By: Shannon Boatwright
We all have mannerisms. Mannerisms are unconscious habits; peculiarities. Some of us have odder mannerisms than others. Most of us have very common mannerisms. Then there are some who have mannerisms that need NOT be done in public! Let’s think on this…I know your mind is racing thinking of the mannerisms you see others around you do and the mannerisms that you and those closest to you do.
Nail biting, hair twirling, gum popping, toe tapping, and knuckle cracking are just some of the common mannerisms a lot of us engage in without realizing. Then there are those who have more unique mannerisms, such as chewing on a sleeve, pulling out hair, odd grunting, eye brow twitching, drink swirling before taking a sip, hand conducting while driving when one hears an awesome song on the radio (a mannerism I inherited from my mother!), rubbing the edge of clothing with the pad of a finger, and folding paper.
And then there’s the unfortunate ear-picking-with-examination-of-ear-wax-on-a-finger or nose-picking-with-booger-examination mannerism – which belongs to the category of mannerisms that SHOULD NOT be done while in public! Oh yes, you know you’ve witnessed it. Those moments when you’re talking with someone, another adult even, and while in mid conversation the person will pick at or adjust a body part right there, in front of you…as you’re making eye contact and talking! I have to admit, I cannot tell you how many times in my life I have been having a conversation with someone and witness them do something of this nature, knowing I’m seeing their actions front and center, overflowing with awkwardness. And of course since I’m a nice person – probably way too nice – I simply act like I didn’t see their inappropriate or gross mannerism.
Humans. We’re definitely an interesting species!
They say mannerisms say a lot about you. I try to explain this to my students as I’m teaching them how to use mannerisms to portray characters. As a drama teacher, I tend to notice all these unique characteristics about people. It can be a bit of a curse at times, because I’m hyper aware of people’s body language and peculiar habits. It always makes for an interesting conversation with my students as they share the mannerisms they do, mannerisms they pick up from family and close friends, and mannerisms they see strangers do. Some are quite entertaining, some can totally get on your nerves and then there are some that completely gross you out. And of course some mannerisms are just border-line OCD.
Please, for the sake of others, take note of your own mannerisms, just in case you’ve got nerve-racking, aggravating habits! And by all means, please be aware enough NOT to engage in the gross mannerisms in front of others! Do a little people watching and see what mannerisms you notice. It makes for an interesting and eye-opening experiment!