The Psychology Behind Why People Annoy Us For Seemingly No Reason

Your feelings are valid but why are they SO STRONG?!

Listen, I’m not saying it’s the best feeling in the world but do you ever feel inexplicably annoyed by just somebody’s presence?

They can’t help it, they haven’t done anything specifically wrong but all the same, you’re really riled up? It’s really common and chances are, just reading this has brought to mind several people that have annoyed you in recent memory.

Well, there could be a psychological reason behind it, which may alleviate any guilt you may feel.

The psychology behind why some people are just really annoying for no reason

So, it could come down to something called “affective presence.” This concept was first used by psychologists Noah Eisenkraft and Hillary Anger Elfenbein in a 2010 study.

In the study, the psychologists found that some people exert a noticeable emotional influence that can massively impact how the people around them feel — whether that’s at ease or, actually, really uncomfortable.

This sensation is how we make others feel, regardless of our own emotions or intentions and as you’ll have experienced with both uplifting and irritable people, their presence has a lasting effect.

While your feelings when meeting somebody may feel completely out of the blue and unexplainable, the researchers actually found that affective presence comes down to how somebody manages and communicates their own emotions.

When the researchers were studying the difference between those who made people feel safe and comfortable as opposed to those that made people find uneasy and irritable, they found that differences in expressive styles seemed to be the cause. For example, one person can come off as aggressive and competitive while another seems warm and friendly.

How to improve your affective presence

Has this made you worry a little about how you make people feel? Me too. According to cognitive neuroscientist Dr Christian Jarrett, we can actually change our personalities to be a lot more fun to be around.

Dr Jarrett said: “if you would like to develop a more open-minded, sociable, warm personality, an important way to achieve this is to strive to place yourself into situations that lift your mood.

“This may sound obvious, but if you think honestly for a moment, how often are you strategic when planning your time?”

He recommends looking for joy where possible. Instead of facing weekends of boredom and emotional turmoil, what could you do to put yourself in a better situation?

He added: “Try making a greater effort to plan ahead and seek out the sunlit places that promise more joy... A simple rule of thumb may be to try to pursue any activities and company that help you to behave as outgoing and friendly as possible.”