The Desire To Annoy

Do you like confrontations? Do you like to face the people you are mad or angry at? Or do you just take a step back, turn the corner and wish you never have anything to do with those people?

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote:

“The desire to annoy no one, to harm no one, can equally well be the sign of a just as of an anxious disposition.”

Throughout the years I have learned to keep my mouth shut, even if it hurts to do so. It is easy to talk. Anyone can do that if they are willing to ignore the consequences it will have on others. I have always thought that if I am going to fight back with the same hurtful words that they imposed on me then I am no different than them.

Sometimes people talk. No matter what you do or how you behave there will always be someone who will say something or do something mean. If you are anything like me then you will get hurt and angry and wish that there was something you could say or do. But then with time, to use Maya Angelou’s words:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Two weeks ago I was at an event and someone (who claims to be close to me) seems to have said something about me that was really inappropriate. When I first heard it of course I got upset and angry. I was angry mainly because if I had known sooner, I could have ignored her or walked away from her later that day when she approached me. Or could I?


See when I was in senior high I had a teacher who would humiliate the students for not understanding the material and make fun of them in front of the whole class before even answering their questions. Clearly you could not ask this teacher your question without feeling that you had failed to act, behave or think in accordance with his standards. You should have listened and understood in the first place. Otherwise he made you feel ashamed, disgraced, and that asking a question was foolish behavior on your part. When you are a teenager, you are proud, you worry about your social status, you prefer not to know rather than be humiliated. You sacrifice your education instead.

I remember how painful it was for me. I was reluctant to ask for help through pride and fear of ridicule. For the short period that I was in his class I tried to do my best and learned to keep my mouth shut and waited for the year to end.
Two years later in university I was surprised to see the same teacher sitting at a desk in my class. I had registered for a one credit computer course and there he was. I didn’t believe my eyes at first. He spotted me and “Oh my God” I murmured and smiled back at him. When the class was over he stopped to talk with me.
“Ah the quiet girl!”
“Hi sir how are you?” I managed.
“So we’re classmates now. Listen if you need anything, just let me know.”
“Thank you sir,” I whispered, thinking of all those hours back in school when I had needed to ask him questions but could not.

“We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time; keep back the tears and look a little pale about the lips, and in answer to inquiries say, “Oh, nothing!” Pride helps; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us to hide our hurts — not to hurt others.” George Eliot


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One Response to The Desire To Annoy

  1. Bob Tham says:

    I don’t think we can avoid confrontations with other people unless we live a hermit’s life. We hate confronting other people when we feel that they are superior to us. In actual fact, they are not superior to us. At a certain point in time they may hold a superior position. But their superiority is only our own perception. As long as we don’t feel inferior to the person who we are confronted with, we will have the confidence to deal with the subject of the confrontation. Like a bird perching on a tiny twig, its confidence is not in the twig but in its own ability to fly!

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