Things that stress me out

1. Yelling. Saying things louder doesn’t make them more true, more urgent, or more more important. I will respond immediately to yelling because I want the yelling to stop but my response is likely to be neither efficient or effective because the louder and more belligerent, the more I am shutting down. I recognize that what I interpret as yelling might merely be another person’s emphatic or frustrated voice, but I’m usually too rattled to distinguish that in the moment. I tend to remember being yelled at and sometimes will be overly cautious when the same scenario arises in hopes of avoiding a repeat of the yelling.

2. Meanness. Mean people suck. Hurting another person is neither empowering or intelligent. Whatever small, sick victory meanness may elicit in the emotions, the end result is destructive not only to the recipient but to the instigator of the meanness. I find it hard to trust mean people, even when they haven’t been mean to me. I tend to remember and regret the times I’ve been mean to other people long after they’ve forgotten about it.

3. Presumption. My time, energy, and resources are limited. I need my alone time and I see scheduling and availability as two different things.  I hate feeling set up by the question “What are you doing?” Just invite me to the specific event or experience and let me decide whether I’m in or out. Worse yet, don’t ask me that in front of the people involved so that saying no makes me feel like I’m rejecting them rather than declining to participate in the event in question.

4. Making phone calls. I like texting. I like letter writing. I like talking face to face. I don’t mind public speaking at all. In fact,  I rather like it. I enjoy communicating, but I hate talking on the phone and the worst is if I am the one who has to initiate the call.  I feel vulnerable, exposed, and trapped when I have to make a call. I dread it and put it off even I’m calling someone I love talking with in person. Even when it means something good for me if I just make the call. Apparently this is a legitimate phobia appropriately called telephonophobia.

5. Driving. I don’t mind road trip driving but city driving and especially driving in an unfamiliar area is really stressful. I will not drive aggressively. I think the fact that people are surrounded my a chunk of metal doesn’t not make rudeness less personal.  I drive like I would walk. I let people in, I wait my turn, I smile and wave.  I interpret honking as yelling. People who would never be mean face to face act really mean in cars. I don’t understand that.

6. Slow pace.  I do things quickly. I try to be efficient. I do the hard parts of a job first. I work before I play. When someone asks me to do something I will get it done but if that person stands there and tells me how to do it slower and less efficiently than I would do it if left alone it really stresses me out. “Take your time” is a really annoying phrase to me. My time is valuable I want as little of it as possible wasted.

7. Judging. A person’s worth is not determined by another person’s estimation of appearance, accomplishments, position, gender, status, failures, faults, actions, possessions, skills, talents, or intelligence. It stresses me out when I sense that what I have to say or offer is being dismissed because I’ve been judged unworthy in one of these areas. It stresses me out to see that done to another person.

8. Grocery shopping.  I don’t like trying to predict what other people at my house are going to want to eat. The  grocery store is usually full of slow people. They rearrange the shelves. All that food reminds me that I am fat and that I am going to have to cook (#9). Worst of all, I often have to surrender control over how my groceries are bagged. It makes me crazy if they pack like items into two different bags. I also don’t like it if I end up having to unpack five bags when everything would fit in two bags. I don’t care how heavy the bags are fill them up. Given I could write a whole blog just on this issue, I recognize that this bagging thing hinges on OCD, which is weird because I really am pretty laid back about most things. I’m pretty convinced that hell has a grocery store.

9. Cooking. Watching food cook is boring but trying to cook food fast usually results in burning it and setting off the smoke alarm. I’m not a great cook and I don’t enjoy it but I really love the approval that comes when the people I am feeding really enjoy the food I’ve cooked, so when the food is mediocre I feel like a failure.

10. Risk. I don’t mind a little physical risk like climbing mountains or jumping out of planes but I’m not a fan of social or emotional risk.  I don’t know if this is because I’m an introvert or if I’m an introvert because I don’t like this kind of risk. I’m also not a fan of financial risk. Been there, done that. Had to hock the t-shirt.