Otherwise intelligent human who can't tell Left from Right

This is something mundane and pointless which I am going to share…

I work in a technical field, I completed university with reasonable grades, I am not a sports start but far from uncoordinated, I can drive OK, I … basically Im normal in every respect except:

** I still can’t tell left from right immediately **

I ALWAYS have to think about it. I can get it after a moment but not straight away. If I take a guess (trying to emulate the speed of someone without this problem) I am wrong a fair proportion of the time (duh, 50%).

WTF is up with that? Was I born without the L-R gene? Im sure they can train monkeys to distinguish L from R better than me. Woe is me. Are there any other sufferers out there? We could start a support group. Ill get started on the catchy acronym.

I, too, am afflicted with this disorder. I’m hopeless at giving directions unless I think about it hard. Sometimes I have to do the pledge of allegance or the sign of the cross (that’s how Catholic I am) to recall which is my right hand. Maybe we qualify for disability?


Now that there are three of us can we form a club? Many times I have had to stop and stare at my hands to figure out the R/L thing. So glad to know I am not alone.

I’ll do you one better. I’m a dancer and I can’t tell my right from my left. I have to do some sort mental gimmick (which hand is going to pick up the pen?). And I’m reasonably intelligent.

Neither can my mom and she’s pretty smart, too. (But doesn’t dance that much)
How ambidextrous are you? I am fairly ambidextrous except for writing. Or rather, any new physical task I attempt I can learn just as easily with either side; tasks such as writing that I have done for a long period of time in one way I have a harder time mastering.

My boss has a Ph.D. and she is always saying left when she means right and vice versa. I never ask her for directions.

You can always do like kids and make an L with your hand to figure out the direction. Hold your hands out, palms down, and point your first and thumb (making an L). The one that looks like an L is Left. The other is not.

It’s not based on intelligence. While I’m quite adept at differentiating the two, the best person I ever knew at this – hands down – was a boxer, and he gets hit in the head for a living! Gosh, isn’t that a wonder!

Okay, I may have the answer. Well, maybe not the answer, but I am also afflicted, have to shake my hand to simulate writing in order to determine right…marching band was sheer hell…had to write R-L on my shoes. I read several years ago in some respectable magazine that a study had been done showing that blue-eyed people have more trouble immediately distinguishing right from left than brown-eyed people do. That holds true in my family…both my sister and I are blue-eyed and share the problem, but my brown-eyed brother just thought we were crazy. So…what color eyes do you have?

The worst part is that now my friends have discovered my dissability, much to their amusement.

Friends: Which way is XXXXXX?

“Um (Inevitable pause)…Left.”


     Ha Hm, no Im Ok, Im Ok...



I must wiggle my fingers on my right hand to remember.
This must be a fairly common problem with children, because when I do vision screenings on fifth graders, I’ve noticed that nearly half of them can’t remember left from right either. It makes me think…Why is it so easy to remember UP and DOWN, but not right and left?
When my daughter was diagnosed with Dyscalculia, I read that it was one of the symptoms but it seems far too common for that to be true.

Hello. My name is Persephone, and I can’t tell left from right.

Most people find this very amusing. I do not. Not after I’ve made my umpteen-billionth wrong turn. Not after I’ve gotten people lost because I’ve given bad directions. Not after I’ve told my stepson that if he’ll just turn the lid on the pop bottle to the right, it will come off.

You know what’s really bad? I live in Michigan. A freaking hand-shaped state, and I STILL screw it up. I even hold up the wrong hand sometimes when I’m trying to show an out-of-stater where I live. How pathetic is that?

I am also directionally impaired. I can’t figure out north, south, east, and west. Well, I can do east & west, in the mornings and evenings. But when I’m trying to read directions, and someone has told me to “turn south” on a particular street? Nope. I’ve got to be told left or right. At least I can figure out left & right eventually.

I have a question for those of you who can’t tell the difference - when and where did you go to kindergarden?

I’m asking because I never met anyone who could not immediately tell their right from their left until I moved to Texas, where it seems to be quite common.

As to me? Went to kindergarden in northeast Oklahoma (Sapulpa, a small town near Tulsa) in 1977. I recall them teaching left and right with games of Simon Says and dancing the Hokey Pokey. I also remember balance beam being a graded subject on my report cards (I got a D, my worst grade in kindergarden) and I know it wasn’t part of my stepdaughter’s curriculum.

Hey I know all the tricks…

"Your left hand makes an ‘L’ "
"Just think of which hand you write with "
“Try singing this song…”

The point is most people (kindergarten children) use these tools until they progress to the stage where they can automatically tell left from right. I must have missed that day at kindy.

FWIW I went to kindy in South Australia in '83.

Well, I do really well with left and right. However, I have to admit to being directionally challenged. I have a problem with east/west/north/south.

Of course since I mostly don’t care, it probably doesn’t matter. And now that I come to think about it, maybe that is my real problem. I figure, as long as I can get where I need to get to, why does it matter what direction it is in? My mind is, after all, centered on more important things. Like for instance, is there enough gas in the car to get there? Wherever THERE is?


Oh my…I feel so much better now! I thought I was mentally deformed in some way because I have to think about which is left and which is right.

I’m almost in tears, I’m so happy. :slight_smile:

Green eyes, kindergarten: mid 70s in Oregon.

Can’t help the (rather frighteningly large number of) people who can’t tell L from R in a flash, except to say, er… Keep at it, I’m sure it’ll come eventually :slight_smile:

However, I can help on the cardinal points. Just think of a clock and where the numbers 12, 3, 6, 9 are, and repeat…
Never Eat Shredded Wheat

I also can’t tell left from right immediately. I have to think about it, like which hand to write with or which eye is bad or whatever. I don’t remember anybody ever teaching me this in school. I just realized one day when I was in about 2nd grade that I didn’t know how to tell. Maybe I was sick that day in kindergarten too. FWIW I went to school in New York State.

Oh dear Lawd, put me in this club!

I still have to remember which pen the hand goes in, before I think, “Right.”
And here I thought I was a complete dunce. :slight_smile:

I can separate left and right only because left turns are the ones where you need to cut across traffic going in the other direction. After that, I remember that left is up, right is down (turn signal). I can’t tell you which is my left hand and which is my right. Sometimes my violin teacher will tell me I have “left hand problems” and I won’t remember if that’s the fingering hand or the bowing hand.

When I back out of driveways, I sometimes forget which side of the road I’m supposed to drive on, but I suppose that’s something else.

I had problems with this too, which my brother (older by two years) found hilarious.

Using the “which hand do you write with” never helped me either, for some reason.

When I turned 7, I was involved in a car accident, which left me with pretty bad scarring. I ended up thinking “left… scar side” and have ever since, even to this day.

I don’t understand the freaks who don’t have to think about it ! It is pretty interesting, though