People Share What Kind Gestures Actually Drive Them Crazy
One person’s kind gesture can immediately restore our faith in humanity. But there are some kind gestures that are actually anything but. From waving people through at a busy intersection to holding open doors for delivery men, these “kind” gestures are more harmful than anything else.
#1 ‘Til the Sun Burns Out
People who wave me through when they have the right of way. One time, I was pulling out of a parking lot turning left and someone in the closest lane stopped to let me out. Right in the middle of the road, no stop sign or anything. Cars started piling up behind her, everyone was annoyed. Well, thanks, you idiot, now I can’t see past you and your convoy of backed-up cars.
We were in a standoff for at least five minutes, I swear, and they just kept waving me on. Finally, I inched out, and as soon as the nose of my car got into the second lane and I could kind of see past the other car BAM. A giant SUV hit me and my car was totaled. I will never do that again. I will absolutely have a standoff with you till the sun burns out.
#2 Mother’s Protection
My mom just had an overnight stay in the hospital and kept it from me. Nothing ended up being wrong, thank goodness, but they wanted to keep her because of family history. She told me after she was released and couldn’t seem to figure out why I was so upset. Please don’t hide things from someone to “protect” them.
#3 You’re in the Way
I’m a delivery driver and I deal with gas stations a lot. I get people all the time who try to hold doors open for me. They don’t realize they’re just making it more difficult for me. I’ve had people open the door for me and then stand on the opposite side of the door with their arm up, like they want me to go under their arm! I get you’re trying to help, but you’re just being more in the way than if you just moved.
#4 Human GPS
When passengers offer to give directions and basically force others to not use the GPS. Then they don’t even give the directions properly (like they get distracted and then tell others at the last possible second to take a crazy turn because they were in the wrong lane to begin with). If you don’t know, just say that.
#5 Four-Car Pileup
I was the last car in a four-car pileup because some idiot stopped in 45 mph traffic to let someone over where the right lane ended. It was the only wreck I’ve ever been in and it was because some idiot thought they were being polite. I was following at what should have been a safe distance, which is taught to give you time to react to the person in front of you braking in an emergency. There wasn’t enough time to react, however, when they hit an object and go from 45 to 0 much faster than is physically possible by just applying brakes.
#6 Ask Me First
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people try to be helpful by grabbing a heavy item out of my arms without asking me first. I appreciate the sentiment, but it throws off the balance of all the other heavy objects in my arms. Not to mention, not asking me first is also kind of weird when you think about it.
#7 My Deepest Sympathies
For me, I’d have to say “sympathetic” Valentine’s Day cards. The only thing worse than knowing that no one is attracted to me is knowing that someone out there also pities me. At the end of the day, not having anyone be attracted to me is fairly easy to live with. But being pitied puts a dent in my self-pride.
#8 Perfectly Capable
I walk with a cane and I can’t lift much. However, when I insist that I can do a particularly small thing, it really upsets me when people insist on doing it for me anyway. It makes me feel weaker and embarrassed. Seriously, offer people with handicaps help, please do that. But if they insist that they’re fine, please let them do that thing they’re capable of. For me, it makes me feel just a little bit more empowered.
#9 No Thank You
I’ve heard this from a lot of military members: some members don’t get why they’re always thanked by strangers. My favorite was an ex-Air Force member who said, “I don’t know why anyone thanked me. I literally sat behind a computer for years, in the U.S., doing work that had literally no impact on our freedom.”
#10 Three’s a Crowd
I was in my work canteen a little while ago at the very edge of a row of tables, completely alone. There were maybe 24 seats, all empty, plus more empty tables and sofas in the room. I was reading a book. Two colleagues whose names I don’t even know came in, sat right in front of me and didn’t say a word to me or each other. I was so uncomfortable. I don’t need you to keep me company.
#11 Low-Effort Gifts
I’d have to say receiving gifts on special occasions from people you don’t really speak to anymore. A lot of them are low-effort gifts they give out of feeling obligated. Some families give so many gifts they feel it’s expected by nearly everyone. I, for one, feel awkward accepting gifts from anybody but my parents at Christmas.
#12 Right Behind You
When someone is walking behind me and they take it upon themselves to push the button to make the automatic door open. They always do that right as I’m trying to go through it. Thanks, random stranger. Now I have to wait while this insanely slow door to open when I could’ve just quickly opened the door myself.
#13 You’re Not Helping
One time, a mystery neighbor salted my steps. The steps really didn’t need it — I had removed any snow and ice with a shovel. But the salt (which I initially didn’t realize was there) hurt my dog’s paws. Also, a guy at work wanted to help by scraping the snow off my car. He didn’t just do my windshield, he did the hood too and scratched it with his scraper. Lastly, I have a beautiful, long, blue stone driveway. My neighbor’s boyfriend wanted to “help” by plowing it. He ended up dumping a bunch of stones across the street.
#14 Dog for Sale
People being given pets as a surprise gift for Christmas or a birthday. I’m sure many of them will have a good home nonetheless, but some of them will end up in situations that are not fully thought-out. They’ll also get stuck with people who may not be up to the task of being a responsible pet owner because they either never had a say in it or view pets as toys.
#15 Food for Thought
I have a restrictive diet (by most people’s standards). I go to social events fully prepared to not be able to eat anything, and I’m 100% okay with that. People often go out of their way to accommodate me, which is really nice, and I appreciate the gesture, but to be honest it just makes me feel uncomfortable and stresses me out.
I’ve gone to weddings where something special was catered for me and it just draws attention to me and provokes questions. I also feel really bad when people prepare a separate dish or choose a different restaurant just for my sake. I find it really awkward because I feel like a burden and I truly have no issue with eating beforehand.
#16 Weekend Plans
I hate being asked about my weekend. I appreciate the gesture, but I have a hard time explaining to all the 50-year-old people at my job that sitting in my house playing video games is exactly how I wanted to spend my weekend. I’m pretty sure they all think I’m lame and have no life because I just shrug and say, “It was good. I just hung out with friends,” and then walk away.
#17 Not That Nice
I can’t stand it when someone asks me something like, “Would you like some random food or drink?” Then when I tell them, “No, I’m good, but thank you” they reply, “No, here. Take it.” Then we go back and forth until they force it on me. If I don’t want any, don’t force me. It isn’t a nice gesture once you start hounding me about it.
#18 Shallow Gestures
Back in high school, the teacher who taught sociology would sometimes tell his class to “give someone who looks lonely a high five” or “compliment someone who looks sad.” Some days, because I was the depressed, socially anxious kid with no friends, I’d get over 50 high fives in one day. That or 23 compliments on my hair when it was just put up in a ponytail. The gestures were unbelievably shallow every time and they never cheered me up; they made me feel looked down on.
#19 Birthday Club
A company I used to work at had a birthday club. They took two dollars out of your weekly check. On your birthday, you’d get a cake and a $50 gift card plus a card. The balance went into a fund for those who had birthdays before they had paid for a year and other dumb events. You would’ve thought I farted in church when I told them I didn’t want to participate. The women actually sniffed at me and said, “Well then, we’re not singing happy birthday to you.” Um, okay. One of my best decisions was leaving that company.
#20 Hey, Smile
I really hate it when a stranger tells me to smile. Like, what am I? Window dressing for your little world? I have a resting mean face even when I’m in a good mood, but the easier way to irritate me is to tell me, “Hey, smile.” Like I don’t know you so get away from me. You don’t know what’s going on in my life.
#21 Not Thankful Enough
I won’t say any specific gesture, but people who do something “kind” without asking and then get offended when you don’t act thankful enough. I didn’t ask you to do it, I didn’t want you to do it and you only made the situation more complicated by doing it. Don’t just assume that everyone needs or wants your help.
#22 Always Ask First
I work with people who have various disabilities. One of the things that was covered in training was that you can actually cause harm by doing seemingly nice things like grabbing hold of a door that someone is in the process of opening. That person has made decisions based on their knowledge of their body and balance when starting to open the door. By grabbing hold of the door you can upset their balance and cause a fall. Never assume you’re helping. Always ask first.
#23 Valentine’s Chocolate
I had a really horrible, humiliating breakup when I was in my early 20s. For a few years after that, my stepfather would send me chocolates on Valentine’s day. Part of me wondered if that made me kind of pathetic. But, to be honest, to heck with it. Chocolate is chocolate. I ate them and they were always great.
#24 Give Me the Address
It’s 2020 at this point. When people give me rambly directions that don’t include the address or the name of the destination, it often goes right over my head. 99.9% of the time, just the address is all I need. If you live in a weird apartment complex or in a brand-new development not yet mapped, I get it. But those are the slim exceptions.
#25 Next to You
It’s always been sort of weird to me that people sit down with you when you’re eating alone. I was eating at a Burger King once and the whole place was empty except for me. Some older lady came in, got her food, then sat right next to me in my booth instead of one of the 30 other seats available. She didn’t say anything either, just ate. It was very awkward.
#26 Gifted Pets
Pets as gifts should be a non-starter in all situations. My mother bought me an adorable puppy at a time when I was not ready for it (apartment in the city, worked more than 40 hours a week). Fortunately, she now lives with my parents and the entire family loves her. It really sucked because I am still attached to her.
The realization that I couldn’t keep her was very sad for me. Fortunately, she’s in a good home and I get to see her, but there are countless other pets that aren’t so lucky. Every person I have known to work for either a shelter or a dog rescue says the season after Christmas is horrifically sad with all the gifted pets they receive.
#27 Personal Information
Our health class was taught by a teacher who struggled to stretch his lessons to fill the entire class period. Every Monday, he would go around the room and make everyone say what they did over the weekend, which I always found awkward and overly personal. After winter break, we all had to report what we got for Christmas.
In addition to not everyone in the class celebrating, we lived in a formerly rural area that was being bought up by rich people to build custom mansions. So, there was a big division in wealth — half the class went to Hawaii for the holiday or got their first car, the other half just scraped by. Please don’t force your students to broadcast personal information about their lives outside of school to the entire class.
#28 Two Minutes Or Less
When I used to work in food service, I would hate it when people were overly polite. Don’t get me wrong, I would 100% rather have someone who is overly polite than someone who is rude. But, when we’re busy and you refuse to carry on the order until we exchange greetings and you make me tell you about my day, you’re slowing us down. You’re also upsetting me. The best kind of customers were the people who would give no conversation and say, “Hi, can I get this please?” They’d then have their payment ready and be in and out in two minutes or less.
#29 Backseat Gaming
I watch Twitch fairly regularly. Streamers will put in that they’re running a game “blind” and that means they haven’t played the game before. Inevitably, someone will try to “help” by telling them how to play the game. Nine times out of 10, the gamer doesn’t want this. Through trying to “help,” the person has robbed the streamer of trying to learn the game themselves. It’s commonly known as “back seating” and annoys me.
#30 Unsolicited Advice
When people suggest you try to do something for a medical condition you’ve had all your life. I have Crohn’s disease and whenever I mention it to people, it’s almost immediately followed up with, “Have you tried such and such? I have a friend who has Crohn’s and they do this. It’s really helped them.” It’s kind that you care, but seriously, I’ve been told that about a million times.
#31 Keep the Receipt
Clothing as a gift. Obviously it’s fine if you’re buying clothes for your own kids, but if you’re just a friend or vague relative, please don’t do this. You’ll be very likely to get the size or style wrong. Plus, if you don’t give a gift receipt, when that person inevitably goes to get an exchange, it’ll be very difficult for them. I work in the kids’ section of a clothing store, at best it’s awkward asking them to find a date and location it was purchased at. At worst, they yell at me about how rude it is to ask for it.
#32 You’ll Feel Better
So, I have agoraphobia. It’s not to the degree where I can’t work or anything, but it renders several kinds of situations pretty stressful for me. Some environments also make me highly anxious. That’s just how it is, it’s annoying and unpleasant, but I manage. I wish my family would accept that inviting me to come walk in the woods with them for two miles on a freezing cold, icy day, is not going to “make me feel better.” Neither is going for a walk around a busy, crowded shopping center.
I get that they want to help, but it really doesn’t. I know that I’m not going to lose my life if I go for a walk in the woods or around a shopping center, but I do know I’m going to be very anxious. I also know that I’ll likely have a panic attack. It’s extremely unpleasant, not therapeutic. Constantly asking me what I’m afraid of doesn’t help either. I’m afraid of nothing, that’s what’s so frustrating about it. I’m not afraid of any specific thing, my brain is just faulty and responds to these kinds of places negatively.
#33 Heavy Traffic
People making a dangerous gap during heavy traffic. I can’t see past your truck or van and I’m not about to stick my car into an active lane that isn’t slowing down. Your lane may be stopped but the lane next to you is rolling on. People who give me that look upset me to no end. This is how accidents happen. Just keep moving and I’ll wait until I have a clear line of sight to go and not rely on you waving me through to an injury.
#34 Too Nice on the Road
Letting a bunch of people go at a busy four-way stop. The worst I ever saw was when I was behind a dude, he waved by four cars on the other side of the stop sign and two cars to the right. I started honking at him before he finally drove off. I got stuck behind him again because he was going super slow. However, he did pull to the side of the road to let me go past where he waved at me. I don’t know if the dude was intoxicated or if that’s just his personality, but there is such a thing as being too nice. Especially on the road.
#35 Chain Mail Messages
Those messenger messages that have a bouquet of flowers and tell me how awesome I am. They then tell me to hurry up and send the same message to 10 beautiful friends and that they’re waiting to get the same stupid message back from me. I don’t get the point. Maybe if you’re a shut-in, I can understand. No, they deserve more credit. Shut-ins can do better than that .
#36 Cheering You On
When you’re doing something really badly because it’s your first time or you’re rusty and friends start cheering you on like you’re a baby. It makes me feel stupid. No, I’m not “doing it well” and I absolutely should not “keep it up.” I’m doing horrible and that’s fine. It’s like they think I’m going to get sad if they don’t pretend that I’m not dead weight on our football match.
#37 Be Predictable
One of the most helpful things you can do for others is to be predictable. My college campus had one area that was super busy with both foot traffic and bicycles and I saw several people get hit by bikes because they were trying to be polite. But really, all these people needed to do was just to be predictable.
#38 You Can’t Open It?
I work in a large office with push-button doors for disabled people. I have no problem manually opening doors; it seems kind of basic to me. 99% of the people on this campus will push the button to automatically open the doors, creating an annoying situation of having to wait for it to open. My thought every time inside is, “You can’t open a door? I just saw you jog across the parking lot.”
#39 A Problem Everywhere
I hate being called sweetie, sweetheart, hun, darling or anything similar when I don’t know the person. I definitely don’t know you like that. It’s worse from a professional (especially a doctor) because it feels patronizing rather than kindness or endearment. I do live in the South, but this is a problem everywhere.
#40 Getting Too Involved
When people try to get too involved in your business. It’s fine to care, but some people take things overboard. Like that person who finds out you’re single and then tries to set you up with people even though you don’t want to be in a relationship. Or say it’s your birthday when you just want to have a quiet night in. But they make a huge deal about it and say stuff like, “I won’t have it, I’ll take you out to celebrate and we can invite other people. It’ll be a lot more fun than that!”
#41 My Capabilities
Back when I used to be a girl who worked in a supermarket, male customers would often “kindly” offer to help me lift something. It was either that or they’d offer to reach something slightly out of my reach. Like, dude. I was hired for this job and I know my capabilities. I will smack you with this box of bananas.
#42 Talking About Work
When people try to get to know me by asking me details of what I do for a living (in a casual setting). I love getting to know new people and hearing their stories, but the last thing I really want to talk about is work life. Instead, I always ask, “What have you been thinking about lately?” Or “what’s something new and exciting that you discovered lately?”
#43 Greater Risk
I’m in IT in a secured building. For the love of God, please don’t hold the keycard-locked door open to a secure building. I don’t care if they’re 10 feet behind you. It’s a security risk and if you don’t recognize them they really should not be let in without a card. This may be unpopular, but it’s a greater risk than most people realize.
#44 Leave Me in Peace
As a shy and introverted child, I hate having people strike up a conversation with you out of pity because they want to feel like a good person for “getting the shy girl out of her shell.” I know I should be grateful that these people are friendly and their heart might actually be in the right place. But when the banal small talk drops off once they realize they don’t actually want to talk to me, it makes me feel worse than if you’d just left me to my book in peace.
#45 I Understand
When I’m going through a tough time and someone approaches me and tells me they understand what I’m going through. They then proceed to go into details of a situation they were in (not remotely similar to my situation). They’ll also try to compare their experience with mine. I then spend the next few minutes listening to them rant about their problems.
#46 A Few Easy Rules
I’m a hairdresser and a lot of people try to “move their head” with me while I’m cutting or blow-drying. I’m 5’3″ and some people think they have to work with me because of my height. No, height forward and steady, pretty please. I communicate this to no avail. Also, at the shampoo bowl when I tell people to raise their head “just a little” or “the littlest bit” and they lean all the way forward while I’m spraying the water toward the back of their head. Why? Why completely off the bowl? How do you expect me to not get the water on your neck if you’re not in the bowl at all?
#47 Slow Down
People telling me to slow down or those who tell me that I shouldn’t be in such a hurry. I get that they’re trying to say I seem to be causing myself more stress than necessary, but I don’t like it. My natural walking pace is fast and I try to respect others while walking, but I want to hurry up and get where I’m going. If I feel like running is necessary, I will run, and I’m coordinated enough that I can run without falling down. Don’t tell me how to move through the world.
#48 Hospital Visits
I’ve been in the hospital for 27 days straight. If you’re coming to tell me about what’s going on in your life, then I probably won’t care because I’m busy trying to recover from having an organ replaced. Granted, they probably wouldn’t be allowed to visit me in the first place. If you come to sneak in outside food, then you’re amazing and I love you.
#49 Just Eat
Alright, I have a suggestion for everyone. Can we all agree to just start eating once we get our food served to us at a restaurant? No matter the person you are (the last one to be served and everyone is looking at you, or the first one to be served and everyone is looking at you), things can get awkward fast.
#50 Actually Explain Things
I’m not a huge fan of doctors who don’t tell me what they’re doing or what their tools are for. I assume this is to prevent panicking patients from fear or whatever else, but when I don’t know what’s going on, I begin to lose trust in them and then I panic. My dentist and hygienist actually explain things, so I like them a lot.