Peevish Problems

Paul Navis

Typically known as pet peeves, many people have burning hatreds of specific habits they feel is just personally out to annoy them. Although we use the word pet peeve quite often to describe these habits, people may not understand exactly what it means. pet peeve as is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a frequent subject of complaint” and it comes from the word Peevish which in and of itself comes from peevish which comes from Middle English meaning spiteful. Pet started being used in this way around the 19th century. It was used in an ironic sense talking about something belonging or being kept by you such as pet hatred or pet dislike. This transformed over to pet peeve around the 20th century.

Pet peeves can range to be many different things. This can be anything from a loud dog barking to that of someone at work stealing someone’s lunch. According to Psychology Today, a poll by Zety found that some of the worst pet peeves for someone in a workplace were things such as a malfunctioning computer or coworkers not washing their hands. Another interesting finding was that while things like parking spaces or people touching each other’s personal belongings were on the list, they were not as big of a problem as some other issues. The things most people found to be annoying were those that actively hurt productivity and the ability to get things done. 

Really though pet peeves can be almost anything. Experience life talked about a few common ones such as having someone leave a toothpaste cap off, being cut across in traffic, or a copy machine not working. “Griffin” Wilson, a high school Junior, said his main pet peeve is “when I ask someone something and they don’t fully answer the question”. Personally, I find people acting overly chipper early in the morning to be one of my greatest annoyances. People may wonder though if these things really matter or are at all connected.

Deborah Rozman, a psychologist with expertise in stress as saying “People tend to look at the big sources of stress — a job change, major life crises — as the ‘real’ ones,” she says. “But small irritations accumulate, and these little emotional ‘paper cuts’ can create real anxiety and health problems.” You may not feel it is worth mentioning in the moment but these things end up causing bigger problems. She also talks about certain reasons for pet peeves such as clinging to past problems or making things personal that are really not. Essentially the reason why they are known as pet peeves is that we are in a sense attracted to them as if we own that problem making it personal even if it really isn’t.

There are also many ways of dealing with pet peeves. First address, a problem when it occurs. So if something small bothers you enough you should say something instead of being quiet. Another strategy that people can do is to try to realize that in the long scheme of things it won’t actually hurt you. Sometimes taking a break from thinking about something is really the best way to address a problem.