Ways in Which You Can Ruin the Day of Someone with OCD

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I don’t expect you to take this list as a call to action. Right? Right? Ok. But simply put those of us with OCD can easily have our day (or days) ruined by seemingly simple things. Because we obsess. We’re not necessarily easier to trigger than others—I happen to not like the word “trigger” in the psychological sense. But when we are set off, it lasts a lot longer. A lot. And it is more intense. And it must be eradicated, this wrong.

This list is purely about OCD. I can go into my social awkwardness and anxiety issues at another time. Maybe some of that bleeds over here, but that is not what this is about.

Also, this list is me speaking for myself. I’ll use the first person from here on, though it most likely applies to many with OCD.

1. Not being careful. I use every definition of the term “careful” on this one. Careless with me, in all senses of the term. Intentional or not. Don’t be brutally honest, I appreciate nuance.

2. Wishing to see work before it is finished. This applies to creative work, job work, any work. I’m obsessed with the destination to the point where the journey there—the work being done—is for me to suffer through. I don’t want that critiqued before I find the work finished.

3. Not taking my offer for a structured place where everyday life stuff goes. Notice I am not just speaking of you being messy. Rather, on top of that obvious bothersome reality—I most likely have everything set for things to be organized. I did the work, I liked doing the work. Use the system I have in place.

4. Asking to use my computer or smartphone. I have no idea what you’re going to break, but the risk involved it too great. If I give in (I am a very nice person) I am going to twitch and cringe the whole time. This is not an issue with privacy—I know what to hide and how. It is an issue with things possibly being moved. There’s too much that can, and it is all set up perfectly1.

5. Changing plans on me. Don’t.

6. Turning off the lights. Maybe this part is just me. I am willing to admit this may be a personal thing. I need all the lights in a place to be on2. I can see just fine in the dark, this is not an issue of physical limitations. It is an issue with order. If the lights are on, things are set to happen. I like things happening.

7. Violating my privacy. Ok, no one wants their privacy violated—but with my OCD it is for a very different reason. I am obsessed with writing the narrative of my life. As well, I need to be able to provide context to anything you’re going to see about me. I may need some time to do that. I don’t wish to manipulate you, I just wish for all tentacles of context to be given to you.

8. Not giving me feedback on the state of our relationship. This goes for people I am in love with as well as close friends. I am obsessed with knowing because I am filled with all of the worst case scenarios of our relationship. Left in the dark, I’m going to assume those.

9. Mentioning the worst that can happen. Look, I am obsessed with omens. Do I believe mentioning the worst case scenario makes it more likely to happen? I don’t know! But “I don’t know” is not a yes or no. I don’t need all communication sugar-coated, just be careful when you mention things I may already be obsessing over. You’re going to create a confirmation connection of sorts.


Nine is a nice number at which to stop. It is not five or seven, but at the same time, it is not ten. This matters to me. Anyway, all of the above is not meant in a malicious, selfish, or holier-than-thou manner. Not at all. I just feel this is a good way to explain what goes on inside my head when interacting with you or others. That is important to me.


1 For now.  [BACK]

2 When I’m awake. Otherwise, I don’t care one way or the other.  [BACK]