An Internet User Asked, “What Did You Learn Embarrassingly Late In Life?” And Here Are The 80 Best Answers
We tend to have an idea of the various things we should know about, taxes, death, and simple math, but we are burdened with the knowledge that we are supposed to know it by a certain age. Out of embarrassment, we just don’t let on that we aren’t sure about something, as at that point we are too afraid to ask.
One internet user wanted to learn what others only realized way too late in life. The lessons ranged from practical to juvenile to poignant, so make sure to upvote your favorites and comment your own experiences as you scroll through. And take notes in case some of these are relevant to your own life.
More info: Reddit
#1There's no such thing as "feeling like an adult" I'm 34 and still forget I'm an adult sometimes lol
Image credits: scelestai
#2That I don't have to become a mother if I don't want to.
Image credits: detective_kiara
#3Hr is there to protect the company, not you. Hr is not your friend.
Image credits: Puzzleheaded-Mood689
Not knowing something can be embarrassing. Particularly when we know that we are sort of supposed to know it already. Depending on your age, you have perhaps had that feeling of still being a child “faking it” in an adult world, despite being in your mid-twenties. It’s simultaneously relieving and unnerving that most people in the developed world do not actually feel like adults until they are 29. It’s almost like we become adults at 18 and then need a decade testing it to decide if it’s a good fit.
So even if all of one's peers still feel like overgrown children, people still suspect that most are just well-adjusted, and competent and know that pickles are just cucumbers. Or that doves are just white pigeons, which is so deeply shocking that those city trash birds and the symbol of peace are one and the same. But the bottom line is that we tend to project competence to others while overestimating it in them.
#4Trying to treat myself as I would others.
The ol' reverse golden-rule
Image credits: kageroshajima
#5Who I am is more important than how I look.
Image credits: Lazy-Thanks8244
#64% of 25 is the same as 25% of 4
Image credits: cdn_gooner
Many of the examples are simply the age-old issue of hearing a word or phrase before reading it or vice versa. "Piqued my interest," for example, is correct, not "peaked." One would be forgiven for thinking it’s peaked, because in what other circumstances is someone saying piqued? Like many of the annoying parts of the English language, French is to blame. Piqued is simply a rendition of “pique,” meaning irritate or prick in French. From the outside, it seems silly to be judgmental towards a person for confusing a common word for a rare, foreign construction in an idiom.
#7Pickles are brined cucumbers. Only found out a few years ago. I'm about to turn 42.
Image credits: Goose1981
#8It never made sense to me that we would go under tables during an earthquake, because wouldnt the ground crack open? The table wouldnt do anything then?
Wasnt until last year I realised that it was to stop debris from falling on us. Smh
Image credits: whats_yesterday
#9That cows had to have had a calf to make milk. They don’t just make milk. I had to be a mom myself and nurse my kid when it dawned on me.
Image credits: ababyalady
Others shared deeper, more personal experiences. From relationships to self-worth, life is the only effective teacher. Many people end up staying in bad, toxic relationships, whether with a partner or just a bad friend group, for longer than they should, even when they recognize the toxicity of the situation. People only know what they know, which is endlessly circular logic and redundant, but remains ultimately true. If a person doesn’t know any better, they will continue to be around people who are just bad for them, since self-worth isn’t really a class one can take at school.
#10That we should shake the CEO's hand with the exact same enthusiasm and firmness as the janitors hand.
Image credits: tfresh2death
#111. Everyone is just f*cking winging it.
2. “The rules” do not apply evenly.
3. Everyone around you will always prioritize their needs first, regardless of any verbal assurance to the contrary.
Image credits: ohhappyday88
#12Parents have names too, learned at like 9 or 10
Image credits: Rooster_Keystone
Similar to the ignorance about pickles or thinking that one has to buy shoes and clothes to grow into as an adult, many people also feel embarrassed to admit that they are in a toxic relationship or friendship. We see our social circle as a reflection of ourselves, so admitting that they might be bad feels like telling everyone how dumb we are. Embarrassment is a particularly bad teacher since studies show that it doesn’t even create a drive to avoid similar behavior in the future. So it’s mostly your brain making you feel bad but refusing to build something useful out of it. The one upside is that embarrassment means you are more or less mentally normal, as a lack of embarrassment is a sign of psychopathy.
#13I learnt that we're supposed to brush both sides of our teeth . The inner side needs to be brushed as well.
I saw all of the commercials just showing them brushing the outer portion so i assumed that this is the way
Image credits: FaTes-EnD
#14That treating people with respect and being honest are not mutually exclusive
Image credits: Seannaboy0923
#15Why girls in high school often didn't participate during sports class.
"You don't feel well? Why don't you go home if your sick?"
10 years later: aaaaaaahhh...
Image credits: _Steven_Seagal_
You can also take heart in the knowledge that, well, knowledge is growing a lot faster than any of us can actually process it. In the English language alone, there are between 500’000 and 1’000’000 books published every year. Even at the lowest estimate, you would need to read 1369.86 books a day to keep up. This equals roughly 57 books an hour. Even the most prolific Goodreads liars are not likely to think that is possible. More importantly, no one around you is reading 57 books an hour, much less just one. And if you want to read what embarrassingly obvious things others learned late in life, check out our other articles here and here.
#16“Queue” is not pronounced like “kwee wee”. I learned this in a meeting at work when I mispronounced it.
Image credits: blastocladiomycota
#17That I'm an introvert and shouldn't try to replicate the lives of the extroverts around me.
Also, I'm nowhere near as booksmart as I thought I was.
#18I learned that other people's opinions of me don't matter. MY opinion of me matters, and since I hold myself to an exceptionally high standard....I'M AWESOME!!
#19Insurance and credit cards. Trying to figure out basic adult finance stuff without any guidance or help will force you to feel like an idiot for a long time.
Image credits: Cheetodude625
#20Martha Stewart does not own Martha's Vineyard....
Image credits: valhalla-at-your-grl
#21Riding a bike at 15
Image credits: Graehaus
#22My grandmother had a clock that would break if anyone touched or tried to move it.
I always found that curious. Then some time in my 30s my wife and I were talking and it came up. I was wondering how they moved it out of their house after they passed. As I was explaining “… I think it must have had some delicately balanced mechanism or something that would be disrupted if moved…” my wife’s face made me quickly realize it was just a lie told to young me to keep my dirty clumsy hands off of it.
Also, I’m an engineer.
#23I got a good one! I grew up and Brooklyn, New York. Believe it or not I never knew j walking was a thing. So when I was in my 20’s I ended up in Hawaii thanks to the military. I was crossing Kalākaua Ave in the middle of the street and two cops started yelling at me. They were yelling at me about j walking and I thought they were messing with me. I started laughing and told them that not real. One of them got real mad and wanted to detain me but his partner was like “ where you from? “ I told them Brooklyn and they both started laughing and explained to me that the rest of the U.S. has this thing called j walking. ?? I felt pretty silly afterwards not knowing a pretty common law.
#24That the housework can wait awhile. To sit and enjoy the dinner I just cooked with my family. The dishes will still be there when I get to them, they ain't going anywhere lol
#25How to brush my teeth.
I was super neglected as a child so that is something I've always struggled with and even after going to a dentist for 2 years and having exams every 4 months I only learned last month that you need to brush your gums ??
#26If you come from a poor family, you have to work x3 as hard to get ahead.
#27The adults in my life never had it figured out either, they just made it seem like that to a kid.
#28you know metal? that genre of music that's loud and yelly?
it's called metal because it's harder than rock
#29That my height shapes how people perceive what I say. I'm a 6'4 male with a deep voice. I learned it at 40 when I had a boss who was 6'6. I was suddenly aware of my own height and the power position, looking up to him. I realized pretty much everyone is looking up at me, and I began smiling more and asking people questions about themselves to reduce the power implications of my height.
Image credits: ClydePincusp
#30Actual hygiene. It wasn’t until I was 12 and went to summer camp for the first time that I realized when you shower you’re suppose to wash yourself with soap. I would just wash my hair and hangout for while because I liked the hot water, THANK GOD I DIDN’T SWEAT A LOT.
#31There is no common sense.
#32Life is too short. Take the time to stop and smell the roses. RIP Myles grandpa loves and misses you
#33I used to say "f**k it I'll be dead by 20 and if not I guess I'll regret this s**t later". Almost 30 and still alive, should have died multiple times, but got lucky and now I do regret a lot of s**t. So basically I learned it's cool to live for the day, but do expect tomorrow just in case.
#34That paprika is just crushed red pepper
#35The hole women pee out of isn’t the same hole they stick the tampon in
#36On a more serious note. I learned way too late that sometimes I was the bad guy.
I was raised in a house where everyone was so defensive. Nothing was ever anyone’s fault. I still jump on the defense with my husband now.
After some bad decisions and burned bridges I realized that not everyone is willing to overlook you doing something wrong if all you do is say it’s not your fault. You are sometimes the bad guy in someone’s story.
I find it really difficult to deal with my family after realizing this. But hey ho.
#37That male circumcision is not just a Jewish thing and that I'm circumcised
#38How to say the last name Nguyen.
#39How to tie my shoes did not till 19. My parents brother and cousins all tried. I just couldn't understand it when I was 6, so I just stopped trying to learn and tucked my laces in my socks.
#40How to dry myself off with a towel, I didn’t have parents who taught me basic things, they had too many kids. I saw in movies they would just wrap themselves in a towel and leave the shower. That’s what I would do and I remember always being told I got water everywhere but never understood why until a few years ago…..I’m 30.
#41That sex is nothing to be ashamed of. I grew up in a strict, repressive household. Became sexually active at 18 but felt a lot of guilt over it which didn't go away for a couple years. Those feelings negatively impacted my relationship at that time.
#42My whole life is an embarrassment if that counts. I'm in my thirties and I still struggle with basics.
#43Stop expecting things to be fair
#44I have ADHD, penny dropped at 43 years old.
#45That there are tons of people out there who engage in sexual intercourse with other people not for the purpose of reproduction, but rather for enjoyment reasons, and that I am a part of a minority group of people called "asexuals".
I'm still trying to wrap my head around this, but it has gone a long way to explain why I see so many people in relationships with terrible people who don't want to leave, or why something as unfathomable as cheating to me can seem like something valid to many others.
#46That your parents don't know what's the best for you, only you do
#47That just because two people are in love doesn't mean they should be together
#48Hot showers. I was 31 when I figured them out. I know it sounds stupid but hear me out.
I showered with the same temperature water I’d wash my hands with, it was warm-ish but it wasn’t hot. I always thought it was weird they advised against washing face in shower since water was the same temperature. Id use the Vick’s shower tablets when I felt congested only to have to squat to be able to get any of the steam. I laugh back at it now
2 years ago I was having shoulder pain and was told to run hot water on it. I did my usual hot water for a few days and nothing happened then one day I turned the hot water up and bam! I felt something release after a few minutes. I had some of the vicks laying around and threw a tablet down. I had to turn it down because the smell was too strong, didn’t even need to squat.
I was ?
#49Envision a future you can enjoy even if if seems impossible
#50I thought people said “Florida ceiling” when referring to floor to ceiling windows til I was like 25 lmaooo made sense to me ??♀️
#51That you don’t have to put your knife *through the tines of the fork to cut stuff
#53I was late to the Santa party. I don't remember how old but old enough to feel like an idiot.
#54It was some point in high school, probably around 10th grade, that it was made clear to me that two non-infected gay men engaging in monogamous non-protected intercourse didn’t magically produce the hiv/aids. To be clear I literally thought the simple act of gay sex resulted in hiv/aids.
#55Gas stations weren't built over natural refined gas reserves below ground, and that gasoline was shipped to gas stations
#56That I belonged to a cult
#57You can't ever rely entirely on any family or friends for life.
#58That skunks weren't only a French thing. Pepe le Pew had me thinking all skunks live in France
#59That not everyone has a storyline ongoing inside their heads.
I used to be inside my own and would laugh at things happening in my story, and everyone would look at me funny; so glad that I wear a mask now.
#60French toast can be made with other breads besides raisin bread
#61That elephants aren't as big as 2 story buildings :(((. Still very dissapointed about that one
#62Didn't know about the arrow that points to the side the gas tank is on until I was about 40.
#63Women can be just as cruel as men.
#64I have too many... um when I learned that digimon literally means digital monsters ?
#65That there are no guarantees, you may never find love, tragedy may befall you, you may not win, you may die alone.
#66Don’t be a naive b***h, sadly I just learned this lesson
#67The importance of saving money or buying property early
#68That bob seger was not singing about a night moose. I never really bothered to listen to the lyrics and that was the only part of the song that stuck out to me.
#69That my parents are human beings who make mistakes and not perfect divine beings
#70That my happiness and feelings matter too. I have always felt that I was there to support others and being the best person I can, and all it lead to was people taking advantage of me or making me feel like I did something wrong if I wasn’t what they wanted. I don’t feel that way anymore. I am not going to apologize to people treating me like c**p anymore. I only put my energy into people that actually deserve it now.
#71Teachers lie when they say “there are no such things as stupid questions”. I’ve asked so many stupid questions LOL
#72This "Itsy Bitsy Spider" song is not in fact about a spider in a bathtub.
I always though the "water spout" in the song was the water spigot in a tub and the rain washing the spider out was someone turning the tub water on.
I was well into my 20s and looking for parts to repair my house when I realized that a "water spout" is actually a rain gutter. So the spider was in a gutter and the rain that washed it out was literally just rain.