People From Around The World Share Their 'I've Been Doing This Wrong' Stories

People From Around The World Share Their 'I've Been Doing This Wrong' Stories

Until I was about 7 years old, I thought a fire drill was a literal drill that they would bring out and use to... I don't know... drill into the fire, I guess?

We all have little things we get wrong, but some of us manage to get them wrong for a staggeringly long period of time. And when someone finally corrects us, it can be just the teensiest bit embarrassing.

The people below recently went online to share their best "I've been doing this all wrong" stories.

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50. Slap the bass

For the longest time I thought 'bass' on the stereo was pronounced like 'bass' the fish.

"Crank up the bass on the radio would ya!"

Followed by weird looks.

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49. Canoodling

Eating noodles.

I used to eat noodles with my face facing forward like with any other meal. This would often result in the noodles dragging a slimy path across my chin. I would always have to have a napkin nearby to wipe off my chin every few bites.

This changed when I first met the woman who would become my wife. She faced downward until the noodles were completely in her mouth before facing anywhere else. In other words, she didn't eat noodles like a total idiot.

My chin was slimy for years.


48. This is a knife

The knives in your silverware drawer. The ones with the curved, serrated edge for cutting soft meats, veggies etc. Well I used that curved edge to try and spread butter or peanut butter or mayo or jelly on my bread. Then one day, at the age of 60, I realized, the straight edge on the top of the knife worked a whole lot better for spreading. DUH!


47. Going up

I was embarrassingly old when I realized that you push the elevator button for the direction you want to go.

I thought you should push the direction the elevator should move to get to you. And though 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.

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46. Rule of thumb

When I was learning to drive, my dad was explaining the rule of thumb about keeping a safe distance behind the car in front of you. I thought it meant to hold your thumb up and if your thumb didn’t cover the entire car you were too close to it. When he caught me doing that, he asked me what I was doing. When I explained, he burst out laughing, then considered it, and concluded it wasn’t a bad idea but perhaps a bit distracting.


45. Cabinet shuffle

We bought a nice cabinet. We got it delivered and noticed it was a bit shorter than we thought. No biggie. Three years later, we were moving to a new house. We lifted up the cabinet and these beautiful, ornate, screw-on legs wrapped in tape and bubble wrap fell out from the bottom. This entire time, we had been using it without its legs. Looks so much better now!


44. I miss those flip phones

Until last week, when my father-in-law would make a phone call on his very basic non-touch-screen flip phone, he would open the menu, scroll to the phone icon, open it, hit the soft key for contacts, scroll to the person he wanted to call, press 'okay,' then press the soft key to call. When he mentioned how he preferred his landline because he could just dial the number, I said, “Humor me. Just dial the number and hit the talk button.” I’ve never seen a man so simultaneously grateful and embarrassed.


43. The pointy end

A couple of years ago, I was trying to open some toothpaste and had to break the seal of the tube. I used to look for something like a nail to break it, then one day, I looked at the pointy end of the cap and thought, “What if I could use this to break it?” When I finally tried it, it did fit and broke it effortlessly. My mind was blown.


42. Mind blown

Since the dawn of time, I would pick up the silverware and utensils out of their tray in the dishwasher and put them away in their drawers. I’d have to keep walking back and forth between the dishwasher and the cutlery drawer. Then one day, I saw my wife lift the tray out of the dishwasher, and I legit stood there with my mouth open.

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41. "It tastes ticklish!"

I always thought eggplant tasted “itchy,” as if itchy was a flavor, like sour or salty. I fed some to my baby and his face turned red wherever the eggplant touched. I finally decided to ask my doctor about it and I found out we are both just allergic to eggplant. I’m glad I asked about it because that could have ended really badly. Also, itchy isn’t a flavor… Just in case you didn’t know.

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40. Mom's a buzzkill

When I was a kid, I loved drinking coffee but didn’t know how to make it. My mom taught me, but the coffee ratio she told me to use was like, 1 tablespoon per 1 pot of coffee as opposed to the actual ratio of 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of water. Fast forward 13 years later—I was reading the back of my coffee thing and there was a little diagram showing how much to actually use. I then realized my mom had told me the wrong amount so I wasn’t super hyped up going into school.

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39. Rule of finger

No one really ever told me you don’t need to buy shoes with the “two-fingers” space in front of the toes after your feet stop growing. I had been buying an entire size too big until I was 23 years old. One day in college, I decided to try a pair of Merrell barefoot type shoes and, after reading the sizing guide, BAM. My mind was blown. It’s a terribly obvious mistake I like to blame on being an only child. But really I’m just a foolish person.

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38. A God am I

This was a few years ago. I was the director of IT for a very large company. I was given a new cellphone and told to set up my voicemail. I didn’t know that when I recorded my name, it would be played to whoever I left a voicemail for. Well, the name I recorded was, “Corporate IT God!” I worked there for four years until someone in the hallway referred to me as the “Corporate IT God!” I was so embarrassed.

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37. Mirror, mirror on the wall

I lived in a house for 6 years with a bathroom that had no shelf or cupboard to put toiletries into. I was very disappointed and ended up using a window sill that was WAY too small to fit everything.

Anyway, one day we had a friend over and he asked why we didn’t have anything in our bathroom cupboard. I was confused, so he showed me.

It turns out that the mirror I had been using for 6 years had a hidden compartment behind it. It was a mirrored door to a mounted cupboard on the wall.

I was astonished and IMMEDIATELY moved all my stuff from the window into the new space. My friend was baffled that I had never figured out there was a space behind the mirror. There was an obvious gap between it and the wall that I SOMEHOW failed to notice.

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36. The poop troupe

My eldest child had a penchant for blowing out of his diapers. We tried everything but multiple times a week we had to pull that onesie over his head and inevitably give our infant a bath. Around when I was pregnant with our second, a post went viral about how infant onesies are designed to be broad at the shoulders so you can pull them down and off instead of over the head. Poor kid would have had so many fewer messy incidents had I known that then.

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35. That's not my name!

My dad has been spelling his name wrong his whole life. He’s 51. His name is Jeffrey, and he’s been spelling it like that since he learned how to spell his name. A few months ago, my mom pulled out his birth certificate, and we all learned it is actually spelled “Jeffery.” Not sure if he spells it correctly now, but it was definitely a surprising moment for him.

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34. No pulp

I used to fill the kettle by the spout. My parents have always done it this way, and I thought the center part was mainly for decoration. I don’t know why I never questioned this. One day, I bought a new tea kettle and my husband opened the center to pull out a manual with instructions and what not. I was drinking dirty paper water for like, two weeks.

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33. Tong and wrong

I was at Crate and Barrel with my girlfriend talking about how it’s so weird they don’t make tongs so you can open them up super wide and then press them in. I thought it was odd that they only gave you a super tiny opening. In the middle of me saying this, she just pressed the button at the bottom of the tongs I was holding and I stopped mid-sentence in shame.

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32. You know not what you're saying

I lived in a foreign country where I was actively learning the language. Social cues go a long way when learning a language on the spot. That being said, someone once said a phrase to me while serving a hot dish, which I assumed meant “excuse me.” After going through crowds and lines, replicating the same phrase in an attempt to be respectful of those around me, I abruptly found out that the phrase actually meant “enjoy.” The odd looks I would get by saying “enjoy” while squeezing past people suddenly made sense.


31. A little bit dim

My wife and I have this ceiling fan in our bedroom in the house we moved into two years ago. It has a remote control for the fan and lights. About a year and a half ago, the lights suddenly stopped working. The fan works well and we didn’t have a ton of money, so we just lived with lamps in the room, always being frustrated with how dark it was.

I was scrolling some thread a few weeks ago and the top post was a guy talking about how his lights stopped working years ago, and then he found out that it was just dimmed. It sounded so much like our fan, so I went and tried it. Dimmed.

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30. ...Okay, you should have figured that one out

I used to think just reading the material was how everyone studied, so that’s how I did it too. I never quite understood why my grades were so low. I would be like, “I read the page, I don’t know what happened!” Then, I saw my friend making flow charts and summaries. I was like, “We don’t have to do that you know,” and he was like, “Nah, I’m just studying.” It blew my mind how much better my grades got.

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29. In the dark

I drove for three years without ever putting my headlights on. When my dad was teaching me to drive, I asked him how to turn the lights on, and he said not to worry about it. So for whatever reason, I took that as I never had to worry about turning my car lights on. Ever. I noticed at night that some lights did come on at the front, which justified my thinking, but I didn’t realize that those lights only came on to show that the car was on and that they were not, in fact, the headlights.
It wasn’t until I was driving a girl home in the pitch blackness that I found out how much of a fool I was. She ended up turning on the lights for me and found it cute that I didn’t know about them.

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28. That's how fires get started

I didn’t know that you need to disassemble your laundry dryer and clean the lint out from underneath the drum once per year. I’m 31 and never knew this because, well, no one ever said anything, and I never saw anyone do this. The worst part is that my parents also learned this the hard way and never bothered to give me a tip when I bought my first dryer. Luckily, my wife and I discovered the lint buildup when changing the rollers. I said to my parents, “Wow, it really builds up in there!” and they were like, “Oh yeah, you need to do that like once a year.”

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27. But oh so soft

After moving to a new city, I went to the laundromat. The Korean lady working was yelling at me about something I couldn’t understand. After some pantomime, it became clear that she was upset I was putting in the wrong detergent; but it was the same kind I had been using for 8 years (since moving away to college and beyond). Turns out I’ve been washing my clothes with only fabric softener for nearly a decade. They always smelled good so I never really thought about it. Not my proudest moment.

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26. Hot and cold

I was fortunate enough to buy my own home. I moved in and the thermostat thing was set to about 70 degrees F. As time went on, I couldn’t figure out why there was no visible way for me to change the temperature. My electric bill would be through the roof every month. The thermostat is well above my eye level and I lived alone for quite some time, though family and friends did visit regularly.

After several months of leaving windows opened or closed to adapt to the change in weather, I finally asked my niece to check the thermostat for a way to change the temperature. She looked around for a bit and saw that there was a tab I was supposed to pull to reveal all of the buttons and settings of the darned thermostat.

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25. The torch becomes the lantern

I have a flashlight that I’ve owned for near a decade. I originally got it because it really looks like a lightsaber and it was cheap. Plus you could twist the lens around to focus it, or so I thought. When I got it home and put batteries in it, I found out that twisting the top didn’t change the focus. I assumed the top being able to twist was just a result of it being cheap.>

Fast forward to a month or so—a storm picked up during the night, so I went out to make sure nothing was going to blow away. As I was trying to open the gate, the flashlight slipped, and I caught it by the top part that twists, but the rest of the flashlight slid about 2 inches down from the twisty part.

It turns out, if you pull the top part up, it turns it into a lantern type thing for lighting up an area. There have been times where it would have been incredibly useful to be able to put the torch down and light up a wide area.

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24. What is this wireless you speak of?

My boyfriend and I had a PlayStation that we used for Netflix since we didn’t have a smart TV. The controller was on such a short cord that we would always have to get up from the couch to change the program or push any buttons. My boyfriend also used to have to sit on the floor up close to the TV to play his video games, since the cord was so short.

One day my brother came to visit. We put something on Netflix and got up to use the remote like we always did. My brother proceeded to unplug the controller, hand it to us, then say, “You realize this is a WIRELESS controller right?” We were dumbfounded. Why would there be a cord coming from it? Turns out, that’s just to charge the wireless controller.

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23. DIY plates

I was dating an Asian woman some years ago. When we got Chinese takeout, she completely unfolded the box and laid it flat like a plate. She said that was by design, and for the life of her could never understand why her friends always scooped it out onto another plate when the box was the plate. I now do this all the time and it weirds people out.

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22. I'm blue, da ba dee

I owned a light blue-colored microwave for about three years that a family member gave me as a housewarming gift. I thought it was cool; I had never seen a blue microwave before. One night, a buddy asked why I never took the blue plastic wrap off my microwave, then proceeded to peel it off for me. Darn, that thing is silver. I still miss my blue microwave sometimes though.

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21. I am incensed

I found out I was lighting incense wrong. My boyfriend and I got a bunch to add to our collection of nice smells. We would light them and they would just start a little inferno. We were convinced we were buying cheap, garbage incense and we stopped using them. I proceeded to buy a different brand in hopes they would work. I tested them and the same thing happened, they just went up in an inferno. My roommate then informed us that we were supposed to blow them out once they caught fire. Oops.

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20. That's no moon, it's a gas station

I had always assumed that gas stations had pipes that led to a nearby oil plant or something. I live in Houston so during hurricane Harvey in 2017 there was so much news about the gas stations running out because they weren’t being filled. I was in the car with my sisters and we were talking about it. They both looked at me with the most confused faces ever and one of them said, “You do know that trucks come to fill up gas stations right…?”

I was completely shaken by this as I had no idea. They asked me, “So when you see the big trucks at little gas stations in the city with the tubes in the ground, what do you think they were doing??” And I replied, “… filling up their gas…” Not something I did wrong but definitely something I thought wrong for 17 years. It was tough.

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19. Rule of finger and thumb

Snapping my fingers. Used to kind of do it with my index finger and thumb. Only just recently found out it’s actually the middle finger and thumb. My snaps are now much louder!

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18. Clean, clear, under control

I grew up with absentee parents, so all of my cleanliness is self-taught. I didn’t know until this year that you don’t wash pillows, and apparently some types of comforters. I learned how to “hand wash” garments about two years ago, and that you actually aren’t just supposed to throw them in with everything else. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to machine wash bras until my sophomore year of college. Last week, I found out that a face scrub is way different than a daily face cleanser. I started using a proper one, and my skin has never been so hydrated.

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17. This is why you have to question authority

My father would cook grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast when I was growing up. He’d burn those suckers a good 75% of the time. When he’d drop the crispy, black sandwich in front of me, he’d always say, “It cleans your teeth.” I was 22 when a roommate saw me burn a grilled cheese sandwich. I wasn’t concerned and explained it cleaned teeth. With immediate disbelief, he accused me of lying.  I later confronted my father. He got a kick out of it.

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16. God save you

As a kid, I never knew that saving in video games was a thing. Whenever I looked at the menu screen, I just didn’t think much of it and just ignored it. After a few years, maybe when I was about 11 years old, I started watching gaming videos on YouTube and saw that you could save your progress. Little old me was absolutely mind blown that Pokemon wasn’t supposed to be played in less than a day and that I could actually save my progress.

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15. Hold me closer, Tony Danza

Sometimes, I assume I know the lyrics to songs I have heard on the radio for a long time. I always sang Toto’s Africa as “I miss the rains down in Africa…” until someone made fun of me and told me it’s “I bless the rains down in Africa.” I argued, “That makes no sense! Why would someone bless rain? It’s a song about longing to return to Africa, which is why they miss the rain.” Then I went home and looked up the lyrics.

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14. Badfellas

I had watched side two of Goodfellas not knowing it was a two-part DVD. Didn’t realize this for years and my opinion of the movie was: “It starts off fast and felt rushed and didn’t build up the characters enough — I think it’s overrated.” Then, I remember seeing a part I had never seen before and thought, “Whoa, did I accidentally only watch half the movie?” I rented it later that week and realized as soon as it started that I hadn’t seen the first half. It’s my favorite movie of all-time.

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13. Cold comfort

Me: “Don’t you hate getting hit by those first few seconds of icy water when you turn on the shower?”

Roommate: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Like, in the morning, when you’re standing in the shower and you have to turn it on for the first time. It’s really cold on your skin.”

Roommate: “Wait, do you turn the shower on AFTER getting in?”

Me: “…No?”

That was the day my mind was blown by the fact that you could turn the shower on BEFORE getting in. I was like 23 when I learned this.

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12. Choosing sides

Not that I was doing it wrong, but I never knew the little arrow next to the gas gauge in the car told you what side the gas tank was on. My mind was freaking blown when I found out!

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11. Tub flub

For about two years, my bathtub wouldn’t drain all the way, leaving a bit of standing water. That, in turn, created a nasty ring every two weeks. I busted my butt trying to fix it but I couldn’t fix the clog. I would clean the tub every two weeks or so pretty hard. After about two years, I just randomly messed with the shower thingy and realized it wasn’t all the way in tub mode.

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10. When the spoon hits your eye like a big pizza pie

I’ve been saying “hold the fork down” my whole life. I just found out last week that it’s actually “hold the fort down.” I’m in my 20s. I just wonder why nobody ever corrected me.


9. Skin in the game

Some years ago, everyone started to hype about edamame, so I gave it a try. I love beans and peas in general, so I wondered why it tasted so disgusting. For a few weeks, I ate the whole edamame when someone ordered them to share in a restaurant. Because that’s what cool kids eat these days, right? Guess what. By observing others I found out that you‘re not supposed to eat the skin. Since then, I love edamame! I‘m still wondering if anyone noticed I was doing it wrong.

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8. No refunds

I worked at a hardware store in high school. On my last day there, the owner was waiting for me to ring out my last transaction before leaving. It just so happened my last transaction was a return. I processed the return as I always did: on the computer. Turns out I forgot about step two the entire time I worked there: run the return through the card swipe machine thing so the customer actually got their money back.

This was not a sophisticated computer system—the computer was super old and not connected to the credit card swiper, so there was never a prompt for the customer to swipe their card or confirm the amount that would be returned to their card. I’m not sure how many returns I rang up in my time at this store, but none of those customers ever got their money back that I know of. Sorry guys.

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7. Can't a man be modest?

Well, to start off, I’m a male who grew up with my grandma and mom. I had very few male influences growing up. When I was 12, my mom decided to move us in with her boyfriend. The first night in our new place, I walked out of the shower with my towel on. My stepdad said, “What are you doing, you’re not a girl.” I looked confused and said, “I know, why?” He then said, “Guys don’t wear their towels like that!” I then realized I had always worn my towel up to my chest since that’s all I saw growing up. I was so embarrassed. So yeah, long story short, I wore my towel like a female until I was 12.

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6. Forrest Clump

Kraft Mac and Cheese. Up until a few months ago, I would drain the noodles, add them back to the pot, then add the milk, butter, and cheese packet. It took forever to get all the clumps out. Then I realized, it would be way easier to just add the milk, butter, and cheese to the already hot pan and make a cheese sauce while the noodles are draining. No more clumps.

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5. Drinking the Kool-Aid

My mom used to make Kool-Aid all the time and it was awful. It was just so sour and I never understood how anyone could like it. Turns out, she was mixing two packs instead of one. I’ll never forget one day I read the instructions and actually mixed one pack and it tasted so good, but it took me a good year to convince my mom to do the same.

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4. Flushing and blushing

Throwing away used toilet paper in the trash can rather than flushing it. In my household, I grew up being told the toilet would clog if I flushed them and thought only public restroom toilets were strong enough to flush. It wasn’t until sophomore year of college when I was on the phone with a male friend debating if females flush or throw away toilet paper that I found out it wasn’t the norm. He asked all of his female friends and embarrassingly proved me wrong.

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3. Imagine how much food you wasted

When I was about 18, one of my friends dropped a large sandwich on the ground but said it was fine because of the five-second rule. I responded to with, “There is no way you can eat that whole thing in five seconds.” That’s when I learned that I had misunderstood the rule my entire life.


2. Well intentioned

I live out in the country and have always had a well for water. Fast forward to college and we get a thunderstorm. I tell my roommates that we need to fill up the bathtub with water so we can flush the toilets. They looked at me like I was crazy. I didn’t know how city water worked.

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1. Reese would be so ashamed

I was about 16 when I learned that there are papers around Reese’s peanut butter cups. Growing up, my family only bought like those small ones that you can eat in one bite, so I’d never had a chance to bite into a regular one and actually see the paper. So one day, my sister and I were talking about what candy we wanted to hand out on Halloween, and I mentioned that peanut butter cups were good apart from them having a chewy piece in them; which really confused her.

We spent the next few minutes arguing over if they were chewy or not, then she stopped talking in the middle of her sentence and I could see that something had clicked for her. She went to the kitchen and grabbed one and told me to eat it, she started laughing her butt off when I put the entire chocolate, still wrapped in the little brown paper, into my mouth. It’s still, to this day, my greatest shame that I can’t live down.

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