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How hostile are you?


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I am in the express checkout line at the supermarket, where a sign reads: "No more than 10 items, please!"

I pick up a magazine to pass the time.
I glance ahead to see if anyone has more than 10 items.

My spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend is going to get me a birthday present.

I prefer to pick it out myself.
I prefer to be surprised.

Someone is speaking very slowly during a conversation.

I am apt to finish his or her sentences.
I am apt to wait until he or she finishes.

Someone treats me unfairly.

I usually forget it rather quickly.
I am apt to keep thinking about it for hours.

The person who cuts my hair trims off more than I wanted.

I tell him or her what a lousy job he or she did.
I figure it'll grow back, and I resolve to give my instructions more forcefully next time.

I am riding as a passenger in the front seat of a car.

I take the opportunity to enjoy the scenery.
I try to stay alert for obstacles ahead.

At times I have to work with incompetent people.

I concentrate on my part of the job.
Having to put up with them ticks me off.

Someone bumpbs into me in a store.

I pass it off as an accident.
I feel irritated at the person's clumsiness.

Someone is hogging the conversation at a party.

I look for an opportunity to put him or her down.
I soon move to another group.

There is a really important job to be done.

I prefer to do it myself.
I am apt to call on my friends or co-workers for help.

Someone criticizes something I have done.

I feel annoyed.
I try to decide whether the criticism is justified.

Another driver butts ahead of me in traffic.

I usually flash my lights or honk my horn.
I stay farther behind such a driver.

I see an overweight person walking down the street.

I wonder why these people have such little self-control.
I think that he or she may have a metabolic defect or a psychological problem.

There have been times when I was very angry with someone.

I have always been able to stop short of hitting them.
I have, on occasion, hit or shoved them.

I recall something that angered me previously.

I feel angry all over again.
The memory doesn't bother me as much as the actual event did.


  • Mansnerus, L. (1993, April 25). Count to ten and pet the dog: How hostile are you? The New York Times Magazine.

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