We all might have more in common than we think, especially when it comes to getting embarrassed over something we thought we knew (but really didn’t). Reddit user LightningCole asked the members of the online community to share some of the things that they learned embarrassingly late. With over 18.6k comments in the thread, we can say for sure that it’s one of those universal secrets that nearly everyone can relate to. What’s obvious to you might not be obvious to us!
Remember to upvote your fave answers as you chuckle your way down this list. After you’re done, let us know in the comments what things you learned embarrassingly late in life, dear Pandas! Did you think that chocolate milk comes from brown cows until you were 30? Maybe you thought that the European Council and the Council of the European Union were one and the same at some point in your life? We can’t wait to read what you have to share.
Bored Panda spoke about embarrassing knowledge blind spots and why they’re, well, embarrassing with Vanessa Bohns, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University. Bohns also explained what the healthiest way to react to embarrassment is. Scroll down and have a read.
That not every woman who’s nice to me is interested in me, they’re just being friendly. Wished someone made that clearer when I was younger, would’ve saved me a lot of embarrassment and stupid moments in high school and early college.
Image credits: Err0rbot
When I was 20, I was presented with a really wonderful promotion. It required me to fly to a nearby state for a week of training. I was super ecstatic about the whole thing… until I remembered a friend of mine complaining about her struggles with getting a passport. So, I promptly declined the promotion. My superiors were really stumped as to why I turned down the promotion.
Me: Unfortunately, I don’t have a passport.
Manager: Boringberry… you’ve never flown before, have you?
Me: No. I have not.
Manager: You don’t need a passport to fly within the country.
And then it hit me- my friend was going to Mexico. I was just going to a neighboring state. Once the realization hit, my superiors all erupted in laughter.
The story itself followed me when I went to training. My trainer personally greeted me and asked me if I had any difficulties getting a passport before laughing.
Image credits: boringberry
That Hawaii was a country before the U.S. annexed it. Unsurprisingly they do not teach us that in high school history class…
Image credits: seegruyere
“We spend a lot of time and effort presenting an ideal version of ourselves to other people. When something happens that contrasts with the image we’ve been projecting—when we say or do something that shows we actually aren’t as graceful or as smart as we’d like people to believe—we feel embarrassed,” Bohns said.
“Discovering you were wrong about something most everyone else around you has long known to be true is one of those moments. In that moment we learn, ‘Wait a minute, maybe I haven’t been presenting the image of being smart or worldly that I thought I was presenting all this time,’ which is embarrassing.”
When I was little my Dad told me the big cooling towers that are often found beside electricity generating plants were in fact cloud machines and the prime minister of the day had a switch on his desk to turn the big machine on when it got too hot.
This made complete sense to me as they did produce big clouds of white cumulus-like exhaust when operating.
Fast forward to when I was around 11 years ago and the teacher asks if anyone knows why some days are dry and some days it rains, some days have blue sky and some days have clouds.
Of course at the mention of clouds I knew immediately where clouds come from and stuck my hand up to tell everyone about the prime minister and the cloud machines.
Luckily the teacher picked someone else for the answer and I was most confused to hear someone go on about evaporation and rainfall and so on.
Image credits: Martin_Birch
That the world owes you nothing.
You can be a good person and that’s fine but it won’t lead to you being blessed with nice things; people can use you if you’re too nice to them
I grew up thinking that my life was special and that I was destined for greatness but I’m now just another fish in the sea
Image credits: Norfolkwegian_8991
Rottweilers are not just fat Dobermans.
Image credits: JamesandtheGiantAss
Bohns pointed out to Bored Panda that embarrassment has its positive sides—it’s not all bad like some of us believe.
“One thing that’s interesting about embarrassment is that, for as much as we might experience it as painful in the moment, it’s actually very socially adaptive. Being embarrassed signals to other people that you care about what they think. And that actually draws people in to you,” she said.
“So blushing, burying your head in your hands, laughing, acknowledging how embarrassing something was, are all totally healthy ways to react,” Bohns explained to us that we shouldn’t feel embarrassed about, well, feeling embarrassed.
That truffles are a mushroom as well as a chocolate. When people talked about sending pigs in the forest to hunt for truffles I thought they’d buried chocolates in there to teach pigs how to dig food up
I was 21
Image credits: hitmewithurbethshot
I have a cousin who quotes Yogi Berra on a fairly regular basis, and it wasn’t until last Thanksgiving that I realized he’s a real person, and that my cousin hasn’t been admiring the words of Yogi Bear all this time.
Image credits: hellothereitsanna
Riding a bicycle. I learnt it at 18, my parents believed in an astrologer who told them that I would have a terrible accident when I drive or ride. So I had to learn bicycle secretly from a friend.
Image credits: hoodibaba007
“The unhealthy way to react is to pretend you’re not embarrassed, that you didn’t make a mistake, or to get angry. Those things undo the positive effect of embarrassment typically has on other people by conveying insincerity and pushing people away rather than drawing them in,” Bohns said.
Knowledge blind spots are something that we’ll always have. To some extent. We’ll never be able to get rid of all of them but we should do our best to improve ourselves constantly.
However, the problem isn’t so easy because you don’t know what you don’t know or what you’re wrong about. It’s not like we spend every single second of every day analyzing every bit of knowledge in our minds. Nobody’s got that kind of time—we’ve got other things to do!
It’s hard to explain this one and I can’t google it to find pictures. Everyone has bought a tube of “cream” at some point (antiseptic / steroid / eczema) for example. On some of these “creams”, have you noticed that the lid is circular but in the centre of the lid it has a sharp pointy end? Typically, these tubes of “cream” have a seal and I used to remove the lid and break the seal by finding anything sharp and pointy nearby (pen maybe). It took my 23 years to realise that the pointy end in the centre of the lid has a purpose…
Image credits: Bored-To-Reddit
Thought an orgasm and an organism were the same thing.
Gave an entire speech to my class at 13 years old, first month at a new school, about how I wanted to be a marine biologist and work with marine orgasms. Everyone was laughing and I didn’t know why. The teacher didn’t say anything just laughed along as well. A girl I’d just made friends with had to fill me in after class.
Turns out, they are definitely not the same thing.
I only recently found out that ponies are not baby horses, but full-sized ponies.
Image credits: Booknerd13
Some blind spots are related to a lack of education and worldliness and can be corrected by actively seeking out new information and perspectives, bit by bit. Reading new books, watching films, going to lectures, meeting new people—all of these things slowly fill in any gaps in knowledge that we might have. It’s a long and involved process but it might just be the easy part.
Other blind spots that we have are related to our assumptions and preconceptions about the world which might not always be right. However, we’re so emotionally invested in holding on to these ideas that we don’t want to let go. Because it feels like we’re losing a part of ourselves.
I thought the phrase ‘mix by hand’ meant to literally shove your hands in the batter and mix, not use a spoon or a mixer. I didn’t learn the truth until my mother found me wrist-deep in brownie batter.
Image credits: jvisc930
Pickles are pickled cucumbers. Took me over 30 years to figure that one out.
Image credits: drewkawa
That Washington D.C wasn’t in the state of Washington…
Image credits: 3311gojw
If we’re truly sincere about wanting to get rid of our blind spots, then we have to put our points of view out there and be prepared to learn that we’re wrong. Over and over again. It’s a painful process (it’s bound to bruise our egos) but it’s the quickest way to learn.
So if you’re prepared to take the temporary hits to your self-esteem, even learning new things embarrassingly late doesn’t have to be embarrassing!
Not me but my husband.
He didn’t know that meat is the animals muscles. He thought every animal had a bodypart named “meat”.
He had a bit of an emotional crisis when I told him. He is actually a very intelligent man, but this fact had eluded him as his mother had not wanted to upset him as a child.
Image credits: Ellatomica
That K9 stands for “canine”… Like K9 unit in police is dog unit.
Image credits: Okhy
I thought buffalos were birds, and buffalo wings were from said birds.
Image credits: AussiePickle27
You know when the doctor hits your knee to check your reflexes? I honestly thought you were supposed to kick your leg up high. Like you felt it and you kick. It wasn’t until I was 23 and moved to another country and had to do a physical that the doctor was like what are you doing?!
Image credits: rainiejain2
That Houston is not the name of the guy astronauts talk to.
Image credits: walden12
When I was in 4th grade i was in love with Chris brown. He was 16. I told my mom when i was 16 we would start dating…. she proceeded to inform me that when I was 16 he would no longer be 16. That’s when I realized everyone was also getting older, not just me
Image credits: Bigdaddydria1
Glass objects should not be put on the stove. Guess how I learned that.
Image credits: yarrowsparrow
Martha’s Vineyard isn’t just some land that rich people went to that was owned by Martha Stewart.
Image credits: ughdrunkatvogue
I thought the ‘do not pass’ road sign literally meant ‘do not die here.’ I had to ask my grandpa what would happen if someone got into a car accident and died there.
Image credits: ashb4cb0c8483
Thought guerilla warfare was humans in a war against gorilla’s
Image credits: Tonymush
That limes weren’t un-ripe lemons.
Image credits: JagerKitteh
The expression “You can’t have your cake and eat it too” I’m like… wat? of course you can eat your cake if you have it wtf are all these people talking about? took me til my 20s to figure out it was actually meaning you cant both have the cake on the counter and have eaten it.
Ambulances don’t patrol around like police cars.
Image credits: 21st_centuryfox
Pilot and co-pilot actually has the same hierarchy. I thought that co-pilot is some kind of assistant to the pilot
Image credits: onikoko
That I do better on my own. Took three divorces before I got a clue.
Image credits: madtrippinfool