Everyone is afraid of something, but for most of us it's something that "makes sense" like spiders, snakes, etc. That's not the case for everyone, though.
Scientists haven't fully figured out the mechanisms of fear. Some seem to be instinctive, like our fears of predatory animals such as sharks, crocodiles, etc.
But others don't seem to make any sense at all. There are theories that they may develop after a trauma, but that's not always the case.
As far as science is concerned, the mechanics of fear are an unsolved mystery.
Some people develop fears of totally innocuous things like butterflies, pieces of string, or the breeze. Yes, a fear of the breeze or moving air is a real thing.
It's called "aerophobia" and can be so bad that people who suffer from it can't go outside, be near a window where they might see plants swaying in the wind, or even be in a room with a fan.
Quora wanted to know:
People's responses were incredibly varied and unusual - demonstrating that just about anything can end up as a trigger to someone. Before we get into the answers, we wanted to take a moment to thank responders for their willingness to be vulnerable and share.
Some answers have been edited for clarity or language.
I know this is going to sound odd, so bear with me.
I have a fear of wrists.
For as long as I can remember, I have been terrified of the underside of wrists. I can't look at my own wrists. I definitely can't touch them. I don't own a single watch or bracelet. Sometime I even struggle with long sleeved shirts, because I can feel it touching my wrists.
One time, I scratched my wrist on a nail and I almost passed out.
Anytime wrists are shown on TV, I have to turn away. Once someone unexpectedly cut their wrist during a show, and I curled up in the fetal position and couldn't move for at least 10 minutes. I still shiver when I think about it.
I haven't met anyone else with a fear like mine. Most people just laugh and hit their wrists together, just to see my reaction. *shudder*
Oh, and wrist tattoos? I will never understand how anyone could ever want one.
As a kid I was terrified of DoodleBob.
Whenever his episode would come on I would run to the kitchen and hide, peeking every couple minutes to see if the horror was over yet.
I don't know why, but I found him so scary. I couldn't stand his talk, his walk, or his look. Maybe it was because he was a mock-off of the loveable SpongeBob.
With every "'me hoy minoy'" I trembled with fear. With every crazy shriek I screamed on the inside. Every time he flicked that pencil and came up with something new I feared that he would create something even more horrifying than himself.
Looking back now, I actually find it kind of funny and feel a bit stupid that DoodleBob had managed to make me run for the hills.
I have an insane fear that someday I'm going to crash my car - on purpose.
Sometimes, while I'm driving, and I'm being tailgated, I have this incredible urge to slam on my brakes and have the guy behind me plow into me. More often, though, when I see a stopped car in front of me, I want to hit it with mine, just to see what would happen. Even pedestrians, I start to target them before I realize what I'm doing. I want to watch them jump and run away.
Also while driving I get insanely-strong urges to:
- While I'm at a red light, just go, even though there's cross-traffic going.
- Take my hands off the wheel and see how long I can go before I crash.
- Drive into the reservoir. It looks so pretty.
- Close my eyes and see how long I can last.
That last one especially scares me. Once or twice I even started to do it - just closed my eyes for a few seconds before I stop myself.
Butterfly In The Sky...
The fear of butterflies. I don't know exactly why or how I came of to be scared of such innocent and innocuous creatures, but I am afraid of butterflies since childhood and even now at the age of 22! Not to mention how utterly disgusting moths are.
Even seeing a picture of butterfly on internet causes heart palpitations.
Ancient humans have always been afraid of flying creatures, maybe I somehow carried the trait. It is strange and embarrassing at the same time, to be afraid of such things. Generally I am not afraid of insects and reptiles. Neither am I afraid of birds or bats.
But encountering a butterfly really sends chills down my spine and my mouth runs dry. Eww it's so disgusting.
I have a very weird fear. Well, it isn't so much a fear but an aversion. I loathe the very idea of it.
I have a phobia of 'socks'.
It is worse if it is wet socks or dirty socks. Muddy socks. Old socks. Unwashed smelly socks. Socks with threads coming off.
I know that socks won't bite me and they won't band together to attack me or anything. It isn't exactly fear but more like disgust. That doesn't mean I don't run to a completely different corner of the room when I see socks. I just hate them.
I hate the very thought of them.
This phobia is so weird that it doesn't even have a name.
I have a fear of elevators… something about falling down and getting splattered at the bottom. Or even weirder, to go up so fast that it flies out of the roof and falls down the building.
Nowhere Is Safe
I am truly afraid of ants.
When I was 13-ish, my ex-stepdad tried to "toughen me up" by making me help him remove weeds and plant some new plants in the garden without any gloves. He shoveled a large chunk of ground into my hands and I was supposed to place it to the side. It turned out that that particular piece of ground was also an anthill. Not the superficial useless dirt on top of the ground but the actual heart of the thing.
He shoveled an ungodly amount of ants into my unprotected hands and chest. I passed out a bit, then bolted into the shower screaming obscenities to everyone and everything. I ran and stripped naked as fast as humanly possible, got under the frigid water and danced like an octopus doing Capoeira while on meth.
My dad walked in and told me I was a wimp for being afraid of ants. Then, very large, very red and EXTREMELY ITCHY spots appeared on my skin. I ended up having to go to the hospital. That's where we were informed that I am actually highly allergic to ant-bites.
After that debacle, I swear ants hunt me down! They follow me everywhere to finish the job!
One time, I was using the toilet when I noticed a black tiny speck moving up my calf. It was an ant. I looked to my right and there was a literal conga line of ants ambling unto the back of the toilet. They were going for a sneak attack!
Then, I was doing push-ups during martial arts class and an ant bit me on my left hand right between my index finger and middle finger. It swelled up and I could not use my left hand for anything. That single ant bite removes my ability to use that hand for about a week. A clear use of intimidation tactics and psychological warfare to lessen my will to live.
Another time, I saw an ant on top of my foot while I was showering. Rambo Ant hated me so much that it decided to attack me through a literal waterfall of death (to the ant). Rambo Ant risked its own life to attack me when I was most vulnerable — half-asleep, naked and alone.
Last month, I was happily reading under my covers at night when I felt a tiny imp stab my inner thigh. It was an ant. It bit me about 2 inches away from my genitals. The area swelled up and I could not wear underwear for days. The ant could have gone for the money shot but, it did not. It chose not to. It was a warning. The ants were telling me that nowhere is safe. Not my home, not my bathroom, not my bedroom and not my own bed. NOWHERE IS SAFE!!!
I thought my fear was pretty weird, but after reading some of the other answers I feel pretty normal.
I'm terrified of cows; to the point of panic attacks, lots of tears and an awful lot of swearing.
An Extension Of My Mind
I'm afraid of things puncturing my skin, because my skin feels like an extension of my mind. I have to look away and distract myself when I get vaccines. There's no way I could ever inject medicine into myself. I can poke my finger with a pin, but just barely, and it takes all my willpower, and the very outer edge of my finger doesn't count as part of my skin anyway.
Bad news: I'll probably die of something that could have been treated using injected medicine.
I have a certain fear that people would say was weird. I'm afraid of portraits. They make me feel very nervous and self conscious. They're just literally watching me, their eyes following me wherever I go.
I don't like photographs of people looking at the camera, it's as though they're staring back at me. Any magazine, poster or picture of people looking at the camera or at me will make me either leave the room or cover the pictures over.
Flushing toilets. If the toilet isn't flushing it's fine, but every single time I flush the toilet it scares me. I absolutely can NOT flush a toilet in the middle of the night. I like using public washrooms cause flushing a toilet in public is the least nerve wracking for me. Don't know why it freaks me out but it has ever since I was around 7.
It's become increasingly hard to get through a day without encountering a scam artist.
Be it an email where you've been told you won a non-existent prize, a fraudulent call from the IRS claiming there's a warrant issued for your arrest, or a neighborhood psychic, luring you in to tell you a terrible fate awaits you, but you have to pay hundreds of dollars more to find out what it is.
From snake oil salesmen to Ponzi schemes, scam artists have been around for ages, and will not be going anywhere any time soon.
And while our hearts break for anyone who falls victim to these horrendous acts of deception, there is also little that is more compelling than reading about some of the more outrageous scams which ever took place (Fyre Festival anyone).
"What is the biggest scam in the history of mankind?"
Un-Holy Matrimony Is More Like it...
"The wedding industry is one big scam."- Resafalo
Tax Fraud Has Several Forms...
"Telling me to figure out my own taxes."
"Then, they tell me I did it wrong. If you know how much I owe, just tell me and I’ll pay it!!'- dinahsaur523
Just Don't Tell Tom Cruise...
"L Ron Hubbard is quite a fascinating man to learn about, terrible, terrible man, he began lying at a young age and then never stopped afterwards."
"Becoming a billionaire out of that creepy cult like 'religion' is the biggest scam of all time."- Joe_PM2804happy tom cruise GIF by South Park Giphy
You Do Just Keep Needing More...
"Printer ink."- Mr_BananaPants
Spending More Money With The Slip Of A Finger
"The ads that claims to be inter actable but when your finger barely touches the screen it takes you to AppStore."- AnimePeter_
"Textbook access codes that you get after buying a new textbook and can use only once."- SuvenPanBg3 GIF by Larian StudiosGiphy
The Money Goes Somewhere...
"Payday loan companies."- Im_Negan
It Runs In The Family!
"My mom telling me she won't be mad if I tell her the truth."- Low_Quarter_583
Maybe Not A Girls Best Friend...
"Diamonds."- TheCyrcusdiamonds GIFGiphy
Scams Fine If It's the Nazis Your Scamming...
"Eye doctor here."
"I'd like to dispel the myth regarding carrots and good vision or night vision because of a scam set forth by Britain at the time to screw with the enemy."
"They had just started performing night air raids and the Germans couldn’t figure out how they were accurately flying and bombing in the dead of night so the Brits printed in their newspapers that they were feeding their pilots carrots to improve their night vision and how good carrots were for your vision due to the beta carotene."
"Turns out that the Brits had just effectively mounted radar units to their planes for the first time and beat Germans to the punch with it."
"The truth is that beta carotene, while important for vision, is rarely in short supply in most diets and you can probably get enough out of a few packets of ketchup for weeks of good vision."
"Meanwhile, here we are now approaching 100 years after the development of radar still eating the lies of carrots."- OscarDivine
It's amazing the lengths people will go to deceive people for money.
And that sometimes they actually get away with it.
But as a general rule of thumb, if something seems like it's too good to be true, then it probably is.
Some Americans have been known to wish they lived elsewhere in the world, owing to certain things appearing to be much better handled elsewhere.
Up to and including healthcare, free education, cost of living, or simply the way they make pizza or coffee.
However, sometimes we must stop and remind ourselves that the grass is always greener in someone else's yard.
As there are plenty of people all over the world who wish they were living in the USA, believing that some things are simply done better in America.
"What does America do better than most other countries?"
The Versatility Of Corn!
"Turning corn into things that are not corn."- rlemon
"I was going to say cornbread but everyone said rest stops. Have y’all ever had cornbread?"- Admirable-Ad-2554
The Pause That Refreshes
"I love the Interstate Rest Areas on road trips."
"I'm a Canadian from the west coast, and was always VERY impressed with the 24/7 rest areas."
"Clean washrooms, nice grassy areas for dogs, picnic tables, and a lot of times people selling crafts, or offering free coffee!"
"I've only driven through the western states, (WA,OR,CA,NV,UT,AZ) but yeah, those rest areas were always reliable."
"Always well-marked signs when the next one was coming up."
"Just made everything about traveling easier!"
"Thanks neighbors!"- Ubba-GaGiphy
"Jazz, the Blues."- BretonVikander
...But Maybe Not The Airports...
"Aircraft carriers."- TheBladeRodenFlying Take Off GIF by U.S. NavyGiphy
A Breath Of Fresh Air
"National Parks."- Big-Win6220
"We have nearly every biome on Earth available in the lower 48 alone."
"Adding Alaska and Hawaii just completes the set."
"Is there any biome that doesn't exist in The US?"- Ursa_Mid
A Nice Cold Drink
"Make sure there's ice in your beverage."- HegemonHarbingerWater Day GIF by ZinZenGiphy
Very Logical Indeed
"Serious answer? "
"We're quite a large country and we've gotten very good at moving things around."- weirdoldhobo1978
America is what it is today all owing to the fact that people came here for a better life.
No question, America has its issues, hence why no one mentioned our political system or our electoral process.
But it's the things that are uniquely and unequivocally American which makes people feeling lucky to be living here.
There are very few people in the United States who don't indulge in fast food every once in a while.
Sometimes it's out of pleasure, taking an occasional indulgence in the delicious, salty, if less than healthy, treats the food chains provide.
Other times, it might be out of necessity, as it might be the only option while on the road or waiting in the airport after your flight was canceled for the second time.
But there are some fast food chains to which people have such an aversion to that they simply will not eat from them, even if it is literally the only option.
Making one almost wish that these places would go out of business, so that they will never even be an option.
Redditor rcinvestments was eager to hear which fast food chains people wish would go out of business, and thus no longer be found in rest stops and airport food courts, leading them to ask:
"What fast food chain should go out of business?"
Long John Silver's
"i swear Long John Silvers is just a money laundering front."- FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF1234Seafood Hushpuppies GIF by Long John Silver'sGiphy
"I’m starting to question getting subway multiple times a month."- Moose_dude16439
"They brand as fresh and healthy but are neither."
"The food is awful."- Emergency_Sundae6842
"I’d be down to get rid of subways but only if all locations were replaced with better sub/deli sandwich shops."
"Cause that’s about the one thing Subway has on anyone else, proximity."
"I do love the cookies too."- Forsuremaybe_
"You can’t get a footlong for less than $10 now and it’s not even a good sandwich compared to just about anywhere else."
"Firehouse and Jersey Mike’s are better, but nothing great, don’t @ me. Go local on this one fools."- AllGarbageSub GIF by Subway SverigeGiphy
"KFCs quality has DROPPED in the last 10 years."
"It’s not the same delicious, well cooked chicken I remember."- Graceland1979
"Is Burger King even trying anymore? "
"When I was a kid I remember them being a legit competitor to McDonalds and Wendy's was barely an afterthought."
"Now its McDonald's vs. Wendy's for me."
"McDonald's vs. Burger King for me now feels like WalMart vs. K-Mart and then Wendy's is Target."- basedlandchad20
"Going to a Burger King is like playing Russian Roulette but with food poisoning."
"The quality of the locations varies so much it's crazy."- SquilliamFancySon95
"As sad as it makes me, Burger King."
"At least in the part of the US I live in."
"It’s been years since I was satisfied by the taste, thanks to undercooked Pattie’s, cold hard buns, stale fries, employees that seem like they’d rather not be there, drive through as that smell like rotted soft drinks, and overall the locations are looking run down."
"Even their advertising has been sloppy and sometimes outright inappropriate."- RustliefLameManeScared The Shining GIFGiphy
"Golden Corral needs to go."
"People touching food, coughing and sneezing by the food, kids grabbing plates and then putting back."
"Food is absolutely bland."
"The best tasting food there is the iceberg lettuce if that's any indication how bad the food is."- kimsuh
Of course, the quality of the food might not alway be the reason people wish some places would go out of business.
Sometimes, the food might simply be so good that you find yourself unable to resist your temptations.
Ask anyone with an office in close proximity to a Shake Shack.
And these days, who's office ISN'T in close proximity to a Shake Shack...
What one person finds sexy is anther person's ick factor.
It's an eternal debate.
The mind, the heart, pheromones... it's a messy combo.
To each their own.
Redditor PetrichorPrints wanted to hear about what makes many of you tingle in ways the rest of us don't get.
"What’s something other people find sexy that you just can’t understand?"
I'm not telling you my secrets. But I'll listen to yours.
"People doing fillers to make their cheek bones look more 'refined.' it just looks like you got stung by a bee."
"There was a dude years ago that I was seeing, we're on a webcam and he said he liked my crease. Had no idea what he was talking about and he kept saying 'right there.' Turns out he likes armpit creases."
"That is oddly specific. Congrats, you taught me that literally anything can be a turn-on for the right people."
"That voice some women put on to seem cutesy/sexy, I can only describe it as 'baby voice', but it just annoys me. Talk like an adult."
"That's the voice I use to talk to my cat. She doesn't care if I talk in my normal voice, but slap the baby tone on it and she's all ears."
"My wife had a friend who did that baby voice. Not all the time, just when she thought she was being cute. It used to drive me crazy, especially in the car. One day when I was driving them back from a crafting event we had agreed to drop her off at her place. As we got closer, she baby talked , You don’t have to stop. Just slow down and I will jump out. Hehehehe.”
"After we dropped her off, I mimicked her 'I’ll just jump out. Hehe.'"
"My wife said, 'I felt like shoving her out the door and shouting, Tuck and roll, *itch!'"
"Interrupting while I'm asleep."
"Yes! I always wondered if I was in some very tiny minority because it seems to be labeled as a 'hot' thing to do. Waking me up in the middle of the night, you’re going to get someone angry, disheveled, and confused. I’m surely not going to be rearing to go. I don’t even like being touched in my sleep. We have the whole waking day to bang."
"Omg this is a double edged sword for me, because I love the fantasy of my husband taking me when he wants but the actual execution of this? Nope nope nope! Let me sleep!"
"The serious/intense 'model' face (ie. Blue Steel). Completely unsexy."
"I’m assuming you mean faces 'like' Blue Steel but not actually Blue Steel itself which is incredible."
Werk. Stand. Give. Face.
"I don't understand the big breast implants some women get. Breast implants are fine but the huge a** ones are just a massive turn off."
"Totally get this. I've always felt the same way. Until I met my wife. The first time I saw her breasts I was flabbergasted! 'Cos they're not over the top while she's dressed. But once they're free and breezy I immediately questioned their authenticity! She never hid the fact they aren't real, but my word they've changed my mind on augmentation! Teardrop implants can be (trust me) magnificent!"
"Being mean to someone. I understand it's 'I'm so sexy I can treat you like crap' attitude, but what about 'I'm so confident, I don't have to put people down' confidence?"
"If you mean someone getting turned on by another person being mean to them then it's almost always a domination thing."
"I question more the people who are with these a**holes. I don't get how someone likes that at all unless they're masochistic. And even if they are, I would imagine they would want someone who's only that way in the bedroom and not all the time."
Well, that is quite the list!
What would you add to this? Let us know in the comments below.