I’m Surrounded by Idiots: Why Are People So Annoying & How to Deal with Them

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If you’ve ever wondered why are people so annoying and felt everyone is acting stupid, Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson might just be the book for you. In this book, Erikson explores the DISC model of behavior, which categorizes people into four types: reds, yellows, greens, and blues. This book will help you navigate interpersonal relationships and deal with people you encounter, who seem to be, well, acting like an idiot.

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Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson book cover

Surrounded by Idiots Summary

Erikson explains the DISC model of behavior, which has four types: reds, yellows, greens, and blues. Erikson delves into the details of each type, which is characterized by specific behaviors and tendencies.

One of the strengths of the book is its practical advice on how to deal with different personality types. For example, with reds, it’s best to stick to facts and do things step-by-step, while with yellows, you need to be prepared for their martyr complex and follow up with them. Greens require honesty and gentleness, while blues need privacy and space when they’re stressed.

What are these personality types, you ask?

DISC personality types

The four primary personality types are Dominant (D), Influential (I), Steady (S), and Compliant (C). They have their own set of strengths and weaknesses and can be used to identify potential areas of conflict, predict behavioral patterns, and identify compatibility between people.

To expound further, there are four main DISC personality types:

  1. Dominant (D): People with a dominant personality tend to be confident, assertive, and direct. Dominant people are results-oriented and prefer to be in charge.
  2. Influential (I): People with influential personalities tend to be outgoing, persuasive, and energetic. They are skilled at building relationships.
  3. Steady (S): People with a steady personality tend to be reliable, patient, and supportive. They value stability and seek to maintain harmony in their relationships.
  4. Conscientious (C): People with a conscientious personality tend to be analytical, careful, and precise. They value accuracy and are detail-oriented.

DISC can be a useful tool for understanding how different personality types might approach tasks, make decisions, and interact with others. However, it is important to remember that personality is complex and individuals may exhibit characteristics from multiple DISC types. And of course, it wouldn’t help us understand people better if we limit them just to these four types.

So know that while these four are the simplest and most general categories that we can use to understand why people are so annoying, know also that not all traits under one color are a full representation of an individual.

Why are people so annoying? Here’s How to Deal With Them

There are associated colors with each personality type and below is a quick Surrounded by Idiots summary about how to deal with them.


Corresponds with (D) Dominance

Why are people so annoying? The Reds

  • What they believe: they are always right and the problem is always you.
  • Strengths: efficient, great decision-makers and problem solvers
  • Vibe: competitive, demanding, controlling, or manipulative
  • What they hate: stupid mistakes, inefficiency, BS
  • How to communicate with them:
    Stick to the facts and do it step-by-step. If you reprimand them, prepare for the theatrics. Do not play along with it.

Yellows (I)

Corresponds with (I) Influential

Why are people so annoying? The Yellows

  • What they believe: they are capable of anything
  • Strengths: influential, persuasive, positive
  • Vibe: it’s all about me, short memory (applies to their feelings too)
  • What they hate: being ignored, not being listened to, structure
  • How to communicate with them: Massage their egos and put words into their mouths. If you reprimand them, prepare for a pity party (“Nobody likes me”)


Corresponds with (S) Steady

Why are people so annoying? The Greens

  • What they believe: They roam through life wishing things are different 
  • Strength: great listener
  • Vibe: apathetic, withdrawn, passive
  • What they hate: being put in the spotlight, lightning-fast changes
  • How to communicate with them:
    Be honest. If you will reprimand them just say gently because they will change it right away


Corresponds with (C) Conscientious

Why are people so annoying? The Blues

  • What they believe: if it’s not in the plan, then it’s unplanned 
  • Strengths: attentive to details, quality-driven, realistic, great at planning, forward-thinker
  • Vibe: critical, judgmental, slow but steady
  • What they hate: spontaneity and surprises
  • How to communicate with them:
    Forget about sharing personal stuff. Be rational. If you reprimand them, tell them the exact reason, then give them privacy and space.

So Why Are People So Annoying? My instant strategy

Sometimes we just accept the fact that people are annoying and there is no way we can understand them. More often than not, we discover ways to cope–we grab a cup of our favorite drink, talk to our friends about it, then go on pretending like we’ve come to terms with their behavior. For some, they just walk away and assert boundaries.

But somewhere down the road, we get triggered by the same kind of people. And we ask, why are there so many people like them? And we repeat the same process thinking as if we could totally get rid of annoying people. The bad news is: we cannot.

My intention for writing this post is to embrace those kinds of people. We cannot pray our way to their eradication, but we can understand their idiocy.

There is a way to understand them without actually being an idiot yourself, and that’s what Thomas Erikson just did for us with his book.

Surrounded by Idiots is an engaging guide to empathizing and connecting, as well as honing our communication skills.

Since reading this book, I feel empowered dealing with idiots. Fueled by my knowledge of design thinking, I use these 4 categories to create a user persona for each annoying person I meet. From there, I create a strategy on how to communicate with them and even tickle their fancy. Everybody wins!


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