Hell Is Other People

This is a list of some of the things that annoy me:

1. People who don’t say ‘thank you’ when you hold a door for them2. Pensioners who shop on Saturdays

3. Parents who appear to believe they have done the world a favour by breeding

4. Baby boomers who complain about the cost of things (but don’t mind that they ate all the tax)

5. Other people’s music

6. Shop assistants putting coins on top of notes

7. People who do chirpy knocking on doors*

8. Cluster parking in empty car parks (a similar phenomenon is also experienced in cinemas and restaurants)

9. People who complain about their jobs but don’t do anything to make them better

10. Oneupmanship (as my mum might say ‘if I’ve got an elephant you’ve got a bag to put it in’)

I could’ve added things such as ‘the exact level the sun is at during a particular time in autumn rendering it difficult to see when driving’ or ‘the fact that the Big Tasty isn’t a regular feature of the McDonalds menu’ or ‘hot feet’ but none of these things are as teeth grindingly annoying as the sins committed by human beings.

As a disgruntled colleague of my husband once said ‘people Mike, just…people‘.

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Since Spring this year I’ve been working as a Moderator for the Mail Online, weeding out great handfuls of offensive statements from the comments section of the website, a receptacle for the Western world’s anger towards Islam and immigrants.  Those people are angry. Really, really angry. I’m pretty sure I don’t fall in the same category of hatred as the xenophobic Mail readers. For one thing I don’t only hate foreigners, I spread my dislike evenly across the nations.

In fact I wouldn’t say I even hate the human race, I’m misanthropic to a point (I absolutely share a hell with Sartre) but it really boils down to a consistent disappointment in people and the realisation that so many human beings are unintentionally fake, more concerned with their outer appearance and being liked than with being honest and decent.

Just call me Holden.

Those of us with phobias of social situations have the opportunity to view other people in a unique way.  We aren’t asocial (in fact most of those with such a phobia only wish they could be those social butterflies who flutter merrily in to conversations with complete strangers), we just find engaging with people – even those we know well – extremely difficult.  As such a social phobic is the first to notice when people are kind and thoughtful or self-absorbed and rude.  We’re easy to talk over and ignore and the majority of people will do just that.  It’s rare that I come across somebody who will patiently spend time navigating awkward silences or who will spot the shy person and bring them in to a conversation.
It’s when you’re a quiet observer and you rarely speak out of turn that you notice how self-absorbed the vast majority of people are.  If you don’t shout you aren’t heard and every insult – a shop assistant who ignores you in order to continue a conversation with a friend or someone who doesn’t say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to children (if you don’t have kids you might be rather surprised by how rude grown ups can be to little ones) – is added to the elastic band ball of disappointment which grows bigger and bigger and is eventually put on a plinth on the outskirts of a small American town with a plaque declaring it the biggest ball of misanthropy in the state.
My husband finds it funny that even the smallest thing will annoy me for hours, growing and growing until I actually hate the whole world and for an hour or two wonder if it might really be possible to learn witchy curses, but the longer we’re together the more he notices it too (this might not be a good thing and could be considered reasonable grounds for divorce).  I think it’s almost a shame that more people aren’t able to see themselves and those around them as the painfully shy do, they might be more inclined to think before they act, to be a little bit nicer and think less about their own egos and more about others.
And if people were nicer the world would be better and I might even be less angry about cheerful door knocking techniques.*coming over to do a chirpy door knock after reading this post will not be considered an acceptable joke

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