The 75 Worst Pet Peeves Everyone Finds Annoying
Why do you have to push the button when it's already been pushed?
We all have pet peeves. It's just part of being alive and on this planet with other human beings. (Hey, people can be annoying sometimes!) And having less-than-tolerant opinions about that doesn't make you a bad person. In fact, a 2014 study in The Journal of Psychology found that whining can even make you happier, just as long as you're mindful about when and how you complain.
So you know that you're not alone, keep reading for 75 of the most common pet peeves, from the mildly inconsiderate to the downright infuriating. While everyone has their own sensitive points, we can all agree on these—because they are the absolute worst.
What Is a Pet Peeve?
Before we dive into the list, what does it mean to have a pet peeve in the first place? The dictionary defines the term as a frequent cause of complaint. And while some of what annoys us may be personal, there are certain behaviors that seem to get under everyone's skin—and there's even some research to back that up.
In their book Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us, science journalists Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman outline the three "U's" of annoyance: Unpleasant, unpredictable, and uncertain duration. Their goal in this research is to help us understand what annoys us and why.
According to Palca and Lichtman, feelings of unpleasantness can arise in some social situations, specifically when we see certain norms disregarded. Think about the last time you saw someone refuse to give up their seat for an elderly person or be rude to a waiter—it's annoying, right? Unpredictable events can also be annoying, like a train being delayed at the last minute or being asked to come in early to work. Not knowing the timeline of a certain state or action can also be irrititating—think about the last time you heard a car alarm going off and wondered when it would stop.
Other researchers believe these reactions can actually help protect us. For example, if that guy who keeps blowing his nose is starting to annoy you, maybe it's your brain's way of telling you to put some distance between yourself and someone who might be sick. And what about that close talker in the family? Is it possible that your being annoyed with them will help you avoid people who purposely ignore boundaries in the future? We don't have all the answers as to why some things peeve us and others don't, but it's fun to consider.
Common Pet Peeves
1. People who have to one-up every story
This is such a huge pet peeve that Saturday Night Live had a recurring sketch about it. Kristen Wiig's character Penelope has a compulsion to one-up every story or claim made by another person, no matter how implausible hers seemed. People who can't listen to your achievements (or misfortunes!) without having to outdo them are the absolute worst to be around and don't make great friends.
2. Sidewalk hogs
Whether it's a group walking five people across or a pair of friends insisting on keeping a wide berth between them, sidewalk hogs can ruin any stroll.
3. Delivery orders that spill in the bag
Nothing spoils the excitement of getting something delicious ordered in than the meal not being properly packaged for the journey. It can make a mess of your kitchen and, even worse, it's a waste of perfectly good food!
4. Trying to find things in someone else's kitchen
Sure, you know how your kitchen is organized. But everyone has their preferences, and putting away groceries or trying to locate the right utensils in someone else's space can take forever.
5. Crowding the airport gate
If your boarding group hasn't been called, stay put! Crowding the door to the jetway just slows the whole process down for everyone.
6. Spitting on the sidewalk
Why was this ever tolerated?? Spitting on a sidewalk, in a park—anywhere in public—is unsanitary and frankly, really disgusting.
Not only is it annoying to follow another car too closely, but it's also one way to get yourself into serious trouble on the road.
8. Unprepared coffee customers
Anyone who tends to rush around will relate to this pet peeve. The moment you get in line at Starbucks, you should have at least a vague idea of what you want to order. The menu doesn't change much. It's not your first time here (probably), and you usually get the same thing. Get it down so the line can move in an orderly fashion. "Venti Americano, half-caff, no room for cream." Was that so hard?
9. Lending something to someone and never getting it back
Sharing is caring, but so is returning the item that was borrowed. We all have those friends who are black holes for books, DVDs, and other stuff. They may pretend to forget, but is it really that much different than stealing?
10. Asking questions during a movie
The best way to understand what's happening in a movie is to watch it more carefully, not nudge the person sitting next to you and see if they have any idea what you missed. This goes for at home and in the theater.
11. Non-apology apologies
Saying "I'm sorry you feel that way" is not an apology. Neither is "mistakes were made." The only real apology is when you say "I'm sorry" and then—wait for it—stop talking. Adding an "if" or "but" or any other disclaimer is just making it glaringly obvious that your apology is anything but sincere.
12. Redundant hashtagging
These can be so #annoying #obnoxious #bothersome #irksome #vexing #irritating. And they're also very 2009.
13. People who don't wash their hands after using the bathroom
We don't want to hear arguments about how your hands are cleaner than any bathroom sink or why passing around a few germs is actually healthy for our immune system. If you've used a toilet, your hands need soap and water.
We don't care what you call it, if it fills our house with smoke, please take it somewhere else.
15. Spoilers (and people who get upset about spoilers)
Listen, we live in a fast-paced media world. There are more movies and TV shows than ever before, and it's hard to keep up. Don't expect that everyone has the same free time for binging content as you do. Go easy on the spoilers, okay? As for the rest of you, you don't always have to get freaked out every time you stumble upon a spoiler! It happens!
16. Aggressive interrupters
We live in a society where most people think that what they have to say is fundamentally more important and interesting than whatever somebody else happens to be saying. This is not true, and it's actually a major pet peeve among most people. Believe it or not, you can learn a lot by listening to other people rather than just waiting for your chance to jump in with an opinion.
17. Line drifters
Those people who drift in front of you in line while you're not paying attention and then pretend they were there the whole time? They're awful. Even they know they're awful. But they think they're getting away with it, which is somehow worse.
18. Unsolicited recommendations
If somebody asks you to suggest a restaurant or vacation destination, then, by all means, share away. But lecturing somebody that the lunch they're currently eating is nothing compared to the "hidden gem" of a restaurant you personally discovered when such information was neither requested nor desired, is not helpful.
19. People who say "No offense."
Nobody says this unless they just said something offensive and they want to backtrack so that it doesn't seem so intentional. You'll never catch somebody saying, "I sure do love puppies and cake. No offense!"
20. Chronic lateness
Twenty years ago, at least you had a good excuse for being late. Today, everybody has a computer, a clock, a calendar, and a GPS in their hand. You know exactly where, when, and how to get anywhere you're going. No excuses!
Take one step back, Tex. There's plenty of space for everybody to coexist during a conversation without getting so close that you can feel the other person's breath on your neck. If you think you're not being heard, speak up, don't step forward.
22. Other people staring at their phones
When we do it, it's because we have important emails to read or texts to respond to. But other people staring at their screens, in any context, is just rude and inconsiderate. How dare they? What do they have against human interaction and eye contact? How did those zombies go through life like that?
23. Sudden stops in pedestrian traffic
Whether you're on a city sidewalk or the middle of Disney World, slamming on the foot brakes can have a ripple effect to everybody around you. If you need to stop and take another look at the Disney map to see how far you are from the Magic Castle, or you just want to pause and look up at the big buildings, that's totally cool. But move to the side and let the natural forward momentum of the crowd continue on without you.
24. Sneezing without covering your mouth.
However you sneeze in the privacy of your own home is up to you. But when you're surrounded by other people and you feel a sneeze coming on, the polite way to handle it is by shielding your mouth and nose with a hand.
Yes, your dog is cute. He was cute two hours ago and he'll continue being cute for the foreseeable future. We don't need to be reminded of your dog's inherent cuteness, or your child's inherent cuteness, or that you read an article in The New York Times and think we should too, or that you have opinions about the latest season of Stranger Things. Things that aren't posted online really do continue to exist in the real world.
26. People who hold up TSA security
Unless this is your very first time in the airport, you are well aware that you need to remove your shoes take your laptop out of the bag, and place all your items in a bin on a moving belt to be X-rayed. So why do some airline passengers meander through security like they're preteens begrudgingly doing chores? We've all got a plane to catch, can we please speed it up a bit?
27. Slow drivers in the passing lane
The left lane is for passing or for cars driving faster than anyone else on the road. It's not a place to cruise at 20 miles below the speed limit because you can't be bothered to get back into the slow lane. When even farmers on tractors are flashing their lights at you, it's time to switch over.
Popular Pet Peeves Among Couples
28. Single socks
Yes, we know it's one of the oldest stand-up comedy bits of all time, but it's legitimately infuriating. Where do those missing socks go? Is somebody stealing them? You search under every couch and cushion, but it's just disappeared. There's no point to hanging on to one lone sock without its companion!
29. When you lose something and a person says, "Well, where was the last place you had it?"
This question always makes our heads want to explode. Seriously? That's being helpful? If we knew the last place we had it, it wouldn't be lost, now would it? This is as helpful as telling somebody who's gone bankrupt, "Maybe your money is gone because you spent it all."
30. Food stealers
If you've ever flat-out ignored the label on someone's office food, you need to take a serious look at your life. But eating half of that ice cream your roommate bought but hasn't touched or polishing off your spouse's leftovers from your last takeout night is almost as bad!
31. Loud chewing
Chewing is one of those activities that doesn't need to be shared with an audience. Maybe consider closing your mouth? Or eating things that don't have the edible consistency of fireworks? We shouldn't need earplugs to dine with you. (Be advised, however: If chewing noises really get under your skin, you may be suffering from more than just a passing annoyance. You may be allergic to certain sounds.)
32. Saying "You look tired."
If the same pet peeves get you going as much as they do us, then this one is definitely on your list. Sure, someone might be tired, but, then again, maybe their face just looks like that. Don't ask anyone if they're tired, sad, or angry. It's going to come across as insulting (and they might just have a resting sleepy face).
33. Overactive group chats
Keeping up with your friends and family members along with their random observations about life shouldn't feel like a full-time job. Not to mention the relentless buzzing.
34. Gum smackers
You're doing gum wrong. Gum is meant for chewing, not for being annoying.
35. Not picking up your missed basketball garbage shot
You missed your garbage can basketball shot. Hey, not everybody can be the office LeBron James. But despite your brief fantasy, you're not actually on a basketball court and your "ball" is actually trash that needs to be disposed of. By you.
36. Kids who are incapable of not being entertained for every second of every minute
Not every second of every moment for children has to be filled with educational or entertaining distractions. They can be a passenger in the backseat of a car without a device for 10 minutes. It might seem like torture to them—and to you, if their whining gets loud enough—but a little boredom will actually be good for them.
37. Grammar correctors
It's not that recognizing the difference between "your" and "you're" isn't important. It's that pointing out the error when it's not technically your job is always, always obnoxious.
38. Leaving the cabinet doors open
Failing to close the cabinet doors isn't just unsightly, it's also an easy way to let dust settle on your plates or cookware. It can be dangerous, too. Have you ever slammed your head on the corner of a cabinet? It's a terrible experience and one we'd like to protect everyone from.
39. Passengers who fiddle with a car driver's radio
Would you walk into somebody's house and start rearranging the furniture? No, of course not, that would be rude. So if you're a passenger in somebody's car, leave the radio alone. They're not interested in what music you think should be playing any more than they want to know where you think their living room couch should be.
40. Leaving the toilet seat up
Newsflash: Not everyone uses the bathroom in the same way. Neglecting to put the toilet seat down after use is a common pet peeve among those of us who don't stand up to do our business.
41. Giving unsolicited advice
We get it, no one likes seeing their partner struggling or in pain. It makes sense to want to "fix" things for your person. But sometimes, telling them how to sort things out isn't the right move. A lot of people hate that, actually. Next time, try to stifle the urge and simply let them vent instead.
42. Leaving empty containers in the fridge
Not only is this just kind of dirty, but it's also a tease for whoever comes in after you. Were you looking forward to that afternoon treat? Well, too bad. The box is there but the snack is not.
Pet Peeve List for Work
43. Having a big job dropped in your lap at the end of the day (or week)
Picture it: It's three minutes until the end of your workday. You're about to clock out. You're already thinking about what movie you're going to watch that night or the spot you're getting away to that weekend. But your boss asks you to tackle just one more teeny, tiny project. You have our permission to scream into your desk protector.
44. Leaving your dirty dishes for someone else to clean.
This isn't your mom's house, this is a co-working space where professional relationships must be respected and maintained. And hey, you really should clean up after yourself at your mom's place, too.
45. Misspelling your name when it's right there in your email address
Come on, man. It's an "ie" not a "y." Not taking the time to write someone's name correctly when you have an example right in the "to" line is just lazy, especially if you're reaching out to ask them for something.
46. Backhanded compliments
These compliments come with a qualifier or some not-so-complimentary element of surprise. We don't need to hear it if you think we look really nice for a change or if we're really interesting for someone who didn't go to Harvard. Those are just insults framed as compliments, people!
47. Heating up smelly food in a public kitchen
The co-worker who dares to microwave fish in the office kitchen deserves to be shunned.
48. Slow internet
The internet is a miracle of modern technology. But suffering through slow connection is like dying a thousand deaths of frustration. How is it possible in 2023 that getting an internet connection faster than circa 2001 AOL can still seem like such an impossible dream?
49. Those people who push the button again even though it's already been pushed
Listen, it's already been pushed. The elevator or the crosswalk sign is going to do what it's going to do. Your magic touch will not be making anything happen sooner than it was already scheduled to arrive.
50. A lack of outlets
Modern times call for modern needs. Airports, libraries, public spaces—you all have to get better at recognizing that every single one of us needs an outlet. So why are there so few? And why are they so hard to find? Something in our bags or our pockets is always dying and we need power.
51. People who call you "buddy" or "sweetheart" because they forgot your name
It's OK to forget somebody's name. It's not OK to keep referring to them as "buddy" or "pal" or "big guy" or "darling" because you don't want to admit that you forgot their name. Maybe the only thing that's worse is people who refer to themselves in third-person.
Please text clumsily with your thumbs like the rest of us.
53. Using Internet shorthand in face-to-face conversation
People who use acronyms like "LOL" or "OMG" in actual conversation—meaning, where two people are in the same room IRL and not conversing online—are not nearly as clever as they like to assume. Quite frankly, they're the intellectual equals of people who still think it's funny to type 58008 into a calculator.
Funny Pet Peeves
54. Guys who bring their guitar to a party
Have you been invited to a hootenanny? Then fine, bring that six-string. But if it's a party where people sip on adult beverages and have conversations with each other, nobody is waiting for a particular person to play some Oasis or Green Day covers. "Gosh, I wish somebody would break up the monotony of this party by singing 'Wonderwall' right now," said no one ever.
55. The sound of styrofoam rubbing against styrofoam
Even just writing the word "styrofoam" makes our skin crawl and our teeth itch. It's also terrible for the environment, so can we all agree to finally ditch this devil substance and be done with it?
56. Pushy vegans
What you eat is your business. And similarly, what we put into our mouths is entirely ours. Believe it or not, we're already aware of things like slaughterhouses and heart disease. Nobody eats meat without realizing the risks. We're also aware of the risks of being a vegan, which is apparently becoming totally humorless and judgmental! (OK, in all seriousness: If you're vegan, good for you!)
57. Personal grooming in a public place
This includes clipping nails, brushing hair, and applying makeup. Personal grooming should only be done at home, with the curtains drawn, in complete privacy. It is not an activity that requires or is appreciated by an audience.
58. Formal social media departure announcements
Taking some time away from Facebook or Twitter is a great idea. What's not a great idea is making sure everybody knows your plans in advance thanks to a grand declaration. It's social media, not jury duty. You're not getting a court summons if you don't update your Instagram tomorrow.
59. Confusing memes with having a personality
Memes can be funny. But sharing memes is not a substitute for having a sense of humor.
60. Being gluten-free just for kicks
For people with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is what keeps them healthy. But there are a growing number of people who choose to not eat gluten because it's fashionable. And they delight in making every social gathering more complicated with their gluten demands and fickle dietary restrictions.
61. People who seriously think they're kind of a big deal
Nobody who is actually a big deal goes out of their way to make sure everyone around them knows that they're a big deal. If we don't already know why you're important, no amount of humble-bragging is going to make us suddenly impressed with you. Just be comfortable with yourself in the world, even if that means your fabulousness is not being celebrated.
62. Oversharing medical conditions
A case of food poisoning or what the doctor told you about that rash you've had for weeks certainly seems like important information to you, but to the rest of us, it contains details that are strictly on a need-to-know basis. And let's be honest, we don't really "need" to know any of it.
63. Dog owners who look the other way
Picking up after your dog doesn't just mean when other people are watching. Nobody wants to step in your dog's business because you couldn't be bothered to lean over and scoop it up with a doggie bag. If it comes out of your dog's rear end, it's your responsibility.
64. The word "literally"
Roughly 99.99999 percent of the time the word "literally" is included in a sentence, it is literally being used incorrectly ("There were literally a million people at the party.") or redundantly ("The house is literally on fire!"). Please stop using it. Literally.
65. Bringing up politics just to irritate someone
It's totally possible for politics to be discussed with mutual respect and civility. But if you're just bringing up the topic because you like seeing that vein throb on somebody's forehead, you're being unnecessarily combative.
66. Non-karaoke karaoke
What do we mean by this? When you're at a club or bar where the main event is karaoke, singing along to your favorite song is not only appropriate but encouraged. But if you're at a party or driving around with friends and your favorite song comes on, that's not an invitation to sing every lyric at the top of your lungs. Let the rest of us actually hear it too, okay?
67. Loud arguers
Just because you're louder doesn't mean what you're saying is more important or funny than anything else being said. Read the room and adjust your volume.
68. People who recline their airplane seats without warning
Did you just forget that there's a person behind you and we've all got the same excessively limited legroom? When you slam back your seat, that crunching sound you hear is our kneecaps experiencing blunt force trauma.
69. People who stand on the left
The golden rule of escalators is so simple, forgetting it should be considered a crime. Say it with us now… Stand on the right, walk on the left!
70. People who explain your own point back to you
Some people just can't stop themselves from repeating your helpful observation or great idea, just with slightly different wording. While this is especially irritating when it happens at work (stealing credit is very uncool), it's never a welcome response.
71. People who overstay their welcome
There are universal signs for "this has been fun, but it's time for you to go." Clearing plates. Pointedly not opening up another bottle of wine. An exaggerated yawn. Don't make us have to tell you to leave—you're the one being rude, not us.
72. People who won't stop telling you that you have to watch their favorite show
The more you harp on us to catch up with 15 seasons of your favorite medical drama, the less we're inclined to even start it. People find these suggestions annoying, not helpful.
73. Loud phone games
Look, if you aren't going to pull your earbuds out of your pocket and plug them in, at least silence your phone. No one needs to hear you rack up your Candy Crush score while you both wait to see your doctor.
74. Clapping when the plane lands
Only acceptable when the ride's been rough or if the pilot's just announced their retirement.
75. Parties that are just requests for presents
We're all very happy for your engagement/wedding/baby/new house/[insert life event here], but throwing more than one party for each thing—especially if you're inviting people who you already know can't attend—just feels like a grab for stuff.
That's it for our pet peeves list, but be sure to check back in with us soon! You can also sign up for our newsletter to enjoy similar kinds of content, as well as the latest in wellness, entertainment, and travel.