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Reblogged:Sooo... How Can One Overcome a Pet Peeve?

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At Captain Awkward, the proprietress fields a complaint about a trendy new filler word.

Said word is never revealed, but Captain Awkward does correctly name the essence of the problem:

The good news is that you recognize that this is a you-problem.


The bad news is, I don't know how to tell your brain to stop tripping on the word.
Her corrective advice comes in the form of the following intriguing experiment:
Image by Vlad Gurea, via Unsplash, license.
Make yourself a "That-Word-Jar" like a swear jar. It can be physical, or it can be digital, since many online banking platforms will let you create sub-accounts within your main one.Every time you hear the word and flinch or wince or mentally recoil or judge the person using it, put a quarter in the jar (physical) or record that it happened and transfer the funds later (digital).When the jar is full (physical) or hits a certain dollar amount (digital), donate 80% of the money to a worthy cause and use the other 20% to buy yourself a little treat.Repeat until you achieve some measure of peace with the word or get sick of doing the experiment.I did something one time that shares elements of this. It worked, and I actually mostly got rid of the filler word within the context it was bugging me as a byproduct. Based on that experience, I think the above is good advice.

In grad school, one of the professors started damn near every sentence with the word So. And since he was a likable fellow, people in that building started mirroring the behavior to the point that any time a grad student from his building gave a seminar, I'd just about go crazy from hearing every sentence start that way.

Since these were grad student seminars, everyone not the speaker would fill out an evaluation.

So (hah!) I started counting sentences that began with So -- and helpfully reporting the numbers on my critiques, along with some acerbic remark about how distracting that was.

I quickly found myself looking forward to seminars with such speakers because I knew I could fight back.

Granted, Captain Awkward isn't advocating fighting back, but that's not the point. The reason I like her experiment is that it replaces a fixation on an annoyance with being on the lookout for a small opportunity to do something one wants to do or enjoys. I can see how this tactic can get someone over the annoynace hump.

So... back in grad school, after enough of these critiques, I began to notice a steep decline in that initial filler word. It never went away completely, but it did enough that the fun ended. But by that time, I had gotten to where it didn't annoy me quite as much, anyway.

As with much of what I find valuable at Captain Awkward, it is often couched in a mis-integrated mixture of genuine attempts at empathy and woke-scolding. And far-left politics is always popping up. But for that, I'd have no trouble recommending the blog.

Perhaps the best way to read it would be to add a small amount of money to a woke-scolding jar each time someone there gratuitously starts with pronouns, or non-leftists are basically dismissed as Trumpists or Nazis, or the virtue-signaling meter otherwise pegs...

So... ARI could make out like bandits if enough people did this.

-- CAV

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