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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