Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
August 26, 2020 ·  4 min read

9 Common Things That are Tricky for Left Handers

Left handers have had their share of troubles in the past. Left-handedness was stigmatized and often thought of as an abnormality, a sign of weakness, or even demonic possession. To their disadvantage, children were forced to write with their right hands. Fortunately, we know there’s nothing wrong with being left-handed. Now, lefties take up about 10–15 percent of the general population. [1] 

Despite the small percentage, we know many people in our lives who are lefties. There’s also the extensive list of famous lefties who include, Leonardo Da Vinci, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Lewis Carroll, and Neil Armstrong. [2] 

Special Traits Attributed to Lefties

Several studies have analyzed the differences between righties and lefties. Although it’s difficult to conclude pinpointed details about each one, here are some traits often attributed to lefties

  • They are able to come up with several approaches to problem-solving instead of seeing things in black and white. 
  • Left handers have a lot of creative intuition and use it to explore new ways of processing information or in their creative hobbies. 
  • They are fast-learners. 
  • They are individualistic and independent. [3] 

With all of the stigma lefties have endured in the past, you would think we would have learned to co-exist by now. However, there are little ways lefties struggle in this righty-dominated world. 

Read: What Are Those Grids of Glass in the Sidewalk — And Why Are They Purple

9 Tasks That Are More Difficult for Left-Handed People 

Using a Can Opener 

Manual can openers operate for right-handed people by design. Lefties have to either hold it at a strange angle or move the opener in the opposite direction. It takes a little bit of creative contortion, but that will become a recurring theme on this list. Fortunately, it’s easy to open pull-tab cans without much trouble for lefties and righties. 

Taking a Drink from a Car’s Cup Holder 

With the cup holder on the driver’s right side (at least in America and Canada), lefties have to accustom themselves to pick up their water bottles or coffees with their less dominant hand. There’s no real way to pivot to grab the drink with the left hand unless of course, you move to Britain or Australia where the driver’s seat is on the right side. 

Measuring Ingredients 

Liquid measuring cups usually print the serving amounts on the left side of the handle, easy to read if you pick it up with your right hand. If lefties would pick it up as they naturally would, they would be looking at the blank side or the metric system side. Here’s a tip: after filling the cup with whatever ingredient you are measuring, place it on the counter and look at it from eye level. That’s a simple and foolproof way anyone could tell if it’s the proper amount.  


Zippers on jeans, jackets, dresses, and even backpacks, usually open on the right side. There’s the same idea with buttons as well, and often those are even worse for lefties. Some dresses and other apparel designed for women place the closures on the left. This began back in the day when servants helped dress women in the Victorian era. 


This actually applies to other industries as well, like certain grocery chains. Desks often attach pens to a chord to prevent them from getting stolen or lost. They are all good and well for right-handed people, but lefties are left being a little restricted in their movements as they sign whatever needs to be signed. 


You know that moment when you come toward someone walking in the opposite direction and you have to perform an awkward dance to get out of each other’s way? This could happen easily between a righty and a lefty. People tend to lean into their dominant side as they walk—placing themselves right in front of the other person. 

Eating with Company 

Most people eat with their dominant hand, which is all well and good when you’re eating alone. When you’re with people, however, it can become a boxing ring. A lefty and a righty sitting next to each other often unintentionally engage in an elbow-room battle. Also, it’s likely their drinks will end up next to each other’s, heightening the risk of spilling and accidentally swapping glasses.


One way to spot a lefty is to find the inky, smudged mess on the side of their left hand. Since you write English left to right, lefties place their hands over words they had just written before it has a chance to set in. This could be one of the reasons lefty handwriting is stereotypically messy. 


Here’s the famous example of lefty struggles: scissors. They are often shaped to fit the right hand to allow easier and more comfortable cutting, but not for lefties. Unless you use special lefty scissors or you get a pair without this molded shape, lefties often use scissors upside down with their thumbs in the finger hole. A little silly-looking, but lefties have to make due in a righty-dominated world. 

  1. “How Left-Handed People Think and Feel Differently.” Carolyn Gregoire. HuffPost. December 1, 2016 
  1. “One hundred famous left-handed people.” The Guardian. August 13, 2003 
  1. “Psychologists explain how left-handed people work differently.” Lindsay Tigar. Fast Company. August 13, 2018