The trouble with doing things wrong is that eventually, someone points out your error. Until that moment, you can cruise happily through life pronouncing “segue” as “sa-goo” and relying on caps-lock to start sentences.
The moment the wool is pulled from your eyes, though—that’s a special humiliation. Luckily, we found a whole bunch of people who were willing to share their shame, at least through the relative anonymity of Reddit. Here are the stories, edited for grammar and readability, of people who missed out on some crucial life lessons.
You might want to pay close attention—there’s a chance you’re doing these things wrong, too.
People Who Cooked Wrong
If you’re an adult, chances are you’ve spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen. Cooking at home can be cheaper, healthier, and—dare we say it—more fun than takeout. Of course, everyone makes a few mistakes before they learn their way around the cutlery drawer.
“After making thousands of PB&J sandwiches in my life for me or kids, I only had one clean knife, so I grabbed a spoon to use it for the jelly,” wrote bellatango. “Using a spoon for the jelly makes life so much f***ing easier.”
Similarly, it helps to scan the grocery shelves before committing to a (frankly) inferior version of a favorite food or drink.
“I drank instant coffee daily for about six years before realizing that you could make proper coffee at home, easily and cheaply,” wrote WC1V. “Changed my life.”
Then there are those of us who are unlucky enough to be born into barbecue deserts.
“Moving to Texas from California and realizing I have been doing barbecue wrong my whole life,” wrote another Reddit user. “I am 45, and I love barbecue, but I realized I only ate grilled meat, not barbecue. Once I tasted meat smoked with oak for 10-plus hours with indirect heat, my taste buds will never go back.”
Barbecue is one thing. Spaghetti is another. How do you mess up spaghetti?
“The day that I didn’t have any clean plates and had to put my spaghetti in a bowl,” wrote minpinerd. “My god, it is so much easier to eat spaghetti out of a bowl.”
People Who Ate Wrong
Speaking of spaghetti, apparently there are some pretty clear-cut rules to how you’re supposed to eat it—but those rules vary from house to house. This Reddit user figured that out the hard way.
“[I learned I was doing something wrong] when I picked up my knife to cut spaghetti at my first dinner with my Italian in-laws,” wrote Pytheastic. “Everyone dropped their fork and stared at me.”
Then again, the spaghetti-knife cuts both ways, it seems.
“Whoa, flashback,” replied lordbobofthebobs. “The first time I had dinner with my ex [boyfriend’s] grandparents, we had spaghetti. I go to start eating and he says, sort of condescendingly, ‘Aren’t you gonna cut it?’”
“Like it was ridiculous that I would not cut spaghetti. And I’m just like, ‘No?’ Cuz I’d never heard of such a thing. And he and his grandparents straight up laugh and he says, ‘Have fun making a mess.’ I’m not 3, Daniel, I know how to eat and not make a mess.”
If you eat too much spaghetti, what do you do? Reach for the Tums, of course. Just be sure to read the directions.
“My first year of college, I shared a dorm with my best friend from high school,” wrote predsvols. “One day he was complaining that his stomach was hurting. After he described it I told him it sounded like heartburn—he apparently had never experienced it before.”
“Luckily, I am addicted to eating spicy stuff and had Tums on deck. I handed him the bottle and told him to take a couple. Later he mentioned how he ‘didn’t know how I could take those things.’ I looked at him like he was crazy and said I actually thought they tasted pretty good. Then he says, ‘They’re just so damn hard to swallow.’ I almost died laughing. This moron swallowed two Tums whole.”
We’re not a fan of the name-calling. But then there’s this:
“The red ring on bologna is plastic and not to be eaten…Found this out a month ago,” wrote a Reddit user whose profile has since been deleted.
This poor person has been punished enough.
People Who Spoke Wrong
Be kind to people who pronounce words wrong, say moms everywhere: It means they read the word in a book. It’s the mark of a smart person.
Who are we to question mothers? But we can at least share a laugh at the silliest mispronunciations Reddit has to offer—Mom will understand.
“[I] pronounced ‘subtle’ sounding out the silent ‘b’ in it till my friend looks at me and says…‘Um, the ‘b’ is silent…are you okay?’” wrote TheAppalaciaRose.
“I said the word ‘salmon’ wrong for 20 years,” wrote angryavocadotree. “No one told me. Then my ex and I went to the fish market and he laughed his a** off.”
Next, our personal favorite mispronunciation of the day:
“Today, I learned that the word ‘segue’ is pronounced ‘segway,’” wrote aubreythez. “I thought it was pronounced ‘se-goo,’ and that ‘segway’ was a different word that meant the same thing (in addition to being the name of a dorky-looking vehicle).”
“I don’t think I ever actually really used my incorrect pronunciation in a conversation, so I was never called out on it. I only figured it out because I was watching Netflix with subtitles. I’m 21 and I thought the ‘learning you were wrong about word pronunciation’ phase was over.”
See? Netflix with subtitles. A reader. Moving on:
“I was in my late twenties when I found out ‘hyperbole’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘Superbowl,’” wrote monstrinhotron. “I had only read the word in connection to its meaning, and if I had heard it spoken aloud, I must have thought it was a different word entirely.”
That’s understandable, we guess, but we confess that this next one has us perplexed.
“I always said ‘facade’ as ‘fah-kade’ if it was in reference to a person,” wrote bellatango. “If it was ‘facade’ in reference to a building’s exterior, I said it properly: ‘fah-sahd.’ I had only ever read the word before where it referenced a person until I was nearly 30 and heard someone in a group use it properly and nobody laughed at them.”
Now, those examples are just words. Things get hairier when you start introducing proper nouns.
“[I learned a lesson] the day that I realized that the name ‘Chloe’ was not pronounced ‘Shlow,’” wrote Broken_hearted_dream. “I had only ever read that name and had never had to say it out loud. While looking at a co-worker’s name-plated photo on his desk, I said, ‘Oh. I didn’t know your daughter’s name is Shlow.’ Redness ensued.”
There’s the theme of this whole article: Redness ensued. Get ready for more.
People Who Got Around Wrong
“I grew up at a ski resort and was very familiar with waxing boards and skis,” wrote vectran. “I went to the ocean one summer and bought a skimboard. The lady grabbed a bar of wax and tossed it in as if I should have known to buy it.”
“Feeling dumb, I bought the wax and went to the beach, covering the bottom of the board in wax. I did this every summer until recently, when I moved to CA and started surfing. One day I set the surfboard down and grabbed the skimboard when suddenly I realized I had been applying wax to the wrong side for years.”
Since we don’t even know what a “skimboard” is, we’ll pass this one without comment. Manual transmissions—now there’s something we know about. Take it from us: It is easy to drive a stick wrong.
“When I learned to drive a stick shift car as a kid, I thought that there had to be a constant balance between your feet on the pedal and the clutch,” wrote thedirtygame. “Two replaced gearboxes later on my ‘93 Ford Escort, I learned that you can release your foot off of the clutch without any worries while cruising, and that it only needed to be pressed in when changing gears.”
Cars can be confusing even when you don’t have a clutch to contend with.
“I would always forget what side the gas tank was on, and then I learned that the arrow next to the gas symbol indicates what side the tank is on,” wrote Afk94.
And since we’re talking about cars, now’s as good a time as any: Let’s listen in on the folks who missed some very important lessons during the transition to adulthood.
People Who Adulted Wrong (Household Edition)
“[I recently learned that] you don’t have to wash your pants everyday,” wrote Kryssa. “Seriously. I grew up in a house where you put your jeans in the hamper after one wear. My mom did the laundry, so it was no skin off my back.
“While living in the dorms in college, I realized the norm is 3-5 wears. Now I wear two pairs in a week and wash them both Sunday night.”
Cleanliness doesn’t come easy, it seems.
“[I learned that] you can turn the shower on before you get in it,” wrote Colleoni. “I would turn the water on, then get in the shower, turn the nozzle to activate the shower, and jump back to try (and usually fail) to avoid a blast of cold water, which was quite unpleasant early in the morning. My family looked at me like I was an idiot when I finally figured it out at 21.”
While we’re on the subject of the bathroom, there’s this…
“Just yesterday, my missus came to me in a panic because she flushed her poo down the wrong pipe,” wrote a Reddit user whose profile has since been deleted. “As in, she used the low-pressure button and thought they were separate. I had her so close to calling a plumber till she googled DIY fixes because she was too embarrassed.”
“When I first started shaving, I complained to my brother that I hated it, because I hate putting cold water on my face,” wrote ElucidatedBrethren. “He said, ‘So use warm water.’
“I am not a smart man.”
That’s about enough bathroom time. Here comes a Reddit user who was always a bit confused about the finer points of a toaster.
“I didn’t realize toasters had a crumb tray at the bottom until I was 22,” wrote CoolRunner. “I went to take a shower, and my girlfriend at the time decided to clean my kitchen while I was unable to stop her. I came out and she was rinsing the crumb tray.
“We stood in awkward silence for about five seconds before I asked her where she got that from. She kind of quietly meandered over to the toaster and slid it back in. I was awestruck.”
Somebody Who Religioned Wrong
“During a Catholic Mass, there is a brief moment where participants are encouraged to offer each other ‘a sign of peace,’” wrote HughJBawles. “Most people shake hands with everyone near them and say, ‘Peace be with you.’
“This was almost always mumbled and said in a quiet, inside-voice-like whisper…and said not only to people you know, but to strangers sitting near you. It wasn’t until fourth grade, when an older gentleman refused to let go of my hand, that I realized I was doing it wrong.”
“‘What did you say?’”
‘“Pleased to meet you.’”
‘“Uh…It’s peace be with you.’”
“Yeah. I used to say ‘pleased to meet you’ whenever offering the sign of peace at a Catholic church service.”
We’ll file that one away for our conversion.
People Who Computered Wrong
“[I realized I was doing it wrong] when I learned that you don’t need to hold down both shift buttons to type a capital letter,” wrote LunaTokyo.
This Reddit user is not alone. Far from it.
“A 16-year-old in my class learned that a double-spaced essay is not two space bars in between each word,” wrote dkl415.
Luckily, another user was there to offer a little perspective.
“If it’s any consolation, I recently told a colleague about the function of the shift key at age 27, and up until that point she’d been hitting caps lock, letter, caps lock at the start of every sentence,” replied Randomd0g. “So, y’know, it could be worse.”
People Who Adulted Wrong (Should’ve-Learned-In-Elementary-School Edition)
So far, these mistakes make sense. You don’t know something until you learn it, after all. But what about those things that you really should have learned in elementary school?
“I was complaining to a coworker about my shoes constantly coming untied, and he said, ‘Let me see how you’re tying those.’ I realized at that moment that I probably didn’t know how to tie my shoes,” wrote PouponMacaque. “I’m 27, though, so I insisted I did and cut him off. I still don’t know.”
Shoes aren’t the simplest technology our friends at Reddit have yet to master.
“A similar Reddit thread taught me to twist the deodorant to push the clear plastic protective piece off,” wrote TN_UK. “I’d been using my teeth like a savage for a good 30 years. I put that s*** on Facebook as fast as I could to help the whole world!”
We’re not sure exactly what this person means by using teeth, but that’s probably a good thing. At least everyone can relate to the problems of opening a fizzy bottle of soda.
“When I figured out that you could simply close the cap again when a soda was about to fizz and explode,” wrote mrxirish. “I always thought that you were just f***ed, and I would try and run to the nearest sink.”
This next one’s pretty impressive, to be honest.
“I write my print capital J’s backwards,” wrote Kertneneney. “Nobody pointed it out to me until after I graduated high school. It’s too late for me to go back. This is my life now.”
People Who…well, y’know, we’re guilty of these things, too.
We all do things wrong. It takes courage to stand up in front of the internet and admit to those mistakes. Here are a few stories from folks who could have been us…if, in fact, they weren’t us.
“I was embarrassingly old when I realized that you push the elevator button for the direction you want to go,” wrote InternetProp. “I thought you should push the direction the elevator should move to get to you. And [I] thought it was a really stupid system since I had to guess where it was. And I’m not talking 5 or 10. I was maybe 15 before my brain caught up with the elevator.”
That makes perfect sense. It’s wrong, but it makes sense.
“I work at a dollar store,” wrote ponyboy414. “When I was trained, they told me that if an item doesn’t scan, just scan another. What they didn’t tell me was that I had to write down what the item was on the list of tasks they give me every day.”
[I] got about four months in when I was training a new person and my manager was strolling by as I was explaining to her this part. He mentioned that I didn’t write down the item description. I played it off as a one time mistake. But damn, I probably messed up hundreds of units of inventory, maybe more.”
Listen up, employers. Training is important.
This Engineer Who Traveled Wrong
The following story is proof that smarts and silly mistakes are not mutually exclusive.
“In recent years, I started traveling for consulting more and carrying a roller bag with my laptop bag perched on top,” wrote patniemeyer. “Thinking like an engineer, of course, I wanted the laptop bag to stay on top, and so I attached it to the extending handle of the roller bag with some Velcro.
“This meant keeping the handle at about the same height as the bag, which was not [in] its locking position, but whatever…and of course, the Velcro wore out quickly, and I tried at least three other means of attaching it, including a carabiner and a wire harness. But they all failed and occasionally caused me to drop my laptop bag when running through an airport.
“Now, for some reason, it never occurred to me to look at how other people were doing this. I just assumed they had magical luggage that was made for this. Also, there was this weird thing about my laptop bag. It seemed to have this super thin zipper pouch on the back of the bag. And the really weird thing about the super thin zipper pouch is that it was detached from the main bag and open on the bottom.
“I just had no idea why they would do that. I reasoned that maybe it was to allow the pouch to expand more freely or just to prevent you from trying to accidentally put something behind the pouch where it might fall out, like a warning not to do that.
“So for years, I never made any connection. Until one day I was looking for a new laptop bag and I saw that another one had that crazy thing…and there was a diagram…and it showed…as I’m sure you’ve all known or figured out by now…that is there to let you put the handle of your roller bag through it! That’s what it was meant for all along.
“So now that no one will ever hire me as an engineer again, I hope you enjoyed this.”
People Who…Did Music Wrong?
Music, dance, and film are supposed to be some of the best things our cultures have to offer. Sometimes, though, they’re just another venue for error.
“[I did] dancing [wrong]. I was so bad,” wrote GrowThangs. “I was dancing with the words and not the rhythm, and had been doing so for years. One day, I was doing this monstrosity and it just hit me out of nowhere. Go with the beat.
“All of the sudden, it felt so natural, and it just clicked. I’m sure I’m not winning any dance contests now, but I’m no longer the spastic white girl. That was probably 20 years ago, and I still get a little embarrassed when I remember having danced in public that way.”
We think we’ve found the perfect performer to team up with that dancer in this next story.
“I’ve been singing Prince’s song ‘Raspberry Beret’ thinking it was ‘Raspberry Buffet,’” wrote deegeecoo. “I’ve been singing this for years and always pictured what a buffet of raspberries would look like. (It looks good.) Nobody ever corrected me.”
Now: Our favorite.
“I used to think one of the actors in Aliens was a guy called Sir Gorney Weaver,” wrote Nickd3000.
People Who Weiner Dogged Wrong
We’ll leave you with a theme that has us scratching our heads. It’s easy to get confused about dachshunds, we realized as we were researching this piece.
“I thought the ‘doxen’ and the dachshund were two different dogs,” wrote a Reddit user whose profile has since been deleted.
“I found out yesterday I’ve been calling dachshunds ‘wiener’ schnitzel my whole life, and no one ever corrected me,” wrote another Reddit user whose profile has since been deleted.
Consider yourself corrected.