Couples: How to Handle Annoying People, Together

By | December 8, 2011

“Yikes,” your significant other says to you at a friend’s dinner party as they notice someone sauntering over. “I know this person – they can be very annoying. Brace yourself.”

Yikes, indeed. While you won’t always have advanced warning that a person will annoy both of you, you’ve been there before: stuck in a situation that you and your significant other both want to solve. You make faces to each other and seem to both send telepathic “S.O.S.” messages.

Many of the couples you meet at won’t have to deal with this because they’re meeting other couples. But how does a couple deal with annoying people, leeches of time, braggarts, and other individuals who offer nothing but unpleasant company? After all, you don’t have to spend a second with anyone that you don’t want to. If both you and your partner are on board, you’d be surprised to hear about some discrete techniques for getting out of a conversation while letting the other person save face. Let’s explore a few of these techniques.

The Little White Lie: Harmless?

One of the most popular ways of achieving both a smooth exit and a face-save for the annoying party is to simply offer a white lie. “Uh oh,” you say. “We have to go.” You don’t really have to go; you just want to get out of there as soon as possible.

Some people are uncomfortable with little white lies because, well, calling them both “little” and “white” doesn’t mean they’re not lies. And while a white lie can be relatively harmless, there’s always the risk that the other party finds out about the white lie and suddenly has two reasons to dislike you: the fact that you don’t like them and the fact that you were willing to lie just to cover that fact up.

We recommend against the little white lie, even though it can be “good form” by allowing the other person to feel like they actually didn’t annoy you. Let’s explore a better and more direct way to live your social life.

Self-Confidence: The Real Answer

One of the problems so many couples face with annoying people is that they have the urge to be too nice and too polite; they let themselves suffer at the hands of someone else simply because they don’t want to be seen as rude. Well, sometimes you might just have to risk being rude.

You’d be surprised at how an interaction with an otherwise “annoying” person can be transformed when you think about something other than getting away as soon as possible. Let’s say you’re talking to a braggart. How do you engage them and make the conversation fun for both of you? Well, why don’t you try taking them up on their braggadocio by inviting yourself over to that summer house they’ve been talking about, or on a boat trip on that wonderful yacht they have. “Well, that sounds great,” you might say. “Can we see it sometime?” In essence, you call their bluff. If they don’t want you to see it, well, why listen to any more bragging?

Have some self-confidence and start talking directly to people. Sometimes, you’ll find that annoying behaviors had the exact goal of getting someone to call them out on their annoying behaviors – heck, you might even make a friend.

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