Whether it’s in a line up at a coffee shop, sitting in a school gym watching a bunch of kids toss balls or toot flutes, or just making it home through traffic, we are all vulnerable to attack from “those” people. You know the ones…
They introduce themselves with disclaimers like “I’m not trying to be difficult but…” or “I hate to complain but…” or my personal favourite, “I don’t want to be a bother but…”
The moment one of these statements enters the airspace, you can feel everyone draw in a breath because we all know we are in the presence of one of “those” people and no matter what we do, or don’t do, or say, or don’t say, this person is going to become difficult, is going to complain, and is going to be a giant bother!
One of the weirdest things about difficult people is that they are completely self-delusional. They do not look in the bathroom mirror and see one of “those” people. And this is a real problem because you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. So, in the interests of self-help, I would like to offer…
10 signs that you may be a difficult person:
- You ask for multiple ‘samples’ at the frozen yogurt shop, even when the line up is a mile long behind you. And you complain about the fact that the flavours keep changing. And you try to start a conversation with the person behind you about your lactose-intolerance and how this treat is going to affect your digestive tract in about an hour.
- You aggressively rant at movie theatre employees about the price of popcorn, the excessive volume, and the inconvenient show times. Because we all know that the 16-year-old tearing your ticket stub as you enter is secretly in charge of national pricing, audio-visual purchases, and scheduling.
- You have been to Starbucks a zillion times but still need to be shown a ‘tall’ cup and a ‘grande’ cup before ordering. You want “that drink you had the last time” even though you cannot remember its name or what was in it. And even if an incredibly patient barista manages to unravel the mystery and figure out what you are talking about, the debacle will continue because you will remember something about “that drink you had the last time” that wasn’t quite right.
- You vigilantly monitor the use of designated parking. God help the soul who pulls into a ‘handicapped’ space and gets out of their car without any visible sign of a disability; or the parent who uses that space reserved for folks with ‘young children’ and hauls a 3-year-old out of the backseat. Because you, and you alone, know what a disability looks like and what constitutes a ‘young’ child. And someone has to draw a firm line in the sand or the mall would be filled with liars and cheaters, and tax-paying citizens would be abandoned in level “D” of underground parking.
- You have NEVER just sat down in a seat, said nothing, and watched the ensuing performance. The whole seating thing is a nightmare for you. You may be half-naked in the centre of a row with an abandoned article of clothing on each of the surrounding dozen chairs, as you ‘save’ seats for family and friends who may or may not show up. Or you may be angrily pulling the coat off a seat someone else has designated as ‘saved’ because it is your right to sit where you want! Either way, it is guaranteed that the person in front of you will be too tall, smell ‘funny’, or irritate you in some other way. And they will prove to be horribly rude and react poorly when you point out that they are too tall, smell funny, or are irritating you in some other way.
- You cannot think of a single thing that has improved over the past decade. Everything that was not part of the world when you were young is aggravating and will eventually lead to the downfall of western civilization. You hate cell phones (although you have one), television (although you have a full cable package and a Netflix subscription), and all forms of social media (although you may have a facebook page where you post nostalgic quotes about the good old days and pet photos)
- You have no allergies but multiple ‘intolerances’. Through intensive internet research and thoughtful self-diagnosis you have identified yourself as lactose-intolerant, gluten-intolerant, and highly ‘reactive’ to a number of seemingly unrelated items including non-organic fruits, ‘spicy’ foods, and wine ‘tannins’. This does not stop you from eating these foods or from drinking wine. It just means that whenever you are eating, drinking, or observing another person who is eating or drinking, you are apt to describe the toxic effects these foods have on you… in graphic detail.
- You are a ‘communicative’ driver. You honk, and you honk, and you honk. You stick arms out of windows and gesticulate at other drivers. You have been known to follow someone for several blocks in the hope that he or she might pull over so that you can ‘give them a piece of your mind’. You maintain a running commentary about the dangerous hijinks of those you are ‘forced to share the road with’. And the first person you meet after getting out of your car almost always has to hear your latest ‘horror story’ involving someone who cut you off, drove too fast, drove too slow, or didn’t use their signal light.
- You know exactly what needs to be done. Your multi-layered expertise makes it frustrating for you to watch as those around you fumble. You are a super busy person so you don’t actually coach kids sports, or volunteer at their school but you have loads of opinions about such things, which you like to share with those who do. You contribute helpful, non-monetary ‘tips’ to waiters about things they could do to improve their service. You hover diligently around when there is a repair person in your house, offering pearls of wisdom. And you begin every doctor’s visit by telling your physician what is wrong with you and what course of action must be taken to fix it.
- You spend a lot of time wondering what’s ‘wrong’ with other people. Everyone seems so argumentative and impatient and unreasonable. It seems like a day never goes by without some level of conflict happening between you and someone else. It is exhausting. Of course, you hate to complain… but…