Quirks or phobias that afflict you in frequent ordinary situations

Do any of you have small idiosyncrasies that sometimes make everyday situations utterly intolerable?

For instance, I have strong antipathies to sunshine, the sound of children’s laughter, and oddly colored food, so a children’s birthday party in the park would be like hell on earth to me. I’d be the weirdo huddled under a tree, gritting my teeth, and refusing to eat any of the blue birthday cake.

I hate breathing other people’s air. Heck, even my own - don’t like having my head under the covers or wearing a mask, etc.

So, in some very crowded places, I can get very uncomfortable. Came very close to a full-blown panic attack at a museum a few years back, but once I moved into a less-crowded gallery, with “unbreathed” air, I was fine.

Silly, I know.

No, that’s exactly what I was looking for! I don’t usually have any trouble maintaining my little weirdnesses and no one even knows about them. So I sometimes get into situations which would seem perfectly cromulent to any normal person, but have me freaking out.

I’ve sort of developed a habit of holding my breath around cigarette smoke. Luckily, except for my mother, I don’t know people who would actually smoke near other people so it’s mainly a problem when I walk down the street or have to visit my in-laws at a casino.

Balloons. I’m afraid that they’ll pop–loudly.

So children’s parties would be like hell for me as well.

I have serious trouble with any information delivered over the telephone, apparently because of the lack of visual cues. I ask people to email or fax directions and the like if they possibly can. Even casual conversations often leave me a bit bewildered, the moreso if they’re with someone I really need to impress (such as a potential date - in that case the pressure is murder).

This reminds me of the Victorian more that it is improper, especially for a man, to sit in a seat recently vacated, especially by a woman, because (gasp!) one would be sitting smack in the middle of another’s body heat! I don’t recall ever seeing this over-the-top “polite” behavior ever discussed, but I’ll never forget being told about it by one of my English professors in college.

Personally, I sort of revel in sitting in someone else’s warm seat. Mmm, snuggly!

Children’s laughter isn’t usually a problem but the shrieking that accompanies children playing is like a knife through the brain. I do not understand how anybody can learn to ignore it. The same is true for whatever kind of bird it is that many people seem to like that just screeches every few seconds all day long. I’m normally an animal lover but I could fricassee one of them with no qualms.

The biggest quirk is that I really hate eating with other people. It’s not bad with close friends but with anything lower on the acquaintance scale it becomes quickly unbearable.

Wow, that sounds like a tough one. It seems like it must crop up all the time!

I really dislike loud noises. The silliest I can think of: If I need to run the food processor, I’ll load it up and leave the kitchen, letting my husband push the button to run the thing, because I can’t stand the sound of it. If he’s not home, I’ll get earplugs before I run it.

Also certain fan noises bother me. I won’t run the fan above the kitchen stove unless black smoke is actually billowing up and setting off the smoke detector, which is a worse noise. No matter how hot my car is, I won’t run the air conditioner above level 2. I have a lot of electronic equipment in my office, and I’ve taken the covers off everything and unplugged the fans.

Ha, I have this same problem. I find myself unconsciously holding my breath when people walk by, so I don’t breathe their “air”.

I’m a picky eater – I’m getting a little more adventuresome as I get older, but there are still a lot of everyday foods that I won’t eat. This makes it hard to go to somebody’s house for dinner, unless they’re already familiar with my fussy eating habits.

In order to fall asleep, I need to be alone in a locked room with some white background noise, like a fan. This complicates traveling a bit.

I hate driving, and I’ll try to get other people to do it for me if I can. Sitting behind the wheel in traffic makes me very nervous.

I have a lot of trouble using public restrooms. I prefer the complete privacy of my own bathroom, and I find the idea that thousands of strangers may have used a toilet before me unsettling.

I’m still a little afraid of balloons, although when I was a kid they absolutely terrified me. I have video of my 6th birthday party, and I’m covering my ears through the entire thing because I’m afraid one of the balloons will pop.

I really, really, really hate any sounds associated with eating and drinking. I don’t usually notice too much during a typical meal, but if someone is, say, sitting near me on a train or in a meeting and crunching, slurping or snapping their gum it makes my skin want to crawl right off my body. Any radio or TV ads with audible eating make me want to scream, but not before slamming the off button.

I dislike using blue pens. I try to bring my own black ink pen wherever I go.

I agree, cher3. I hate loud eaters, and people that talk with their mouth full. My grandmother (who is a great person in all other respects) can’t eat ANYTHING without smacking her lips, no matter how small it is. She smacks her lips after drinking stuff, too, even water. And then, while she’s eating whatever it is, she ALWAYS has to say something. She’s three times more talkative when she has food in her mouth than when she doesn’t. It’s really gross.

Let’s see…I also hate when people sniff like crazy. Distracting, distracting…aargh, just thinking about it is driving me insane.

I’m actually completely afflicted with neuroses to the point where I should probably be on medication or in some sort of mental hospital. But I’ll just share a few:

I can’t stand eating in front of other people, and would rather eat in solitude in 99% of situations. I can usually deal with restaurants, as everyone is focused on their own meal or their own table, but something like a dinner party approaches full-on anxiety attack for me (in fact, I have to take xanax before attending such a thing where a bunch of people will be facing each other and eating).

I also get incredibly antsy in situations where I have to socialize with people I don’t know and probably wouldn’t socialize with otherwise, such as wedding receptions where I’m bound to be seated at a table with a bunch of people I don’t know.

I don’t know if mine are quirky, or completely ordinary and reasonable. I can think of three that cause me significant trouble:

  1. Flying on airplanes. Very terrified.

  2. Driving in any kind of precipitation. The first time I drove in rain, it was blinding. The first time I drove in snow, it was blinding and the car in front of me went off the road. I’ve also been nearly run over by tornados while in cars. Just yesterday I panicked and had to call off an outing, because it was raining.

  3. Being watched while I shop. I have to go by myself and pray that the store employees ignore me. If anyone pays attention to me, I get panicky and very, very angry, and usually leave the store. I have no idea why, it just happens.

I also have a thorough deep-seated hatred of car maintenance (no, I do NOT change my own oil, it’s bad enough just taking the hunkajunk to JiffyLube) and of doing taxes. They both make me very, very angry.

This seems pretty normal to me, at least if you are of an introverted personality. I’ve tried to actively work on improving this in myself in the last year or so, and be able to just strike up a conversation with people I don’t know in a situation like that.

If you don’t mind me asking, at what age did you first take a plane flight? I have this theory that the reason I have no issue at all with airplanes is that I took flights when I was very young and never formed any anxiety issues with it.

I’m not usually germ-phobic. At a doctor’s office or hospital, though, most of the other people are sick. I push doors and elevator buttons with my elbows.

But the weird thing is that I’m actually extremely extroverted - I just don’t want to talk to people in those situations because I invariably won’t have anything in common with them and will have nothing to talk about.

You know those little single-serving packages of peanut butter/jam/jelly/honey/marmalade that are on restaurant tables at breakfast?

They must be stacked. Not just put on a plate or in a bowl. If they are, they must be stacked on top of that vessel. (A holder is acceptable, provided it’s a purpose-built device, and holds them all stacked on top of each other)

And not just a column, the structure must have features.

I can’t eat my meal if the packets aren’t stacked.