Day 5

Why do we have pet peeves?  What do our pet peeves tell about us?  What can we learn from our pet peeves?

According to, a pet peeve is a “recurring source of irritation.”  I’ve always been a bit entertained by my pet peeves…curious about why certain things drive ME up the wall, but don’t drive YOU up the wall.

My son Hank has a pet peeve that I find a bit peculiar.  He simply cannot tolerate the noise of someone chewing food.  It’s not the way chewing looks or chewing with your mouth open…it is the noise. Seriously…it is as if someone took a microphone, placed it in or adjacent to someone’s mouth, turned the volume up to full blast, and then projected the sound of chewing directly into his ear.  I swear the kid can hear someone chewing, six tables over.  Needless to say the guy has incredibly polite table manners, BUT expects everyone else to have them as well. Truthfully, I don’t know where this pet peeve came from, nor do I live up to his table expectations, but it does humor me a bit to see him correct his teenage friends on their chewing habits.

I would say that one of my greatest pet peeves is seeing someone drop trash onto the ground.  This has been an “issue” for me since I was a child…particularly cigarettes.  I can recall on a few occasions, I’m chagrined to admit, that I actually observed my parents lift their ash tray from its position in the car and, at a stop light, dump all the cigarette butts out onto the pavement, through the driver’s side window.

I could, even as a child, feel myself cringe…my belly literally getting into knots with a desire to say something or get out of the car and pick them up.

I honestly have no understanding of where our pet peeves come from, but I do wonder if they don’t tell us something about the stories we have in our head. I think generally across the board, at the root of what drives our pet peeves is this sense that others are being rude or somehow invading our notion of rights or space.  I’m not talking about a critical violation of our rights…pet peeves are smaller than that.  They are small nagging indications that something about the actions of someone else are just “getting under our skin.”  My inability to control someone else’s behavior or make them understand how their behavior is infringing upon my sense of “what is right” (on a very small scale…again not to be confused with true social injustice) is what lies at the root of what makes it a pet peeve.

In most cases I can’t do anything about it.  I also note that on days when I am off kilter, ungrounded and extraordinarily tense, pet peeves can send a charge up my spine that, if you were to observe me, you might think I had just witnessed a serious crime.  Pet peeves and my level of reaction to them, at least for me, provide a quick on the spot view-inward, to determine my level of peace, calm and centeredness within that moment and more than likely for that day.

Today, I’m going to have some fun with my pet peeves and sit with them a bit when they drop in…use them as a litmus test to measure my level of inside-peace.  I’m not going to let them take me over the top, but rather use them as an opportunity to take me under a few deep breaths…explore on a small scale how I can remain calm, in spite of their potentially nagging effects on me.  I’m going to see them as opportunities to practice for when the really big stuff comes along.

What are some of your pet peeves?  What lies at the root of their frustration for you?  What do your pet peeves say about you?

10 thoughts on “Day 5

  1. Hank and I share the same pet peeve! I absolutely can NOT handle listening to people chew!!!! Eeeew!

    I am not sure I can “Sit with my pet peeve”. I think I’d go over the edge if I had to hear all that sloshing and crunching and messy chewing for more than a few seconds…..such torture! Augh! Hahaha.

    Tell him he is not alone! 🙂

  2. while i am not above being bothered by another person’s annoying habits, i realize that they are most likely equally bothered by mine. seems to me when we choose to think more highly of others and less highly of ourselves, we see that pet peeves are our own self-righteousness and intolerance coming to the surface. but perhaps my preachiness just annoyed somebody…

  3. I am reading Raising Your Spirited Child right now and there are nine different aspects of temperament for a spirited child. One of those aspects is Sensitivity and sensitivity measures what your senses take in. Some people do really hear people chewing as a roar, not the mild sound others who are less “sensitive” in this way hear. Spirited children (and later adults) might smell things more acutely, feel fabrics more acutely, etc. I wonder if some things that come across as pet peeves might really be someone’s spiritedness showing through. As for me, my pet peeve is littering, too. I used to stop people when they littered- I just know you didn’t mean to drop this- but now, I just pick it up myself and take it to the trash.

  4. I have the SAME EXACT problem with the mouth noises. It is one of the main reasons I can never have a dog! It is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

    When I was doing voice-over work, there was an episode I worked on where my character had to drink hot tea. It was like a nightmare to me, and I was the one making the noises! The techs had to turn the playback off from my headset and we had to do it in one take whenever possible. They thought it was hilarious.

    Whistling gets me too, and with both I have to often give myself a little pep talk…is it really that big of a deal? Is it ruining my life? Will it matter in ten minutes? Probably not. It is actually quite funny that I get so upset.

    Good call out!

    1. i am the same with mouth noises! particularly chewing gum, or sucking hard candies.
      also whistling just grates my nerves, and finger snapping, or when people feel the need to smack their knees, i don’t know, just drives me nuts!
      i feel bad about the whistling, because its supposed to be a joyful sound, but i just can’t handle it.
      and this is ironic because i work in audio post production! so its all around me, *shivers* lol.

  5. Pet Peeves are very interesting! At the intake I try to ask my clients what their pet peeves are, and I get lots of interesting answers.
    A few pet peeves of mine:
    1. When people leave carts in parking places instead of putting them in the cart holders at grocery stores. My thought: Are you really so inconsiderate of others and lazy that you can’t walk 20 steps to put it where it belongs??

    2. When people pick their finger nails so it makes a clicking noise. It makes me cringe and all I want to do is leave the room.

    3. When semis go above the speed limit-it’s just dangerous

    i think i have lots of pet peeves, but those are the major ones i can think of now. I think some things just get annoying (repeated noises that you can’t get away from), or things that inconvenience our life.

  6. My sister and I were just talking about this how we can’t stand to hear people chewing. I can very vividly remember when I was 9 sitting at the dinner table with my relatives and shooting daggers with my eyes, trying to get them to be quiet! As a college student, I picked up my test and moved seats because the person behind me was eating potato chips. But the funny thing is – one of my daughters and both of my sisters have them same “sensitivity”. Genetic or environment?

  7. I’m with Hank!!! And- clicking pens, jiggling change in pockets….. My youngest son is just like me (poor child), but I think it is more of a neurological ‘thing’ and not really a pet peeve.

    Pet peeves for me right now- people talking on their cell phones in public places -restaurants, parks, gym…. Not just a quick answer and off, but conversations. I think I can re-frame and try to have fun… for a few days 🙂

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