A Creative Commons-image from Ooki_Op.
The problem with inviting people out somewhere is that they often invite people of their own; the latter are bound to be people you don’t like. If you liked them, you would have invited them with in the first place. Dreaded is that question: “Would you mind if I invite someone with?” Now, one can’t say no – that wouldn’t be nice. So I follow my hospitable upbringing and concede to the request, but all the while my thoughts are bemoaning the loss of what would have been a nice evening. Instead, I foresee hours of jaw-clenching frustration.
The problem is most likely that I’m not in the mood to actively practise the Virtues. See, it’s easy to “flow” with the Virtues; things like good behaviour, courtesy, patience, and so on are easy with people you like, or at least with people that do not annoy you. But, as C. S. Lewis says: "Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment." Practising such Virtues as patience and friendliness with annoying company takes effort – and effort is not what I had in mind when I was thinking of a relaxing night out in town.
My annoyance, it seems, reveals more about me than about the annoying people. Firstly, annoying people are seldom annoying to everyone. What irritates me does not necessarily irritate you. So apparently annoyance is a preference, similar to a like or dislike in a certain genre of music, rather than a clearly identifiable trouble, for instance an illness. The annoyance, therefore, is more my problem, than their problem. Secondly, few people actively try to be annoying. Most adults, at least, has grown past the phase of deliberately attempting to annoy someone. It is likely that most annoying people are annoying despite themselves. Call it a character flaw if you will; and if so, it is more like an infirmity than a choice, which means there is not much to do about it. Again, therefore, the problem is more mine than it is theirs, since I do have a choice. Being quickly irritable is not an infirmity, it is not an illness – it is something I can work at.
I think I better take a nap now, as I will probably need the energy tonight when I’ll be practising the Virtues. "If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad" – C. S. Lewis.