I am a very tolerant person. You have to go to extremes to really annoy me -- spit all over me while talking, drench yourself in intolerable aftershave, grab my sleeve and clean your glasses on it (yes, unbelievably, a guy did that to me once).
But there is one characteristic I find so repugnant that it takes only one whiff to send me running, and that is: Being Absolutely Sure Of Everything.
I'm not talking about the Cliff Clavins of the world, who just get a kick out of sharing their boundless stores of trivial information. (Heck, I'm guilty of that myself.
No, I'm talking about people who will take a stand and, no matter what evidence is laid before them, absolutely refuse to budge from that position. Usually, it's over something so inconsequential that you feel foolish bothering to correct
You can say in passing, "I picked up a hex wrench at Walgreen's to fix my bike," and this person will say, "No, you didn't. Walgreen's doesn't carry those." "Um... well, I guess I got lucky, they had one today." "Nope. Don't know what you got, but it wasn't a hex."
Or you might say, "I used to work in the Myers Building, back when Marshall Myers still owned it," and this person will say, "He still owns it." "Well, no, he sold it to the city while I was working there -- I notarized the documents." "It's been in the Myers family for a hundred years, they'll never sell." AAAAUUUUUGGGHHHHH!!!
All I can figure is that these people are desperate to feel they've somehow "won" something... so they pick these petty, pointless disagreements and just wear you down until you give up... and that allows them to feel superior, I guess.
I used to actually try
to communicate with people like that, which is useless, of course. Now I've learned that the only thing to do is smile and walk away. If they need it that badly... let 'em have it.