Prickly Personalities

Have you ever encountered a person with a prickly personality? Maybe they’re self-centered, quick-tempered, impatient, or maybe they’ve got a “quirk” that grates on your nerves…

The thing that jams a thorn in my side is someone who’s in a perpetual state of gloom and doom; whose cup is always half empty:

Look at that rainbow!
Yea, but it rained.

You won the lottery!
Yea, but think of the taxes.

When I encounter a person who rubs me the wrong way, I know it’s time to take a good hard look in the mirror. And while I’d like to think I’m always sweet, loving, kind, and thoughtful—that’s simply not the case.

As an extremely high energy person, I tend to talk with my hands and either bounce my knee or kick my foot when sitting (the human version of wagging a tail). Oh my gosh, what if I’m the prickly person’s prickly person?!

What’s it like to be on the receiving end of you?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

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© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved

58 thoughts on “Prickly Personalities

  1. Oh boy. Do I know this kind of person, and am I not exposed to this particular strain of negativity on a fairly regular basis? Alas the answer is yes on both counts, and I do second guess my own perception of ‘prickly personality’ and whether I have myself contributed to or defined the perception. But Laurie, we may be too hard on ourselves, as I have never fully endorsed the adage “It takes two to tango”, opting instead to examine the real root of the problem. But you define that contrarian person quite well. I have known a number of them over the years, and still have some friends who play the devil’s advocate role.

  2. What’s it like to be on the receiving end of you? That’s a good question Laurie – very searching. I often wonder to what extent prickly people are prickly to us because the very things we experience as prickly in them are in fact prickly things in us. I think prickly people can be marvellous lessons in self discovery. I know they have been to me when I’ve really listened to myself through them.

  3. Nice & Prickly share Laurie Ji !!…. :-))))

    Regularly I too come across such prickly ones and the moment I get into any argument I could feel my energy & positivity slowly draining away !!!…. So I deliberately avoid joining issues with such people and simply make appropriate noises to keep the relationship from not getting wounded !!………

  4. Laurie,

    First I have to say I don’t think I ever heard you say a bad thing about anyone, not really, and you are not doing so here. Yes there seems to be certain personalities the “push our buttons” and all I have to do and doing it at the moment is spend time with my Mother. In the past few days I have had to catch myself, step back and breathe, stop fixing or telling her. I can and am that person to others… Oy Vey!

  5. I love being on the receiving end of YOU, Laurie. You are so present and here. Sometimes I am in awe of you. I am feeling very prickly the last day or so. Our Internet died again after posting yesterday’s blog. In one of those warps you find yourself in. However, am usually still pretty nice to people and focusing on the positive. (Except in my dream last night in which I yelled at innocent people.)

  6. I am often the prickly person, Laurie. I have been told that comments I make can be hurtful (even though they are true from my perspective) so I have had to often use that mental censor to zip my lips. Like you, if I find something in someone that bothers me, the first thing I need to do is look in the mirror. I can recognize something that I don’t have myself.

  7. Laurie, that’s something to think about, I have heard that the traits you dislike most in people are the ones you are most likely to exhibit yourself. You feel that someone is talking way too much? Hold on…are they taking up time that I would have spent talking my self? Some body ate all the shrimp? Hey, I was going to do that! Are they unbearably self-centered? Gee, let me look in the mirror… As a Life Path1, Virgo, Dragon I get on my own nerves at times and try to remember to remain calm and put a halter on my Dragon mouth before I do damage to another person’s hour, day, week. I try to practice restraint, humility, and awareness of the needs and rights of others because it’s the Golden Rule and to keep any one from letting the air out of my tires.

    • SandiThe Golden Rule is a phenomenal standard of measure, and checking periodically to see if I’m measuring up — living up to it — is a great exercise!

      (Don’t you dare eat all the shrimp!)

  8. Certainly, I’ve had my share of experiences with “prickly persons”. I usually am able to see this as “their” expression. I compassionately expect that they have “reasons” for being like they are. I try not to let them “affect” me. Sometimes, such a person “rejects” any kind of relationship with me. I may try to determine why, but usually, it turns out that all I can do is give them space. Our world is so densely populated that we can afford not to be “friends” with everyone we meet. I too like to think I am “always sweet, loving, kind, and thoughtful” and I know that sometimes I am crabby, difficult, judgmental and botch it generally.

    Life goes on. My intention is to be “always sweet, loving, kind, and thoughtful” and to be compassionate, accepting and understanding when I encounter a prickly person. Intention is important and I try to fulfill it. Beyond that it’s all “learning experiences”.

  9. Actually as a fiction author I’m able to fold those prickly parts of myself into three dimensional characters. During a reading at the town of my birth, one of the characters of my book was described as annoying.
    “How did you come up with her?” I was asked.
    Standing there, grinning, I confessed, “She’s part of me.”
    We are all human and embracing that prickly part of ourselves helps us be more accepting to others. (or at least I hope it continues to help me.)

  10. What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me? I’m not sure. I think that depends on who you ask! As for being prickly, if I encounter a person that I judge to be prickly or a pain in the ass, I look to see what it is I want from them. Once I let that go it seems the pain goes away.

  11. Hi Laurie
    You certainly got a great topic here today.
    I agree with so many of the comments already made, by Deb, Leanne, Don, Kim, Kathy, Barbara.

    I have a slight disagreement with Sam.
    It does take two to tango, and to tango does not mean that you are in any way similar to the one you are dancing with, it just means that you have engaged in the dance. If you don’t want to be in the dance, then do something else, read a book, take a walk, talk to someone else, ……

    And yes, I have done more than my share of tangoing in my day (less often more recently).

    I strongly align with Don’s comments.
    A friend of mine who was very active in NZ politics had what he called Prebble’s first law of politics – that under pressure, a politician would accuse his enemy of his own worst faults. After hearing that, I observed the debates in the house for many hours, and the law seemed to hold in all cases I observed. And it doesn’t apply only to politicians.

    It seems to me, that we can only truly recognise in others what also exists in our own memories.
    It may be that we no longer express such things on a regular basis, and they still need to be there for us to really feel the empathy.

    Thus it seems, that pricklyness is one of those “wake up calls” to awareness – be alert here – you have patterns available that you may not wish to trigger.

  12. What a great question, Laurie. I don’t know exactly what it’s like to be on receiving end of me. I know Sara gets irritated with my ability to be easily angered. However, I get over it pretty quickly, as well. Give me 15 minutes, maybe 30, and I’ll be fine. But, I also tend to be mostly optimiistic and up-beat.

  13. I have been, at times, that prickly person. Less so now I think, as I get older I get more mellow, as I reach that five years of surviving cancer, I appreciate more and my glass is more fll than empty. Husband, who lives his days with pain and a weakness that grows, is becoming more prickly, more glass empty than full. So much depends upon where we are in our lives, doesn’t it?

  14. I think it is worse when two prickly persons choose to live together!!
    Also.prickliness gets magnified in a Prima Donna.
    Agree,we need to look at ourselves objectively,now&then.

  15. Oh my goodness, Laurie “what’s it like to be on the receiving end of me” you ask. I certainly do think it must be most prickly sometimes. . . .

  16. Gosh I would love to think I am a good, kind, loving person. But, I know I can be a prickly person at times. I continue to work at becoming a better, kinder, softer person. I know I am very blessed and try to remember it every day.

  17. Wow Laurie, excellent point! I met somebody last year that was soooo prickly – I mean continually negative and argumentative, liked nothing, dissed everyone. At first I took a look in my soul mirror – was it ME? When the mirror said no I just avoided that person altogether. I’m sorry, I cannot be around that kind of energy.

    • SuZen – Like you, there have been occasions in my life where I’ve removed myself from a person’s energy that is not positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing. Life is too short to be lambasted with negativity.

  18. We’ve got many prickly personalities in our extended families. I think I first read about that idea of taking a good hard look in the mirror in a book by Pema Chödrön. The suggestion was to add “just like me” to the end of every negative thought we had or criticism we uttered about another person. I tried it and was surprised to discover it works – how true it is that we see ourselves reflected in others. What an eye-opener! I still do this… We sometimes ignore all the person’s good traits and zero in on what bugs us most about them, and therefore ourselves.

    • Barbara, that reminds me of a lesson I learned a long time ago, to adjust my evaluations from “This is good” or “That is bad” to “I like this” or “That feels bad to me”. I think of it as the “to-me” principle, and it meshes nicely with the “just like me” notion. Thanks for adding to my arsenal of introspection!

      • The two ideas do mesh nicely, Nora! Thank you for sharing yours – it looks like a great way to keep ourselves in check when we start getting the urge to judge others or narrowly define them as good or bad.

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  20. Laurie, I really appreciate the reminder to look in the mirror. I’m fortunate (in a manner of speaking) to have a near relative (by marriage) who rubs me SO much the wrong way that I worry it’s because we are so similar! After I see that person, I am always prompted to say to someone else “PLEASE tell me I am not like that!” Keeps me on my toes, at least for a little while at a time….

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  22. Such negativity can sap the good will from even the most cheerful of people. Those ‘nasty Nellies’ should realize just how far a smile goes towards changing people’s attitudes towards them – or maybe they just don’t care. Maybe they figure, if they don’t change, they can blame everyone else for their own woes.

  23. I’ve never really thought about it from that perspective, Laurie. Hmmm… I wonder what it’s like to be on the receiving end of me? (Surely not prickly!)

  24. wonderful post. reminds me of a childhood book about the warm fuzzies and the cold pricklies. I resonate at a very high energy level. I can recognize defense, fear, and anger right away. I try my best to bring the person to my level, instead of going down to greet them at their level. The best tool is to feel comfortable in being me, and not feeling the need to defend, explain, counter, or debate. Prickly people have a hard time when you don’t engage them or agree. 🙂 Sam

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