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How to tell if you are normal or not

Experts weigh in on some surprisingly common odd behaviours.

How to tell if you are normal or not
Eleanor Shakespeare

You live a normal life. You’ve got friends, you’ve got hobbies and you’re happy to spend 20 minutes hunting for the toothpaste at the pharmacy rather than – No! Anything but that!­ – asking a shop ­assistant for help. Trust us, that behaviour is normal, because all of us are a little, well, quirky. And in most cases, our idiosyncrasies are curable, or at least curbable.

We asked psychiatrists, psychologists and ­other ­experts to weigh in on some odd behaviours that are surprisingly common. You might recognise one of them in yourself and wonder, Am I normal or not?

The answer is always yes and yes.

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Why am I awkward around kids?
Why am I awkward around kids?
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Why am I awkward around kids? I have nothing to say to people under 12, and frankly, I don’t find them particularly cute. What’s wrong with me?

"I  hear this all the time,” says Charlynn Ruan, a clinical psychologist who works, ironically enough, mostly with mothers. “A lot of them say, ‘The only children I like are my own’.”

At the root of this more-common-than-you’d-expect dread is the ever-potent fear of embarrassment.

One common concern is that ‘out of the mouths of babes’ will come a truth no one wants to hear. ‘That man smells funny, Mummy.’ ‘Wow, lady, you must eat a lot of food.’ ‘What are all those lines on your face?’

Then there’s the cringe factor of doting parents – and worse, grand­parents! – ­hovering nearby, convinced that everything their child says should be etched in stone. No wonder you’re uncomfortable talking to the little scallywags.

But there’s a solution, says psychiatrist Dr Howard Forman: grab a book and read to the kid. That puts you in the driver’s seat and gives you something to say.

Normal or Nuts Rating: 2 (from 1 to 10, with 10 being certifiably bonkers)  

You’re not all that nutty.



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