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17 June 2011

The Friday Night Question, as chosen at random from The Book of Questions...[More:]

#97: What are your most compulsive habits? Do you struggle regularly to break those habits?
Well, cigarettes, obviously. When I'm stressed or tired or otherwise uncomfortable, it's sadly fantastic how many of those fuckers I can suck down.

Otherwise, I play with my beard a lot when I'm fidgety (which is often). Just grab a bit between my index or middle finger and thumb and twist (but not in a maniacal cartoon villain way).

The smokes: I haven't ever had a real go at quitting, though I know I need to (duh). The beard twisting, I'm generally okay with as long as I'm not at a job interview or something.
posted by ufez 17 June | 18:27
Fiddling with my hair. I used to get nailed for it on every refereeing evaluation. It's like an tic almost.

I try to avoid doing it at work, even though I usually fail. I typically can manage to not do it when talking to my boss, but when I'm at my desk working or thinking, I'm usually twisting it and flipping it around.
posted by sperose 17 June | 18:56
* Biting (my fingers, my nails, the inside of my mouth) and clicking my teeth together. I do try to stop, because my fingernails look like crap and the clicking seems to turn into grinding at night.

* Reading. I get seriously panicked when I don't have a book with a significant number of unread pages with me at all times. I've never tried to break this one, but I have been trying to go to the library rather than the bookstore lately.
posted by occhiblu 17 June | 19:22
I do the beard-fiddling thing, and also the nail-biting thing if I'm under stress. I try to avoid them, and sometimes I go a long time without doing either one, but they definitely creep back when I don't pay attention. I guess they're hard-wired, somehow.

I'm also a little bit compulsive about walking a long distance on a sidewalk or floor with a pattern on it, whether it's seams in a sidewalk or a tiled pattern in a mall floor or something. I notice the pattern on the ground and try to hit some kind of consistent rhythm with my steps, but only if I'm by myself- if I'm walking and talking with other people I don't pay attention to it. Which I hope means I'm not THAT compulsive. I don't try to avoid this habit- it's just a thing.
posted by BoringPostcards 17 June | 19:48
Picking at the skin around my fingernails. It's been a lifelong habit, usually when I'm stressed (either knowingly or unknowingly). It's actually led to some numbness around the edges of my nails. I hate it - I grow nice nails (not ridiculous things, but nice nails) but I can't have anyone admire them because my fingers are in various stages of chewed.

Right now they aren't bad. It's something I try not to do, but invariably will find myself fiddling with my fingers unconciously.
posted by redvixen 17 June | 20:39
I pull out my hair. Not enough to make bald patches, usually just 5 or 6 while I'm trying to go to sleep. When I was 11 or so I had pulled out enough that I had a bald patch from the crown of my head to my forehead about an inch wide. That scared me enough that I stopped cold for years and years. I'd rather not have that happen again, so I'd like to stop even though it's not that much each night. It's hard.

I chew on my nails once in a while. Getting braces broke me of the habit many years ago, but it pops up now and then.

I know my habit of diet Coke isn't good for me (2 litres or so per day), but I'm not trying to break myself of it.
posted by deborah 17 June | 20:41
Chewing my lips. Even when they were raw and bloody I'd still chew them. Then I got into lip balms and a few months ago I found the Mother of All Lip Balms - A&D Ointment. Now my lips are soft and kissable.
posted by Senyar 17 June | 20:57
Now my lips are soft and kissable.

posted by BoringPostcards 17 June | 21:13
Ahhhh cigarettes. One of these days (soon, I hope) I will kick the little fuckers once and for all.
posted by mygothlaundry 17 June | 21:35
Picking at the skin on my hands. I've been trying to drop that habit for years, and in recent weeks I've done really well. When I can stop and let the skin heal, it gets so smooth that I lose (some of) the compulsion. But all it takes is one stressful day and I tear it up again, and then the cycle starts again.

It's reassuring to see that some of you have the same habit. That makes me feel a lot less weird and broken that I do it.
posted by Elsa 17 June | 22:31
Sweets. Eating sweets.
posted by flapjax at midnite 17 June | 22:57
Chew my nails. It's been a battle since I was little. I've had limited success over the years: a few months here and there where I'll spend a lot of time grooming my nails and not chewing them, but I always get right back to it eventually.
posted by rhapsodie 17 June | 23:42
TV. I turn it on first thing in the morning; it's on as I fall asleep at night (Jon often turns it off after I doze off); it's on while I grade papers, fold laundry, read the newspaper. If I'm moving between bedroom and living room I'll have it on in both rooms (one TV's HD and the other's not, and there's an echo). I'm a definite addict. (Is there such a thing as TV rehab?) It's just so soothing. If it's off and I'm home, I get jittery.
posted by Pips 18 June | 05:48
I use to pick at the skin around the corners of my nails something awful when I was younger but it hasn't been an issue in the longest time. What I can't seem to stop is sucking my cheeks and there doesn't seem to be a damn thing I can do to stop it.
posted by ethylene 18 June | 13:32
Fear and doubt. And yes, I struggle.
posted by Eideteker 18 June | 17:58
Smoking. After giving up for over three years, I started again a while ago and, despite several attempts, am still at it.
posted by dg 19 June | 21:56
I love staying in bed and reading. I am always fighting my urge to do that.

And I too have picked at the skin around my nails for ages. My main weapon in fighting that is manicures. The desire not to mess up the manicure usually wins out over the compulsion to pick.
posted by bearwife 21 June | 16:05
I do smoke now, but I've only got a few years left of that since I went into it knowing when I wanted to quit.

When I was a kid, I used to count things to seven. It was the number of times I tapped my toothbrush against the side of the sink to get the water off. I counted every single step I took, up to seven, and then started over again. I don't know when or why I stopped the step counting thing, but still do the toothbrush thing.

I pick at my cuticles and I guess I try and stop. At least when I'm around other people. I guess. Mostly.
posted by youngergirl44 22 June | 15:59
Astonishing photo. || Another Friday Night Question.