The Art of Being Annoying
A How-To Guide for the Annoyingly Impaired
I'm sure that EVERYONE reading this can RELATE to the need for a How-To guide, because certainly NOBODY here is EVER annoying in ANY way whatsoever!
Did you find any of that ANNOYING? Well, if you're annoyingly impaired (take that in whatever context you'd like), you can go through the basics of Annoyingly Impaired 101 and if you work diligently, I bet you'll jump right to the head of the class. Be prepared though, I'll probably assign homework, and you may even need to submit a final paper before you can graduate.
Annoyingly Impaired 101
what to expect
In Annoyingly Impaired 101, you will learn to become one with your annoying self. Think of it as an annoying Zen-like experience. You will learn to embrace it and then use it to your best advantage. Make no mistake, this is going to be a long and arduous journey and many students will become lost along the way. Don't worry about them though, because this is all about YOU! If you endure you will be rewarded with many heavy sighs, the shaking of heads and the rolling of eyes. The world will be your oyster and you may pluck the predictable pearl of peace from unsuspecting family members, friends, co-workers and strangers on a whim.
Sounds good, doesn't it? Yeeeeeesssssss! Can you picture it? Do I see a slightly evil smirk spreading across you lips? Was that a new-found glint in your eye? You are exhibiting great potential already. I had a feeling about you.
The Annoying Orange
The Basics - start at the beginning
Learn how to properly whine!
Whining is a simple skill that even the youngest student can quickly master. It's a matter of combining a higher pitched voice with the elongation of vowel sounds to make even short words long and shrill. If you can perfect this, people will often appease you just to get you to shut up. So, use the high pitched voice you had before reaching puberty, and stretch out the vowels as much as possible. The word Mom is turned into Moooooooooom! If you can undulate the voice while doing this, you'll be a whining prodigy. So Moooooooooom is turned into MoOOoOoOooOm! Give a try. You can do it!
Go on and on and on and on!
Another fairly easy skill that's extremely exasperating is to carry on about something in which the other person has absolutely no interest. For instance, if you know someone is a "dog" person, it's always fun to tell them all about your six cats. Make sure you share every possible detail on each one, including name, colors, habits, adorable antics, eating preferences, etc. If the other person gets a blank look on their face, starts saying "um huh" and nods repeatedly, or tries to continue what they were doing before you started sharing, then you've succeeded. Be proud of yourself and see who else is around to pester.
Keep conversations on topic - YOUR topic!
In addition to droning on about something that doesn't interest the other person, never let them get the upper hand by trying to change the subject. If something your precious cat does reminds them of their goofy dog and they try to share it, you have two options: 1) interrupt them and tell them to hold their thought because you wouldn't want to forget to tell them something even cuter about the cat or 2) allow them to relate their bit and then brush them off with an offhand remark and jump right back in where you left off. If you can start your sentence with a perturbed sounding "Anywaaaaay, as I was saying..." you'll reinforce their rudeness and prove that what you care about is all that matters.
Practice interviewing skills with a game of 20 Questions!
This is a terrific annoyance skill you'll want to hone to perfection, but only if you can believably feign innocence when challenged. Question after question after question tends to irritate even the calmest, most together targets, I mean victims, errrr, people. It's especially effective if you can toss out a few questions, then start repeating them. If you can word your questions a bit differently it can intensify the entire game, unless, of course, wording them exactly the same seems to aggravate the other person more. You'll have to decide which tactic works best and then adjust accordingly.
Hey look, the perfect day to practice! You've got a built-in excuse!
Intermediate Skills - use only if you've mastered the basics
Interrupt people diligently working!
Busy people are agitated easier than folks with spare time, thus making it more fun to see how many times you can interrupt someone as they try to complete whatever it is they're doing that is NOT as important as what you need to say. If you can actually convince them to stop and help you with some complex task (like opening a tissue box or finding the end of the tape that "accidentally" came off the tape dispenser and stuck itself to the back to the roll), even better. At the same time, practice your 20 Questions technique from above, you'll be even more of a nuisance. That's extra credit!
Broadcast a narrative of your every move!
Good narration is difficult to do well, however annoying narration is, well, just annoying and who cares if it's good or not? In fact, the worse it is, the more grating it is to those within earshot. Also, the more trivial the task at hand, the better. Any basic task you must complete can be narrated. "Okay, I'm stapling my papers. I need to find the stapler. Now where did I put that stapler? I know it's here. These papers won't staple themselves, you know. Did I put it in my drawer? Oh, here it is, right by the tape where I always keep it. Now, we have to line up all the papers nice and neat first! Perfect! Now, the staple goes at a 45 degree angle in the top lefthand corner...blah blah blah blah blah"
A more advanced technique is saying portions that are clearly audible and saying portions under your breath. Alternating after a few words seems to multiply the annoyance factor to those around you.
Ask for items clearly not available to you!
This skill requires some practice since most people are rather accommodating when it comes to others. Don't fear. With focus, effort and patience, you will master this, as well. A good place to practice is a potluck or small gathering. You will need to survey the items available first so that you're not asking for items that are actually available. Once that's done, pick a couple of missing items you'd like to have and be ready. If it's a potluck, after you've filled up your plate, ask for a beverage that you don't see. If there's soda and iced tea, ask for lemonade. Make sure whatever you ask for, isn't readily available in a vending machine or in the refrigerator, thus foiling your plan.
You will find many situations are ripe for using this skill. The fewer the choices, the easier to use. If you are presented with a choice of white or wheat, ask for rye or pumpernickel or sour dough or jalapeno cheese. Be cautious though, this doesn't work well with tasks, only objects. If someone asks you about washing or drying the dishes, you don't really have another option, like watch or supervise. Situations that require action have advanced techniques for exasperating others.
More Resources - you just can't study too much
Advanced Students ONLY - use only with instructor approval
Change your mind, change it again, then change it back!
Women are known for being fickle, but anyone can do it. The key to vexing others by changing your mind is vacillating between the choices more than once. Using the washing or drying scenario from above, first pick drying and then start muttering about the towel being scratchy or the plates being too heavy to lift into the cabinet, etc. and then ask to wash instead. Once you're washing, take issue with the water chapping your hands or being too hot or too cold or too soapy and ask to switch back to drying. If all goes well, the other person will offer to do it all, just so they don't have to listen to you using the first skill.
Have a laundry list of requirements for everything!
Being picky and being particular are two different things. Picky tends to annoy the person who is picky, however particular tends to annoy everyone else. Some of you will remember the rather famous restaurant scene in When Harry Met Sally. Okay, now think back prior to the faking it restaurant scene, because that's not the one I'm talking about. Remember the first scene where Sally, played by Meg Ryan, orders her meal. It's a list of dos and don'ts for her food...salad with dressing on the side and pie with ice cream, but not heated and only if it's a certain flavor, if not, something else entirely. She should have had it printed on a piece of paper and just handed it to the waitress. So much easier. She's not picky about the food itself and doesn't complain about the ripeness of the vegetables or freshness of the bread, at least in that scene.But fear not, the character of Sally is BOTH particular and picky.
Ignore the mood of a situation and bring your own!
Have you ever witnessed a quiet dinner party or luncheon that is suddenly descended upon by someone who thinks they're in a sports arena for the championship game? Everyone looks, the heads shake, the eyes roll and, hey, look at that, the success you were hoping to achieve! You simply need to find subdued situations and breath new life into them. If you can become that misplaced sports fan at an afternoon tea, you'll be ready to start oyster-pearl-plucking the fun out of lives everywhere.
Congratulations! - yes, you did it
Yeah, I mentioned homework and such, but I changed my mind. Get over it. The good news: if you made it this far you get an automatic A+!! Just make sure you practice, practice, practice!
Lens of the Day!
a little (not too) annoying bragging, I hope
Aug 27, 2010: I'm always amazed when any stand-out recognition comes my way, not because I feel I don't deserve it, but because I think many others do also. It's nice to know that other people find my work as entertaining as I do (and the friends and family I have, I can never trust for an honest critique because they give the obligatory "You're awesome!" response anytime I request their input on anything). I hope you at least get a chuckle or two when you read it.
This is the place where you would normally find ridiculous legal jargon that rambles on about something annoying like how no people, animals, plants, microbes (okay, maybe a microbe), etc., were harmed making this lens and how any skills you've learned are to be used at your own risk, because if you are taking this seriously and alienate your friends or get fired from your job for being annoying, you only have yourself to blame. Blah, blah, blah...enough with the pretend lawyer mumbo-jumbo that no one understands, even the lawyers that write it and then argue over it.
Next a few reminders: look both ways before crossing the street, don't talk to creepy people you don't know or even ones you do that you make you feel creepy when you do talk to them, don't sniff glue, help others less fortunate than you when you can, eat yummy food, don't run with scissors, smile, don't text and drive or drink and drive or eat and drive or - just don't drive - walk because it's good for you, be nice to fat people because they may be thin one day and sign your paycheck, don't swim for 30 minutes after eating because no one likes a yucky pool, keep warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot, jump in puddles, do NOT look directly at the sun unless you don't have eyes, don't step on cracks (your mom will appreciate you more), don't spit into the wind, have fun and do not consume this lens if you're allergic to peanuts, milk, gluten, or anything else because you just have no idea where it's been!
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