We all know about the importance of ‘chemistry’ when talking about romantic relationships and that ‘spark’ when you meet someone for the first time. But we don’t often talk about chemistry in relation to work or friendships for that matter.
The other day I was listening to a podcast and the interviewee said “Right?”, with an upward intonation, at the end of every sentence.
It drove me crazy, and I decided I really disliked her, even though I admired her and liked what she was saying. Despite my irritation I continued to listen to the rest of the episode.
What makes me feel like this??
Irrational dislike based on…an annoying habit?
This got me thinking about what habits I might have that irritate or annoy others? I’m sure there are so many - and I’m not going to ask anyone what they are as it is better not to know, I think. Or is it?
There are many issues at play here and it may be interesting to unpick them and see where we land.
So, how important is it that we connect and have good chemistry with someone that we are listening to or having a conversation with?
If their voice, accent, or speaking habits annoy you, do you just switch off or are you able to continue the conversation? What if this person is in a position of authority or advising you professionally somehow, would you be able to respect their opinion or advice? Or would you decide that they didn’t know what they were talking about and look elsewhere?
Personally, I know that the way someone sounds is important to me and the way that they speak does influence my initial snap judgement. However, I do know that I can get past it and, in the situation with the podcast and the interviewee constantly saying “Right?, although it did annoy me, and I found myself waiting for the “Right?” (and doing a childish mental count!), I still liked what she said and I would probably listen to her again on another podcast. It didn’t diminish what she said, I just decided she was an irritating person. And as I would probably never meet her, I would never know whether I would actually like her in the flesh.
Then I found myself thinking that maybe she was nervous being interviewed and that was why she was talking in that way. I started making excuses for her and feeling guilty that I had been critical.
Am I easily annoyed but easily swayed??
Do we want to know if we have habits that are irritating to others??
If our annoying habits are pointed out to us, apart from being embarrassed and slightly miffed, are we eventually grateful that we have been alerted to this habit and can start to amend our behaviour to suit others – and be less irritating in the long run?
But what if that habit annoys X but doesn’t annoy Y? Actually, Y really enjoys that habit and would be disappointed if you stopped doing it/saying it? Maybe Y has taken on that habit and is using it themselves and is now offended that you have stopped doing it/saying it?
You can’t always win, and you can't always please everyone. Another subject altogether!
But what it shows is that everyone is different, and everyone has a different reaction to situations, people, accents, habits and so on.
We just need to do what makes us feel good and, if you do want to take on someone else's advice about the way we behave, then do it. If you don’t, then “stay true to yourself”. A coaching cliché possibly but one that we should try and work towards.
As a life coach, we always suggest a chemistry call before we start working with a client as it is important that both sides feel they want to work together. If my client finds me annoying from the outset, then they are going to be distracted by my annoying habits and possibly reluctant to be honest and truthful during their sessions. And vice versa.
So, if you would like to explore this a little further and see what you really believe about habits and other learnt or innate behaviours, contact me on