Reading Time: 3 minutes

Discover how to keep your cool in the face of an annoying idiot

Faith Wood

Life is a learning process: what works and what doesn’t; how to behave in public, with family and in the workplace; and especially what sort of people we want to be around and who we’d rather see sent to Mars.

Even if it hurts to admit, we’re all guilty of behaving like idiots at times (and I’m not referring to adolescence, which most of us would rather forget). So we should remember just how difficult it can be to deal with idiots, or even those people who are just annoying. Keeping our sense of humour on these occasions is essential for our sanity.

In the workplace, we’ve all had to put up with irritating people or the annoying idiot whose behaviour can be tolerated at times but is unacceptable on other occasions. Maybe we’ve been one of those annoying people. Do you recognize yourself or someone you know in the following examples?

annoying idiot irritating people

Photo by Icons8 Team

Related Stories
The secret to living a pressure-free life


Understanding, and being understood, key to respectful dialogue


Six self-care tips that take less than a minute to perform


  • The naysayer: “It’ll never work. Might as well give up now.” If nothing else, this person usually spurs you to do it – whatever it is – just to prove them wrong.
  • The cynic: “Oh, yeah, you’re just doing this to impress people. You don’t really believe in what you’re doing. And no one will actually support your cause.” The cynic, much to their chagrin, also stimulates you to succeed.
  • The reneger: “I know I promised to do this, but something came up (famine, flood, dog died, great aunt came into town).” This is the same person who always had an excuse for why homework was never done (see list above). Learn to extricate yourself from situations where you might have to rely on the reneger.
  • The eager beaver: “What can I do, huh, huh? I can do that! Let me do that! I’ll work so hard, and I won’t even eat or sleep!” (As well as being an irritation, this person usually falls by the wayside early on, from exhaustion, if nothing else.) If you can put up with the almost overwhelming enthusiasm and optimism for a bit, you can usually find something to keep them busy and out of your hair.
  • The ‘do as I say, not as I do’: This person is often a parent relishing in their position of authority over their children. Admit it, you’ve been guilty of this! You can probably get away with it if you can explain exactly why you’re allowed to behave in one way while expecting everyone else to behave in another. (As author Catherine Aird says, “If you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”) If you can do that, you’re probably on the fast track to CEO success – at least until everything comes crashing down.
  • The boss: “Just do it because I’m your boss and I say so.” Another person relishing their position of authority. Their presence needs to be semi-tolerated, as long as you’re left alone to actually do your own job.

The list could go on, but you get the idea. If you smiled while reading this or some faces popped into your mind, great. If you grudgingly recognized yourself, that’s great, too. Perhaps it will keep you from blowing your cool the next time you come face-to-face with one or more of the above. Instead, smile politely and take a whole lot of stress out of your day.

Besides, just standing there grinning is the perfect response to irritating behaviour (and it makes them wonder what you know that they don’t).

Faith Wood is a professional speaker, author, and certified professional behaviour analyst. Prior to her speaking and writing career, she served in law enforcement, which gives her a unique perspective on human behaviour and motivations. Faith is also known for her work as a novelist, with a focus on thrillers and suspense. Her background in law enforcement and understanding of human behaviour often play a significant role in her writing.

For interview requests, click here.


The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and do not inherently or expressly reflect the views of our publication.

© Troy Media
Troy Media is an editorial content provider to media outlets and its own hosted community news outlets across Canada.