In this era of global chaos, it can be easy to forget that there are events that don’t elicit extreme reactions such as despair, euphoria or terror, but have an emotional effect on us nonetheless. To remind you what that feeling is, consider the following: the noise emanating from your seatmate’s headphones; someone standing a fraction too close to you in line; the website that takes forever to load. Ah yes, there it is—annoyance. Are some things objectively annoying? Possibly. As Flora Lichtman, co-author of the 2011 book Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us, suggested in an interview with NPR, there’s something about the mix of frequencies that makes the sound of fingernails running down a blackboard intrinsically aggravating. “But that’s sort of rare, ” she adds. “Most annoyances seem pretty personal.” On the other hand, a 2009 study by Noah Eisenkraft and Hillary Anger Elfenbein described a concept called “affective presence.” This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-six Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 47 Alice Sheppard On dance as a channel to commune with the body—even when it hurts. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Dr. Woo Meet the tattoo artist who's inked LA. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Walt Odets The author and clinical psychologist on why self-acceptance is the key to a gay man's well-being. Arts & Culture Fashion Issue 47 A Picture of Health Xiaopeng Yuan photographs the world’s weirdest wellness cures. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Chani Nicholas and Sonya Passi Inside the astrology company on a mission to prove workplace well-being is more than a corporate tagline. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Julia Bainbridge On the life-enhancing potential of not drinking alcohol.