Relationships

What Are Your Pet Peeves? (I Have a Weird One.)

Seinfeld eye roll

I’m generally a pretty understanding person, but there are a few things that make me want to throttle everyone around me…


Yell sneezes.


Keys jingling.


Gum chewing.


Somebody unloading the dishwasher while you’re on the phone with them.


Cracking knuckles.

I realize that my pet peeves are all about sound, and they’re beyond a pet peeve. I actually have misophonia, a selective sound sensitivity syndrome. (Do you have it?) Basically, certain noises — like sniffing or chewing — can give you an intense fight-or-flight response. “The most dominant reaction is anger and anxiety, not disgust,” Dr. Sukhbinder Kumar, the lead researcher from the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University, told the New York Times.

I first discovered that misophonia was a real thing (and not just me being weird/uptight) when I wrote a post on pet peeves in 2011. One of my annoyances was “the sound of eating bananas,” and someone commented, “Google ‘misophonia.’ For some, these small noises are merely irritating. For others, like me, it causes a physical reaction like rage.”

YES! When someone does a very loud sneeze, I literally want to punch them for a second. Of course, I know it’s my issue (not theirs), and I have to breathe deeply and wait for it to pass. It’s actually really stressful. Although it might sound unrelatable to many people, if you have it, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. My old co-worker used to call me “Princess and the Beep,” because the sound of clicking pens drove me bats. Unfortunately, there’s “no known effective treatment,” says Aage R. Moller, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas.

My friend Rony of Catbird also suffers from misophonia. “When someone new is hired, we have to tell them that gum chewing isn’t allowed. I put it in writing, so it makes me feel less weird. I try to keep it light and casual even though it sends me into a mania. Yeah, no big deal, it’s just this quirky thing I have!

What about you? Have you ever heard of this? Do you have misophonia?

P.S. How to introduce people, and the Grand Canyon trick.

  1. Jamie says...

    My lovely coworker, who constantly hums…for 8 hours a day. I finally said something to her. I may have looked crazy, but it saved me from having a complete breakdown in the office.

  2. Loving all these comments!
    Mine…when someone emails me…and then either comes to my office or calls me on the phone 3 seconds later to ask if I read their email yet.

  3. Heather says...

    Umbrellas. I would rather get soaking wet than use an umbrella. If you use an umbrella, don’t try to make me snuggle up in there with you. Don’t walk under a building overhang, taking dry space from those not using umbrellas. Hold it high when you pass someone so they don’t have to duck to avoid getting scraped. And watch where you point that thing!

    • stephanie says...

      yes! if you already have an umbrella, please let those that don’t walk under the awnings. i live in a city so with rain comes wind. people that buy umbrellas end up dumping them in the trash anyway! i just plan to wear something with a hood if it’s going to rain and i’m concerned with getting wet.

  4. Jennifer says...

    I cannot stand the sound of people eating crunchy things (potato chips, chewing ice, etc.). Popcorn in a movie theatre is enough to kill me!

  5. stephanie says...

    people who eat out of mason jars with metal utensils. please stop. no one wants to hear that.

    also, my partner will yank unruly beard hairs out of his face. it doesn’t make an audible sound to me but rather one i can “feel.” it’s the only way i can describe it. i can actually hear/feel the hair leaving the skin on his face and it makes me want to die. even if i can’t see it happening, i can feel it. he also will sometimes move his jaw around if it or a tooth is bothering him and i can hear/feel that also. although sometimes he does it just to mess with me, lol. ugh, i’m getting the bad chills just typing about it!

    other pet peeves? probably too many to list. people who put on tons of perfume or cologne. when someone writes “marinade” when they mean “marinate” or says “woah” when they mean “whoa” or writes “frig” instead of “fridge” (that last one really gets me because it’s hilarious). people in the grocery store who ignore the cashiers/baggers/deli counter workers and who don’t pass the dividing bar back to me so i can put my things on the belt in a timely fashion. or that don’t put their stuff up until the person ahead has totally completed their transaction so we all have to wait twice as long now, and by the same token those that are able bodied but won’t bag their own groceries when there’s no bagger available. people that take pictures of others to mock them, or just in general without permission. i’m not a tourist attraction, please flip off. people that treat public transit like they’re in their bathroom and/or anyone that chews fingernails in sight of another person. listen, you’re either eating them or spitting them somewhere and i’m gonna hurl either way.

    AND, AND. all of you “captain obvious” types that think you’re so clever. you are really driving me to kill. you know the ones – “wow, those are some green sneakers you’ve got there” or “hey, you’ve got something on your face!” (i have a lip piercing) or “looks like someone got some sun today” (i have rosacea and my skin flushes easily on top of that). just keep your comments to yourself. you’re an adult, exercise self control.

  6. Sara says...

    I have misophonia and there so many situations at work when I cannot escape the sounds that drive me crazy. I work in close quarters to my coworkers and we all eat/snack at our desks in close range to each other. The worst, though, are meetings when people eat super loud food in front of me in a really small conference room and I just don’t know how to ask them to stop without appearing unprofessional/rude. Any suggestions? I’d love to see a post with some solutions or ideas for those of us who suffer from this.

    • Ashley says...

      I am with you on this! Misophonia is such a trouble because people think you’re nuts and not so understanding. I would love advice on this too.

  7. OMG I HAAAAAAAAATE yell sneezes. So. Much. And, I used to share a cubicle with a guy who would make the “t’AHHHH” sound after every sip of coffee he took. I’m glad I’m not the only one, I had no idea this was a thing!

  8. Sam says...

    Guys wearing sweatpants. Cringe.

  9. Janice says...

    I never could understand who came up with the bright idea of serving popcorn in movie theaters – rustling bags, people’s hands rustling inside of bags or cups, then the sound of a crowd chomping and crunching while you are trying to listen to a movie…..

  10. Karina says...

    I hate it when people say “anywho” instead of anyways. It’s not a word.

    • Melissa says...

      FYI, “anyhoo” is defined both in the Oxford English and Merriam-Webster dictionaries. It is synonymous with “anyhow” according to both. (Granted, the autocorrect in both my word processor and web browser do not recognize it…yet!) Nevertheless, perhaps you can tolerate it better knowing that the authority on the English language recognizes it as a word!

  11. Sara says...

    I am so tickled by all these comments. I don’t feel so alone anymore.

    Mine: When men tell me to “smile sweetheart.” Don’t tell me what to do with my body!

  12. Carmen says...

    I have only read a few of the 800 comments, but I’d like to see someone beat this: my co-worker taps her fitbit against her leg to rack up steps. She does it all day, in meetings, at her desk, at presentations, at lunch… from 9am to 5pm, she’s tapping. What is she doing? Trying to hit 10,000 steps/day of course, so she can get a $50 monthly payout for hitting her step goals (a perk of our employee wellness program). The cheating is one thing, but the tapping is unbearable! I’m this close to looking for a new job! SOS!

    • Ana says...

      omg this comment kills me! I understand that the tapping is annoying but the CHEATING IN FRONT OF PEOPLE SHE WORKS WITH!!! Who are all living without their $50 payout!! Also…maybe try walking a bit more! The tapping is not helping your health!

  13. Fabi says...

    I think the one thing that really bothers me is nickeling and diming when a restaurant bill comes. I understand if someone ordered like crazy and you only had a drink…but if everyone had similar things and you are counting the cents you owe because you only had one glass of wine instead of 2…you’re dead to me!

    • LOL me too. Dead to me.

  14. Jodi says...

    biggest, biggest pet peeve is when I’m at dinner with someone, they are finished, I am still eating, and the waiter comes by and clears their plate before I am finished. hello… does it look like I want to be eating by myself? it happens so often and irritates me so much that my partner will actually put his hand over his (empty) plate or politely tell the waiter that no, he cannot clear his plate until I am finished, haha!

  15. Loesie says...

    MAN FLU! MAN FLU! MAN FLU!

  16. Loesie says...

    -When I’m watching a tv show, sitting on the edge of my chair, and then at the end, they don’t solve the situation, but they say ‘to be continued’. And I have to wait a whole week to find out!!! Hate it when that happens!
    -Speaking of which; whenever a tv channel plays reruns but they never get beyond a certain episode so it’s the same reruns over and over.
    -When I accidentally write with a ballpoint but forgot to flip the switch thingy, so there’s no ink coming out of the pen….the feeling of just the holder touching the paper drives me bonkers!
    -People walking too slow in (shopping) streets while I am trying to do a very efficient task-oriented shopping trip.
    -People ‘playing’ with plastic food coverings. Not all the time, but sometimes the sound comes right in…

  17. spinerette jones says...

    TV shows where people converse while brushing their teeth. Just what is the point of this dramatic device (otherwise brilliant) Vince Gilligan?!

  18. This is going to sound strange but try magnesium supplements.

    I have been brought to tears by a minute of pen clicking. My opinion of people who repeatedly sneeze, blow their noses, or even cough loudly sometimes suffers permanently.

    My mother once witnessed me melting down and casually said, “You need more magnesium.” I ignored her, of course.

    Months later I mentioned I was having trouble sleeping and she again suggested magnesium. This time I took the suggestion. It helped with sleep and after a while, I noticed sounds did not bother me as much. I’ve come to recognize that general irritability, insomnia and sensitivity to sound come in a cluster for me. I use combinations of oral magnesium, epsom baths and/or magnesium spray. It helps quite a bit.

  19. Carolyn says...

    I can NOT watch a basket ball game – squeaking sneakers sends me over the edge!!! I can’t believe I’m the only one who said this so far.
    People blowing their noses – gross! finger licking – gross, get a napkin. The sound a plastic bag makes in a car with the windows down, have to pull over and smash the bag! People at the movies or anywhere for that matter, eating candy out of plastic wrapper/bag every 10 seconds – noise makes me CRAZY – dump the candy out into your hand and eat it! Lawn mowers and leaf blowers also drive me bonkers (I live in the burbs and on a Saturday/Sunday morning it never stops, as soon as someone ends another jackass starts….how about we all do our lawns between 11 and 1????

    • stephanie says...

      omg, yes, the lawn mower thing is probably the most irrational rage-inducing pet peeve i have, lol! our neighbor always seems to suddenly need to mow the lawn at the exact moment my partner and i sit down to eat and watch something on tv. doesn’t matter what time. not only that, but we live in the city. they have a strip of grass that is about the size of a car, tops. and it takes her FOREVER to mow it, and to make matters worse she stops and starts a few times so you’re tricked into thinking they’re finished but they’re only just getting started.

  20. CG says...

    People who comment under the “I Made this” section on Smitten Kitchen….and didn’t make it.

  21. Kate says...

    I have misophonia too, and I can’t stand the sound of people eating bananas – it’s the worst thing! Anyone chewing with their mouth open (how can people do that?!), making mouth noises like lip-smacking, or that noise people make when they have a dry mouth and keep sucking on their tongue or opening and closing their mouth noisily. All of these things, awful.