Dealing with Annoying People
It turns out we can get some good practical advice from Ancient Rome to help deal with annoying people today.
Marcus Aurelius reminded himself that naturally there are probably people who find us annoying. So, when we feel annoyed by someone’s shortcomings we should stop and reflect on our own. This will help us forgive the offender, since we would likely want to be forgiven.
He also claims the world cannot exist without all types of people, and it’s only natural some people will annoy us. These people did not choose to have their faults, so we shuld never be surprised if someone irritates us, we should have known better.
The best advice I’ve come across is to evoke fatalism and cosmic scale. Things don’t matter as much as we think and we can’t control other’s behaviours; we can, if it is part of our duty, serve society by helping these people be less annoying. I, first, need to examine their behaviour to determine if it is harming others or society as whole; and only then would I consider it within my circle of control and spend effort to try to change them.
One of the more difficult aspects of stoicism for myself has been learning to let go of and not be concerned with things outside my control. My sage, Mr. Money Mustache, has a recent post covering this topic where he draws from 7 Habits of Highly Effective people. This advice is very much stoic, easily falling into the concept of dichotomy of control. He has a way with words, so I encourage you to read his post How Big is your Circle of Control? .