TAP. TAP. Tap. The constant click of your classmate’s pen from across the quiet room assaults your ears. Annoyance vibrates through your body. Or perhaps, when someone picks food off your plate without asking, you can feel your eyes roll at the back of your head. What about when you are trapped behind a person who is walking slowly without any urgency or direction? We all have our moments─ones that trigger our level of disgust and irritation to the point where we feel an impulse to break free from it. This phenomenon is known as a “pet peeve”─an action or behavior that is particularly irksome to someone: being late, chewing loudly, not covering mouths when coughing, nail biting, or walking slowly. Here, Yonseians share their pet peeves.
Lee Jae-yoon (Fresh., UIC, Techno-art Div.)
My pet peeve is when people try too hard to be funny and end up offending people. It's when they try too hard that they end up making comments and jokes that are inappropriate and offensive. I had a friend who ended up making jokes about me that went too far; it was neither funny nor witty. I think he just wanted to make people laugh, but his jokes ended up creating an awkward silence because the others didn't know how to respond to such an inappropriate comment. It's one of those moments where you just wish the other person hadn't said anything.
Bae Ja-yu (Soph., Dept. of Philosophy)
One of my pet peeves is “sparring villains*” [but more specifically, people who are not considerate of their competitors]. During winter vacation, I went to the gym to learn jiu-jitsu. I looked like a novice, but I had actually learned judo and boxing [a few] years ago... so every time I sparred with others, I tried to be as careful as possible in case I hurt them. Well, my turn had come, and I started sparring with my partner. I loosened myself so that he could practice his skills as he wanted. However, he ended up trying to choke my neck and I almost fainted. That really made me angry because he showed bad manners and he didn’t carry any sportsmanship at all. [In the next round,] I played him like a toy and let him get a [taste of his own medicine].
Jeong Eui-yeon (Soph., Dept. of Mechanical Engineering)
Having my things scattered around and being untidy is my pet peeve. You could say that I have mysophobia**. For example, books and pencils scattered on the table make me feel uncomfortable. So, I always try to keep my things tidy and principled. I had a friend who sparked my pet peeve. She would always lose things and ask if she could borrow my stationaries [which made me annoyed]. One time, I went to her house and was shocked by the way she behaved at home. Shirts and jeans were scattered all over the place and half-eaten food packs were lying around on the floor─I wanted to leave. I couldn't stand it so I told her that she should correct this bad habit for her sake... and mine!
Andersen Emilie (Soph., Dept. of Psychology)
My pet peeve is when people sing in public. It is not necessarily because I think the singer is good or bad; I get uncomfortable when I hear it. I will most likely start to tear up, and it looks as if I am bawling my eyes out, even though I have no reason to. Since busking is quite common in Korea, I run into many people singing on the streets, and it affects me. If I walk straight past the singer, my eyes tend to not water. But if I listen to the singing for a longer amount of time, my eyes will tear up, and I will get the shivers or goosebumps while feeling super uncomfortable. I tend to avoid situations where there are buskings, and if I have to cross paths with them, I have a tendency to walk past them to avoid any uncomfortable situations.
Anonymous (Jr., UIC, Underwood Div.)
When I was a freshman, I was really close with my roommate. We hung out together often─in fact, we did most things together. However, one day when my roommate and I were snacking before a movie, she said, “Since we are close, I think we should share each other’s pet peeve.” I did not think much of it in the beginning, but when she told me that her pet peeve was the occasional lip-smacking sound I made while eating, I became extremely mindful of how I ate. Eventually, it became my pet peeve as well. I began to consciously listen to the sound that other people made while eating. It became one of the most annoying things since then. A couple of months after I realized this, I had a meal with my sister whom I hadn’t seen in a long while. I had not noticed previously, but now I could not help but hear the amplified lip-smacking sound my sister was making. It was extremely irritating and painful to the ear. In such occasions, I give her a stare or a tap, and she immediately stops.
Kim Ho-jung (Jr., Dept. of English Language & Lit.)
My pet peeve is [when people are acting] stubborn. For me, I define stubbornness as an inability to compromise one’s value with others. Meeting or even hearing about such people makes me imagine about the inevitable consequence; the firm dead end of the futile conversation, a dialogue of two different opinions that run in eternal parallel. Facing someone with such a disposition is actually a common experience because every person has, more or less, a tendency to be stubborn. In those situations, I choose between two strategies: to be intentionally oblivious or infinitely generous. As I understand that stubborn thoughts are difficult to bend, I refrain myself from challenging them. Being oblivious on purpose makes it much easier for me to listen to others because when no one has a contradicting opinion, there is no reason to be offended. Also, I try to be as open-minded as possible because my discomfort might be the very sign of my own stubbornness, and there can be reasons [as to] why people are so stubborn about a certain subject. Acknowledging my stubbornness in reverse and forming a distance from the circumstance puts me in a neutral position [that allows] me to think more rationally. Eventually, it helps me avoid unnecessary emotional conflicts [sparked] by my pet peeve.
*Sparring villains: When athletes lack sportsmanship by using more violence in their games, causing them to do more harm than what is necessary
**Mysophobia: The fear of unhygienic practices and situations