What’s Your Weirdest Habit?

My dad does this thing where he compulsively brushes the fringe on the Oriental carpets that litter the hallways and rooms of our house. I suppose it calms him down, this ritual of sweeping his hand-held broom against the tassels so that they line up like decorative soldiers. When he used to annoy me as a teenager, I’d take to passive aggressive measures and muss up the trimming just after he finished smoothing them out. Like a rug noogie. He’d go insane.

But I should have seen it coming — the fact that apples really do fall close to the tree — because at age 25 my own compulsions have made themselves extremely prominent parts of my life. For example, I check doorknobs behind me at least three times to make sure they are definitely, absolutely, positively locked. I can’t leave a bed un-made. I’ve picked up on Leandra’s weird eyebrow scrunching thing, and I’ve started straightening every object in sight. Picture me, at a restaurant, just tidying and organizing the table. It’s great on dates, I look really normal.

Perhaps the strangest habit I’ve developed is one that took hold about 5 or 6 years ago: I cannot fall asleep without putting a sweatshirt over my eyes. No, it cannot be an eye mask because those don’t have enough weight; my lids now require both medium-pressure and total darkness. I often forget that this is weird, thus alarming anyone who sleeps over and finds themselves next to me in my nose-to-head slumber turban.

My dad used to warn me that people get weirder as they get older — a large part of it, I assume, can be attributed to the fact that they stop caring so much. (The other part, like my nervous hair twirling tick that results in curly-qs all around my forehead, can be blamed on stress.) But it’s these idiosyncrasies that make us more interesting, and I like to think they give us character. At the very least they aid in keeping a tidier apartment.

Now what about you? Do you Saran-wrap personal belongings before airplane flights, as Charlotte’s friend does to avoid germs? Do you suck your thumb in tribute to childhood, or perhaps eat couch stuffing, like I saw one woman do on TLC? Maybe you have to listen to a specific song before bed, or start your day with a particular dance. Whatever it is, it’s Tuesday, and I’d rather share oddities with you guys than answer any more emails.

  • pterridactyl

    After years of having cropped hair which I compulsively pulled out (thank you trichotillamania!) I now have shoulder length hair.

    Turns out that shoulder length is the perfect length for makeshift moustaches.

    And all day long is the perfect time for them, too!

  • Megan

    Amen to the hair twirling. I could probably take flight with how fast I twirl my hair under high stress situations, like a propeller.

  • Oh! I do the sweater over the eyes thing too! If it’s not a sweater, it’s a heavy blanket wrapped around my head multiple times. I just have to block out all light (and possible nightmare demons maybe?) so that I may sleep peacefully!

    • Amelia Diamond

      THANK YOU.

      • Charlotte Fassler

        doesn’t make it less weird Ameeeelia!

  • Maria Litizia Kelly

    Hair twirling, list making (to-do list, to-buy lists, any kind of list. I’m pretty sure it’s just my way of procrastinating though), straightening objects in front of me (in restaurants, at my desk, anywhere) and OCD cleaning/tidying. If my surroundings aren’t in tip top shape, don’t expect any work or productivity to be achieved that day!

  • Charlie

    After 22 years of sucking my thumb I finally beat the habit because it affected my teeth. Miss it every.single.day. I can’t sleep without checking my entire room for spiders. And I am completely ocd when it comes to making list. It makes me calm. It’s a little creepy. If there is an email notification on my phone or laptop I have to check it. And million other things. People who live with me find it endearing. And I love them for it. If it wasn’t for them I would find myself weird.

  • Quinn Halman

    I’m really good at accents. Born and raised in Toronto but I could convince you I was from Oklahoma, Mexico, Quebec, etc. Whenever I get either nervous or frustrated I start speaking in a really thick, New York mafia accent. I have no idea where it comes from but it makes presentations really interesting.

    • I’m an accent girl, too! I’m actually strongly considering being Australian next year in college because why not.

    • BethanyBeach

      When I get really annoyed sometimes I break into a Jersey accent…I’m from DC…

  • Ok well before I fall asleep I have to knock on something wood. I have exactly 3 seconds to enter the shower once it’s on and I’m derobed, then when the shower is over, I throw that extra water that comes out the bath spout up in the air. No idea why or when I started doing that. I think it was before high school. I bless myself before going into my garage via basement entrance. Soooo odd!!

    • I am also constantly cracking every bone in my body: neck, back, wrists, ankles, fingers, knees. It’s adorable.

      • Kristen

        same! when I’m sitting down, I crack my back, my toes, my knuckles, and sometimes (if I’m lucky) my elbows; when I stand up I crack my knees and my ankles. It feels really nice

  • I like only crisp clean magazines. So I will go through the entire stack and get the most clean copy.

    • Amelia Diamond

      you would hate me because I crack the pages of every thing I read.

      • pamb

        Do you also place books/magazines face down while opened? (Shudder…. ;))

  • Carrie

    Mini blinds CAN NOT be crooked.

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Coach stuffing, ewwwww!

    • Amelia Diamond

      My sentiments toward cauliflower.

  • Teresa

    When I get tired I tend or stressed to put my left thumb in my right nostril. It helps me breath. I know what your thinking…how does the largest of my digits help me breath? I’m not sure, but it’s soothing and comforting to me, and within 10-15 minutes I’m out. I’m sure I would get the same effects with a breath right strip, but I don’t want to mess with them, and my thumb is free. I’ve done this since I can remember, probably a good 20+ years, and it is one thing my husband actually finds cute and endearing. I often look in the mirror and assess my nostril situation. I’m scared that the slight tug forward is going to jack up my nose-which I happen to be quite fond of. So far, so good.

    • Kate Barnett

      that’s actually one half of yogic alternate nostril breathing! which is supposed to be both calming and energizing, i think….

      • Teresa

        Who knew! I’ve tried to find relaxation by switching nostrils…it just doesn’t have the same effect. My Nirvana sweet spot is the right side. And thank you for making my odd habit a healthy one, cheers to you!

    • Amelia Diamond

      This is both amazing and also horrifying and I love it.

  • Brooke W

    My roommate likes to have pressure on her head so when she’s stressed you can often find her with a towel covering her head while she pulls on the bottom. It scrunches her face so she looks like a chubby nun…it’s hilarious

  • Lena

    I try my best to avoid stepping on the cracks in the sidewalks making the occasional jump to hop over one. I’ve never told this to anyone before and I’m curious to know if anyone’s noticed.
    Lena xoxo

    • Amelia Diamond

      meee too actually

  • ashton

    I too impulsively clean things, be it my work space, my apartment, or in the case of last night, the storage space in the basement. My boyfriend had mentionned last week that he wanted to take some time to organize and go through some of the nameless junk we keep down there. Maybe he mentioned it with the intention of me catching on and steeling it for my own compulisive cleaning frenzie.

  • Melissa

    Ditto the hair curling and worse than that I tend to chew on my hair. I saw an episode of 1,000 Ways to Die where a girl died from chewing on her hair because there was a giant hairball in her stomach. That said, I don’t chew my hair hard enough to break any of it nor do I swallow it. But I do it often enough that I have to keep my hair pulled up if I have something important going on or if I am stressed.

  • Anon

    I look for patterns in numbers. For example, I was really pleased with a bill for $9.81 today…because 9×9=81 and 1+8=9. It’s the little things in life. Also, I only set the volume on odd numbers.

    • AB

      I only set the volume on even numbers! Odds make me cringe.

      • DimiG

        5s and 0s… Nothing else.

    • Lindsay

      When I was in jr high, I would make the numbers on a clock calculate to 0 [example: if it were 2:30, (2+3)*0=0], and it would keep me up for hours at night or I’d stand in front of the microwave clock in the kitchen forever because I’d wait for the clock to turn to the next minute. I started getting kind of panicky about it so my mom started replacing all our clocks with analog, but what finally helped me stop doing it was changing from calculating 0 to 1 (can always be done) and pre-calculating an hour at a time.

  • I have to have a fan on when I sleep, even in the middle of winter. Without it, the air just feels too STILL. This was never an issue before my mid twenties.

  • Anukshi

    My phone must always be on silent and placed face down (not that it helps to avoid distraction, at all). I can’t eat comfortably if I’m not watching something on TV or on my laptop, even at work. Hardly eat out or with other people.

  • when I ride the T to work in the mornings (for you non-Bostonians, the T is the citywide subway/trolley system), I have to board the first car and sit in this one particular seat, otherwise my day feels totally different. if the seat in question is unavailable, I make do with my designated back up seat but still feel cheated out of a good day. crazy times, I know.


    • yes. I live in DC and I always ride the last metro car, enter in through the first door, and have to have the second seat down on the right side. In the afternoons its the same, except I get on the first metro car.

  • Sandrine

    Whenever I get a new book, I just smell it for like 5 seconds because I love the smell of the new paper… Perhaps everyone thinks I’m an alien when I’m at the library, but it’s just an habbit for me!

    • Amelia Diamond

      I love the smell of old school copy machine paper, when it would come out warm at school, remember that!

      • pamb

        In Fast Times at Ridgemont High there is a brief scene where all the kids in the class smell their test papers for the ‘ditto machine high’. I’m not sure any youngsters would get that, now.

  • Laura Mitchell

    I scrunch my left eyebrow! Poor sucker has a bald spot. I also chew on my lips and pick at my nails.

  • Grace

    I spray my room. Every night. With bug spray to keep cockroaches away. I also can’t sleep without a fan blowing directly in my face.

  • Mary

    I touch things. Much enamored of a fresh No.2 pencil eraser, in particular.

  • I have a weird way of keeping my place clean at all times. Especially before I got to bed. I adjust the pillows, straighten the throw on the couch, etc etc. I love waking up to a clean place.


  • Victoria

    I can’t set my alarm clock on any multiple of 5 for the minutes. For example, i’ll set it at 6:42am instead of 6:40. I don’t know why I do that, it’s weird but i gave to do it haha the last digit also has to be an even number

    • PrettyFritz

      ME 2! I’ve always thought of it as the weirdest habit, because i doesn’t even like numbers, but i can’t seem to stop…

    • kellymcd

      YES. Except my alarms are all set for 3 minutes to the closest 5 minute interval. I don’t get up at 7:00AM, I get up at 7:03AM. Everyone I ever admit this to thinks I’m totally crazy, but I realize I AM NOT ALONE! Hurrah!

  • Erin

    If I have gel nails, I have to keep petting them to feel how smooth they are.

    • Amelia Diamond

      the best feeling

  • I add up any single numbers I can lay my eyes on (license numbers? I love you!) … Mind you: my maths skills haven’t blossomed because of that …

    • Amelia Diamond

      i bet they have and you don’t know it though!

      • That’s possible 🙂 but I wonder … see, being born in December means I need to calculate how old I am, whenever asked – I am mostly unable to answer that spontaneously. You look at me, ask about my age and my brain will do stuff like “OK, I was born in 1972 and now we have 2014. 2014 minus 1972 is 42, but I am not 42 yet, because we have errr …. April! right now. So I must be 42 minus 1 which would be 41.”
        Since those slow brain churnings seem to look funny most times, on the outside, I have decided I am 39 this year. It’s sooo much easier: I just need to remember the word 🙂 And I’ll be 38 as of December this year.

  • Kiri Yanchenko

    I like to keep my shoes in really nice condition so I clean their soles with rubber stamp cleaner – I always get them soled when they are new with rubber soles so I don’t fall over..

  • I can’t let my toenails touch the bed/sheets. I sleep on my stomach, so my toes are lying flat on the bed… but I cannot have this. And it’s gotten way worse over the last decade or so. I have to sleep with my feet off the bed. That wasn’t a big deal when I had a full-size bed, but now I have a king and end up halfway down the bed just to get in that position. It drives my much-taller boyfriend nuts. I figure it a bonus that he doesn’t have to smell my morning breath.

    • Amelia Diamond

      huh! what about wearing socks?

      • I think it’s something about the pressure, not necessarily the sheets themselves. Plus, my feet get super hot, so hanging them off the bed has the added bonus of keeping ’em cool!

  • I’ve suddenly turned into my Mother, which is alarming, having spent my whole life being told how similar I am to my dad. My boyfriend is working away at the moment, and left to my own devices, our flat has suddenly become super tidy and organised (admittedly not yet at the show-home levels my mum keeps her flat in, but still…) and I become distressed if I haven’t ‘straightened up’ before bed.
    I also CANNOT stand it if the fastenings are anywhere other than the bottom end of the duvet. Nope.

  • disqus_ut1kAlAlc8

    I hold and rubbing the corner of a small cotton towel to sleep.

    • Amelia Diamond


      • disqus_ut1kAlAlc8

        But I am a forty, married female,and not yet ready to have any kid.

  • bettyboop

    This is so funny. I used to sleep with a large toy donkey over me, much like the sweat shirt situation. The weight of the donkey and darkness of it soothed me. It was still on me in the morning. I didnt like the plastic hooves though! http://www.rachel-moss.com

  • Lauracrosby9

    When I’m stressed or feeling anxious or remember something I did that makes me cringe I count backwards from any number until I get to zero or I start singing a song. The bigger the number I start with the more stressed/anxious/cringed out I am. I guess its a coping mechanism but honestly its probably the oddest thing I do.

    • Lauracrosby9

      I also have an unhealthy obsession with black BIC Biro pens, and it is my life mission to use up the ink in one of them.

  • christinaoo

    I hold my breath under tunnels (manageable in most parts of LA) and make a wish, under billboards on the freeway (someone in my youth once told me this would put 75 cents in my pocket each time I did this), and in the shower when I’m shaving my pits just because.

    xx, Christina

    • Amelia Diamond

      I knock the window while driving through yellow lights

  • lydpage

    I can not drink from a cup if the ice cubes are stuck together in a clump. They must be floating separately, plastic cups are best to drink out of with this issue because you can squeeze the cup to let the cubes to float freely…

  • Jennydep

    I cannot use the same side of a towel to dry my face and my nether regions. As a solution, I always use the end of the towel with the tag to dry from shoulders up and the opposite end for the rest of my body. Also, I don’t let anyone sit on my bed wearing clothes that they’ve been outside with. Who knows what your jeans have been contaminated with while you sat on that movie theater seat. I certainly don’t want it contaminating my clean bed.

    • Amelia Diamond

      hhahhaha my friend anna would literally stab us if we put backpacks on her bed after school. i love that you don’t allow outside clothes on your bed.

    • Inkygrl


  • AmandaB

    Haha i love this post! Its so true, as you become older you become weirder. I can completely sympathize with the hair twirling, and the table re- arrangements. OCD can get the best of my sometimes, but the other day i took it too a whole new level when i couldn’t deal with the refrigerator being disorganized! Needless to say, i lost my marbles because of the frigerator! Go figure!

  • Paula McClelland

    Thanks Amelia and comments section – I think I’m doing pretty well after reading this 😛

  • tired student

    When I’ve been studying for a while and need a break I’ll often pop up into a headstand. I find being upside down weirdly refreshing/calming.