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What's Irking You?

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What's Irking You?


It would be impossible to co-exist with someone who did not irk you at some point. Let's face it: they limit the time on those space shuttle missions for a reason. Assessing the things that irk you about your significant other is a great way to figure out if they are indeed the one.

My theory is that annoyances will grow and eventually take down relationships that are not meant to be. Conversely, little annoyances fade away or become endearing in relationships that work out.

Here is a list of irks:

One of the Guys Irk

It's pretty lame that my buddies and I invent words and languages and then giggle over them like school children. But what's even lamer: when some outsider tries to use the language, without ability to contribute. That's what one of my old girlfriends did. My friends and I would discuss how she was trying to speak like us, and it got to the point where I bristled every time I heard her speak one of our made up words.

Stupid Stories Irk

One day at work, my friend Margaret called me in to the conference room for some "relationship advice." After a few seconds of nervous pacing she turned to me in a huff and said: "If Greg tells me one more of his stupid boring stories I think I'm going to punch him in the face!" Strangely, after this statement, she asked if I thought it meant that she was no longer in to him. I advised her to break up, because they were two years in and the irk was getting worse and worse.

The Sniffles Irk

My friend's old boyfriend was a factory of sniffing and inhaling noises. The two dated for a few years even though it was something she noticed every moment she spent with him. She went through an entire spectrum of emotions with it: Early: "I wonder if this is going to be something that annoys me." Middle: "OK, that pretty much annoys me." Late: (after break up) "Thank goodness I don't have to live with that anymore." At one point a friend even asked how she put up with it while they were still dating which confused her because she thought she was the only one who noticed.

Taxi CabsHailed Cab Irk

Another friend of mine had balance issues in his relationship which caused even the little things to create strife. When the two were trying to do something as simple as hail a cab, his girlfriend would always take control and do the hailing. Now, for someone like me who is lazy and has no ambition, a girl hailing a cab would be great-almost like a rickshaw driver. But my friend was seriously concerned about the existing balance issues in his relationship, so this seizing of control was symbolizing this imbalance during an everyday activity.

The Toe Irk

One of the best looking girls I ever dated had one flaw: her toes were just not cute or attractive. I worked hard to dismiss this tiny little thing that irked me. But it was always a distraction. Eventually we broke up, and I remember her bad-looking toes just as much as I remember how good-looking the rest of her was.

Irks raise a red flag because they are little things that could eventually take down the entire relationship. If you are noticing any little things that irk you in your significant other, it could mean any of the following:

  • You're looking for reasons to get out of the relationship - maybe there's nothing obviously wrong with someone, so you have to look for little things to annoy you.
  • You don't like them enough to accept it - if you were really into the person, you wouldn't be irked by that little thing every time you noticed it.
  • Your relationship has bigger issues than just little annoyances - perhaps the things that irk you are examples of the bigger issues in your relationship. They act as little reminders of your relationship's flaws every time you notice them.

What are some memorable things that irked you about past lovers? How do they affect your relationship? If you're truly in to someone, do irks fade away, or do they remain strong? Do you end relationships because of little irks that don't subside? In order for a relationship to succeed, do you think people need to eventually find one another's irks endearing? Or can we cope in a relationship with irks that remain annoying until death do us part (or spares us from those irks)?

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