how to tell if you're annoying someone
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9 Subtle Signs You Annoy Someone

And what to do about it.

by Jill Di Donato
Originally Published: 

You think you're adorable, but the truth is you're getting on someone's last nerve. And that's not a cute look on anyone. But how to know if you’re annoying someone in the first place can be tricky. So, by tuning in with intention to subtle signs you annoy someone, you can fix your situation, save your friendship and learn about yourself, all at the same time.

It's never too late to work on your interpersonal skills, because, let's face it, life is a lot more fun when you get to hang with people who truly enjoy your company. And although you definitely don't want to live your life to please other people, you do want to be cool with your friends, colleagues, and family, right?

Toeing the line between being yourself and acting in accordance with social norms, paying attention to social cues, and learning how to navigate being in a social setting is hard work. But it can be done with a little introspection and a couple of tweaks to your behavioral patterns. Medical doctor and life coach Dr. Susan Biali told Psychology Today that people adapt their personality traits in the social world all the time. Self-awareness is everything, and that while it’s important to be cognizant of how you come off to others — for example, if you get the urge to ask am I annoying you? — it's equally as important to be compassionate with yourself. Give yourself time to figure out what about yourself is worth adapting, and what you need or want to change about yourself, and why. The following are subtle signs you may be annoying people, and solutions for how to remedy the situation without losing yourself in the process.


Watch their body language

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Nonverbal language is deeply engrained in people from a young age, and tends to come out in people when they are under stress. Crossed legs or crossed arms can sometimes signals resistance, which is a subtle sign of annoyance, rather than the more blatant eye roll.

Solution: Reading body language is such a subtle art that it has to be taken with a grain of salt. Before before making any serious changes to your social situation, either wait for more cues you're being annoying, or politely ask if something you're doing is irritating someone. Blogger Jen Kim told Psychology Today that a polite way to ask if you're being annoying is to be straight up. She suggested a simple, “I'm being annoying right now, right?”



Post-grad doctoral researcher Jordan Gaines Lewis, and author of the blog Brain Babble on Psychology Today wrote that sighing is a subtle sign of annoyance. People sigh when they're bored, frustrated, anxious, or trying to calm themselves down. This is especially true in a social situation.

Solution: Sighing is also just a sign of the body needing to reset. So, before you get totally self-conscious that you're annoying, wait for more cues, or simpky ask politely if you’re bothersome.


They interrupt you

Being interrupted is offensive. No two ways about that one. However, after you've processed the feeling that someone was just rude to you, pause and think about your own behavior.

Solution: If someone interrupts you, ask politely if you can finish what you were saying. If you're being annoying, most likely your company will tell you so at this point, and you can decide where to go from there.


They don’t “hear” you

People can pretend not to hear you when they're annoyed at you in one of two ways. They can completely act like you haven't said a word (ouch) or they can “huh” you, an expression usually coupled with a tilt of the head and massive amounts of sarcasm.

Solution: Take the time to pause the conversation if you feel like you're the only one talking, or have been for quite some time. An easy solution to this problem is to talk less, listen more. Listening more is a simple way to be less annoying in a friendship.


They seem zoned out

If someone appears to be zoned out while you're speaking, that other person might be exhausted and out of it, or, it's a subtle sign that you're annoying, Kim wrote in Psychology Today.

Solution: Fidgeting, having their feet pointed towards the door, and a not-so-subtle "back turned" away from you maneuver are all good signs that someone is annoyed by you or feeling uncomfortable in a conversation. If you notice this, I'd just change the subject and make a mental note to give that friendship a little extra attention.


They talk over you

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Licensed clinical social worker Diane Barth told Psychology Today that the best kind of communication involves a give and take between talking and listening. People might talk over you when you're being annoying to shut you up.

Solution: Although you might be annoying, a person who talks over you is rude. In this case, once you identify what's going own, Barth recommended that you take some time out to have a conversation about how to reset your conversational dynamic.


They lock eyes with others when you’re talking

When other people in the group lock eyes, that's a subtle sign you're being annoying, and your peers are trying to communicate with one another and bond over this fact. Ouch.

Solution: Psychologist Dr. Jamie Turndorf told Psychology Today that ganging up on someone is a form of bullying. If you're feeling ganged up on, don't play victim, she advised. Although you might feel hurt when your friends lock eyes, you should assert yourself and voice your discomfort at their behavior.


They don’t ask about your life

If your friends don't ask you anything personal about yourself, this might be a subtle sign that they don't want to get to know you better. Maybe your friends stink, or maybe you're annoying because you talk about yourself all the time, and don't leave any room for people to ask questions.

Solution: Time for some soul-searching. If the people you’re spending time with don’t want to know you, perhaps it’s time to look for some new friends.


They “yes” you, nonstop

There's a big difference with “Yass” and the constant “Yes.” Respectively, there's a difference between people trying to please you with a constant, "yes," and people "yes-sing" you to, well, er, get you to stop talking.

Solution: Once you figure out if people are doing the latter, reflect on your behavior. Although Psych Central noted that you can't spend your entire social life wondering if you're being annoying, you do want to engage your company in a way that's pleasant for all involved.

It can be tricky to tell if you’re being annoying in a friendship, but if the friendship is important to you, it may be worth it. Hopefully now you know how to tell if you're annoying someone, and what to do about it.

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