A pet peeve is a behavior or exhibit that causes individuals to feel mildly irritated. They don’t always deserve taking action because they are so offensive and unpleasant, but they are often bothersome in a way that makes you roll your eyes in irritation.
We’ve all experienced being so enraged by someone else’s pet gripe that we can barely stand it. It can be triggered by a friend, coworker, or even a total stranger. Everybody has a list of things that really irritate them.
One person’s habit may drive them into a full-blown rage, while another will not notice it.
Relationships and interactions that aren’t going well can be made better by understanding common pet peeves.
One of the biggest things that can help with pet peeves, though, is just knowing that you’re not alone in feeling that way. Most pet peeves are actually pretty common.
70 PET PEEVES THAT ANNOY PEOPLE
- Repetitive tapping. Whether it’s tapping a pencil, pen, or foot, non-stop tapping can not only be annoying, but pretty distracting, too.
- Interrupting during a conversation. We all know someone who won’t let us get three words in before they’re already talking about something else over us. And it can be pretty darn annoying, that’s for sure.
- Texting during a meal. If you’ve ever gone out to dinner with a friend or partner only to have them stare at their phone the entire meal, you probably already know how annoying this can be. It’s rude, disrespectful, and definitely doesn’t make you want to spend more time with them.
- Taking phone calls in public. It’s one thing to take a phone call on a busy city street or in an empty park. It’s another thing to take one in a peaceful, quiet coffee shop where people are working, or in an airport where you’re shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers.
- FaceTiming without headphones. Similarly, there’s no reason why you should be taking video calls in public without headphones on. Not everyone wants to hear the back-and-forth of your conversation as they try to get some work done or relax.
- Throat-clearing/coughing noises. Similar to chewing and foot tapping, throat clearing and coughing noises can be pretty repetitive for some people without them even realizing it, and therefore, pretty annoying.
- Leaving drawers and cabinets open. A lot of people have the habit of forgetting to close cabinets and drawers after they open them when cooking or getting ready for the day, but this can actually be pretty annoying to people who you live with.
- Not screwing the lids onto bottles and containers all the way. Similarly, leaving bottles and jars and cans with lids only half-way screwed on can be annoying, too. It can also be pretty dangerous if someone thinks a lid is on and it’s not.
- Saying “No Offense” After Something Insulting. Saying something that can be perceived as rude or insulting to another person doesn’t get washed away by inserting a quick “no offense” after hurting their feelings. Doing so will only annoy them further than the initial comment already had.
- Leaving The Water Running. Although this can just be a mindless slip up if it occurs once, leaving the water running as a habit can quickly bother your family or roommate. It shows carelessness, and you can end up paying in the long-run on your water bill.
- Cracking Knuckles. People can have a surprisingly strong negative reaction to auditory stimuli that they don’t like, and cracking knuckles can be very unpleasant for a lot of people to hear. It’s a common pet peeve that erks a large portion of the population, probably because of the idea of bone against bone.
- Tapping A Pen. Creating a catchy beat with your pen and desk may be a good way for you to focus on what you’re doing, but it’ll likely be distracting to everyone else around you.
- Correcting Grammar Or Pronunciation. It’s tough to get more annoying than interjecting while someone else is speaking to correct their grammar or pronunciation irrelevantly. It can make the speaker lose their train of thought, and their patience will be close behind in going off the track.
- Repeating “Literally” In Every Sentence. It will literally get so annoying to hear the word literally in every nook and cranny of a person’s sentences. It gets in the way of the speaker’s message and makes the person listening feel irritated.
- Leaving Dirty Dishes In The Sink. Leaving a pile of dirty dishes in your kitchen sink is a nasty habit that will disgust and bother the people around you, whether they are your roommate or are just visiting.
- Dog Owners Not Picking Up After Their Pet. It will absolutely kill someone’s day to be walking down the street care-free, only for a step to land in waste that a dog-owner neglected to pick up. It’s a smelly hassle, and being the perpetrator of this situation will make some enemies in the neighborhood.
- Pushy Salespeople. It’s a draining experience to be walking through a mall and be bombarded with the tactics of a pushy salesperson who won’t leave you alone.
- Pessimism. Even in the face of adverse circumstances, most people prefer to look on the bright side than drown in pessimism. Being the person who always has a cloud hanging over your head will begin to bother people around you who are trying to maintain a positive outlook.
- Being Told To “Calm Down.” The irony of using the statement “calm down” to try and put out the fire of someone’s anger is that it will act like gasoline, sparking an even bigger explosion. It insinuates that their reaction is blown out of proportion, which will frustrate many people in the heat of anger.
- Passive Aggressive Comments. The only thing that’s worse than someone being straight up rude to your face is having the attack be sugar-coated-in passive-aggressiveness.
- Waiting For An Elevator. You’ve finally arrived at the last step to reaching your destination, a simple elevator ride. It can be a pet peeve for many to wait in a lobby for what feels like forever waiting for it to arrive.
- Children Crying On Planes. While most adults probably wish they could let out a wail of frustration while flying on a plane, children do it to their heart’s content. Dealing with another passenger’s children having a tantrum on a flight is a pet peeve nightmare for travelers.
- Laughing Loudly. Some people can’t control the volume of their laughter, especially when a joke is hilarious. Even so, a boisterous laugh may bother the strangers around you if you’re eating at a restaurant or reading in a library.
- Laziness. Life is about getting things done, and individuals who suffer from laziness will likely be a drag to the people around them.
- Bragging. Whether you’re bragging about how much money you have in the bank, your impressive job, or how attractive you are, it’ll probably leave the people you’re talking to stunned. However, they’ll probably be in awe of how annoying it is to listen to, not the wonderful accomplishments.
- Biting Nails. It’s unclear if it’s the snapping sound or watching pieces of nail fall to the ground, but there’s one thing that’s obvious. People hate seeing others bite their nails.
- Blasting Music. Even though your favorite music artist is the best thing you’ve ever heard in your life, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Blasting your music forces everyone to be distracted by it.
- Eating Someone Else’s Food. Eating a good meal is a simple pleasure in life that your roommate or co-workers look forward to. If you eat the food they’ve left labeled as theirs in the fridge, they’re going to be disappointed at the least and aggravated at the most.
- Snoring. This is luckily a pet peeve that you probably won’t have to deal with from anyone other than your partner, but it can be a doozy when it comes to getting in a full eight hours of sleep per night.
- Saying, “I’m Sorry You Feel That Way.” This sentence is the ultimate form of invalidating the way someone feels, and that’s more serious than a pet peeve for a lot of people.
- Eating Smelly Food In Public. Some of the tastiest food can smell terrible to the people around you in a small space, like public transportation. Eating an egg salad on the morning bus to work will make enemies out of the other people on your route.
- Looking At Your Cellphone When Someone Is Talking. People want to know that they’re being heard when they speak. When you look at your phone screen while they’re talking, they’ll feel ignored and frustrated with the inconsideration.
- Not Taking Responsibility. Everybody makes mistakes sometimes, but people who can’t take responsibility for these missteps will be perceived as annoying.
- Leaving The Toilet Seat Up. The principal perpetrators of this pet peeve are the male gender, and it’s been bothering women everywhere since the dawn of time.
- Complaining. Aimlessly complaining about a situation or issue rarely does anything to solve it. Usually, complaining only results in bothering people listening to it.
- Cutting lines. There’s nothing worse than a line-cutter, so don’t be that person and wait your turn accordingly.
- Standing up at the exact moment the plane gets to the gate. Similarly, there is an etiquette to exiting a plane. The people ahead of you stand up and get off the plane before you do. Anything else feels like someone is trying to cut the line.
- Driving too slow. While certainly safer than driving too fast, slow drivers can be particularly annoying to some people. But just remember: When in doubt, follow the speed limit.
- Driving too close to the car in front. Tailgating is never a good idea, and it’s often the cause of road rage incidents and accidents. If you’re not sure how close is too close, just remember to keep one car-lengths between you and the person in front of you for every 10 mph. The faster you’re going, the more room you should leave.
- People who talk during movies. Movies are meant to be quiet. Enough said.
- Unsolicited advice and recommendations. People can’t seem to help themselves (especially on the internet) when it comes to suggesting where to go, what to do, and how to live your life — even if no one asked for their opinion.
- Being late. Everyone is late every now and then, but chronic lateness is beyond frustrating, and pretty disrespectful to the people you’re meeting, too.
- Slow walkers. Some people feel similarly about slow walkers as they do about slow drivers. When possible, it’s good to match the pace of those around you. But if that’s not possible (and, hey, sometimes a nice, slow stroll is good), then just try to keep to the side of the path so people have a clear path.
- “Gate lice.” If you travel a lot, you are probably very familiar with “gate lice,” whether you know it or not. These are the people who crowd the boarding gate to make sure they get on the plane as soon as humanly possible — and they very much annoy gate agents.
- Know-it-alls. No one likes a know-it-all. Period.
- One-uppers. Have a great story or an exciting event coming up? We all know that person who has a more exciting event and a better event. It probably makes you want to roll your eyes just thinking of it, right?
- Cashiers who are overly chatty when you’re in a rush.
- When someone vapes inside, especially around non-smokers.
- Someone who spends way too much time on their phone in a social situation instead of being present.
- People who use the “reply-all” option to respond to a work email.
- People who refer to themselves in the third person.
- People who slam their feet on the ground when they walk or any type of loud walker.
- Gum cracking/snapping/chewing. This one is similar to chewing and eating. The solution? Just opt for some mints when you’re around others. It’s a more pleasant experience all around.
- Cracking knuckles. There’s nothing that can disrupt a peaceful, nice dinner like your dinner date loudly cracking their knuckles throughout the evening. It’s a little gross, and distracting, too.
- Using words the wrong way. While grammar police are a whole pet peeve in and of themselves, grown adults mixing up their/they’re/there can still be a bit frustrating.
- Bad tippers. People who treat waiters badly are always bad news, and bad tippers are often those same people.
- People who adopt the interests/habits of every new significant other. There’s nothing worse than someone who seems to morph into every new partner they have.
- The feeling of chalk. The sound of chalk on a chalkboard is pretty darn bad, too.
- … or cotton balls. There’s a reason why people get chills just talking about the idea of rubbing two cotton balls together.
- People who constantly talk about their diet. Most of us have probably ordered pizza or pasta only to have the person we’re eating dinner with explain that they aren’t eating carbs right now like they should be congratulated. Spoiler: It’s not fun.
- … or comment on what you’re eating. A good rule in life is to never comment on what someone is eating, no matter what you might be thinking.
- Clipping nails in public. There is just no excuse for this. Ever.
- Stopping suddenly in the middle of a sidewalk. This one is very similar to people who stop in the middle of a busy sidewalk to send a text message.
- Being rude to customer service representatives. They’re just doing their job, OK?
- Holding up a line (or, worse, a security line at the airport). Though most people have been through security at an airport, there seems to be some magical factor that makes people forget everything they know about it the second they get to the airport.
- Talking over people. If you have to raise your voice to make your point, then you should probably just wait to talk.
- When adults talk like teenagers and say outdated slang like “dude.”
- When men think they are flirting, but they are really just being creepy.
- People who block the door on an elevator and don’t move out of the way.
- Anyone who claps when the plane lands or at the end of a movie.
A pet peeve is something or anything that irritates you. This covers unpleasant habits, obnoxious noises, other people’s careless actions, you name it. These annoyances are, at best, minor inconveniences that you can overlook. Pet peeves, though, can at worst severely hinder your productivity and workday.
Here are some strategies for overcoming your pet peeves, or at the very least, coping with them. Start by responding to them. If the offender is someone you know, you might let them know that a particular statement or action makes you queasy. If you want to be more professional, you may remark, “This behavior greatly irritates me. Could you possibly [insert substitute] instead?”” Alternatively, you may use a funnier expression like “Gahhh, [said conduct] really makes me shudder!” (Shimmy a little for additional effect.)
If you don’t want to confront your pet peeve directly, you can either plan ahead or get out of a circumstance that will expose it to you. Using noise-cancelling headphones, for instance, you can reduce background noise.
Above all, keep in mind that the majority of the pet peeves on this list, and anywhere else, are not meant to be taken personally. Certain individuals simply don’t realize how unpleasant their actions are, and some situations are utterly beyond anyone’s control. The peeved themselves possess the power over the peever, not the other way around. So, you might be able to change your entire attitude by altering how you respond to what irritates you.