If you are driven to distraction by the noise people make when they are eating, chewing gum, or just plain breathing, you may have misophonia — which is an actual mental condition, according to the ever-reliable internet.
You also may be a human being.
The distinction between the two seems to be a capacity for toleration. If you are annoyed by such things but manage somehow to get over it, don’t bother making an appointment with a therapist. That’s where I am. I can’t pretend to say the chomping and slurping of those within my immediate vicinity does not make me want to reach for a staple gun from time to time. But I do not do so. I move past it. I live my life.
There are many so-called afflictions in the modern day that are triggered by other people’s actions. The easy cure for most of them, if I may be so bold, is to simply get over it. If you want to be left in peace, start by leaving other people in theirs. But unfortunately we have been taught that we can have a society in which no one is ever bothered by anything that anyone else ever does — and until such a society is achieved, we yell.
It’s a pretty good tactic for getting what you want. People hate being yelled at, and more often than not kowtowing to the yelling is the best way to get the yelling to stop. But it is a rotten tactic for making and keeping friends.
Keep a few things in mind before you rip into someone for their annoying habits:
People will be annoying. Usually they don’t mean it. And they are hardly ever annoying just to spite you. Don’t take it personally. Kindness, tender hearts, and a forgiving attitude should characterize us as Christians (Ephesians 4:32). And that doesn’t mean being open to apologies; it means acknowledging you likely won’t get an apology and being OK with it.
Your preferences are no more important than anyone else’s. If you like it cool, maybe someone else likes it warm. Loving your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39) means, if it means anything, taking as much satisfaction in someone else’s pleasure as you do in your own. If that is our objective, how can we justify robbing someone of pleasure and pocketing it for ourselves?
Getting what you want is overrated. Making other people happy and keeping them happy — that’s underrated. Paul writes in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” I can’t say it any better than that.
The best way to annoy annoying people is to refuse to become annoyed. On the rare occasion when someone actually is trying to get on your last nerve, the best way to put them in their place is by robbing them of their satisfaction. Heaping coals of fire on their head (Romans 12:20) can be quite satisfying. And if you can find relief when someone is picking on you deliberately, what is your excuse for losing your cool over someone’s inadvertent slights and offenses? If love can “cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:20), surely it can cover the occasional snub.