Strange Addictions & Habits–Do They All Have to Have Meaning?


Sigmund Freud 

This past week I was sick with a cold, and, once I got to feeling better, I stripped all the bedding and went to Febreze the room and…I could not find my cans of Febreze. This might not seem all that eventful, except I have a habit; a weird, strange whacky habit that I have been trying to break. We’re gonna play armchair psychiatrist today. It’ll be fun :D.

I am addicted to Febreze. Stop laughing.

I think I have all of these.

I use “addicted” in a very loose sense. I am not spending my son’s college fund on Febreze, but I do seem to buy a lot of it. More than seems normal. In fact, I find myself going straight for the aisle of house cleaning supplies, eager to see if they have any new fragrances available, even though I still have at least a half a dozen cans at home yet to be used.

I know this sounds insane, but over the years it seems like I always have one strange addiction that, when I get rid of it…a new one takes it’s place. And none of my addictions are anything that will land me in jail or rehab, but they still makes me scratch my head and wonder, “WTH?”

Years ago, I was addicted to office supplies. It seemed I could not make a trip to the store that I didn’t at least purchase pens, notecards, highlighters or rubber bands.  I still cannot go to a Staples without a list and a will of iron. I think this addiction stemmed from childhood. My mother was the one who always made me bring extra school supplies for the kids who came from underprivileged families so they wouldn’t be embarrassed. My mother would stock my bag with extra boxes of Crayons and notebook paper that I could slip to the kids who didn’t have any. I was the “Go To Gal” for glue, rubber cement, colored pipe cleaners and googly-eyes of all sizes. Scissors? I could totally hook you up.

I am from a military family, and we believe that, “Three is two. Two is one, and one is none.” Translation? Be prepared….for everything.

One day, I realized that the office supply thing was getting out of hand, thus forbade myself to buy any office supplies until I was really, truly, genuinely OUT. My calculations put that date at November 13, 2024.

…so I started buying “Thank You” notes. “Thank You” notes of all varieties and sizes and shapes, which wouldn’t have been so bad if I ever remembered to send them. When I forbade myself to buy anymore “Thank You” notes? Cleaning supplies took over. When we moved into our new house almost two years ago, I swear I must have had enough cleaning supplies to shine the entire neighborhood. It took me a year to use up all the cleaning supplies I had stockpiled. I guess if the Zombie Apocalypse struck I wanted to have plenty of Swiffer refills just in case. *slaps forehead*

So you guys can guess what took the place of the cleaning supplies. You got it.


At one time I had at least two cans of it in every room. Febreze in every scent. Febreze in the new holiday scents. Limited time only fragrance? I am so there. New Zealand Springs? They had me at “New Zealand.” Ooooh…had to have it. Oh, and at Wal-Mart I can get the two pack for $5.00. At Target, I have to pay $2.53 each.

Yes, I am only saving .06 but that adds up when you have a habit like mine :D.

Oh, but this brings me to a weird habit. My husband makes fun of me because I have a compulsive need to add numbers in my head and then take it down to its root (if that root is a whole number). For instance, if I see the date April 28, 2011, I instinctively add 4 + 2 + 8 + 2 +0 +1 + 1=18…. 1+8 =9 and taken to its root is 3. I do this with addresses, dates, you name it. I actually am freakishly accurate tallying the grocery bill in line (tax included).

I have no idea why I do this or where it came from. Just like I really do not understand why I feel the need to have Febreze in every room of the house. Well, I DID have Febreze in every room of the house until I started noticing my Febreze addiction was getting a wee out of hand. Now I am down to one can…which I had taped behind the toilet tank :D.

But this makes me think how unique all of us are. We all have these strange habits, addictions, compulsions and tics. Some of them make sense and some just never will. These odd behaviors are what make us unique, whether it is collecting smarta$$ t-shirts or a compulsive need to touch the doorframe before we unlock the front door. Some of these habits have a story behind them, and others? Well, they just seemed to spring to life all on their own.

What are some weird habits and addictions you guys have?

I collect bodies under my house.

Kidding! *laughs awkwardly*

Let’s keep it light. Do any of you guys have odd hobbies or collections?  Maybe you collect shot glasses or bobble-head dolls? Cabbage Patch paraphenalia? Do you have any odd rituals? Do you think all habits and rituals have a root source? Or are some habits just spontaneous, with no psychological root? Come on! Let’s play armchair psychiatrist!

I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of April, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of April I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

Important Announcements

Will post this week’s/ month’s winner later today. Check back, please.

May 9-13, 2011, I will be teaching an on-line Building Your Author Brand with Social Media Class for only $15 to support the wonderful Long Island Romance Writers.

Tomorrow!!!!!  I will be teaching TWO social media classes at the Books ‘n Authors and All that Jazz Conference this Saturday at Weatherford College in Weatherford, TX. The conference is FREE.

My new book, “Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer” will be out in less than a month!

Until next time….

In the meantime, if you don’t already own a copy, my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writers Guide to Social Media is recommended by literary agents and endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors. My method is free, fast, simple and leaves time to write more books.


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  1. I can’t drink Cherry Coke out of anything except a plastic bottle. I will even hold on to Cherry Coke bottles so that when I buy 2 liters I can pour it in there…and Cherry Coke is the only one I do this with…lol

  2. I used to drink about 5 – 8 Diet Cokes & Coke Zeroes a day. Yep. Gave them up cold turkey 2 months ago and now I chew through a pack of gum every day. EVERY day. Can you hear me smacking? It’s rude, but even typing Coke Zero makes me whimper.

    Maybe I can pick up your Febreeze habit. . .

    1. You made me think of another addiction I have. Stride chewing gum. I chew at least a pack of spearmint (must be spearmint) a day, LOL. I have to buy it in bulk and BOY is Coke Zero addictive. I have to becareful with that one, too.

  3. I love it! I can’t stand still. I’m always dancing. This isn’t too bad when it’s just stretching or pliés or something, but you watch if you’re standing behind me and I do an arabesque. I kicked a guy in the nuts doing that once. He fell over. It was rather amusing…

    With me I have to be drawing. That’s an addiction. At school and that I’ll doodle in my planner or on my books, or I’ll write on my hand. I just have to write. So I’ll go through for weeks ahead in my diary and write in everything I’m doing, or I’ll write a poem on my arm (did that in an exam and got in trouble…) or something. My friends can’t understand it.

    I don’t tend to buy anything, but I do go to the library every week and borrow lots of books! Or I raid my sister’s shelves, or my parents’, which has led to some interesting discoveries…

  4. It is weird, isn’t? I love office supplies, diaries being my weak spot. Although, I don’t buy; I just scan the shelfs for hours. Maybe that is even more weird…

    And I used to collect movie tickets. That’s right: movie tickets. I was proud of being addicted to movies. I still have them; it is about 500 tickets.

    • Patti Mallett on April 29, 2011 at 3:14 pm
    • Reply

    Hey Kristen, You are entertaining as always, and I appreciate your vulnerability with your readers (us). Years ago, when very undernourished from a whole slew of new food allergies, before any treatments, I was severely addicted to both Dove soap and 409 spray cleaner. (People rolled their eyes and laughed at me, too.) Two things I loved most were lathering up in the shower or cleaning the bathroom (small room=more scent floating in the air). Man, did I have a clean bathroom. Oh, yeah, I was also addicted to popcorn/rice cakes, which I’ve seen come to understand was my body’s need for “starch.” (All is well. Got the allergies treated, gained the weight back.) Couldn’t use 409 now without landing in bed. For many years I’ve had a severe sensitivity to all “chemicals” (found in air fresheners, candles, lotions, perfumes, cleaning supplies, etc. They knock me flat, sometimes for days.) But when you have addictive tendencies, it’s always something. Now it’s: Pens, pencils and those little colored erasers for on top, and library books, got to have them, check them out (in hoarder) fashion, smiling with glee the whole way home. And notebooks, when I find a sale, stacks of those come home and get piled in a closet, where they don’t last too long because there is always a subject I want to learn about in one of those books I’ve brought home, and then I take one down and begin jotting down notes. Oh, yes, sticky tabs. *laughing* People would definitely say that I’m weird about those, using them constantly and have passed this love onto my four-year-old granddaughter who loves putting them in her books. ; ) How does all of this affect my writing? Hmmm. Is it helpful or does it tie me up with other things when I would be better served to be working on a story? I do wonder if all of the notebooks of information will prove useful or only frustrating. Question: Is it better to know a little bit about a lot of things or a lot about a few things, as a writer? Am I going to change? Probably not. None of it will land me in jail, either, or hurt anyone else. And it’s fun. BUT, I am going to pay more attention to how much time these “interests” are taking away from my WIP. Thanks for that!

    1. I don’t think they always take away. I believe that if we can infuse our characters with these odd “harmless” habits, it makes them more real. Trust me, I am taking notes as you guys share :D.

    • Patti Mallett on April 29, 2011 at 3:15 pm
    • Reply

    Wow! That was long! Sorry to be so wordy, Kristen. (Like you have nothing better to do.)

    1. No! Don’t apologize at all! I love thoughtful comments like these! <3

        • Patti Mallett on April 29, 2011 at 7:31 pm
        • Reply


  5. I recently confessed to my husband my compelling need to count rhythms.

    You could ask me how many steps it took to get from the office to the kitchen, how many times I turned the clock key to wind it up, how many times the weatherman blinked, how many times the ceiling fan turned a full rotation in a certain amount of time, how many times the alarm beeped… etc. I can usually tell you the exact number.

    I don’t know why, but I count these things. If I don’t literally count them 1..2..3..4..5.. I’ll tap my foot or my finger to them. Or I’ll count in patterns. 1..2..3..4..1..2..3..4..1..2… and on and on and on. I do that a lot with walking. >.<

  6. If I’m in a public place, I need to sit with my back to the wall. And I instinctively check to see where the exits are. Trust issues? Yeah, kinda. But it probably stems from my tendency to frequent biker bars in my younger days.

    I also have an abnormal compulsion to bake when the weather’s crappy. My family and friends all know to show up at my place in the afternoon on miserable days. Speaking of which, it’s snowing today in Calgary. For the second day in a row. Anybody want some cookies? How about hot cross buns? Or banana bread? Please?

  7. This sort of thing is always interesting to me, even outside my profession (clinical psychology). My own personal addictions: sticky flags (I always want at LEAST three colors available for flagging recipes I want to try in my cooking magazines or interesting passages in books), cheese (I never have fewer than four varieties in my fridge), hot tea (it is my go-to stress buster), and, oh yeah, definitely school supplies. I haven’t been IN school (as a student) in years, but every august I have a NEED to buy spiral notebooks and new pens and folders. Oh, I’m also weird about hoarding notepads at work. The steno notebook kind and full legal pads. Once I get beyond about the first third of the pad, I HAVE to go grab a fresh one from the supply room to have in reserve. Some of my past quirks were being a total Nazi about how my bathroom towels were hung (in perfect thirds, right after the shower) and the bed absolutely HAVING to be made. I gave up both of those when I married my husband (who is a slob to my neat freak), but now that we’re trying to sell our house, they’re coming back WITH A VENGEANCE.

    What is interesting to me is that so often these strange addictions and habits are somehow, when you drill down to the core, about control. I think we so often pick some quirky thing and gravitate toward it because that ONE THING (or six) we can control when other things are going nuts.

    1. I see that with most of my habits, but the Febreze one sitll has me stumped, LOL. I clean all the time, so it isn’t like I am trying to “cover” something. I think I might be making it more than it really is….or maybe I am trying to cover the smell of the bodies I collect under my house–Mwa ha ha ha ha.

      1. Well when the behavior began, you had to find using febreeze somehow reinforcing. You got SOMETHING out of it, whether the scent reduced some anxiety or noxious smell or whatever. That’s classical conditioning. And since it was sense of smell involved, that means it was visceral, at a deep level. And obviously you kept finding it reinforcing to use it. Maybe you find the new smells comforting or they take you to a safe place or… Okay yeah, I’m out of psychobabble…

      2. Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder used to provide a high for me while my sons were babies.

      • Patti Mallett on April 29, 2011 at 7:35 pm
      • Reply

      Relating to so much of this. Whew! We are not alone! (Does that last line sound vaguely familiar to you???)

  8. When eating M&M’s or skittles or any little colored candy like that, I have to eat them in even numbers, the same color to each side of my mouth – example, I get a handful of M&M’s and there’s 3 blues and 1 green? I split the green in half and eat it first, then split a blue in half and divide, then the last two blues get eaten, one to each side.

    I can’t say I’m that compulsive with many other things. Those little candies though….they get me every time. I always look like a nut.

    1. Peanut M&M’s caused me so much grief, one semester, when I bought a 1-pound bag to get myself through a stack of research papers I had to grade. By the end of the semester, I was up at least two dress sizes!

      I told my students that I based their grades on the number of times I hit the M&M’s while I was reading their papers.

      1. Stupid M&M’s! Someone take them off the shelves, they’re more of a nuisance than anything!

    2. I totally do that too!! Have to eat little candies, nuts and grapes in even numbers. Drives me bonkers if I can’t. LOL.

    • Kimberly on April 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm
    • Reply

    I totally understand. I could hoarde shower gel and bubble bath for Canada. And I’m with you on the pens too. I’m only allowed to be in Staples for 5 minutes at a time, or else I would need a second drawer.

      • Patti Mallett on April 29, 2011 at 7:37 pm
      • Reply

      hahahahahaha (Me, too.)

      1. I used to be bad about buying too much shampoo and shower gel. I now have to WILL myslef to use them up before buying more. No, I have not been featured on an episode of “Hoarders”…I am just overly…prepared.

  9. Cheetos. M&Ms. Bling. Not necessarily in that order. Ooooooooooooooooooh….shiny object! (munch-munch-munch)

    • Kathy Garuti on April 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm
    • Reply

    Even when I buy a new handbag, I keep looking at them. It seems I have to look at all the pockets and compartments. My husband has never understood my need to just look. My other quirk is if one is good two is better or “Oh it comes in colors.”

    1. It’s nice to meet a fellow purse-junkie. Certainly there must be a 12-step program out there….that is, if I were to join Purseaholics Anonymous…which I won’t. 🙂

  10. This post is hilarious! And I love all of the comments. =) I used to be in dance team, and a year ago I realized that I water all of my plants to 8-counts (big bushes and shrubs get 3 8-counts, large flowering plants get 2, and little individulas only get 1 8-count). I also use 8-counts to straighten or curl my hair. I’ve been out of dance for about six years now…

      • Patti Mallett on April 29, 2011 at 7:38 pm
      • Reply

      So funny, I love this!! Seriously, WANA!!!

  11. Kristen, it’s nice to know you’re a fellow paper-clip junkie. My fiance kids me every time we pass Staples, as office supplies cause my nostrils to flare and my breath to quicken.

    My other addiction is purses. Right now, I’m semi-reformed, but one time when I did E-bay, I hauled home about fifteen purses from the post office. Now that’s weird!

  12. I have a routine every morning before work – I goto Sonic to get a Route 44 Diet coke…………….if anyone interferes with this ritual – watch out cause it can ruin my day!!

  13. I never drive to someplace and back home again by the same route. I also let the stop lights and the flow of traffic determine my route most of the time, so it’s random. Of course, I know why I do this. I grew up in a dangerous city and it was always a good idea not to let someone who might be watching you guess where you were going or what route you might be taking. Old habits die hard.

  14. These are fascinating. The majority here seem to have the office supply habit. I can spend hours in an office supply store. I probably own enough pens and notebooks to last until I’m 92. If they could invent a Febreze that smells like a freshly sharpened pencil, I’d be all over it. I’ve always been this way. When I was 2 years old, I drank a bottle of ink.

    It would be interesting to do a study to see if people with office supply habits as children tend to become writers.

      • Patti Mallett on April 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm
      • Reply

      Interesting idea about the Fabreeze. (Love those little plastic sharpeners, too. Never understood it was the smell as well as those pricky-sharp points, till now.)

      1. I would totally buy “New Notebook” Febreze :D.

          • Cynthia on April 30, 2011 at 6:34 am
          • Reply

          How about “New Car” Febreze?

  15. Perfect Friday Fun! I am “Monkish” with my peculiar habits and addictions. My friends and family are afraid I will spray them with fabreeze when they walk in the door, I think I have 5 bottles in my laundry room now – I love things that smell good! I keep candles in stock in the house as if I should open a wicks and sticks store myself – again, things that smell good. I have Glade airfreshner plug-ins throughout my house – YES, I have a problem! I also know if anything in my house has been moved, and I put it right back without even thinking about it. I could go on, and on. I have issues….

    • Tamara LeBlanc on April 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm
    • Reply

    I have two addictions. One is normal, the other is really strange and unexplained.
    1) I’m addicted to Skinny Cow Caramel Truffle ice Cream bars. At 100 calories each they are the perfect “healthy”, creamy, yummy desert.
    2) the strange habit I have is buying Clausen pickles. Nearly every time I go to Wal-Mart I buy a jar. Now that wouldn’t sound strange if we actually ate the pickles…but no one in my family eats them. I have two unopened jars in the fridge in my kitchen 6 in my pantry, 3 in the fridge in the garage and another 7 in the extra pantry in the garage…um, WTH?
    I have no clue why I have to buy the jars of pickles (and they’re always Calusen. I’m a very monogomous nut job) And I can’t bring myself to return them. We had more, but my husband took those back.
    I could see if it was coffee or milk or Skinny Cow for that matter. We consume all of those things. But we don’t eat pickles…EVER.
    So, yes, I have a very odd problem that must be addressed. And until you just mentioned your Febreeze addiction, I really didn’t see how absolutely crazy my pickle thing is.
    Thank you for opening my eyes, and for the funny post!
    Have a great weekend!

  16. I’m not sure of the root if such things, however I do have a Addiction of Clorox. I spray everything. Once my husband came home with a different brand cleaner, it still sits in my cupboard. I tried it, it didn’t work, I went and bought clorox.
    I can’t go to town without buying ribbon to make hair bows. Unfortunately I’ve been buying ribbon for a while and just started making bows.

    Love the post

    1. I love the smell of bleach. I use that in my bathrooms. Nothing really “feels” clean until there is a hint of Clorox drifting in the air (below the Febreze, LOL).

  17. You know what I love most about this post? Remarkably, I may not be as odd as I feared!

    Seriously, through your admission about compulsions and obsessions, as well as those of your commenters, I now know that my expansive shampoo collection is normal, that my need to face the door in a restaurant is shared by at least one other, that my Diet Coke (from McDonald’s…only…) addiction is prevalent. Thank you for that.

    And personally, I have an aversion to anything with nubs: tapioca pudding; tomatoes (those seeds!); undercooked oatmeal…you get the picture. It’s kinda the opposite of a compulsion, so I thought I’d share.

    Thanks for the laugh this morning! 😉

  18. I have a massive collection of shot glasses from all over the world, all purchased by either customers or friends. (I used to bartend) For what I purchase myself? If I didn’t have a husband restricting me =) I’d have thousands of cocktail shakers. Old, new, retro, glass, plastic, stainless, you name it. They once had them on clearance at Pier One and I bought 5. They thought I was nuts.

    Maybe so…….=)

  19. I have to use the last toilet cubicle available in the row when in a public restroom, I just can’t bring myself to go in the first one. Why? I have no idea.

    If eating buffet style or having a meal with more than one dish each food has to be neatly contained on my plate, they can’t touch each other and I always have to flatten and then make patterns in my mashed potatoes before I eat them. I couldn’t tell you where this comes from either.

    I am sure there are probably more if I really think about it. I don’t really have any addictions but I certainly have strange habits!

    • Patti Mallett on April 29, 2011 at 7:49 pm
    • Reply

    Very fun post and now some great writing material. Shall we throw dice for who gets to use which little secret in their next story??

    1. I am having a blast, and it is funny because some of you guys have habits I didn’t even notice until today. I am even weirder than I thought! LOL 😀

  20. I have quite a few strange addictions. There are only a few I’m willing admit ;). I don’t like my food to mix. So if we have chicken, rice, and peas for dinner. None of those food items can touch each other and I’ll eat one item until it is gone and then move on to the next. Mother thinks this is very strange, but Dad does it too. I also like to carry quarters with me so that I can get gumballs if ther happens to be a random gumball machine somewhere when I’m out and about. I love gumballs. Unfortunately, I thought a machine was a gumball machine once and it was actually a jawbreaker machine. Oops. That was a surprise. Not too fond of jawbreakers, but love those gumballs (except the yellow ones. This is why I have two quarters with me – in case I get a yellow gumball I can get another one).

  21. I loved “Three is two …” I’m a firm believer that you can’t have enough onions in the kitchen and I never heard of an army that lost a war because it was oversupplied.

    1. Amen! Yeah, I buy onions in bulk. Some guy asked me if I owned a restaurant one day at Costco, LOL.

  22. Like many of the other commenters, I have a mild addiction to office supplies. I buy pretty notebooks even though I don’t handwrite much, and I’m very picky about pens. Luckily, my job enables me to go to town with sticky notes. 😀 Now I wonder if this addiction is related to my tendency towards paper clutter — it ensures I’m always surrounded by office supplies!

    As for habits, I like making lists and quantifying things. I keep a list of the books I read (broken down into genre so I know how many of each genre I’ve read in a year) and the books I want to read. I’m doing the Walk to Rivendell Challenge ( I do NaNoWriMo every year and set monthly time goals or word count goals in other months. And so on. Anybody else do this?

  23. Well it might SEEM strange, but I think it’s perfectly normal behavior. I love TV on DVD, but not those box sets of the complete series. No, I want individual seasons. With their different colors and similar designs they look oh so nice displayed on my shelf.

    Same goes for books. Do you know how annoying it is when the publisher CHANGES the design. It totally ruins the continuity I had going! Thank goodness Scholastic understood this when they designed the Harry Potter books.

    1. Yep…I knew you were weird. No wonder you fit in so well here :D.

    • Kenja on April 29, 2011 at 9:44 pm
    • Reply

    I have a ritual. When I’m on an airplane, I have to say the Lord’s Prayer from the time we start to taxi until the time we take off and get up into the sky. I’m perfectly normal, chatting with my seatmates, until we hit the runway. Then all talking ceases, I close my eyes, and begin mouthing the prayer continually until we are safe in the sky.

    I also collect perfumes and body lotions. I have a 6 foot tall cabinent filled with nothing but perfume, and I could keep the skin on an entire city’s inhabitants moisturized with my lotion collection.

  24. I never noticed until a friend pointed out, but when I eat I only eat one item at a time. I will not bring myself to eat off of multiple items. Example: I have a plate of roast beef, mashed potatoes, and veggies. I will start with the veggies (haven’t touched the other stuff yet). Then I’ll move onto the mashed potatoes. After the sides are done, then I can proceed to the center-of-the-plate item. Now, there are exceptions. I will combine rice and beans, corn and potatoes (and such). But again, I will combine sides and eat them before I will touch the main entree. If I’m eating a burger and fries I may start out trying to eat a fry, take a bit of the burger; eat a fry or two then a bit of the burger. This will last for a couple of bites and then I’ll put the burger down and eat the fries, THEN pick the burger back up! I like to be odd…sometimes…though.
    Oh, and an addiction to chocolate! I go to this one place in San Francisco called Chocolate Heave (aptly named) and will spend no less than $40 on chocolate…CHOCOLATE! I will charge some chocolate. I usually end up getting about a pound or more worth of truffles and will end up eating most, if not all, that day. I’m addicted!
    Ok, I’m done.

  25. Like other posters, I have a thing for office supplies. But I think it is kind of a writer/teacher thing. I especially die for binder clips. Remember when they were just black. Well, as I’m sure you know, they now come in fabulous colors and all sizes. I. Have. Them. All.

    I also have a thing for Fiestaware. Now, I know having collections isn’t weird, per se. However, I have to stack my Fiestaware in a very particular way. And I know this makes me sound like a freak, but all plates absolutely must be stacked in the cabinet in rainbow order. Now before you start thinking terrible things about me like: What is with this girl? How old is she? And is she all into unicorns and teddy bears or was she part of the Gestapo?” you should know the answer is I’m a 40+ year old woman with a middle-school aged son and a fabulous husband. Both of whom understand (read: they have been well-trained and understand) that they must never, ever – under any circumstances – place a green plate atop a red plate, as I would consider that an intentional foul. I don’t know why I am like this. But unless the Fiestaware is stacked in this way, all that color is just too hard on the eyes.

    I love learning about the various pathologies found in others. We are truly a unique species, are we not?

  26. *pshaw* If you want me to answer that question, you’re going to have to pull up a couch…and get comfortable. 🙂

    I can definitely relate to the school supplies one. I still have way more than I need even though I rarely go shopping for it anymore. And my desk…hmm…how does one admit to being a slob without, well, sounding like a slob. 🙂 And– *ding* Oh, our time is up already? But I’ve barely started. Can we meet the same time next week?

  27. Well I bet we can all say this habit, buying books. Endless books that I have yet to read all of. I buy hand soap to the point that we have enough to last us a year without buying any more. So I love your febreze habit.

    1. That’s why I go to the library. I borrow as much books as I want without worrying about the cost. I figured I can use the extra space with books that don’t accumulate.

    • Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter on April 30, 2011 at 1:28 am
    • Reply

    Oh, boy, don’t talk about habits.

    Smoking. Took 30 years to kick that one.

    Caffeine. Did you know that nicotine knocks half the effectiveness off caffeine, so that when you quit smoking you get a double dose and your sinuses dry out. Cold turkeyed the caffeine. Now everything else has taste.

    Various speech habits.

    Opinions. Yeah, I’m the only one who knows anything about anything 🙂

    Information. I NEED INFORMATION! This compulsion is getting a bit out of hand.

    I talk about myself. Guess you noticed.


  28. Mints. I’m addicted to mints. Ever since I had braces and couldn’t chew gum because of my weird teeth alignment, I’ve sucked on mints. I LOVE Icebreakers . I have some in each purse, my car and nearby when I’m writing.
    I, uh, have more mints than chocolate. *hides face*

  29. Of all my strange habits/addictions I think the one that is the most out of control is my addiction to colour-coding. My notebooks, my calendar, my storyboard, my pantry, even my laundry is colour-coded (white pegs for underwear, pink pegs for nightwear, blue pegs for outerwear).

    I can relate to the office supplies addiction (it goes hand-in hand with having to colour-code everything) but I’ve learned to avoid the streets that have stationery stores on them so that I’m not tempted.

  30. I’ve always been a bit of a minimalist: if I haven’t used it in a year, I’ll gladly donate/give it away. But there are some things… Well, let’s just say I’m compulsive about a few things. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t realize how bad it was until I packed up everything that mattered into storage and went wandering. I. Love. Bath. Products. Facial cleansers, body lotion, bath gel, perfume, shampoo, conditioner…I can’t walk past a pharmacy without itching to go in and SMELL things. I will sniff every scent of handmade soap at the farmers’ market…in every stall that sells it. And I’m picky. The shampoo and conditioner must be the same scent. I must have lotion that goes well with my perfume. And it’s all got to be organic. It was so bad that, for a while, I would order the stuff online, and not just one of each kind I wanted. I’d buy 3 at a time so I wouldn’t run out. When I packed everything up a year ago, I put into storage 2 large boxes, full up with bath stuff. Crazy. I’ve very consciously forced myself to stop doing that.

    Also, I have a habit of spelling things while I’m walking. On my fingers. In sign language. I see signs or events on the street that catch my attention and I’ll find myself rapid-fire finger-spelling whatever word or phrase is stuck in my head,

    • Cynthia on April 30, 2011 at 6:26 am
    • Reply

    I was an anxious kid and when I had anxiety, I couldn’t sleep. I discovered the solution in tenth grade – the year I learned to type. We had typing tests each week but there was no way to study for them. At night, I would lay awake visualizing my fingers on the keys, running through the book exercises. One night, I had too much on my mind to concentrate on the typing drills. Rather than not practice at all, I decided to try to type my thoughts. But in order to type them, I had to see them as sentences, then words, then letters. That “reorganization” seemed to remove the emotion. Within minutes, my stress was gone and I was sleeping. To this day, whenever thinking keeps me awake, I picture my fingers on the keyboard and begin to type what is bothering me. Still works like a lullaby.

  31. I spell words out loud – drives my family crazy.

    Whatever I get involved in I go overboard and I love the statistics. When I was doing a lot of walking (training for half-marathons and shorter distances) I could tell my walking buddy everything – how many calories we’d used (or would use) during that half-hour dash, how many steps we’d taken, how much energy in that particular chocolate square, the average age of people participating in marathons, how many finished etc. She found it vastly entertaining!

  32. Strings. I crochet, knit, embroider, make those friendship bracelets. Trying to find a good place to sell my creation, too. I literally could do a lot of things when it comes to strings. I’ll take them all. No particular color.

  33. I have an addiction to lean cuisine frozen food meals, I get super excited about them especially if there is a sale going on where they are $2 or less. Gets me every time!

  34. “I collect bodies under my house. Kidding! *laughs awkwardly*” That one got a pretty big laugh outta this guy 🙂

    I think I’ve squished most previous addictions into writing these days. I’m at the keyboard too much to do much else. I was a gamer for years but gave that up a couple years ago. I haven’t watched TV more than a couple hours a week for over a year and a half. I don’t drink anymore. So what if maybe I read too many blogs. Is that so wrong? Sure, I wait by my email account for a new entry to pop into the inbox. And yeah, okay, maybe I do burn candles all around the computer screen as I read your blog posts. I can’t…umm…

    What I meant to say was that I really like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. And Asian food. Now I have to go check on something under the house. Can I borrow some of your Febreze for that? 😉

  35. Heh. I was reading through all these, thinking “I am sooo normal compared to you weirdos” when I remembered the Cheetos. Every time I shop for food, I buy a big pack of Cheetos. You know, the ones about the size of a pillow? Every time I just “nip out for milk” I come back with Cheetos as well. And I……(sigh) I eat them with chopsticks. Because I don’t like getting all that orange goo on my fingers.
    But it’s not just me. My dog loves them too…..

    Here’s my question though: When we give our characters odd habits, how many people think “That’s ok, I do odd stuff too” compared to the folks who think “Huh, another fake twitch to make the character stand out.” It used to be that detectives were fighting a drink problem, or wrestling with a cruel divorce. Are we in danger of reaching too far to make them unique?

  36. Awesome post. I didn’t even know there were more than two scents of Febreeze. I am trying to think if I have any weird habits like that. I think usually I will pick like a new phrase and use it every day all the time and then drop it. I do that with music too. If I like a new song I will listen to it ten times in a row and a hundred times in a week with no problem. So my weird habit is not having a problem with repeating things a 1000 times. (I’ve done it with books too. I’ll close a book, having finished it, and will look at it briefly and start it again a second later…only if it is really awesome though.)
    Check out my blog post for thoughts on weird characters.

  37. Paper…I love paper of every sort, especially different textures of paper. I had one I used to keep under my desk mat that had the feel of silk. Sometimes I’d pull it out just to touch it, was calming. Like Linus’ blanket it is gone now but I can still feel it in my imagination.

    Quirks are the best part of us, the unique twist 🙂

    Great post Kristen, had you and your book in my last two blog posts btw! Peaceful Journeys 🙂

  38. Wish I had your arthmetic abilities — I’m addicted to my calculator. At any meeting, people know they can count on me to run the numbers.

  39. I can’t count the number of times I laughed aloud reading this post! There are some definite OCD characteristics in my family. I have tried hard to relax (breathe, breathe, breathe) and be less intense in my own life. But I realized as I was keeping the cash box at our church carnival this weekend one of my quirks.

    THE PRESIDENTS MUST ALL FACE THE SAME WAY! The U.S. Treasury could help me substantially by redesigning our currency so that there is no top or bottom, front or back. But in the meantime, I am relegated to turning every last Washington, Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson, and Grant so that they face the same direction. Until they are properly aligned, I am tense. When they are put right, aaaaahhhh.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Sherri Phengchard on May 2, 2011 at 2:50 am
    • Reply

    I’m addicted to double-shot wet cappuccinos and have a strange habit of having to lick or spoon out every drop of foam left on the edge of my cup or mug. It gets a bit embarrassing when I don’t have a spoon and have to stick my face in my cup to lick it out or use my finger wipe it clean. But it’s worth it for that perfect espresso flavored foam.

    Thanks for sharing Kristen! I learn so much from you!

    • Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter on May 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm
    • Reply


    Back when I still drank beer (I quit drinking about 25 years ago) I had this thing about the foam. I just had to inhale the foam off the top of a mug, and then lick it off my lips…

    It was divine.

    Almost makes me feel like going out to the pub and having a draft. Probably wouldn’t taste the same now though. The company that made the beer I used to like no longer exists.


  40. OMG, these are sooooo fun! Ok, I like to type words in my head, and see if they’re evenly spaced out between the right and left hand. Weird. And if they’re not even, then I’ll pick variations of that word until it’s even or even use the word in an evenly spaced sentence. Yeah, really weird.

  41. In addition to the m&m in even numbers thing, I also neeeeeed to twist my hair, wiggle my foot or tug my ear when I’m having to sit still and pay attention. I can’t focus if I don’t. Maybe I need a rabbit’s foot (faux, I mean) or something. LOL. I used to get in trouble in school because I had to wiggle my foot at my desk…my teachers were forever telling me to sit still…but I couldn’t focus if I sat perfectly still. Oh well. 😀

    I also have a thing for lipstick and lipgloss. Many years ago, Dior had the perfect color red for me 838. Sigh. I loved it so much. I’ve never been able to find its equal. So now, I collect lipsticks and lipglosses trying to find just the right color. It’s expanded beyond just finding a perfect red too…now I have to will myself away from the lipsticks in just about any color that *might* be flattering on me. I’ve moved into lipbalm now too…LOL.

  42. Speaking of office supplies, I collect wooden pencils. This is not actually as wierd or unusual as I once thought it was, but searching for new kinds of pencil things used to be a compulsion. When I finally got so many that even my rented storage room was almost full, I was able to scare myself into quitting. More or less. See my site:

  43. Lordy, but I love the cranberry Febreze scent that I can only find near Christmas… it was all I could do not to buy ten last December… but I guess my strange addiction right now is… well, I was gonna say notebooks, because it’s strange to everyone with a laptop but…uh… I think I have to go with Sharpies. I have sooooo many colors, even a metallic silver that just… and I might be a teensy bit addicted to the smell, too. There’s nothing like that whiff when you first un-cap a sharpie to start marking things up…

    • Kellen on May 23, 2011 at 10:58 pm
    • Reply

    I have an odd little habit of collecting dates.Birthdates,death dates.If I am watching Television,I must get on the computer and find the date(s) for the person I am watching.Funny thing is,I never forget any of them.My head is full of everybodys dates.Its become a game with my kids.They like to try and stump Not sure why I do this but it started at a young age and now I MUST do it.What does this mean?

    • Christin Mowery on May 26, 2011 at 6:34 pm
    • Reply

    I am addicted to buying pens and notebooks.

    I have certain pens that I love, and I swear I have bought hundreds of them at a time before (for my office) and was stingy about handing them out. LOL. I just don’t want to run out of them. I hate when I can’t find one…or, worse, I can only find a Bic pen. Ahhhhhhhhh!

    Paper…oh, that sweet, beautiful, blank paper…I love it. I once bought about 500 notebooks in August. They were five cents each at Wal-mart. I keep waiting for that sale to hit again, because I am now out (I donated the rest to my church when they were making school supply backpacks for the kids). I will probably buy all that they have. LOL

    • Christine on April 14, 2013 at 11:49 am
    • Reply

    When I was a young girl, I used to have this seriously weird addiction of smelling my hand and my fingers. When I became a teenager I tried not to do it anymore, and eventually it stopped!

    1. My compulsion is collecting media free from the Internet. That may not seem strange to you but ever since I purchased a Laptop in 2005 I have been a compulsive collector. I spend hours every day at my computer.

      I downloaded a free program that allowed me download virtually any video I want. I can copy any document I want and refer to it back by copy the http into the document. On Facebook I could copy pictures of friends and family. I can copy videos and pictures from a host of different website. I don’t have to worry about copyright infringement. The free program boasts of this capability as a feature.

      So what did have I done, do, and will do? I will keep rushing to collect everything I can as long as it is free. Ever since media was invented they put the horse behind the cart or there is no horse at all. A lot of things are a free-for-all.

      I have so much in my collection I had to buy an external hard drive with the capacity to store 1 Terabyte of data. That is about 1,000 gigabytes. I can not use any of these new fangled gadgets. The most I’ve heard them store is 84 gigabytes. If they made file transfers easy it won’t be. Normally Apple and PC files are not compatible. All I need is a program to organize all this stuff and can load it in the right program.

      I haven’t had the time to view, read, or listen to what I have collected. I am to busy collecting. Collecting is the fun part. It’s like a treasure hunt, without a map, to see what I can discover. Besides, everything I have collected is old. I’m not in touch with the now and frankly I’m too old to like it.

    • asami suichi on October 26, 2013 at 1:05 am
    • Reply

    Mechanical pencils. I LOVE mechanical pencils. I buy those 30pk papermate rainbow mechanical pencils. And somehow i buy those 6 per pack big pink eraser for php 66.00… Its impossible to use all those! Unless i lose them.. but as for the mechanical pencils, i just love the color :p

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