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As I mentioned yesterday, I’m participating in a “Blog Every Day in May” challenge.

Today’s topic: things that make you uncomfortable.

Scorpions and cockroaches: My number one fear (until last year) was cockroaches; to say they make me uncomfortable is probably somewhat of an understatement. While I am well aware that they are not particularly dangerous, I’d prefer to never see another one … especially not the winged “Palmetto bug” variety native to the south. Those took the cake in creepiness until I was introduced to scorpions in Arizona. Come to think of it, I can’t even say that scorpions make me uncomfortable. I’m pretty much deathly afraid of them.

Not understanding what someone is saying or asking me: Last year, I was getting my nails done and the manicurist had a strong Russian accent. For more than an hour, I mostly nodded, smiled and occasionally laughed while she told me a story. I think I understood about ten words she said, operating solely on context clues. If she laughed, I laughed. I still have no idea what she was telling me and am only grateful she didn’t ask me any questions. Few things are more uncomfortable than asking someone multiple times to repeat him/herself and still having no idea what you are being asked. I had entire conversations with my old landlord where neither of us had any clue what the other was saying.

Small talk: For someone who talks as much as I do, small talk makes me unfathomably uncomfortable. When I hear the word “networking,” a chill goes down my spine. Few things are more uncomfortable than standing face-to-face with someone who is essentially operating from a script and expecting you to do the same. Whenever you meet someone in Arizona, there’s a good chance he will ask you, “Are you from here?” And for some reason, that question creates so much awkwardness for me. “Well, I’m not from here but I live here.” When I’m asked about my profession, many people still have no idea what a social marketing manager does. It makes me wish that I was a doctor or a teacher – something that can be explained in one word. And having to ask awkward questions myself? Even more uncomfortable.

Confrontation: Whether it’s asking a co-worker to turn down the top 40 club hits she’s playing at her desk or telling someone that it’s not okay to box my car into a parking space, nothing makes me more uncomfortable than confrontation. I’m not certain why I’m so uncomfortable with it, especially considering that most of these people I’ll rarely, if ever, interact with again. While avoidance is not generally the best strategy, it’s the one that comes easiest to me.

What made this post challenging was defining “discomfort.” Is it something that annoys you or is it something that you truly fear? So now I turn the tables on you – what makes you uncomfortable?

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