Pet peeves

6 Tips for Taming Pet Peeves

Vince DiCecco is a dynamic and sought-after seminar speaker and author, with particular interest in business management/development and marketing subjects. With over 20 years experience in sales, marketing and training, he is presently an independent consultant to businesses looking to sharpen their competitive edge. Vince addresses a wide range of topics focused on nurturing customer loyalty while improving profitability. He may be reached via email at

The reward for any effort in taming your personal pet peeve is better stress management, greater yield in your life's work, and harmony in your personhood. Any pet peeve can lead to excessive tension if it can fester and become more caustic. Thus, you may consider trying this six-step approach to gain control of your nemesis.

1. Acknowledge its existence
Rather than deny you are irritated, identify what is happening when your pet peeve presents itself. Denial may result in undue stress on your body and state of mind. When a pet peeve occurs, become fully aware of the moment. Only when something is acknowledged can it be addressed, treated, and resolved.

2. Resist the urge to vent to and at others
When we vent our frustration over, say, a slow-moving vehicle in the passing lane of a highway, we tend to linger in the negativity of the moment and possibly react in a toxic manner. Complaining and fretting about a situation is not the same as coming to grips with it and managing it.

3. Understand the deeper meaning
Bite your tongue before saying something mean-spirited and sarcastic or resort to name-calling. Take a deep breath and ask the following questions:
Why does this upset me so?

Is the other person even aware of how their behavior affects me and others like me?

Is it the intent of the other person to irritate me?

What do I have within my control to change the circumstances of the situation?

What possible good can come of getting angry or frustrated?

4. Find a healthy release
Determine what you can do to minimize the pet peeve. Headphones and an iPod can block out many obnoxious sounds emanating from an adjacent cubicle. Excusing yourself from the scenario to take a break, pull the car over, or go for a walk are good options, too. Try to come up with something you can do to suppress the pet peeve as opposed to changing it.

5. Understand "the rest of the story"
Seek the deep-seated, root cause of the aggravation. Look for a shred of merit or something good in the person or thing that is the source of your pet peeve.

Remember the role of perception—yours and others'. Put yourself in the source of the irritation's shoes.

6. Demonstrate grace, patience, humility, and compassion
You have an opportunity to break the downward spiral of dealing with pet peeves poorly. Even though we all have different pet peeves, we are all alike in that we have them. Smile, extend a helping hand, or exhibit a random act of kindness.

—Vince DiCecco, Your Personal Business Trainer