Dealing with Annoying People

By Marc Massery

Turn to any page of St. Faustina’s Diary, and you’ll find spiritual gems. Like this one. 

Is there someone in your life who frequently annoys you? In her Diary, St. Faustina said:

I learned that certain people have a special gift for vexing others. They try you as best they can. The poor soul that falls into their hands can do nothing right; her best efforts are maliciously criticized (182).

Saint Faustina showed much patience in dealing with these vexing individuals. Elsewhere in her Diary, she talks about how her patience amidst their attacks ended up irritating them even more. “But God gave me so much inner strength that I endured it calmly,” she wrote (126).

Saint Faustina wasn’t the only holy person to write about those who irritated her. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux encountered someone in her community who managed to irritate her “whatever she did or said” (The Story of a Soul). Saint Thérèse explained how she dealt with this person:

As I did not want to give way to my natural dislike for her, I told myself that charity should not only be a matter of feeling but should show itself in deeds. So I set myself to do for this sister just what I should have done for someone I loved most dearly. 

Similar to St. Faustina, St. Thérèse concealed her irritation by treating those who annoyed her as if they didn’t annoy her at all. On the one hand, there’s something right about expressing how you truly feel to those around you. On the other hand, there’s a time and place for revealing these thoughts and feelings. Saint Faustina and St. Thérèse both discerned that in these instances, God was calling them not to express their frustration, but to patiently and silently endure those who annoyed them.

If you’re someone who frequently expresses your frustration at those who irritate you, consider if God is calling you to practice silence and to show more patience. If you’re already someone who shows patience, do you find pleasure in talking badly behind the backs of those who annoy you? Consider quietly praying for them instead. 

God can give you the strength to deal with troublesome people in the right way. Don’t discount their importance. The Lord allows them to be in your life for a reason. 

Remember, we don’t achieve holiness through great, heroic acts. The saints show us that holiness is achieved through little sufferings we endure with the right attitude every day. So, pray for the grace to treat those who annoy you with more patience and charity. The saints know how you feel and want to help.    

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

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