Quirks. We all have them. That’s what makes us unique. And fun. And sometimes irritating to others.
When I was married, I didn’t know some of my quirks were irritating. I did what I did and honestly, didn’t think about it. Mostly because he never told me. Hence… the beginning of our downfall.
Most people don’t even know they have quirks. Or they think the ones they have are normal. For example, I have to make sure the closet door is closed before I go to bed. I have no idea when this started but probably sometime after my dad snuck me in to see the movie Friday the 13th when I was nine. I did a lot of things differently after seeing (or hearing because several times he told me not to look) that movie but at least I don’t check under my bed anymore. Machetes cannot go through both of my mattresses at the same time with one single jab!
When my son was small, I would make sure his closet door was closed, too. For safety. Now that he’s older and I don’t tuck him in anymore, I just assumed (right?) that he closed it. One night a few months ago, I went into his room before bed. I reached over and pushed it shut. He laughed. “Why do you do that?” He asked. “Because it’s gotta be closed,” I say in such dismay because I can’t believe he doesn’t make sure it’s shut, too. “You’re so weird.” What? I’m the weird one?
Yes, I thought to make sure the closet door was shut before bedtime was normal. I was doing him a favor. I just knew that he shut it tight, too. But no. It’s just a quirk I have.
As I put away groceries, I pull the safety tab off the new jug of milk before I put it in the fridge. I thought I was being helpful to the first person who needed milk. Nope. It’s a quirk.
I like to put a napkin under my spoon that I use to stir my coffee. To me, it helps keep the countertop from getting dirty. My mom pointed out that quirk. “Melissa must be here. There’s a napkin under the spoon.”
I am sure I have many other lovable quirks. Just as everyone has strange little things they do. Sometimes they are funny. Other times you may not notice. Until they stop doing it. No longer around to pull the milk tab. Or they could just be so bothersome that it drives you crazy.
Ask them why they do what they do. You may be surprised by the answer. People’s rational thoughts are just theirs. We can’t dare to understand them. Unless we ask. If we take a moment and ask (non-judgementally, of course) “why do you have a pair of scissors in every room?” Well, because: A) I don’t want to ruin my nails B) As I am ripping a bag open, I don’t want it to pop open and spill out everywhere C) I don’t want to show my weakness by not being able to get the damn bag open D) I don’t want to ruin my teeth E) I like the nice clean edge scissors give. See? Easy.
Of course, frustrations grow when the answer is “I don’t know.” I mean, really? Come on… surely you have a reason for adamantly turning down the radio in your car before you turn off the ignition. (Old boyfriend… basically, he didn’t want to start his car and have the radio blast in his ears. See? Easy. Makes complete sense especially for someone completely anal and that hated loud noises.)
Or when someone gets defensive when pointing out such quirks. This comes down to my mom’s favorite line when we were young, “It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.” Still holds true today. That’s why, when I am afraid something is going to come out wrong or insensitive, I merely say, “Ok. I don’t really know how to say this without it coming out ugly, but…” Or something like that. Make it your own! If they truly feel like you want to know and are not poking fun of them, then (hopefully) they will respond.
Of course, if it is something goofy and makes no sense whatsoever, you have every right to poke fun. Like my milk tab. They make fun of me and I don’t care. I am still going to pull it off and throw it away because secretly, I know they appreciate it.