4 Ways To Deal With Other People’s Bad Habits


I don’t have any bad habits. They might be bad habits for other people, but they’re all right for me.

Eubie Blake

We all have habits.  Some habits are good, and some habits are bad.

Do you chew your fingernails?  Do you chew with your mouth open?  Do you tap your fingers when you are nervous?  Do you smack your lips?  These are bad habits.

Maybe you have a bad habit and you don’t even know it.

My guess is others probably notice when you have a bad habit.

I have a bad habit (actually I have many bad habits).  I didn’t realize it until my wife and kids said something to me.  Apparently, I make a noise sometimes while I’m eating.  I don’t do it all the time, and I don’t think I do it most of the time, but I can see how it would be annoying (or at least amusing) to those around me.  It’s like a quiet “Hum”, and it seems to especially happen when I’m eating soup.  The first time my kids and wife said something to me about this bad habit, I had no idea I was making that noise while I was eating.

There are many things in our lives we don’t notice.  This is why it’s important to have people in our lives who will speak truth and who will call us onto the carpet when there are things in our lives that we need to adjust.  Telling other people about their bad habits is not an easy thing to do.  It takes thoughtfulness.  It takes tact, and it takes some courage to tell somebody they have a bad habit that needs to be addressed.  To help you address the bad habits of those around you, I have some ideas to make it a little easier:

4 Ways To Deal With Other People’s Bad Habits

  1. Look in the mirror.  Take time to analyze what habits you may have.  You may be surprised to learn that you have the same bad habit you are trying to address in someone else.  It’s important for you to address your own bad habits first before you work on someone’s bad habits.
  2. Be kind and thoughtful.  Make it your mission to be positively constructive.  Don’t destroy or rip apart someone when you address their bad habit.  You want to be honest, and you want to be kind.  Address others as you would want to be addressed.
  3. Offer to help.  Overcoming a bad habit is not easy.  A little help can go a long way in eliminating long-held patterns in our lives.  Ask if you can remind the person whenever you seem them falling into their old habits.  If the person is receptive, you can ask them how they are doing when it comes to breaking their bad habit.  Get involved in creating a reward of some sort that rewards the person as they reach milestones in overcoming their bad habit.  Be part of the solution.
  4. Remove yourself from the situation.  If the bad habit is irritating you so much and the person doesn’t seem receptive to change, you may need to remove yourself from the situation.  There’s a gentleman at the Starbucks where I go every Sunday morning to write who makes a loud coughing sound every couple of minutes.  I don’t know if he knows he’s doing it, but it drives me crazy.  I distracts my train of thought as I’m writing.  I don’t have a great platform for telling him about the habit, so I must learn to deal with it or move to another location for my writing.  (This week, I went to a different Starbucks, and my writing time was more productive.)

What is one of your bad habits?  What advice do you have for dealing with the bad habits other people have?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

For other interesting articles on habits, check out these links below: