Language Lemon


I’ve been struggling to find the right word or phrase for a particular situation for some time. It’s a familiar situation as it manifests in childhood. It feels unnatural to see it occurring in adulthood and yet it goes on every day. So, what’s the situation I’m referencing? The act of intentionally doing anything to annoy another person. Any child with a sibling has probably had to endure the breach of personal space or flicking of an ear or incessant repeating of every word they’ve said resulting in a “Mom, [insert sibling name here] won’t stop [insert annoying act here]!” You’d hope that this behavior would remain in childhood, but that isn’t always the case. I know plenty of adults who will do something or behave a certain way even though they know it irritates their friends or spouse/significant other. I know that I acted this way with my siblings and I’ve also intentionally done some less than kind things in my early adulthood. As I’ve aged, however, if I learn that something I’m doing is offensive or annoying to another, I apologize and stop it immediately. That’s the way society is supposed to work, right? And yet…

When this behavior continues in adults, is it disrespect? Harassment? A lack of courtesy? Antisocial Personality Disorder/Sociopathy? Something else? I believe my difficulty nailing the proper word or phrase stems from the fact that each situation is nuanced. Is it even possible then to qualify the term or phrase? Perhaps I’m just focusing on the wrong thing. Regardless of the phrase, isn’t it more important to address the behavior behind it? There are many Bullying campaigns, but those are traditionally aimed at children or teens. Does that mean adults are out of luck? Nope. Lifehacker posted some helpful advice not too long ago. One of the best pieces of advice is not to be afraid to stand up for yourself (or someone you know, if you see it happening to them). The annoying/bullying behavior isn’t a reflection of how weak you are, it’s how weak they are.

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