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10 Delusions Only Paranoid Would Understand (Yes, They Are Possibly True)

10 Delusions Only Paranoid Would Understand (Yes, They Are Possibly True)

There are a lot of neat little boxes that people try to put you in—you’re a cautious person, the quiet type, proud, a big talker—but it’s not really a good idea to judge a person based on a single trait.

Take me for example. I am a fairly paranoid person by most people’s standards, yet I see myself as just reasonably cautious. You can chalk it up to all the cheap ninja and secret agent novels I read as a kid, and the martial arts training that I enjoy so much, but as anyone who is labeled as paranoid by others will tell you, a lot of our little “delusions” are actually viable scenarios. Just because something doesn’t happen every single day doesn’t mean that we should be completely carefree and neglect basic precautions. Here are a few common situations which we, the supposedly paranoid people of the world, tend to obsess about, and why we feel it is justified.

1. Leaving a window open at night invites trouble.

Cracking open a window to let some air in is a basic necessity, particularly on those warm summer evenings, but an open window is also an invitation to criminals. I cringe when I see a ground floor window of a house open in the evening, but there have also been real cases when crooks climbed in through a window on the first or second floor. Burglars aren’t as dumb as people like to think. Yeah, it’s not as likely to happen in some neighborhoods, but we paranoid people can’t have peace of mind unless everything is tightly shut.

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2. Weird noises around the home can only mean one thing—burglars!

Even though we are very careful when it comes to security, and double-check to see if the house is on full lockdown before we go to sleep, we see a sudden noise in the middle of the night as signal that a great battle is about to commence. I have a simple, three-step process for dealing with such noises:

  • Stand up and listen intently like a cautious little Meerkat
  • Grab the bedside baseball bat and ask the Warrior Gods to grant me the strength of ten men
  • Lurk from the shadows like a vengeful baseball-themed ghost for couple of minutes before going back to bed

People tease me about it sometimes, but every girl I’ve dated has felt incredibly safe beside me, so I guess there’s some benefits to being cautious.

3. Browsing online is like walking down a poorly lit alley in the bad part of town.

Okay, so let’s get one thing out in the open: the Internet is like a vast ocean of information, cat pictures, memes and funny videos, but there are droves of dangerous pirates that you have to look out for. And for those who skipped “analogy class” in school, I’m not talking about the type of pirate that illegally downloads Katy Perry albums; I mean the kind of people that steal your information, stalk you or try to harm your computer with malware. Since totally abstaining from Internet use is not a good solution, other paranoid people like myself invest a good deal of effort into making sure that our online security is as tight as possible. There have been numerous cases of identity theft, cyber bullying and stalking online, and it only seems logical to us to be careful.

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4. Someone might be waiting behind every corner.

Stepping as far away from the wall of a building as you comfortably can and getting a good look before turning a corner should be common sense as far as I am concerned. Yes, not everyone worries much about some thug jumping them, but even the most carefree person in the world has to admit that just avoiding bumping into people is a good enough reason for taking a half-second to scan the area before turning a corner or walking to your car in a parking lot. We don’t think danger is hiding behind every corner everywhere, but we know that, statistically speaking, there’s a decent chance that it might be hiding behind one of the thousands of corners that we pass throughout our lives, and we’d like to develop a simple habit that could save our lives in that eventuality.

5. Anyone coming up to you in the street is a potential threat.

I believe that the main reason why a lot of people get called paranoid, is a simple lack of effective communication. When I say that I view anyone who walks up to me on the street and encroaches on my personal space a potential threat, I simply mean that I make a mental note to be ready to move if the person is showing signs of bad intentions and I position myself so that I am balanced. It’s a small adjustment, takes hardly any effort and normal people don’t notice anything strange, but bad people clearly see that you are not an easy target.

6. If you don’t sit with your back to a wall you risk someone sneaking up on you.

There is a short ritual that I do when entering a bar, coffee shop or restaurant—look around, get a first impression of the crowd, find a seat where I can have my back against the wall and have a clear view of the rest of the room. In case of a fire or some other emergency, I have an exit strategy, and don’t have to constantly turn around to check behind my back or move my chair to let someone pass, so it’s a win-win situation.

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7. When someone’s late they are probably in grave danger.

Sure, there are tons of people out there who are irresponsible and couldn’t get anywhere on time if their life depended on it, but when a friend’s late and doesn’t answer the phone my first guess is always that their life is really on the line. I have my phone in hand and am ready to call their close family and friends if they are not there within 20 minutes. On the upside, I’m so glad that they’re okay when they finally do arrive, that I don’t get mad at them for being late.

8. Any group of males larger than 1 is probably up to no good.

For me personally, this point is firmly cemented in reality, as my friends and I have had a close brush with a group of drunken guys on more than one occasion. There is safety in numbers, and younger men are teaming with hormones that are supercharged with alcohol and God knows what kind of drugs, which often leads to them acting cocky and mischievous, and becoming aggressive. A good deal of these groups are just regular students or salt of the earth blue collar people, but at that moment they are much more likely to do something stupid, so I feel it’s best not to take chances and just give them a wide berth.

9. Arriving 10 minutes earlier to scan the area is just common sense.

Here’s another one that has always boggled my mind—most people get to a meeting place either bang on time, a few minutes late or incredibly late. People like me who prefer to come about 10 minutes earlier and have a bit of a look around are a dying breed, but if you look at it from our perspective, this approach has several merits:

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  • You never risk being late.
  • You get to look around and find a good place to sit (preferably against the wall and with the view of the entrance).
  • You have the opportunity to spot bad situations brewing and avoid certain areas (not being there is the best defense against mugging and assault).
  • You get some time to calm the nerves and psyche yourself up before a date or serious conversation.
  • You earn people’s respect by being punctual.

Again, it’s something you don’t invest a lot of time or effort into, something that has no potential downsides, but several benefits.

10. A sentence beginning with “I’ve got to tell you something” can only end in tears.

This is something that we can be conditioned to believe through our own previous experiences, but though it may not be true for every single scenario, a majority of “I’ve got to tell you something” or “I have to talk to you” situations end with a harsh revelation, and a long night of drinking and consoling. Think about it, when someone buys a brand new car or gets a promotion they tell you straight away over the phone—enthusiastic screaming is optional—and if it’s a small thing they call you out for some coffee and just start talking to you without stressing the point that a conversation needs to happen.

These are all little things that people who aren’t as obsessive about their safety don’t understand, but there is a clear distinction between paranoia and being careful—truly paranoid people think that someone is always after them and they try to protect themselves against highly unlikely situations, while someone who is careful simply knows that a world is not always a perfect place and has a few safety precautions in place. Even if we do get a bit more protective and cautious or worry more than the average Joe, it’s not without a reason.

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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