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What Your Irrational Fear Says About You

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When you dig deep into your psyche and sniff out the cheap seats in the back, what kind of weirdo worries and neuroses do you find? Do you discover that off-looking tile you avoid in your parents’ kitchen? The way you check to make sure you have your keys two seconds after putting them in your bag? How about the way you leap onto your bed just in case — JUST IN CASE — that girl from The Sixth Sense is waiting patiently beneath for a nice pair of ankles to grab?

There are so many odd little fears baked into the way we do things and it’s about time we addressed what they truly say about us. So snuggle up, draw the blinds and put some garlic on your door because it’s about to get seriously scary in here.

Fear of ordering a variation on a menu item

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You’d gladly pay a premium for food you don’t like that much in exchange for the warm and fuzzy pleasure of a 17-year-old kid thinking you’re easy going. Your biggest secret is you don’t like tomatoes and the only thing worse than a big juicy one hidden in your sandwich is the agony of giving your server a 1-second wrist cramp by asking them to write that down.

There’s just no nice way to say “Could I by chance get that without tomatoes please but no big deal if it’s not possible also I adopted my dog and am available to help you with your homework later for free.”

Fear of running into an ex in your sweats

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You’re not sure of much but you do know one thing: your self-worth is tied directly and intimately to how attractive your ex thinks you are. If you run into them with sweatpants on your body then they’ll have a light bulb moment containing the following realizations: you were never a good partner to them, they are inherently better than you and you’re probably dating several subway rats.

That you aren’t interested in them nor have any desire to be with them has no bearing on the level of importance you place on their opinion of you.

Fear of telling your uber driver they are going the wrong way

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Sure, maybe you’ve lived in the neighborhood for six years and could zip around these streets with your eyes closed, but isn’t it possible that this driver who was hired on Sunday knows better than you? Isn’t it possible that your brain just stopped working, like, 12 seconds ago? Maybe you’re actually dumb and don’t know stuff.

Even if not, you’d rather be late than be so bold as to tell your driver they are going the wrong way down a one-way. As no one in their right mind ever said: better off dead than rude.

Fear of wearing the same dress as someone else

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Showing up to a party in the same dress as your friend immediately broadcasts to all attending that your clothing is not bespoke and that makes you shake in your boots (which you shamefully did not cobble yourself). You’re not sure what’s worse: showing up to a party naked or people knowing you shop at stores. The kicker is that everyone at the party will remember this moment because they definitely aren’t too focused on their own weird shit to worry about yours.

You call yourself a big fan of the tap-dancing twins emoji but if you’re honest it sends a shiver down your spine.

Fear of disappointing salespeople by not buying what they’re selling

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Nothing gets your guilt engine rumbling quicker than a compliment from a salesperson who financially benefits from giving it. You may have entered the store looking for a very specific shoe for your sister’s wedding and you may be on a budget after your car broke down on the highway last week but what even is your actual physical safety compared to the puppy dog eyes of the guy who just told you that $17,000 bag ought to be glued to your fucking shoulder it looks so good?

Your car that’s literally on fire can wait. Not buying the bag would only disappoint this random person for like ten seconds and rob them of a 10-15% commission.

Fear of asking what a word means

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You’re pretty sure you got an education but what if you accidentally missed a whole chunk of it? You know, the part where everyone learns all the words? This seems plausible, so you tread lightly.

If you ask what the wrong word means then not only do you undermine every bit of hard work you’ve done to build your reputation as a person with half a brain, but you might actually — and this would be worse than sawing off your own head — make someone around you feel better for having the same question.

Fear of telling your hairstylist how you really feel

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You just know deep down in your bones that your hairdresser has been waiting their entire life to hear four little words crawl lifelessly out of your unsmiling mouth: “Aw, I like it.” So who are you to rob them of self-realization?

Telling them the truth might mean your hair gets fixed or your money gets saved or someone else’s hair gets spared but are any of those worth it if your hairdresser — who is being paid to make you look better — is privy to tenderly-provided constructive feedback that they miserably failed?

You think not and you may even tip them extra for the shitty job.

Illustrations by Meghann Stephenson. You can follow Meghann on Instagram and Tumblr.

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Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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