People you just cannot stand
By Bikram Vohra
Friday, June 08, 2012

You know the human equivalent of chalk on a blackboard, that cringing sensation you get when it goes screech and you get that gross shiver up your spine. I think all of us have someone like that in our lives. An office mate, a neighbour, a cousin, or, if we are really unlucky, a husband or wife, like someone whose very appearance raises the hair on your nape and you wish they would go away, just please don’t stop.

We spend so much time avoiding them and even though they might be harmless in themselves, they just go up our nose and everything they do makes us want to flinch. Everything. The way they talk, the way they stand or eat, move their hands, their body language, their opinions, their very voice grates on your nerves. Their dress sense is appalling, their thoughts when expressed make you want to throw something hard in their direction and if they enter a space you need to get out… now. Like, whenever you see them approaching, you want to either duck behind the garbage bin or pretend you have short-term memory loss. Reminds you of that saying, “I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.”

The odd part is that other people may not feel the same about that person, so what is it that is so creepy and ‘eeyou’ about him or her that you cannot stand them? It is oddly funny because they are not your enemies, they have never harmed you in any way, it is just that you cannot tolerate them, rich or poor, success or failure, smart or stupid, it doesn’t matter, they drive you nuts by just being there.

A friend of mine says the scary part of disliking someone so much for no particular reason is because they are our mirror images. He goes physics on me. Unlike poles attract, like poles repel. I tell him to go wash his mouth. It’s true, he says, something about these folks we just cannot abide is that they remind us of us, we may not even know what it is, but it is there and that is why we get all snarled up when we see them.

I tell him there is no scientific basis, give over, why can’t I just not be able to stand someone because he is not ‘stand-able’ like in an honest, happy, no big deal but there it is, take it or leave it, sort of way. After all, it isn’t as if some people are not obnoxious and insufferable and boorish and dreary and just plain boring, I could make a pretty decent list.

But his remark won’t go away. It kind of sticks like rejected chewing gum on your shoe. I think of the people I cannot stand. Are they like me? Not a bit. On the contrary, it is because we are so different, so cosmically, universally, stratospherically different — and that is why I want to take a hike when I see them.

Sometimes these people are even nice to you and that makes you feel twice as guilty because you still cannot dredge any modicum of tolerance for them. I once knew a guy in college who’d keep calling me over to his place for dinner and a year and a half went by and I ran out of excuses but I just could not bring myself to go, he just got my goat. Illogical, perhaps, but admit it, you have one in your life or maybe even a couple.

The sobering thought is that you and I might be on someone else’s no-go-to list… how is that for a warm feeling?



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