Am I Really that Annoying?

Ever felt irritated by someone, and not really sure why? 

That happened to me just last week. Speaking with a man at an event, I found myself just feeling annoyed.  While recognizing his positive attributes, another part of me just felt irritated and questioned what he said. 

And then it bothered me that I felt so annoyed by him. I like to view myself as seeing the heart of people and living by my own motto of clarity, compassion, and curiosity.  

Sometimes, this calls for getting curious with myself. What value or need of mine might be at issue here? I describe him as rather disengaged and closed off, which does not meet my value of connection.  

Once I have the words, I ask myself where I am showing up that way. This means wondering where am I acting disengaged and closed off in life.  

Getting real with myself, I find answers. I begin to see where I might show up more openly and engaged. In fact, I notice I am not as engaging and open with him.  I found myself acting the very way toward him that I did not like him acting.

Realizing the opportunity to open up leads me to do that. Yet, I also notice that not being open and engaging also serves a purpose. It protects my sense of safety and security.  

This reminds me of a conversation a few weeks ago in a coffee shop. A lady told me she would not have a conversation with a man and described him as verbally attacking her. Ironically, I have heard others describe this woman’s words as attacking. Both people act this way to meet a need, and often do so without any awareness.  

Often as people we mirror what we notice. During a workplace mediation someone may say he will not respect anyone who is disrespectful.  If the person seeking respect refuses to offer respect, it could become an unending circle. As a mediator seeks to understand each participant, the participants usually begin to understand each other.

Likewise, when a person complains about someone not listening, I often notice them not fully listening, or talking more than listening and not conveying that they heard.  Mediation offers the opportunity to really begin to notice one’s own thinking. Once someone realizes the pattern, one or both people see the importance of showing up differently. 

I notice about others what I am called to fix in myself. This often means similar people showing up in my life until I learn the lesson. 

People around us constantly teach us more and more about ourselves, if we stop, look, and listen. Where in your life are you showing up in ways that bother you? 

This is not about judging, shaming, or blaming anyone. It offers an opportunity to notice what we notice and raise our own level of awareness.   

Remember, our behavior serves us in some way, which is why we tend to behave how we do. Once I noticed my underlying need to feel safe and secure, I realized I could still be open and engaged while maintaining my sense of security. 

Where do you see yourself in others? What underlying need do you think this behavior meets?   

Sherry Ann Bruckner

Sherry Ann Bruckner

Most widely known as Lonzo's human, mediator, speaker, and author Sherry Ann Bruckner works with leaders and organizations to create peace, resolve conflict, and transform visions into results.

From her twenty-plus years' experience practicing civil and family law, and her own personal experiences with silence and violence, Sherry Ann understands how much inner peace impacts outer peace. A graduate of Hamline University's College of Liberal Arts and William Mitchell College of Law, she also studied conflict resolution at Rothberg International School in Jerusalem. Sherry serves as a neutral on matters ranging from bias and employment discrimination to marriage dissolution and caring for aging parents. A speaker and trainer on the global stage, Sherry gives you and your audience practical skills and the confidence to use embrace your personal power to create peace. Through helping thousands of people navigate their way through conflict, and finding her own way to inner peace, she shares the transformational power of clarity, compassion, curiosity, and cribbage.

Visit to learn more or give her a call at (320) 808-3212.
Sherry Ann Bruckner

Be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.