Time makes us wiser, but it also shines a light on the failings of our past - namely, what dumbass inconsiderate assholes we were. It makes sense - kids are impetuous, lack patience, and overall haven't developed their empathetic skills enough to understand what total dicks they're capable of being to people who don't deserve it...or, just being too oblivious to realize that they were hurting someone's feelings or behaving obnoxiously. And then we get older and do develop some better interpersonal skills - and the horrible things we did in our youth come flooding back in memories. Ever sit up in bed and realize some HORRIBLE STUPID THING you said in 6th grade? Why would you say that?! WHY WERE YOU SUCH A DICK?!
And then again, sometimes you are haunted by the asshole things you said and did AS AN ADULT. Those hurt a little more, since they're recent AND you should know better by now.
Odds are the person you were a dick to doesn't remember it or dwell on it, but it (rightfully) haunts you - and hopefully will serve as a reminder to be kind and considerate, because there are already enough assholes in the world as it is.
But now you can take a rest from thinking of your own "oh crap I was an asshole" memories, and revel in the terrible memories of STRANGERS, all thanks to this marvelous r/AskReddit thread.
When I was in like 4th grade, my dad got remarried, and eventually, my stepmother announced that she was pregnant. I was a little bit upset, since kid me was still bitter about my parent's divorce, custody battle, etc. and the thought of another sibling from a different mother seemed like salt in the wound for some reason in my mind. Some time later, over dinner, it ended up being announced that she wasn't going to have the kid anymore. When I heard this, I clenched my first, pumped it in the air, and said "Yessssss." My stepmother ran out of the kitchen, followed by my dad. I sat there for a while, eating, and when my dad came back, I asked why my stepmom ran away. He then explained the concept of a miscarriage to me. I still feel awful about it to this day.
She cried in the bathroom. For the rest of the night.
I complained via email about a coworker making repeated mistakes on a fairly simple procedure.
Problem was, I hit "reply all" and sent that email out to around 100+ people.
Sorry about that, Erica.
Some guy came onto my lawn at night and started putting a yard sign in it. I saw him and ran out side and yelled, "What the fuck do you think you are doing?" He started to respond "Putting a sign..." I cut him off and said "Not in my yard you're not." I had given him permission weeks ago after he knocked on my door and asked me to sign a petition.
In 6th grade, there was this girl (Lily) who was bullied A LOT by my circle of friends. I always considered myself "one of the good ones" because I was never mean to her. I wasn't nice either, though. I just ignored her.
Lily lived down the street from me and over the summer we became the best of friends. It was the first time I felt like someone actually understood me and I could be my real self without fear of being made fun of.
I didn't really see any of my other friends that summer, but I don't remember why. I just know that I never told them about Lily and I didn't have to because they lived pretty far away so we never ran into them.
Well, the day before school starts, I'm starting to get nervous about how my friends (and the rest of the school) are going to react to me hanging out with Lily. It was a small school so people actually cared about this stuff. I decided I didn't want to be a target for their bullying just by associating with Lily.
So I call her up and pretend to cry and make up this dramatic story about how one of my friends saw Lily at the store talking to this other girl about me, saying the meanest stuff. Lily cried and tried to convince me it wasn't true and I hung up on her.
I tried to convince myself that I wasn't an asshole because I didn't actively participate in bullying Lily. But within a couple of weeks, I knew what I did was way worse.
We are actually friends now, and have been for the last 15 years. I was her maid of honor and she's my son's godmother.
I'm generally polite and live in the South so it's customary to hold open the door, say thank you and so on. A couple years ago I noticed a lot of people just started walking through without saying anything so one day, in which I was in a particularly bad mood, I decided screw it....I'm done being polite. I was walking into a convenience store and noticed someone walking behind me but just let the door fly open. When I got inside i noticed that I had just let the door fall back on a little old lady. It still haunts me honestly.
After that I decided I would be polite no matter what, whether or not it's returned.
I was in college, freshman year. It must have been 3AM, and I am outside my dorm smoking a cigarette and hammered. Drunk children are everywhere, coming home from parties. What a time to be alive.
This dude comes STAGGERING up to the building. Not a leg under him. I was in awe.
DUDE! YA! YOU ARE ROCKED BUD, THAT'S AWESOME! HAHA OH MAN COLLEGE RULES! WOOOO!
He didn't say anything, just hobbled past me into the building.
Couple days later I am up at the campus center. I see drunk bro. He...he has crutches. Oh.
He has muscular dystrophy, or some sort of serious illness.
"Oh my god."
I've never felt like such an asshole. I don't know why he didn't have crutches at 3AM. It didn't matter though. I only drunkenly hooted and hollered at people I knew after that.
Teacher here... walked into my coworker's classroom, loudly and obnoxiously mocking a man from the district who is supposed to help us with instruction and provide support. She ushers me out of her room immediately and starts laughing, cause he was sitting in there to observe her next class.
Online dating. A lot of guys wear sunglasses in a bunch of their pictures. I come across one with sunglasses in EVERY picture.
Instead of just saying hi, I message the guy saying "every picture has sunglasses, do you have eyes?"
He responded, kindly informing me that he was in fact blind.
BUT he did have eyeballs.
It didn't work out.
At a house party/gathering, drinking with friends and some girls. One girl, we'll call Jenny I was friends with, I think she had a crush on me. Another girl said "Hey, are you drunk enough to kiss Jenny yet?"
I said "Not even close"
I have a habit of saying distasteful jokes without thinking, but that one really made me feel like a complete piece of shit on self reflection.
In high school I was walking behind someone in my year I noticed she was walking with a limp so I said "Hey! [girls name] what the fuck is wrong with your foot!?" She spun around and said "I have cerebral palsy".... still think about it 15 years later.
I congratulated a colleague for being pregnant.
She wasn't. She had a pot belly. To this day I avoid her like a plague.
As a small kid, I used to be into toy cars. For my eight birthday, an older lady that came by our house frequently gave me a nice toy car, but I was growing out of them around that period. I tossed it aside and said I didn't like it.
That lady was the cleaning lady, who had to work in her later years because her husband was a mean drunk who needed a lot of medical care, and still spent loads of money on booze. She was nearly destitute (her children had to drop her inheritance because it was less than the debts they'd also have to take on) and she bought me a really nice toy car, which I tossed right in front of her eyes.
It may be a formative moment from my youth and all that jazz, but for her it was a rejection by a kid she evidently really liked, who disregarded her because she wasn't rich enough. I feel like a complete and utter cunt for doing that.
This guy in my class was being a bit of a dick to me so I replied "at least my city isn't underwater".
This was the year after Katrina and he was from New Orleans. I felt so bad watching this 20yo guy fight back tears.
I had a crush on a boy named Eddie at school. I was almost 13 and he was the first boy I'd ever been attracted to. It was such a weird feeling. I'd had lusty feelings for celebrities but never someone in real life.
My brilliant way of getting him to notice me was to tease him. I said to my best friend that he looked a bit like Odie from Garfield.The name stuck. I was never a bully. I didn't even think of it as real teasing. Then one afternoon Eddie and I were the last to leave class and I was like "Hurry up Odie!". I expected him to laugh. Instead he went up to the teacher and said "Mrs Shan can you please tell Laura to stop calling me Odie. The teasing is really getting to me".
It was like a bomb dropped on my soul. I had no idea I was upsetting him. I apologised to him but the crush died after that. He just became a reminder of what an arsehole I'd been.
I realise it was bullying now, of course. The moment he told the teacher I realised. It's why the crush died because the boy became a symbol of what an overwhelming arsehole I'd been. It was like staring into a mirror and really not liking what I saw. Also - the feeling didn't die because he'd showed vulnerability/sensitivity. I've always hated "macho" type dudes. I go for the sensitive, creative weirdos mostly.
Backstory: My dad has a habit for moving things around the house while cleaning up and forgetting where he put a certain item. It's become a running joke with our family. We constantly allude to him hiding our keys and our phones whenever we can't find them.
Skip to last Saturday.
I was looking for a guitar pedal I had let him borrow and could not find it anywhere. I opened up cabinets, dug through a closet, rummaged through drawers looking for this thing. Throughout the entire search I'm gradually getting angrier asking where he might have put it and his response slowly shifts from "I did NOT touch your guitar pedal" to "I can't remember if I touched your guitar pedal, I'm not sure".
After searching and ranting about my dad's terrible habit of hiding things from us for roughly an hour I gave up. I knew that he had cleaned the house up and I just knew that my guitar pedal was hidden away in some dresser or cardboard box, I was positive of it.
Defeated, I head upstairs to get on my computer and as I'm sitting down I see a familiar object in the corner of my eye.
The FUCKING pedal.
The moment I see it my memories of setting it down next to my desk come rushing back to me. My dad was telling the truth, he absolutely did not touch it.
I felt like the biggest asshole for not only harassing my father about the location of something so meaningless, but also making him question his own sanity in the process.
and yes, I apologized profusely
In middle school, I saw a kid walking around with a fanny pack, so I snickered and said: "Nice fanny pack". He said: "It's for my insulin. Just got diagnosed with diabetes."
I was walking through the hallway at school and passed a group of students looking really somber being escorted to the headmaster's office by another teacher. Presuming that they'd been caught doing something they shouldn't have been and without really thinking I said half under my breath "Did someone die or something?". Turns out they were all siblings and had just been told that their mother had died of breast cancer. They were being taken to see their dad in the head teacher's office.