I have a condition called ‘Misophonia.’ (I’m also a massive hypochondriac but more on that later.)
This condition translates as ‘hatred of sound’ and is quite common among musicians and other people who have very finely tuned and sensitive ears. It just means that there are certain sounds that do not just irritate me, but that I cannot physically bear and that I have to turn to very dark and violent thoughts in order to cope with them.
The sound I cannot cope with at all is people eating. Not all eating sounds; but most of them, especially if the person’s mouth is open and if the food is particularly sloppy, like banana or ice cream. It’s a terrible problem because there is no correct social etiquette for asking someone to eat more quietly; you simply cannot do it. Even close friends don’t understand how much of a problem it is for me, most of them tend to assume it’s because I think they are being ‘rude’ or ‘impolite’:
When in fact my thoughts during somebody eating disgustingly are more accurately represented like this:
There are only two ways of solving this problem. One way is to ask the person, very politely, if they could eat a little quieter, but this is almost universally received with annoyance and misunderstanding. What I usually try and do is move away from the problem, but sometimes this is impossible without being rude. The other way is to put my fingers in my ears and imagine this kind of thing:
However if I have a friend who I am constantly imagining destroying by cutting out her tongue, it’ll most likely taint my view of her, so after a while, the friendship will disintegrate. This means ultimately that it is very difficult for me to get close to people, and has been a cause (or at least part of the cause) of pretty much all my failed relationships. Thankfully, my current boyfriend is as quiet as a mouse.
So if you know me and I ever ask you to eat a little quieter, take it as a compliment that I care about you enough to break social etiquette. Or just don’t be my friend. If eating loudly really means more to you than being friends with me, I’m not sure I’d want to be friends with you anyway. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.