strangers who struck up a conversation, not a patient and a doctor.
Her advice, which ranged from rest to medical care and even changing my diet, was a bit too aggressive if you ask me.
She may have done better if she’d asked what I was doing to take care of it – she would have learned that I’d already done most of what she suggested.
This is just a simple example.
It’s a lot more difficult when people try to give you relationship or career advice without being asked for it. Even though they mean well, there’s a good way to give advice, and then there are a lot of bad ways that people don’t appreciate.
3) They’re enthusiastic but pushy
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I’m a bit of an introvert, and I don’t care who knows it.
And I’ll tell you something about us introverts. We generally don’t like to be pushed into experiences, especially if they’re social situations.
But there are folks out there who are full of energy and enthusiasm who seem to think that if they like something, everyone else in the world will, too.
Do you know who I mean?
“I just went parasailing. It was amazing. You’ve got to try it!” they’ll exclaim and push for a commitment from someone who they haven’t even stopped to consider may have a fear of heights.
“You’re brilliant! You have to come and give a presentation to my department. I won’t take no for an answer!” they might say to someone who dreads public speaking.
Their enthusiasm is genuine, and so is their desire for you to share the same excitement that they feel about the situation.
The problem is that they often don’t think about the other person’s feelings or needs. And even if those were expressed, they often brush them aside.
“Oh, I really don’t like heights.” “Nonsense. It’s perfectly safe. You’ll have a blast!”
People like this are full of fun and exuberance, but they can also be difficult to be around because they try to impose these feelings on others.
4) They always try to help, even without being asked
I saw a meme the other day that said, “This is harder than trying to hold a flashlight for your dad without him yelling at you.”
Boy, that brings me back.
It’s hard enough to help people when they actually want help, so how about when they don’t?
I like to do some things by myself, especially when I’m doing manual labor. I find it peaceful and meditative to mix cement and lay bricks, for example.
So when my brother-in-law came to help me out last week as I was making a big planter, I wasn’t really looking forward to the help. The other thing is that he’s truly all thumbs.
I didn’t want to be rude and turn away his offer to help, but I also didn’t want to end up doing the project slower than I could have done it alone.
But this is what happened.
Despite giving him what I thought were the easy jobs, I was constantly having to go back and redo his work, which took more time than it was worth.
I know he meant well and was trying to help, but it actually made things more difficult for me.
I bet you’ve experienced the same thing.
5) They want everything to be perfect
Perfectionists are hard work at the best of times.
They have incredibly, or some would say impossibly, high standards and never seem to be happy with any results.
If this is happening with their own work, I guess it’s just their own problem.
But if you have a group project or team task to do and you end up working together with a perfectionist, it becomes your problem as well.
Now, they’re trying to make things as good as they can possibly be, and that’s certainly well-meaning. The problem is that they impose their strict standards on everyone else.
They’ll often reject really great work because it’s still not perfect. They’ll also expect others to strive to reach the same results that they set for themselves, and this uses up lots of time and puts extra pressure on other people.
In the end, they never reach perfection anyway.
But even though they mean well and want to achieve excellence, they can be very difficult to be around while they try.
6) They always try to quell conflicts
A lot of people are peacemakers.
This is a behavior that often develops in children who live in households where there is a lot of arguing and fighting. They may find that if they distract their battling parents with something cute and cheeky, the fighting stops.
This leads them to develop peacemaking as a behavior to help calm conflicts.
The problem is that some conflicts have to happen. And just because people disagree or even argue, it doesn’t mean this isn’t healthy.
Peacemakers throw themselves into the middle of conflicts to try to disarm them, but very often, all they do is distract people for the time being.
By quelling conflicts, they also interfere with conflict resolution, and their actions can actually keep tensions high and stretched out for longer periods.
They mean well, but often, they’re more interfering than helpful.
If someone displays one or more of these six behaviors, they’re well-meaning but difficult to be around.
It’s up to you to choose to put up with them or try to get away to save yourself a headache.
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