10 Redeeming Qualities That Make Unbearable People Bearable

Some human connections are deep, complex, and endlessly rewarding. And then some  fall at the other end of the spectrum: the people in our lives who we find irritating, boring, or abrasive — the stoner we’re on a date with, the annoying coworker who snort-laughs, the great uncle who insists Obama was born in Kenya. However, there’s a catch to these take ‘em or leave ‘em people in our lives — one small detail can be enough to tip the scales from irritation to love. Discovering that random redeeming quality is all it takes to go from “I wouldn’t be sad if I never saw you again” to “Dude, I just realized I am obsessed with you.” These epiphanies can come in the form of an unexpected talent, an idiosyncrasy, or a wild band camp story. Here are a few examples of qualities that can transform a person…

Scenario #1: Your co-worker is a goofy woman whose interests include juggling fruit from the break room, snort-laughing at nothing in particular and watching the WB. You’re pretty sure you have absolutely nothing in common with her until you learn…

Redeeming Quality: That she has a roommate who dresses up as Captain America for a living. Suddenly, you’re much more interested in going for drinks with her.

Scenario #2: You’re on a date with a guy who, on the surface, is dull pothead who only wants to talk about the various ways he liked to get stoned.

Redeeming Quality: But then his main course comes and he starts talking to and massaging his roasted chicken and you realize you might have been judging him prematurely.

Scenario #3: You have a professional acquaintance who’s insufferable to converse with because she never seems to get what you’re talking about. Maybe that’s because she barely makes eye contact and seems to be preoccupied with herself most of the time.

Redeeming Quality: On the other hand, she shares your passion for cheap eats and always seems to know the best place to get Korean-fusion tacos for under $20. So hard to say no to…

Scenario #4: Your friend’s boyfriend appears to be far too straight-laced and conservative for her. Is that a stick up his ass?

Redeeming Quality: When you find out that he branded her with a temporary skull and crossbones tattoo on her forehead one night when she got really drunk — that changes everything.

Scenario #5: The new mother you know only talks about breastfeeding methods or how many times her baby pooped today. And don’t even get started on her Instagram feed. It’s all baby, all the time.

Redeeming Quality: However, she occasionally takes pictures of her baby wearing a mustache, which makes your social media acquaintance totally worth it.

Scenario #6: Your BIL (brother-in-law) can be hard to be around because, although he treats your sister like gold, he’s hung up on talking about  his favorite Sci-fi movie, “The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension.” You often find yourself sleeping with your eyes closed whenever he speaks.

Redeeming Qualitiy: He makes the most ridiculous blueberry muffins you’ve ever tasted in your life. Watching him measure flour while wearing an apron melts your heart just like his muffins melt in your mouth. Who’d have thunk it?

Scenario #7: The IT guy at your work is a humor-less drone who doesn’t talk except when he’s passive aggressively blaming you for breaking the printer.

Redeeming Quality: For reasons unknown, he thinks your name is Belinda. And every time he says it with such genuine conviction, even though he’s usually chiding you and even though it’s not your name, you just can’t stay mad at him.

Scenario #8: Your great uncle takes every possible opportunity to spout off about how “NOBAMA” is an African-born socialist who is ruining America.

Redeeming Quality: He wears too-small t-shirts that always show off a small sliver of hairy beer gut, which you find strangely endearing.

Scenario #9: The woman who works at your corner deli seems to think that glaring at you and whispering into her phone are hallmarks of good customer service.

Redeeming Quality: Once you saw her reading a tattered copy of “Why Men Marry Bitches” at the front counter, and now she will always have a place in your heart.

Scenario #10: You have a friend who’s combative and negative. She would pick a fight with a coffee mug if she thought it would fight back.

Redeeming Quality: It’s hard to hate her when you know she can sing the entire score to almost any Sondheim musical — from “West Side Story to “Company.”

[Photo from Shutterstock]