What's your top pet peeve? Open-mouthed chewing? Nail biting and knuckle cracking? The sound of silverware scraping? Or perhaps it's a bigger behavior, like leaving the toilet seat up?
We all have our own distaste for certain actions, and they can grate on our nerves like no other—and the simple act of having pet peeves could be beneficial. In fact, depending on the behaviors you despise the most, you might even be a better person than most.
There's nothing that disgusts me more than the sound and sight of someone chomping away at their meal. The sloppy, squishy sounds, the crumbs of food that can fall from an open mouth—it's totally disgusting. If this behavior falls among your pet peeves, too, don't feel as though you're suffering another person's bad manners for nothing. You're actually showing signs of your intelligence.
A study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University indicates that those of us with the open-mouth chewing pet peeve are more talented in creative ways. Why? Well, for starters, it's creative minds who tend to be the most bothered by this behavior.
Dara Zabelina, the lead researcher of the study, claims it has to do with our brains' ability to filter out sensory information: "The propensity to filter out 'irrelevant' sensory information happens early and involuntarily in brain processing and may help people integrate ideas that are outside the focus of attention, leading to creativity in the real world."
So what your brain is telling you when you feel irritation rising at the sound of sloppy chewing is that it can't block out that distracting action. Instead, because your brain is more attuned to take in surrounding sensory details and use them in your thought process, you're more sensitive to the sound than others.
In Zabelina's study, participants were given a creativity assessment that tested skill in visual arts, writing, scientific thought, and even cooking. The answers indicated those who were more unusual, creative thinkers were also the most sensitive to external stimuli and, in turn, worse at tuning out background noise.
Admit it: you can't stand when someone interrupts the flow of a meeting, brainstorming session, or conversation to offer an absolutely unintelligent idea. Maybe a coworker has suggested meeting for another meeting instead of solving the problem right then and there; or perhaps your friend offers up the advice of "If you just think positively, it'll happen." Ideas that do nothing are among the biggest pet peeves we face in the workplace, and they happen often.
As one of President Obama's senior aides told Politico per Business Insider, even the leader of the U.S. finds half-baked ideas irritating. Not only do they eat up and waste valuable meeting time, but they can appear to halt the brains of everyone else in the room.
If this behavior bothers you, don't try to change yourself—instead, be happy you notice it. When others' lame, unproductive suggestions irritate you, it's clear you would never drum up the same potential "solution" when speaking. Instead, let the stupidity run its course, and offer up a more productive idea of your own.
Okay, so throwing out terrible ideas is a good pet peeve to have, but so is a dislike of total silence. If you can't stand people who are wallflowers at times, never offering a single suggestion in group yet don't hesitate to open up to higher-up execs, you're better off than those who hate, say, nail clipping in public.
Business Insider notes that JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon isn't a fan of those who stay mum during meetings and group discussions, particularly when they gobble up his post-meeting time with information that could've been discussed before the group. He views this behavior as undercutting, as though these types of individuals are angling for something in particular by approaching him only in one-on-one settings.
So, if you find yourself wrinkling your nose at a coworker who never speaks in meetings but is always requesting one-on-one sessions with a boss, or a friend who only shares information away from the rest of the group, allow yourself to be irritated. These behaviors are negative in nature, and a sign that these individuals are purely self-serving.
Disorder in your workspace may be a a sign of creativity, but it's also a major pet peeve. After all, who doesn't feel discombobulated and frustrated after spending a few minutes in a coworker's messy, overflowing office?
Hiring managers feel similarly, according to Live Career. A disorganized workspace is one of their top pet peeves—and it's one many managers also find themselves bothered by. A messy environment leads them to think you aren't spending much time focused on the tasks at hand. They also worry that the clutter surrounding you while you work may make you brush off the importance of your workload.
So while disliking mess may not make you a manager, it can make you appear better at your job. Keep your desk clutter-free (as much as possible), and you'll appear more dedicated to your job. And, if you dislike this same pet peeve, use it to motivate your productivity.
We've all suffered through conversations, meetings, and even simple encounters with our local know-it-all. They're always ready to shout out our wrongdoings or dissect simple slip-ups—and they never sit quietly, whether in group settings or one on one. In fact, they're never not pointing flaws out.
If you can't stand your ever-chatty and informative cubicle neighbor, or friend who always seems to have the answers, Psychology Today writer F. Diane Barth says it's not a bad thing to be annoyed by. In fact, know-it-all behavior is caused by a few underlying causes. Barth writes that know-it-all personalities are plagued by insecurity and superiority—meaning they want to feel included and intelligent, yet are worried they instead appear stupid and without worth.
Rather than pointing out their own flaws, know-it-alls tend to find their place in groups by calling out what they think a group will enjoy. Mispronounced a word? Your resident know-it-all believes they'll be welcomed with laughter and open arms if they correct you. So, the next time someone annoys you with their endless knowledge, don't apologize. Instead, recognize the rationale behind your emotions: know-it-alls simply suck at connecting with others.