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Is it just me… or is it a left-handed thing?

As a result of our question on Left Handed Kissing Confusion, we got loads of responses about other things left-handers find awkward but have never really connected with them being left-handed.   Apart from the problem of greeting people with a kiss and getting it wrong, we also received comments on other things that made us think….is it just me or is there more to it? Some of the things that were mentioned were:

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or observations at the bottom this page

  • crossing other peoples paths/position on pavement
  • hugging
  • taking neighbours drink/bread roll at dining table
  • direction of work, decorating/painting rooms
  • being helped to put on a jacket
  • receiving change
  • putting children's socks and shoes on
  • using your left-hand as a point of reference when giving directions
  • feeling more comfortable sitting on the left hand side of things
  • putting belts on upside down
  • visualise things the opposite way around
  • trouble opening/locking locks
  • work stations flow the opposite way around
  • organising files “back to front”

It seems that a lot of the quirks that we have are a result of being left-handed in a right-handed world. Listed below are some of the responses we received from our Club Members when we asked . “Is it just me…?” See how many you identify with. The quirk that started it all was social kissing, and you can read a selection of anecdotes about that on our kissing confusion page.

 

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  • It was only recently  that I realised why, when I try clothes on in a shop and put them back on the rack, they're always facing the wrong way because, I'm LEFT-HANDED.~ Simone Hurst

I've noticed that even when loading the dishwasher, I start on the right, but my husband, who is right handed, loads on the left first, and folding sheets together is a nightmare, he folds the opposite to me, and if I don't remember the sheet gets twisted not folded. ~ Carol Wiltshire

  • One really embarrassing thing I do at dinner parties is drink from the person next to me's glass.   I just reach out with my left hand and lift and its not until I  see that  I'm getting strange looks that I realise what I'm doing.   I tell myself I won't do it again then I do.   Also the cheese board!   I just dread someone asking me to cut a piece for them because I just can't do it, it usually ends up on the table and I feel stupid.   What should be an enjoyable night out is something I dread. ~ Evelyn Rose
  • When first seated at a dinner party or restaurant table, I always have to wait for the person to my left to take a sip of their drink, or eat their bread roll to make sure I don't take the wrong one by mistake! ~ Lauren, UK
  • Microscopes!! The fine focus is always on the right!! its probably just me but I use them all day and it drives me mad (boss too mean to buy me a proper one). ~ Debbie, UK
  • Am also a glider pilot, and there are an unusual number of left-handed pilots, particularly the really good ones e.g. national & world champions. We tend to be better & more comfortable at turning right, whereas the right-handed pilots are better at turning to the left. ~ Sarah Platt

I just wonder if anyone out there is like me. When I'm out with friends walking I have to be on the left side of the road when walking and on the left of people when I'm talking otherwise I feel uneasy. ~ Jay

  • Receiving change from shop assistant – I nearly always find myself struggling to hold it without the coins falling all over the floor. (I'm talking about a combination of notes and coins). I think it's because people naturally hand change as if the person receiving will hold out their right hand – but I hold out my left. ~ Emma Hurley
  • I start painting a wall left to right, both the right handers in my family go right to left, and they couldn't figure out why I did it “backwards” as they called it. It wasn't backwards for me. They finally figured it out. It was “left-handed logic” as they call it every time they think I'm doing something the wrong way.
  • Just to let you know I have just been decorating and was papering the room from right to left and find it very difficult to work that way around rather than left to right ~ M. Izzard
  • Upside-down billWe had an email recently from LHC member June in Melbourne, Australia that struck a chord with us.  She says she is very good at adding up numbers upside down and likes adding up her bill in a cafe upside down faster than the waitress can!
  • June also told us that she has another skill…
    “Recently, under immense stress, I calmed myself by doing something I have done in the past as a fun exercise, but have no idea when or how I learnt to do it, but everyone thinks it is very strange. I write the figure 1 down, next line I double it-2, then again-4, then again and again on each line. I am up to about 40 figures in my answer at present. What is unusual is that I begin at the left-hand edge and quickly double all the figures across to the right side.  I sometimes check the answer by doing it the normal right to left, but I find my way much quicker. Everyone that has seen me do it is amazed.”
  • I don't know what the odds are, but I'd love to know how many left handed people are also directionally challenged like me  – i.e., have trouble with north south east and west and distances,  and are constantly having to make u-turns when going somewhere. I've had this problem all my life and have often been asked what it feels like to “be lost” and am I scared when it happens.  I just tell them, I don't have a problem with it, I just consider it going on an adventure and I eventually get where I going . It just takes a little bit longer and I consider the new things I see along the way a learning experience.~Dot Sale, Ontario, Canada.
  • When going to a cinema or theatre I am always drawn like a magnet to the left hand side to find a seat. If I have to sit on the right hand side I don't feel comfortable all night and just sit there thinking how much better I would enjoy the film etc if I was on the left. Is this common with other people? ~ Maureen Elliott
  • I put on a belt backwards, as in using my left hand and inserting it in the right side. Most of the time its hard to notice a difference, but there's belts out there, like ones with buckles that end up being upside down. I know it's not just me because two other left-handers I know do the exact same thing, so I was wondering how many other left-handers do this as well? ~ Scott Farrar, USA
  • I just bought this new belt with a designer buckle. I started putting the belt through the straps in my jeans as usual, but when I wanted to close the buckle, I discovered that the buckle logo was upside down. “How weird”, I said to myself, and then it dawned on me: this belt was designed for righties! Somehow I, as a lefty, have an innate impulse to thread a buckle through my jeans straps beginning at the opposite side from that of a RH! (My old belt didn't cause me any trouble of this sort, since it didn't matter in what way you turned the buckle). Before the time of the CDs, when one still had LP records, I used to have mine on a shelf beneath my record player. I've always been meticulous about sorting  things alphabetically, and I used to do that with my records, too. Somehow, though, my friends would consider my “shelf order” strange, since I put all artists whose name/group name  began with an “A”, at the right-hand side of the shelf, which was totally natural to me. Couldn't get it what was so strange about that, until recently when I came to think of the fact that it must have been a lefty instinct, to do it “the RIGHT way round”! 🙂 ~ Helene, Sweden

Among a million of things I just can't do in this right-handed world, here's one that made me really ask to myself….is it just me? I am just not able to uncork a bottle of wine, simply 'cause I unscrew in the wrong direction. The cork opener never makes it into the cork, no matter how hard I try to push it! My husband makes fun of me, saying that I always use my left-handedness as an excuse just because I'm not able to do stuff….Will they ever understand? ~Sara, Italy

  • When taking “hanging files” (where the papers are laid sideways) out of filing cabinets and opening them up, the papers are always upside down for me when a right-hander has been doing the filing. I know now that I mustn't slip new papers into hanging files without first checking the direction of the other pages – which are always upside down to my way of thinking! Luckily, I have a personal filing cabinet, where only I file the papers, so every file opens with documents the correct way up for me! ~ Laura, UK
  • Myself and one of my best friends were trying on clothes and she wanted to try on the shorts I was wearing-with a belt. When she got them on and was trying to use the belt, she was having trouble getting it undone so she could do it. She made the comment “you and your left handedness.” I had not realized she was having trouble with doing the belt until she said that and I asked what she meant. Evidently, I had my belt “backwards”. I have to wonder how many other “leftisms” there are that we (lefties) are unaware of? ~ Anonymous, USA
  • It seems my right-handed husband and four kids have all “learned” from me! My husband learned to change and dress our four children the left-handed way since I had the baby's rooms set up for my convenience. Kitchen activities were also done “my” way. My kids are now in their 20's and my daughter commented that she does many activities like a lefty because she learned from me. She says it's my fault she's all messed up but I just tell her I did her a favour because she's skilled with both hands! Anything we leftie's teach our kids or spouses will be noticed by other right-handed people! ~ Doreen Place
  • I have recently realised that one reason I have difficulty with the new chip and pin system is that I put my card in “the wrong way round” – the automatic way for me as a left-handed person but not for the machine – created by and for right-handed people I think?Is this something lots of you have already discovered?! ~ Barbara Robinson
  • I just wanted to say I felt so much better after reading all the things we left handers have in common.   I constantly have problems with handshakes, belts, crossing someone's path (am I supposed to go to the right of them or to the left?) and of course the kissing!   I also appreciated the people who visualize things in the opposite way.   I recently graduated from law school and I was once told by a professor that although I reached the right conclusion I came at the problem with “backward thinking logic”.   I also organized all of my notebooks in school so that they opened backwards; my classmates never wanted to borrow notes! I also have problems with outside water faucets — I always try to turn it left to turn it off.   And when I read magazines I always flip through them back to front. ~Lesley Holloway
  • The quirk I had trouble with wouldn't have been noticed if I hadn't been in the military (US Air Force). As a lefty, I'm more comfortable carrying my purse on my right shoulder, leaving my left arm free. In fact, I find it almost impossible to keep a shoulder bag ON my left shoulder when I try. Here's the trouble — salutes are done with the right hand and thus, the right arm must be free at all times. It's even in the regulations that purses, umbrellas, briefcases, etc., should all be carried on the left. I had trouble with that for the entire time I was in the Air Force. I tended to just carry my purses in my left hand (even the shoulder bags), as they would never stay on the shoulder. Very frustrating! My next comment concerns the preference for sitting on the left side of theaters. I don't feel uncomfortable if I have to sit on the right side, but I do tend to automatically go to the left when entering a theater. This turns out to be an advantage. Studies have shown that the large majority of the population goes to the right when a choice is presented (like going into a theater or choosing from two lines for an amusement park ride) — probably due to handedness. An authority on Disney World has even put into his book about the Park that you'll spend much less time standing in line if you veer to the left when presented with two lines for the ride! So, go with your quirk and veer to the left — it will almost assuredly be quicker/shorter/less-crowded over there! ~ Lynn, Denver, CO USA
  • Regarding shaking with the left hand, I am both a lefty and in the Guides. Guides and Scouts around the world shake left handed, which is perfectly natural to me. Unfortunately it makes things even harder when I have to shake hands in a non-Guiding situation, I am even less likely to remember to offer my right hand. This has meant that in professional situations, I've found out that quite senior people were Scouts or Guides and/or left handed and ended up leaving my boss totally out of the conversation as we then talk about handedness or Scouting. ~A. Kerr

Is it just me? Everything at my workstation in my job flows right to left! It drives my co-workers crazy when they come looking for something at my area. They think my workstation set up is “backwards”. I just assumed its a “leftie” quirk. Same thing in my kitchen by the way…. ~ Colleen, USA

 

  • I always find that if I have to flick through a book I hold it in my right hand and flick the pages with my left starting at the back of the book. It drives me insane when I want to use a dictionary because I think of the alphabet going forwards but then I'm flicking with the letters going backwards. Whenever I fill up my motorbike I have to go to a pump that is on my left other wise it just doesn't feel right. Unfortunately my car has the fuel cap on the right hand side and I frequently get myself tangled up with the pumps. I also us one of those flip open wallets and always find it difficult to put notes and credit cards away without turning it upside down then everything ends up falling out! ~ Pauline Woodhall, UK
  • A constant annoyance for me is the placement of receipts when signing credit card transactions. Cashiers almost always angle the receipt towards my right hand, so I inevitably have to re-angle it towards my left hand before signing. This can sometimes be a problem if the cashier keeps a finger on the receipt (usually due to a draft from a fan or doorway). The most amazing incident of this nature was a few months ago in a well known UK DIY store: the cashier placed the receipt angled towards my right hand, I re-angled the receipt towards my left, but before I could put pen to paper the cashier re-angled the receipt towards my right again! ~ Michele Wilkinson, Cambs
  • My gripe is with the till desks, usually petrol stations, that secure the pen for the signing of the receipt with a piece of tatty string that is attached to what ever on the right side and too short for the lefthander. The assistant also offers the receipt to me addressing my right hand. I have found that banks are no better they just have posh ball chain that’s too short instead of string ~ Bob Beaney
  • I was recently looking into purchasing a new horse.   When  I lifted his leg to look at his hoof he  tried to kick out.   This had never happened to me  with my other two horses so I thought there was something wrong.   The owner informed me that I was picking  up his hoof by touching the inside of his leg.   He said most people touch the horse on the outside of the leg and this is why he was spooked.   I never realized it but being left-handed I naturally reach inside the leg, whereas it is awkward  for a right-handed person  to reach inside, so therefore would pick up the leg from the outside. Also, when I was a kid, my mom asked me to put up the pencil sharpener (one of those crank kinds).   I did as I was told.   A few days later my dad complained that he could not sharpen his pencil as the sharpener was upside down!!! ~ Linda Vonhof, Westhampton Beach, NY
  • Is it me? i'm the only left hander at college, and if I've been using the computers I get a lot of complaints because the mouse is on the wrong side of the computer for the boring people of this world.~ Bev Syson, Ilkeston
  • My ex-husband and I moved to a new home and since he was travelling for work I had to unpack everything.   We lived in that house for 3 ½ years and he complained the whole time that nothing was in the right” place.  I just kept saying welcome to my world” with a big smile on my face.   I hadn’t even realized I had set everything up left-handed – I just put everything where is was supposed to go. ~ Jodi Olson
  • When I am drinking especially in a pub or club I feel that if I don't hold the glass in my left hand that I am not getting the full enjoyment of the drink. Sometimes I find that I am drinking with my right hand and realise that something is not going quite right and have to change! ~ David Robinson

It works the same way when walking past someone but don't know which side to let them pass you on, so you end up doing a little dance and bounce on both feet before one person takes the lead and chooses a side. the difference is, it's with your neck and so you end up looking stupider! Although it can be quite humorous ~ Laura Piplica, UK

  • Whenever I read a book and the author describes a scene, I always find later, as the plot unfolds that I have visualised it completely the wrong way round, as a mirror image. Is it me? ~ Linda Dainton, UK
  • Is it only me? I run my own business from home which does involve sending information by post to prospective clients. When the information I send runs to more than one page I like everyone else staple the pages together. Often, too often the actual staple doesn’t penetrate the paper. Is this a fault that other left handers have encountered and if it is how have they overcome this annoying problem?~ Bob Westecott
  • I joined a dance class (Line-Dancing) and had a hard time following everyone…All the steps were lead on the right foot , Of course I instinctively started on my left and I was always a step behind everyone…I was so ashamed, I couldn't keep up. ~ Marty
  • Handshakes! I naturally put out my left hand…d'oh! Oh the trials of living in a right handed world… ~ Nancy Hopkins, UK
  • I have difficulties with locks and keys is it just me ? ~ Frances Todd, UK
  • Walking in the out door. I am always doing this. It drives my son crazy! Or walking on the wrong side of the staircase. ~ Cindy Timo
  • I was wondering , growing up was it difficult for you to learn how to tie your shoes properly? Especially learning from a rightie? I ended up making two bunny ears and tying them together rather than the loop around and pull. Also making check marks (ticks). Did people tell you growing up checking each others papers that your checks were “backwards”? ~ Jennifer, The Bronx
  • I used to hold all my four children on my right side, leaving my left hand (a working one) free. So I am absolutely sure that all the discussions about women carrying their babies on their left side so that children could hear their mothers' hearts beating are just nonsense! It is just a matter of right- or left-handedness. ~ Irina Radetskaya, Russia

Thank you to everyone who responded to our question so far – it is great to be part of such a helpful worldwide community of left-handers and we look forward to receiving your further comments – please use the form below.

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806 comments on “Is it Me?
  1. Sarah Adams says:

    The biggest problems I have are with utensils… especially knives! Everyone I know things I’m stupid because I can’t use a bread knife without squashing the bread to bits, and they call me crazy when I insist that knives are made for right-handed people! It isn’t until I actually show them the serrations in the knives that they even start to believe me!
    Also, I too have had filing problems. When I was in highschool I would help file other students’ work and their papers would always be backwards when I got done. Eventually I stopped filing papers and found other ways to help.
    Finally, one of my most embarrassing lefty moments was with a pair of scissors. My basketball team won a tournament and we each got to cut down part of the net. Each girl stepped up and quickly snipped her part. Of course, when I got up there it took me almost 5 minutes just to sever the net! I was SO embarrassed.

    • Mel says:

      Oh Sarah get youself a left handed bread knife it is the best kitchen utensil I have brought.
      And then I revel when my right handed husband picks it up by mistake and struggles and of course then ………………. I have to show him how to cut it ‘properley’. lol

  2. Karen M. says:

    WOW! Does this ever bring back memories -Belts – yes! I haven’t worn a belt for years! – Receipt to sign – yes. – chip card in backwards – yes! – This is one I never thought about: the hugging – my nose hits the other person’s. I just thought I was awkward. – can opener – thought I was inept and uncoordinated; the same with revolving doors.
    Have always wanted to sit on the left in a theater or classroom. Yes, it is very awkward when sitting beside someone in a classroom OR at a table when eating. I always want to sit at the very end on the left so my elbow does not bump anyone’s. I get confused when I go in any big shopping mall and want to go out the wrong way from where I came in. When I am going to park in a big parking lot to go shopping, I park just to the left of the exit so that I can remember where I have parked. I actually learned to use the mouse on the right side of the computer because that’s where it was but I now have it on my left side. DO YOU KNOW that when the keyboard was made for typewriters, it was made so that the left hand was used more than the right? I read that somewhere. It was done to slow down the typists. I can’t remember why.

    • Laura says:

      When touch typists became very adept at typing quickly, the old mechanical typewriters that had arms which hit the ribbon and paper would jam as they could not move one key out of the way before the next struck, and some got hot, so the QWERTY and other types of keyboard arrangement were designed to slow typists down. As soon as keyboards became electrical the problem didn’t exist but the standard had been set.

  3. Cathy says:

    I’ve had many of the same problems. When I was little I was told “You write with your right hand.” Not me specifically, but people in general. I thought you basically had a “write” hand and the other hand. I didn’t know it had to do with directionality. So when I got to school I didn’t know my left from my right, and still many decades later, have the same problem. I slant my paper as righties do when I write (so I essentially write upside down, as someone described it; I don’t have the left hook) because I looked around the classroom and saw that’s the way everyone else had their paper slanted.

    Not only am I left-handed, but I’m also mildly dyslexic. So I confound people who come into my home “office”. My books are arranged right to left on the bookshelf (first book in a series is farthest to the right) and my icons on my computer are all on the right side. (although, for some reason, I can’t use a left-handed mouse)

    I had a problem with compass directions when I was first learning them, but did finally overcome that. I amuse my right handed friends because, although I don’t know my left from my right, I do know port from starboard.

    I also carry a shoulder bag on my right shoulder. That makes them zip closed to the back (pickpocket’s delight) rather than to the front, or else the part that should be on the outside is against my hip.

    • Laura says:

      Oh thank goodness, people don’t believe me when I say I was taught that you right with your write – haha look at what I just did there totally unintentionally.
      I am also fine with Port and Starboard.
      Thank you so much, I was beginning to think I had made up that memory!

    • Andrea says:

      “My books are arranged right to left on the bookshelf (first book in a series is farthest to the right)”

      yes! that’s how they should be – and the publishing world agrees – if you take the books and put them into a pile, if they’re shelved right to left, then the top book is number 1!

  4. Nikole says:

    I do share the same problems. I have come to find out that not only am I left handed but left side dominate because my contact prescription has now change. I have had the same prescription in both eyes for the longest time but now the left eye is doing more work and is slightly weaker.
    The trunk on my car I always turn the key left which leaves it stuck for moment because it is suppose to be turned right some problem with most locks.
    I had to teach myself how to use chop sticks because no one else could but yet I can teach a right handed person how to use them.
    Even when I type, my left hand does most of the work when using a keyboard. But I think because of the computer and my smartphone my left had might become weak over time from over use.
    I have notices the atm’s are right handed too but the door access can be on any side. I tend to swipe my card in stores upside down.
    I thought I couldn’t keep my bag on my left shoulder because I have scoliosis but it seems it might be a little bit of both.
    I have to grab my beer or my drink with my left hand because it just doesn’t feel right in my right hand.
    Also the same problem with clothes and belts. I don’t think they had a problem teaching me how to tie my shoe.
    When I use a knife or any sharp object at my dad’s he doesn’t trust me because I’m left handed or probably because it just looks wrong to him.
    It was so easy when I first learned how to drive to park on the left side of the street, the right side took some time.
    Whatever I feel I can’t do I tend to something different change things around to cater to me.
    Hey lets not feel sorry for ourselves because at the end of the day we are very unique and we are shaping the world to be more accepting of use and our uniqueness.

    • Caroline says:

      I to have had bother being the only leftie in a right handed home .. I learnt to watch others to tie my shoes and knit .. some pattens I can’t do .. I can’t read the line backwrds as some one once told me … taken me long enough to read lines like every one else does .

      Hubby has to leave the kitchen when I am cutting anything as his head can’t cope with me cutting some thing the wrong way …

      I work on a till… in a supermarket and ended up with frozen shoulder because was working left handed .. I now have to juggle the change to give with right hand … left won’t reach some people who are already on their way out the door… LOL

      Ticks are done the wrong way to every one else ,but right for me .. been nice seeing other people suffer the same as me .. shaking hands is not some thing I like doing as always the left one … still makes people laugh so don’t mind .. Caz

  5. Elaine Melzer says:

    My husband finds his wardrobe disrupted when I hang his clothes in it, they are the opposite way to his! My daughters have trouble machine sewing if I have pinned the garment for them. Just recently I took up quilting and found it most difficult to use the rotary cutter.It was all back to front for me.
    Recently my new hairdresser asked me whether I was left handed, I answered in the affirmative and asked why, she replied your hair should be parted on the left and it is parted on the right. She asked permission to change it and ever since my hair has been so much easier to manage. I recently found out that my mother used the right parting as she wanted nothing to do with “left things” even though it was the way the hair wanted to go so now after 72 years the parting is where nature intended it to be (my mother was from the age where everything “left ” was not “right”

  6. Brittney says:

    Is it just me or does every lefty experience this? Every time I use a certain kitchen tool, particularly a knife, my mom feels the need to intervene and show me how to cut properly because she feels that I am not doing it ”right” going along with the expression, ”you and that left hand”. Granted I do struggle a bit, but I do get the job done and its not my fault I can’t cut the way a right handed person would. Kitchen knives and other tools are made for right handed people. Once I explained this to her, she quickly got the picture, and let me cut my way, ”the right way”.

    • Mel says:

      Oh Brittney get youself a lefthanded bread knife it is the best kitchen utensil I have brought.
      And then I revel when my right handed husband picks it up by mistake and struggles and of course then ………………. I have to show him how to cut it properley. lol

  7. Annette says:

    While on holiday, I went into a cybercafe to check on my messages. All the computers where next to each other with a mouse pad glued to the table between each one.
    I moved my mouse to the left and configured it to click left. As time went on the cafe filled up a guy came and sat to my left and insisted that I had taken his mousepad. I pointed out that I had been there first and so the pad was mine. Management came, but obviously I refused to budge. Infact I stayed longer that I really needed to just to make a point.
    Things could have been remedied had they not glued the pads down, to reposistion the other pad.

    I had never thought about suspended files, and as I’m the one at home that does all the paper work i get cross with my husband for putting the papers back in the files upside down. I’ll be more understanding now. He can’t help being right handed. We work great together at DIY We get to work on a room and finish in the middle. Yin yang

  8. Bill Reynolds says:

    When I fold mixtures of cranberries, nuts, cinnamon, and other items for use in a home-made granola, I have taken the spatula and folded the items into the mix “backwards” as some people say.

    This also happens when I take cookie mixture from a bowl and spoon it onto a cookie sheet. I just make allowances for this and put the cookie sheets on the “opposite” side before putting the dough on the sheet.

    When using a mixer to mix eggs, flour, sugar, etc., when I use a spatula to keep the mixture off of the side of the mixing bowl, I feel somewhat awkward because this procedure is best done with the right hand. I still accomplish the job even though I do it left-handed.

    • Andrea says:

      now, I have a Kenwood chef, and it’s the same way round as a sewing machine, the controls are on the right and the “Free arm” and the bowl are on the left.
      It means that it’s easier to scrape the mix off the bowl, because i can get my left hand into the bowl easily – i wouldn’t find it so easy right-handed.

  9. dale says:

    I took on signing for the deaf for a short period of time – stopping because everyone was confused, including myself – how do the deaf get on reading left handed signers?

    However, I do find that teaching guitar right handed is the ideal way as the left hand does some quite deft work on the neck. In teaching music I stick to the ‘right handed’ way – I have yet to see a piano devised for left handers – and I don’t have the resources to try unfortunately – how revolutionary that would be!

    • Cathy says:

      I work in a school for the deaf. I was told to sign whichever way was comfortable for me. Deaf people can read in either direction. The thing is to be consistent. I did have a problem when I was learning sign language because we had to sign something without voice or moving our lips and everyone in the class said I was using signs they hadn’t learned. The teacher thought it was funny, but assured them I was using the same signs they were. The only one who understood me was the one deaf woman in the class. The teacher (who was my second sign teacher — my first was actually left-handed) let the class know that I was just signing left-handed.

      • Constance says:

        I actually end up interchanging my hands when signing! I started off signing with only my left hand, but as most of my teachers were righties, I got confused doing the mirror image of them. I can only do the alphabet with my left hand though 🙂 Also, because there are fewer lefties around, I find it difficult to read another person’s signs if they’re done with the left hand. Oops.

  10. Cathi says:

    I constantly have to think about which way to turn keys, door handles, corkscrews, taps, screwtop lids but oddly enough use right handed scissors and tin openers (in my right hand) with no problem. I also vacuum right handed for some reason.

    • dale says:

      Left to loosen, is the quote I was given. So to undo anything, go left. I do a lot of things right handed, and I think for a good crossover balance of the brain I think we should attempt to do more right handed things. I found I couldn’t get a Sudoku puzzle out so I tried using my right hand for the numbers and wahoo – it came out – just to prove that some sides of the brain need sharpening up. I can now do them left handed as I have now triggered that skill.

      • Ashley says:

        I found tightening and untightening bolts an absolute nightmare. Then a friend of mine taught me a very aseful phrase. Righty tighty, Lefty loosey.

        • Erina says:

          I have the same problem with screw top jars, screws, some taps (like the main taps under a sink that turn off the water for each tap; I never know when it stops if its fully on, or fully off!) I have an awkward time at public transport barriers; having to reach accross to put the ticket in. I don’t have trouble with scizzors. I own lefty ones, but have no troble with using right ones in the right hand. The same with can openers. I do have a “propper” one, though I don’t use it much.

          I learnt to organise folders from back to front, and it took me years to work out why my ticks looked funny, as I was doing them the right handed way. I have changed that now.

          With most other things I just do it with the hand that is easier.

          • Anne says:

            Having grown up in a right-handed family and never even known about left-handed scissors till I was adult, I learned to cut with ordinary (i.e. right-handed) scissors; and even now I have left-handed ones I find them a bit strange. But an older left-handed friend says she has never been able to use scissors because she couldn’t cope with them – never had any left-handed ones.

            Screwdrivers – I’m better at loosening than tightening screws! And it was only recently I realised that pencil-sharpeners work better when used right-handed – great, I was always getting messy pencils and breaking leads; now I know it wasn’t just me being clumsy.

  11. Don Broome says:

    I don’t even have a shoulder(left or right)to cry on. I’m an American “senior”, born a lefty, but coerced by my 1st grade teacher to write with my right hand; I still write with my right hand, but everything else is lefty. The upside down belt was a challenge for me during my time in the United States Marine Corps, circa 1943-1946. Our “dress” blouses were wool, forsest green, secured by a 2 1/2″ Sam Brown leather belt. Getting it right side up came naturally, after a few good “sessions” with my Drill Instructer. The discipline in our Marine Corps is not unlike that of the Royal Marines. When my wife was alive, she often helped me with the “drink/bread? situation. My greatest problem has always been the scissors, how frustrating! A member commented about difficulty with the water faucet, and, if I may, I want to share with you my late-wife’s wisdom, as it relates to faucets(this may be reversed in the UK) “Lefty-Loosy; Righty Tighty” Is this a fetish of some kind? Whenever I walk into a restaurant of about 50 or more customers, I can immediately spot a “lefty” eating. True. When I am asked why that is so, I can only speculate that the left arm, left hand motion stands starkly against all the right handers. I am speaking to “Beckie”, but my comments pertain to each and every leftie out there: She said “A lot of people out there don’t know how our brain works, but we do” Good for you, Beckie. Now, here is my point – this is the time and this is the place – Someone, like Beckie, will become our organizer, and from that point, Beckie will have to identify each of us, as being authentic Lefties; We each sign letters of Authentication, submit them to Beckie. She will then, at our expense, travel to the World Court, Hague(?) and formally present our Demand that the entire world be rightfully returned to all Left Handed peoples, and to their Governing Body, yet to be formalized. Here’s my long-held theory: We are the only peoples on earth, who are in their right mind. Peace of cake!!! Beckie, can we pull this off? Don’t answer that.

  12. Kay Simons says:

    My left-handedness is a left eye dominant, so I’m more left sided than left handed. No one is quite sure where the left-handedness came from, as no one remembers a left handed ancestor, but my brother is also left-handed. There were no specialty items as we were growing up, so we learned to work in a right handed world. I don’t remember having problems with using scissors, and use the same scissors right handed people do, just with my left hand. The cut, I gather, is at a different slant, which doesn’t usually make any difference. The only serious problem I have had over the years has been with guitars; I have to have them “Hendrix” strung (and that’s another problem as Paul McCartney was a famous leftie before Hendrix, so why aren’t they called McCartney strung). There were problems when I wanted to learn to knit and crochet, so my right handed mother and grandmother gave up and got me “how to” books. I figured it right out, even though the books were written for right handed people. The biggest problem is that right handed people are convinced they can’t possibly teach a leftie how to do any sort of hand movement activity, not that a leftie can’t learn how to do it from a rightie.

    I’m fairly left dominant, but learned the social movements at such an early age I don’t automatically reach or move to the left. When passing I always move to the right, can hold a glass and drink properly from it in either hand, and as long as I don’t have to take notes I can hold the phone in either hand. So glad we got rid of the dial on phones, though, as I had trouble dialing a number with my right hand, the movement of the dial seemed all wrong with my right hand, and I could only dial with my left. (Righties said the same thing with trying to use their left hand, go figure.)

    Punch ladles, though …. thank heavens many now come out with the pour notch on both sides. I wasn’t very good at turning it to the left with my left hand, though I seldom spilled.

    I, too, tend to put my belt on “upside down”. These days I don’t wear fancy belt buckles so I forgot about all of that until it was mentioned. My work station always has the phone to the right, since I usually have to take notes, and of course has all my pens and notepads (and other supplies) to the left, which seems to have upset the cleaning people more than my co-workers. Twice a week I would have to re-set up my desk first thing in the morning, so I took to putting all the pens and supplies in drawers at night. (And we did things with the phone cord so it couldn’t be moved far from it’s location.) I do use the mouse on the right side; my daughter, though, has hers on the left, but doesn’t use one with buttons reversed.

    I think, being a typist and a keyboard player, I’ve learned to use both hands fairly equally for physical movement types of tasks, but if I’m carrying something, it’s going to be in my right hand and will have to be juggled for me to shake hands with someone. I gather I would have had problems in the military, too, since I carry my purse on my right side as well. Not something I’ve thought about in decades, I admit …. all the little things that tell people you’re a leftie that only a fellow leftie notices. *lol*

  13. Fran says:

    Cashpoints, especially Barclays ones. Am I the only person who feels a total pillock having to step to the right of the machine in order to be able to get my card back out? They have a silly recessed bit for you to grasp the card, but on the right side of the card!

    I was really relieved to read about the shoulderbag (purse) on the right as well – I’m the same but hadn’t realised.

  14. Kristy says:

    As a lefty, i cannot play baseball/softball for i throw and catch with my left hand. Also, when i turn my ipod sideways to type, the end with the speaker always has to be on the left. I have been told multiple times by my music instructor (whos a lefty too) that i couldnt keep the beat with my left hand for the rest of the band would get confused. And that it took her a period of time to get it down perfectly. My question is why should we change for them? I want to someday create an all-lefty band/orchestra to prove that we can perform music just as well as the right handed people. Anyways, revolving doors are another problem. They rotate to the right instead of to the left which makes timing an issue for me. Escalators too, i want to stand to the far left side of the escalator, but theres brissles that give major brush burns on your skin if youre too close to them. Oh the life of a lefty.

  15. Mel says:

    The search button on my touch screen phone is on the wrong side and also I keep switching the phone off due to where the button is.
    I wish the would make an app or a programme to switch it around.

  16. Robert M says:

    Wow, I never realized that being left-handed may be why my parents were so frustrated trying to teach me to tie my shoes. I was talking, reading, and toilet trained before age 1, but I was almost 5 before I learned to tie them, and it took a left-handed family friend to teach me!
    I live in the US and at my University I can get disability status for being left-handed, which would allow me to use a table in the classroom rather than a right-handed desk. I don’t exercise this option, as I can manage.
    I learned in Junior High that the only way I could take notes properly was with legal pads, which I only use to this day.
    I have to use forms at work which have labels on the left side and spaces on the right, which means I am constantly having to lift my writing hand and go back to find the proper line.
    I, as many others have said, naturally prefer to read magazines back to front.
    When I was in kindergarten and I learned to write my name for the first time, I was told it was wrong. “But,” I protested, “It says Robert just like you asked me to write.”, to which she replied “Yes, but you wrote it with the wrong hand.” The only answer I could give is the truth: “No I didn’t.” That stopped as soon as I told my mother that afternoon (as she was one of those who had her left-handedness beaten out of her in a religious grade school).
    The more I look into it, the more I feel defined by being left-handed. People may not agree with me (or maybe they can’t keep up?), but not everyone can look at the world from a 10% perspective!

  17. Gemma says:

    It’s crazy how many things like this you don’t even think about. I used to think it was always tough for children to learn how to tie their shoes(it also took me years when I was little before I learned which shoe went on which foot, I always had to ask people around me if it was correct), which way to turn keys, on what side to cross paths with someone, etc. Something I’ve thought about just recently is the hugging-issue. It always gets awkward when I try to hug someone, especially if it’s for the first time, because we both lean to the same side(well, left for me, right for them). Now I avoid hugging my friends, and new acquaintances, because I don’t want them to feel awkward.

    • Cathy says:

      I never realized it before, but I have a problem hugging people because we go the same direction. For some reason, because of the awkwardness, people seem to see me as standoffish. It’s just I’m trying to figure out which way to go.

    • Tanya says:

      I have noticed some of these same problems myself in my lefthanded world. As for when you cross paths with someone I thought you did it the same as if you were in a car. Those of us in America move to the right so the person id passed on the left. Screw-on lids are bad news. My Dad doesn’t understand why it is such a big deal. It involves more than logic for us for some reason.

  18. Roberta says:

    I find a problem with crocheting. Often times you don’t end up on the correct side of the work, because you work with the left hand. So you actually work from right to left, where righties work from left to right. I end up having to do an extra row or skipping one to make the item come out right. Some patterns you just can’t do!

    • Kay Simons says:

      I’ve been crocheting for over 50 years, and I’ve never run into that particular problem other than with graphs for a very specific (non-symmetrical) design. Same with knitting, though in both cases something diagonal will slant in the other direction. When the first row is the outside (say a sweater or other garment) then that’s the same if you’re leftie or rightie. Where the main confusion could be, though, is when the directions state to “shape right shoulder”; you’ll be shaping the left. I don’t even notice that any more, it’s 1st shoulder shaping and 2nd shoulder shaping to me. *g* I wish we could get together so that you could show me where you’re having problems. I may have solved all of those before I was ten years old so I don’t even notice them any more.

  19. Jasmine VA, USA says:

    I’ve learned to adapt to the best of my ability to most right-handed wyas, but the one thing that still seems to get me is the belt thing; I’ve always looped it through my right side first (as is natural), which never seemed wrong to me until I bought a belt fro the clothing store I worked at that had little hearts for the holes. When I put the belt on, the hearts were upside-down, as belts are typically made to accomodate right-handers; I’d come to ignor it, but I’ve had people point out on occasion that the hearts were upside-down. It wasn’t until I had gotten a Coca-Cola belt buckle (I’m a Coke fanatic) that I really noticed it was a problem; when I’d attached the buckle and wore the belt for the first time, it was upside-down. Originally, I left it because I was defiant to thread a belt the right-handed way; if it wasn’t for the numerous, annoying comments about my upside-down buckle, I never would’ve consented.

    On another note, I recently started a job where I work in an office all day; after I rearranged the entire thing to suit my left-handedness, I immediately switched the mouse buttons to make it compatible for me and moved it to the left side. I love how frustrated my non-lefty coworkers get when trying to use my computer.

  20. Gillian says:

    I always flick through magazines and newspapers from back to front.It does seem more natural.When I wind the flex back on to my vacuum cleaner I do it anticlockwise.
    A couple of years ago the council replaced the windows with double glazed units – all right handed handles!! The new doors are all righthanded as well.It feels difficult opening the locks.
    As the other lefties have commented – the payment card machines are given to us in a right handed manner.
    I am amazed at how many really brilliant people were left handed.I have bought a left handed block calander for 2 years now and all the famous and indeed clever people there were and indeed are.It just goes to show that we are not dim yeh?

    • Cathi says:

      Us lefties are far from dim . . . . . how many right-handers could cope/adapt to a left-handed world ??

      • Deborah says:

        Hi there! I really don’t think right handers would have a chance in a left handers world,lol oh! Does any one experience this? when I’m vacuuming , I cannot control the vacume cord, O man I get it tangled up so bad, also when I go go shopping, get to the checkout, I ask the staff to swipe my card as I mess that up too.there’s no way in the world I can carry a bag over my left shoulder, I have to be to the left of everything, you know what we all need? A leftorium like on the simpsons , lol

  21. Connie says:

    Is it just me or is life just a problem for us lefties? because I agree with the comments about picking up drinks and stuff and all the other things that have been mentioned actually, hehe. But I have also noticed that everything is hard for me because I’m still in school so it is very awkward because if teachers decide to put us in seats i always get put on the right of a right-handed person so we always bump into each other and it’s really annoying but I am too embarrassed to say to the teacher because it just seems like I’m making a fuss. And I also have trouble in P.E because if I am doing a bat and ball game (such as hockey or rounders) then due to the way that I hit the ball the teacher always says it’s out of bound so I get put out, but it’s not my fault this world is set up for right-handed people and I don’t think it’s fair.

    • Anne says:

      You’re so right, Connie – it isn’t fair. Try to get over your embarrassment and ask to be put on the left side at desks – the rightie next to you will prefer it too, so you could ask them to raise it with the teacher if you feel too awkward about it.

      When I played (played – hah!) rounders at school I was frankly hopeless at hitting the ball (why make a bat that narrower than what you’re hitting??) but even if I occasionally managed to hit it I was told that I could only run to the first post till the ball was retrieved. So much for scoring! even though I was a fast runner I never had a chance.

      But take heart – it does get easier; you get used to dealing with little annoyances like doorknobs that turn the wrong way, pans with pouring lips on the wrong side etc etc. And you’ll even find advantages (I use my computer mouse right-handed, take notes and use the ‘phone with my left hand).

      Good luck!

  22. Beckie says:

    I notice that being a dominant- truly dominant not cross dominant lefty- I have trouble using can openers, lighters, scissors (the bane of our existence), situating items in my hands, handing money to people, using a cash register -my work requires it, and they claim to have it calibrated for either use but they do not. :(- calcuators, notebooks, binders, and with my video game systems- esp. wii which allows you to change depending on the game- others that don’t I just hold each in the opposite hand and it works. A lot of people don’t know how exactly our brains work, but we do, and I feel lucky having parents who were lefty capable, not just lefty tolerant. I had and still have trouble tying my shoes. My mother had to teach me the opposite way, and she did the same when I started knitting and crocheting and doing latch hooking. My father and both of my grandfathers are lefty’s, but I am – out of the three- the only truly dominant lefty. I do nothing with my right hand save for things that require two hand usage. 🙂

  23. Tom says:

    Whenever I go to fill up my car at the gas station and pay at the pump with a credit card, the picture showing how to insert the card seems ambiguous to me. I often but the card in the wrong way and have to turn it around.

  24. NIk says:

    i face the same problem like “Dot Sale, Ontario, Canada. ” said.. i feel very confused when it comes to the directions .. i often guess them in opposite way.. 😀

  25. Chrissy says:

    I work in the hospital and when I am having a patient sign their consent form for procedures, I always hand the pen to their left hand while confronting them with the paperwork and pen. The patient always crosses the right hand over to take the pen out of my left hand when I hand it to their left hand! No matter how much I try to pay notice to it, I always cross the pen over to their left hand to sign. I do the same thing to shake their left hand when they send out their right hand to shake.

  26. Birgit says:

    On Sundays, I walk out of church with the bulletin and other papers in my right hand, leaving my left hand free…naturally. Then the minister puts out his hand and I have to juggle to shake it. You’d think I’d learn, but I do the same week after week.

    As far as tieing shoes, my mother said she practiced tieing while looking in a mirror so she could teach me.

    I also tried to learn to knit, but that was pretty much a disaster. 🙂

    Right handers just don’t seem to get our issues. My DH bought a new door handle for the door to our basement. Oddly enough it only turns one way…the WRONG way if you’re trying to use your left hand.

    • Andrea says:

      you’d think the minister would learn!
      If you see someone coming towards you with one hand free, then you should go to shake the free hand!

  27. karen bennett says:

    I have trouble unlocking the door usig my left hand, always turning the key anticlockwise, which feels natural. I also cannot use a corkscrew (thank goodness for screwtop wine bottles); but to get over this we bought a lever action corkscrew on our trip to Australia. Another problem I have is the keypad locks at work, if I try open them with my left hand I cancel the code, I have to use my right hand to do it. You can also tell which documents I have filed as they are all the opposite direction to everyone elses.

  28. Nondas says:

    Using the mouse on a PC I share with right-handers – I tend to put it on the left side and everyone else puts it on the right side of the computer, meaning everyone has to move it around after I use it.

    • Fiona says:

      and the whingeing that comes from the others — I ignore because it’s the only thing they must cope with in their work day!

    • Cin77 says:

      I fix my families computers and they all complain afterwards that I left the mouse on the wrong side. I’d like to see how they would feel about everything else being the on the wrong side (or way, or just all wrong!) for them haha.

      P.S this website is awesome!

  29. Karen, UK says:

    It’s been really good reading about all you left handies out there and our ‘quirky’ ways. My husband & I are both left handed and when it comes to going to Weddings and Dinner Parties we always wait till the others pick up their glass/bread first. I never thought about belts until I read there were so many others who put their belts on ‘upside down’. I wondered why I always found it hard to follow dance steps, until I read Martys comment. My ticks are always back to front much to the amusement of the right handed people at work. Keep the comments coming.

    • Cathy says:

      I do the same thing with tick marks… my colleagues say they always know when something is mine, because they go the “wrong” way.

      • Toni says:

        As a trainee teacher (many years ago) I was advised by my tutor that I had better sort out my left handed ticks before I qualified as they were unacceptable!

  30. Diana says:

    Is it possible to help – I would love to find a messenger bag which I can use over my left shoulder, to sit on the right hip. All the ones I see go over the right shoulder and sit on the left hip. I find it difficult to get to the pocket for the phone for example. Normally I carry a bag on my right shoulder but the messenger bags on the right do not work for me.

    Help!!!!

    Diana

    • Andrea says:

      are the phone holders sewn on?
      I’ve seen a couple where it’s held on by a velcro loop – you can remove them, so you could easily put it on the opposite “end” of the strap.

    • Laura says:

      I have a great messenger bag that is that way round, it’s from Warner Bros in Burbank, they might do them online. I never thought about it before but it is perfect!

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