By Michelle Long

Life can be frustrating at times. So many of the things that happen each day are out of our own control. We have to rely on the competency of others without knowing what all is on their plate. Sometimes our own frustration can get in the way of being empathetic or even polite.

What brings this article to mind is that I got up early to go to a doctor appointment only to get there and find that the office was closed. I waited (somewhat) patiently in the parking lot thinking someone else was having a rough Monday. After a few moments I called the office only to get the after-hours recording. Ugh! So, I waited some more. Finally, someone came and unlocked the door, asking if they could help me. When I stated that I had an appointment (10 minutes ago) they informed me that the office was closed all week! Um, hello, it was on my calendar, and I checked in on my medical app last week, so I was supposed to be scheduled. Well, the doctor was out on vacation and wouldn’t be able to see me, but the kind person working checked to see when I was supposed to be scheduled. Lo and behold, I was scheduled for that day, but I should have received a notice to reschedule my appointment. Well, you and I both know I wouldn’t have shown up at the crack of dawn had I received that message. So here I was trying to be nice to the person who was trying to help me reschedule and I could feel my anger and frustration building up inside while I kept the pleasant face and body language going on the outside.

Once I was back in my car I scrolled back through my phone and double checked my voicemail, only to find that I had nothing from the doctor’s office in the past 6 weeks. This confirmed that it was not my own mistake. Now I could let the frustration out. (These things are best done in private!)

As I drove home, I started to ponder: “Am I really angry or am I just annoyed?” What is the difference? Is there a difference? The two are remarkably similar. In fact, the word “annoyed” is used in the definition of anger: “A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility” (Oxford Dictionary), and the word “anger” is in the definition of annoyance: “Slightly angry; irritated” (Oxford Dictionary).

With anger being a strong feeling and, annoyed being a slight feeling, I had to think about the amount of displeasure or irritation I was feeling.

  • Who was I feeling it toward? – The doctor’s office
  • Was the occurrence (or thing that caused the feeling) done intentionally? – I am assuming it was not; the call I did not receive was most likely an error or oversight. I do not think they intentionally wanted me to show up to a closed office.
  • Did I (or anyone involved) get hurt by the situation? – No, I am still healthy and have already rescheduled.
  • Am I feeling like Daniel Tiger: “When you feel so mad that you want to Roar?” Do I need to take a deep breath and count to four? – No, I may have grumbled in my car, but I did not need to roar.
  • So, I guess the answer to my initial question, “Am I angry or just annoyed?” would be just annoyed.

Think about all of the things that do not go as planned. How many times do you use the phrase “I am/was so mad”? Stop and think: Are you actually mad/angry or are you just annoyed? Think about this when you work with children. We spend a lot of time teaching them about emotions and expressing themselves in appropriate ways because we all know, as Fred Rogers says, they “are not born with self-control.” Before we can teach children about self-control, we need to teach it to ourselves. “Learning to control ourselves is a long, hard process. It happens little by little. In fact, it is something we work on all through our lives.” – Fred Rogers

Suggested reading

When You Feel So Mad That You Want to Roar


Tags : emotionsExpressing emotionssocial and emotional learning

The author pqaadmin

Leave a Response