These poor people were all in the wrong place at the wrong time, and heard some things they wish they could erase from their memories. Thanks to these brutal revelations and cruel comments, these people learned that ignorance really is bliss.
#1 So Much for the Cost of Friendship
I once heard a former roommate laughing with his then-girlfriend about how they were screwing me over on money. Turned out they were taking my "utilities" checks and buying various games and alcohol. Instead of confronting them, I confirmed what they said with the utilities company (they hadn't paid the bill in two months) and moved all my stuff out while they were at work.
For good measure, I took myself off the lease and told the rental company about the girlfriend who had been there six months.
#2 New Laugh, Who Dis?
When I was in middle school art class something funny happened and I let out a loud laugh. I then overheard one of my childhood best friends whisper to another person, “God I hate trader2488’s laugh.” I immediately looked at him and said, “What?” and he just looked down at the table like he didn’t hear me. This actually made me change my laugh. It’s completely different from what it used to be.
I was copied into an email conversation where about ten messages earlier one of my employees had described me as an idiot and suggested to the recipients that they didn’t get me involved in the situation they were discussing. I’d always thought we got on well and it knocked my confidence down a couple pegs. Feels bad, man.
#4 Oh Dear, Diary…
Everyone I invited to my first sleepover laughed while reading my diary entries about how my dad had been abusing me (I'd left them in the room and one of my "friends" had gone snooping). It was worse when they wouldn't stop or give it back when I burst in and pleaded with them to, then everyone laughed even harder. That was the first and last time I wrote anything real like that in a diary.
#5 With Care Like This, You’re Better Off Alone
I lived next to a guy who took care of his disabled girlfriend. She stayed home with a nurse while he worked to support them and pay for her healthcare. Everyone really admired him for it. But because I lived next door, I knew the chilling truth. He used to get drunk and tell her that if she doesn’t start putting out, he was going to throw her out.
#6 Good Riddance!
I think this was in the ninth grade. A girl I had a crush on, but hadn't really talked to at all, was moving away to a new town. A few days before she moved, I overheard her saying, "Yeah I'll miss pretty much everyone...But I'll tell you one person I won't miss: [My name]!" That kinda sucked, like, really bad.
#7 Not My Friends
Walked up on a bunch of people who I thought were my friends talking smack about me saying I'm a loser and all this other basic garbage. When they saw me, they fell silent and I just walked away. Sometimes your friends just aren’t really your friends.
#8 Need to Escape
I went to school with a black eye and busted nose from my dear old dad. Child services was called to do a home check—I will never forgive my parents for what they said to them. My dad and mom told the worker I'd done it to myself and I was suicidal and that I'd written in my diary that I wanted to end my little brother’s life. I didn't even have a diary and of all the people I was close to, my little brother was #1. It got me a blacker eye and an involuntary stay in a locked ward. I bailed ASAP.
#9 Lies Spread Like a Disease
I heard the couple next door arguing. The wife was furious because she realized her husband was cheating on her, but that wasn't even the worst part. She found out about the affair because she tested positive for chlamydia. He tried to convince her that she must have been the unfaithful one. She still lives there. He doesn't.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
Stories that matter — delivered straight to your inbox.
#10 Never Enough
Overheard my mom saying to my dad, “Why can’t he [me] be like [my sister] and be smart?” I’ve never really gotten over that one. I have taken pretty much the hardest classes and get straight As and score in the top 1% on almost every standardized test I’ve taken, so I’m not really sure what else they want from me.
#11 Caught Red-Handed
My boyfriend let me use his iPad so I could watch a Netflix movie. He had his messenger account linked to it, and messages kept popping up on it while I was watching. That’s when I made a disturbing discovery. I watched in real time as he got his best friend's wife to agree to sleep with him over the coming holiday weekend, with the promise that he'd get rid of me for that weekend so they could get intimate in our bed.
#12 Parental Guidance
It was pretty rough when I had to listen to my parents arguing about my father's internet history having dirty websites, followed by a full-on argument about their declining intimate life. I was 12 years old.
#13 Motivated Through Sass
Some distant relatives visiting during the holidays talking about my siblings and cousins all doing amazing in school etc. and how if I never made it in sports, I'd probably be working minimum wage for the rest of my life. Over 10 years later sports career fizzled in college but I'm the only one out of all those relatives earning in the six-figure range yearly with my own house. Sucked when I heard it but guess I should be thankful for the motivation it gave me that spurred my work ethic as a teen forward.
I went out to a bar with some friends and an acquaintance who had been broken up with a few days before. As I made the rounds I talked to her and tried to do whatever I could to let her know it would be okay. I’m no therapist, but I did my best, ya know? Anyways, after I left the table I overheard her talking to my ex about me trying to give her advice.
She said, “Well nobody has ever loved him so what does he know about any of this?” and they started laughing like it was hilarious. I don’t think they know I heard, but I grabbed my coat immediately and took a long walk home. I don’t need people like that in my life, haven’t willingly seen either of them since.
#15 The Line Was Very Busy
I picked up my house phone one time to find a conversation already in progress. And that's how I learned my stepdad was having an affair with his brother’s wife…
#16 Art Attack
A very young girl gave her mother a picture she drew as a gift while on public transportation. I overheard the mother then rudely reject the gift. It made me quite sad, actually.
#17 The Ruiner
Background: I'm 12 years younger than my older sisters and I was unplanned. At age seven, I overheard my mom crying and saying I was the reason she didn't love my dad anymore/we were poor/why she isn't happy and that she didn't want to be a mom anymore. She said she “didn't know how to love someone who ruined her entire life.”
It was Christmas Eve and she was drunk talking to her best friend on the phone. It broke my heart/spirit and that was only the beginning of my awful childhood. Side note: I'm 29 now and moved out when I was 15 to protect myself. I have no contact with my parents and I'm fully aware it wasn't my fault I was born....but shoot, this memory still screws me up...
#18 Getting the Message
I was once home alone as a 12-year-old and my dad’s friend called the house. I let it go to voicemail—every single day, I wish I picked up that phone. I then overheard him leaving a bizarre message about my dad being the best friend he’d ever had. My dad came home about 10 minutes later and I told him about the voicemail immediately. Dad tried to call him and he didn’t pick up.
It turned out he had shot himself immediately after leaving the message—which was a pretty disturbing thing for someone my age to discover.
#19 Living in the Past
I met my boyfriend's family, then walked into the other room. I overheard his mother say "She's nice and all, but I really liked your ex better. Whatever happened to her?"
#20 Well That’s Awkward...
"I want out of this marriage." Didn't enjoy hearing my parents split up in the next room when I was a kid…
#21 Pale But Nice
When I was a preteen, I posted a picture of myself online with a minor celebrity. I later found that it was reposted on a message board...and the majority of the comments talked about how ugly and pale I was. The only person who said anything nice said, "Don't say that, she posts here sometimes and she's really nice."
#22 Gotta Fly
My father said he was too busy to come see us on Christmas. I told him my two-year-old had picked presents out for him. I was also going to announce my second pregnancy. A few days later, I was at my brother’s house paying him a visit when my father called to offer my brother a ride to the airport Christmas morning. The airport is less than five minutes from our house.
#23 Curiosity Killed the Cat
I saw a cassette tape sitting on top of a vehicle and, being a teenager, I spontaneously reached out and grabbed it. It piqued my curiosity, for some reason. When I got home, I decided to pop it into the player and give it a listen. Looking back, I wish I hadn't.
It was a confession. I would guess that a lawyer had left it on the roof of their vehicle, and I was the lucky jerk that grabbed it. The kid who was confessing sounded about 16 years old, and he was confessing to ending his mother's life. At one point, the detective asked the kid "What did she do when you hurt her?", and the kid just broke down sobbing and said "She yelled for help." A big piece of me died when I heard that.
#24 Down the Rabbit Hole
I woke up around midnight on Easter when I was about six, hoping to get a glimpse of the Easter Bunny. Instead, I ended up hearing my divorced mom crying to my dad on the phone, asking him to come get my brother and me because she has no money to get us any chocolate for the holiday. She was incredibly upset, just freaking right out. Looking back, it broke my heart.
Back then, though, I was just shocked. So I went back to bed and pretended to be surprised when my dad showed up in the morning to come get us. He told us that the Easter Bunny got mixed up about what house we were going to be at.
#25 The Circle of Life
When I was an undergrad, I was working in a nursing home. Many of the residents suffered from dementia, and one older lady often would say, "Kill those babies. We've got to kill those babies." Sometimes she would repeat that all night long without realizing I could hear her. She had a lot of issues, but she still freaks me out. I hope she's okay...
#26 Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater
A few months ago, I overheard my wife saying "You look really handsome, babe!" She was on a Facetime call with the guy she was cheating on me with and didn't hear me come in early from work. Still the hardest thing I've ever heard. I listened in the hallway for a few minutes, then packed a bag and left. 10 years of marriage and we have a two-year-old together. It's pretty insane.
#27 Roach Rent
I was seven and basically poor trailer trash, but I asked my friend if I could stay the night. He called his mom to ask and I overheard her say, “Tell him no, I don’t want roaches and lice.” That really cut me deep. To this day I have extreme anxiety about keeping my house clean. I couldn’t help it I was poor, and our roaches didn’t pay rent you jerk!
#28 Smarter Than the Average Bear
I'm a white-as-they-come American from the Midwest. I absolutely do not look like I speak any languages besides English, but I've actually studied quite a few languages, including Korean. One time, I was in Seoul, South Korea, just sitting around outside and relaxing. There were several Korean men standing around not too far from where I was sitting. They were just smoking, laughing, and talking. So, out of curiosity, I started listening in—oh, how I wish I hadn't.
They were talking about the "fat, stupid American man" sitting near them. They were hurling lots of insults and making fun of my character, intelligence, and looks. I didn't let on that I understood a single word of what they were saying. I just sat there minding my own business. When it was time for me to go back inside to work, I walked past them and, in Korean, told them that not all Americans were as stupid as they seemed to think.
The look on their faces when they realized I had been listening to everything they were saying about me was one that still makes me smile whenever I remember it.
#29 The Mean Girls Strike Again
I was in middle school and I overheard one of the girls doing one of those paper fortune-telling games with the boys and predicting who they were going to date. She opened up the paper and said, "Ugh, you're going to date Fox," and the guy just said "Gross." Yep found out that I wasn't really considered a catch…
#30 A Pretty Serious Charge
I once overheard a young boy asking his sister if she remembers how their mom used to beat them when they were kids. They were no older than nine.
#31 Motherly Hate
I was sick, septic. I was rotting in the ER at the local hospital. I had tubes coming in and out of me, I had IV antibiotics, I didn’t know if I was going to make it through the night. My family was at my house and my niece, who was with me, called the house and put them on speaker. I heard my mother telling them all how she didn't care about me.
Apparently, she never had, she was only there to make sure my nephew was okay. She kept saying that I got dirty diseases from being gay and sleeping with everyone in town. No, it wasn't an STD, and no I didn’t get it from sleeping around. I haven’t bothered with her since. She’s my mother, but she’s no friend of mine anymore.
#32 Little Brats
When I was in sixth grade, during homeroom they made us walk around the track sometimes. I felt awkwardly alone and tried to hurry up and catch up with a group of girls from class. Then I heard one girl say, “Oh keep walking or she’ll catch up to us.” I just hung back and felt so lonely and was just sure everyone could see that I had no one to walk with. Kids are mean.
#33 Unsweet Vindication
I once overheard my friend's mom telling her son, who was my partner in our canoe trip, that the reason I was complaining about leg pain all day was that I was just wimpy and complain a lot. A few weeks later I found out I had a bone tumor on my leg.
I had just moved into my dorm for my second year of college. My roommate was my best friend since ninth grade. My stuff hadn't arrived yet, and it was my time to register, so I asked him if I could use his computer. He said sure. I sat down, and he had AIM open to a conversation with another good friend of ours.
I didn't scroll up, but from what was just visible on screen, they were talking about how weird I was and how awful it would be rooming with me. I closed it so he wouldn't realize later I'd seen it, registered, and left. We still lived together that year, but we didn't hang out at all. We just cohabited. I never asked him to hang out as friends, he never asked me.
Move-out day that year was the last time we spoke. That was over ten years ago. We chatted every day for six years, then haven't spoken since. I still don't know if I did or said something to flip how he felt about me, or if he never really liked me to begin with. The possibility of the latter really screws up your future friendships. Heck, the former does, too, knowing apparently you're capable of unknowingly saying or doing something to throw away a five-year friendship.
#35 The Beat of Your Own Drum
"He acts like people actually like him! Someone needs to tell him; we only hang out with him because he will do almost anything you tell him to. He's a sad little puppet." This was said by a girl I had a major thing for.
#36 Mother Issues
I overhead my mother telling the rest of my family that my baby passed away because of my negligence. In reality, my baby passed of SIDS. I did not have a relationship for with my mother for a year after I overheard those words...because she later said it to my face after multiple doctors, funeral directors, and therapists explained how SIDS can’t be intentionally caused.
#37 Not a Child No More
My mother passed suddenly and I received a file that she meant to give me before the end. It was a psychological profile, along with tests, personality results, and other stuff. This wasn't a surprise to me since I'm autistic and have been in therapy as a child. Then I saw the part about my family and their trouble living with me. It turns out that my existence pained pained my brothers and father so much that they wished I had never been born. My parents got divorced basically because of me. My brothers were embarrassed by me.
I was never supposed to be living in my own. There was talk about assisted living or even an institution, but somehow I managed to leave home as soon as I became 18. I got married, had kids, and even though I struggle a lot, I get by. I even have a good relationship with all my brothers, even though they still have trouble treating me as an adult. It's like always thinking everybody knows you're disabled except you. And then finding out it's true.
#38 Minding His Own Business?
I once overheard my ex having a “business” call in his office that sounded an awful lot like cheating…
#39 Foster the People
I was listening to two of my kindergarten students talk about Christmas the day before break. One asked "Do you believe in Santa?", to which the other replied "Yes, but he doesn't come to my house because I'm in foster care." That one broke my heart.
#40 The Importance of Equality
I was working on a product that kept getting delayed. My boss was convinced the delays were because of my incompetence, but I knew that there was an issue with the production line contaminating the product and causing it to behave incorrectly. It was extremely stressful because I had zero support and I needed to get it done anyway. So with frustration-tears running down my face, I snapped and said something along the lines of, "Okay, fine, I guess this is just how we do business now. I'll push it through." An hour later I heard him behind the door—and what he said made me absolutely furious.
In his most high pitched, condescending, mocking, girl voice (I'm the only woman on my team) he said, "Okay, fine, I guess this is just how we do business now. I'll push it through." He said this in front of the whole team, then incorrectly recounted our conversation to make me look horrible. The worst part though? It turns out I was right all along. There really was a problem with production. But did I get credit for discovering it? Of course not. My jerk boss did.
My team does not respect me anymore after that, I'm now just talked down to. It feels so horrible that I let my emotions get the better of me just once and in the matter of five minutes everyone's perception of me changed so drastically that I can't get anyone to take anything I say seriously. It has gotten so bad that I'm looking for another job and I'm willing to take significantly lower pay just to escape the "emotional woman" image that now haunts me.
#41 Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
My downstairs neighbors were having a very loud fight one evening. I couldn’t resist listening in when I heard a woman yelling, "Did you sleep with her?! Did you sleep with her?!" over and over again. That was a fun night.
#42 Malpractice Mary
I have a weird neurological problem in my shoulder and arm that no one has ever been able to diagnose. During an intense flare-up I was referred to a physical therapist by a friend. The therapist saw me once and recommended surgery; I was very reluctant to take this advice, but I didn't say no (I called the surgeon she recommended, turned out he wasn't accepting new cases). The second appointment there was a scheduling error and I arrived 30 minutes too early.
I sat in the front of the office and listened to the therapist making small talk with another patient about how “her next patient” was a psycho trying to fabricate some kind of malpractice case and refusing to comply with her advice. The receptionist was sitting right in front of me, also listening, but she didn't run back to stop it...so it went on for quite a while.
If I had been a psycho trying to manufacture a case against her, she was kind enough to do all of the work for me.
#43 Well, That Was Mature
I was in college in the earlier days of Facebook when the feed was a new feature. In my feed, I see that these girls I was friendly with posted a picture album of themselves posing with a hanging mobile that they made as an art project. In the mobile, hanging there from a coat hanger, were photos of really creepy, skeevy guys, and also pictures of guys at our school that were generally known to be a little weird.
I saw a picture of myself hanging from it, too, and was devastated. These were girls I knew who were friends of mine. I wrote them a note confronting them about it, but did it in a nice way telling them I was deeply hurt to see myself on there and apologizing if I ever offended them in any way. They were super embarrassed but also maturely apologetic.
They insisted they would prefer to be my friend. They also rightfully pointed out character traits in me that led them to want to put my picture there in the first place, and it gave me some good introspection to change myself for the better. This was 10 years ago and I still think about it. Still have the message history in Facebook from back then too!
#44 I Know You Are, But What Am I?
My cousin Raphael who speaks Farsi was once in a mall and he saw this Persian woman yelling at her son and telling him "Don’t eat so much or you'll get fat like that man.” It took him a second to realize the disturbing truth. She was gesturing directly towards my cousin. So, my cousin responded in Farsi, shouting out "Don’t call me fat! You’re fat!"
It's so gratifying to see the horrible look on someone's face when they realize that you just heard and understood everything they said.
#45 It’s Just Gamer Rage, It’s Just Gamer Rage
At this time in my life, I was really depressed and urgently needed to talk to my mom, who is the closest person to me in my family. I walked to her room and as I got to the doorway, I saw my brother leaning over my mom's shoulder as she was playing a video game. When the opponent lost, they started throwing a tantrum, leading my brother to say "Wow. She's such a drama queen. She could rival [my name] for the biggest diva to exist." Right when I needed her the most, my mom laughed with him. I felt extremely betrayed and spent several hours afterward crying my freaking eyes out.
I overheard two guys on the subway in New York City have the most disturbing conversation I've ever heard. They were discussing what the perfect handgun caliber would be for whacking someone. There was a small dude who was adamant that the best glock would be a 9mm because that's what the authorities use. Then, the big dude starts shaking his head negatively and goes on to give a small speech about anatomy and ballistics.
He then proceeds to state that a competent assassin would use a mere .22 handgun, since it's hard to track, the ammo is cheap, and you could easily get someone in the head without anyone knowing that it was gunfire. I think those guys must have been on their way to some kind of hitman convention.
#47 You Were No Accident
I overheard my mother say "I only had her so I wouldn't have to go to work anymore" about my younger sister. It turns out that as I got old enough to need less supervision, my mother realized that she'd suddenly be expected to actually make financial contributions like a normal person. That clearly wasn't for her, so she "accidentally" got pregnant again. It took me a long time to realize what I'd actually heard. Unsurprisingly, my mom and I don't have the greatest relationship.
#48 You Never Know Who You’re Really Dealing With
Around 2004 or 2005, I was at a meeting. During a bathroom break, I heard two men talking. One of them had a brother who passed in the attack on the Pentagon. Shortly after, the brother's widow gave birth to their second child. A year or so later, the brother’s widow passed due to cancer. The man speaking had adopted his brother's kids. He and his wife had never planned on having kids, but they stepped up to raise them. It was a big adjustment, but he loved the kids and was doing the best he could for them.
#49 Allergic to That Peanut Butter
"Jimmy, I am sick and tired of you sticking your body parts in the peanut butter jar!" Jimmy is my brother, and I was in the living room eating a PB&J sandwich.
#50 Third Time’s the Charm
I once saw a couple sitting on a park bench, talking low key to each other. The guy said something to which the girl giggled and said "No." He repeated it again and she laughed a bit louder, saying "No," again. After he leaned in for the third time, she snapped and loudly said: "NO! Sarah, we've talked about this and I will not pee on you!" Okaaaaaay...
#51 We Know What You’re Up to!
My wife, who is Norwegian by background, speaks no less than a dozen languages at varying levels of proficiency, and so I have more than my fair share of good stories about her understanding things that she wasn’t meant to. The best one, though, is from her time studying in Prague. She went out with some Czech friends one evening, all of whom were girls.
They ended up in a bar, at a table next to a group of Norwegian guys who were on a weekend party trip. The guys were somewhat drunk and, of course, they immediately started flirting with my wife and her friends, in the typical heavily-accented English spoken by most Norwegians. While flirting, they discussed amongst themselves the various physical attributes of each girl—but it gets worse.
They also talked about how promiscuous they each appeared to be, how they thought they’d each perform in bed, what they were hoping to do to them later that night (in graphical detail), "I'm so gonna score!" comments, and so on. My wife translated everything into Czech for her friends while this was going on. A lot of fun was had at both tables.
The Czechs got more and more flirty as the Norwegians bought more and more drinks, got bolder, and became more and more certain that they would all actually get what they were looking for later that night. After several hours of this, when the girls decided all of a sudden to rather abruptly end the evening, the Norwegian guys were all a bit confused.
They could not understand why the girls all seemed to have turned so cold in such a short amount of time. That's when my wife dealt them the killing blow. She walked up to them and said, in perfect Norwegian: "Nice meeting you guys, good luck!" She then watched them all turn blood red, and left.
#52 Insides Out
This was around a pretty sketchy group of people. Without context, I heard "So then he stands up, and his organs just start spilling out. We're sitting there waiting for the ride to the hospital, and the dude is just casually cradling his intestines, having a cig." I felt it was best not to ask any questions and just quickly walked away. Far, far away.
#53 Riches to Rags
I was fixing a woman's computer when, right in front of me, she got a phone call informing her that her mother had suddenly died. She went from a powerful Executive Assistant to a fragile little girl in three seconds. It was heartbreaking.
#54 A Weighty Dilemma
When I was a youth pastor, I overheard a parent of one of my youths talking with one of my coworkers about how overweight I was and how I didn’t care about my life. They talked about how I was setting a terrible example for the youth and how I just disregarded my own health. They said I was going to kick the bucket by age 30 (I’m 27).
Then the mom said that the only reason she got onto the church's hiring committee was so she could get me fired because I was overweight. She said she manipulated the pastor to get elected to the committee just to make me sign a contract that if I didn’t lose the weight, I would be fired. Needless to say, I don’t work there anymore because I left on my own.
#55 Goodbye, Nurse
“If another nurse had been taking care of him, he’d be alive right now.” I spent the entire night running around trying to stabilize a patient, and my jerk of a coworker sat there talking trash about how incompetent I was the entire time. Neither of them lifted a finger to help. When the patient crashed, both of them magically disappeared and it was nurses from the other side of the hallway who came to help with the code.
They came after all was said and done and then I overheard one of them say that. Then they proceeded to tell the unit manager I was incompetent and crying at the bedside. Thankfully, neither of them work on the unit anymore.
#56 Mom’s Little Cross to Bear
When I was around 10-11 I went through a really rough patch emotionally. The drugs I was getting for my ADHD started messing with me really bad, and that combined with regular pre-pubescent angst turned me into quite the little monster. I started getting into a lot of fights in school and was generally an emotional wreck.
One night, I was on the couch with my eyes closed, basically being quiet for the first time in months, and I heard my mom say to my brother that raising me was really hard and that sometimes she wished I was just someone else’s problem. I know she was just tired and frustrated, but I’ve never forgotten that, and I’ve also never confronted her about it.
#57 This Threesome Was Really a Foursome
My last apartment had particularly weak walls between apartments. One night. I was reading in bed, and I was unknowingly the third party to a particularly nasty fight between the couple living next door. The fight last for almost an hour and was apparently the end of their relationship as she was going to leave him and the apartment the next day. The longer the fight went on, the more interested I became, and finally, I started to piece the whole crazy story together.
I did not know them personally, only enough to wave and say hi, help them with carrying up groceries etc... good neighbor stuff. It seemed the couple were bored with their intimate activities so they decided to fulfill a fantasy and invite another man to join them. I guess things worked out for awhile, but when Female A came home early from a work trip, she found Male A and Male B deeply engrossed without her.
Female A flipped out, and I guess after that point they tried to patch things up, but she caught both of them on two other occasions (the latest being the night before fight night that I was unashamedly listening to). Neither neighbor would hold my gaze for long the next morning.
#58 A History of Bad Overhearings
Heard two of my only friends at the time planning to go out later making sure to “ditch the red head.” That’s me. They had been my only friends since I could remember. In another instance, I let my mom know I was dating a girl she knew and really approved of, I heard my mom talking on the phone immediately to a friend of hers that she was disappointed in the girl’s choice, and hoped she would try dating other people.
#59 Revenge: A Dish Best Served Dirty
In sophomore year of high school, I had three girls who teased me mercilessly. I heard a lot of things that hurt my feelings but the worst one was this one day when my dad was helping me carry things into school for a project. We passed by one of the girls with some of her friends who didn’t know me and I heard her go, “Why does she dress like that? She’s so freaking weird she’s literally always freaking happy about every little thing it’s so freaking annoying” really loud.
My dad and I both heard it. He is very socially awkward so he couldn’t bring himself to say anything. He also didn’t want to acknowledge that he heard it because I think he thinks I didn’t want him to bring it up. I just kind of saw his heart break in his eyes. I can imagine his pain. I know I would break down in tears if someone ever said something mean about him whether he was there or not.
Over time, the teasing got so bad that they would tweet about me and then throw me down farther if I tried to stand up for myself. They’d make up names for me and whisper them when I was doing presentations in class to throw me off. One time I found out my grandmother passed while I was in class and one of the girls goes, “OMG SHES CRYING!” Really loud. One even physically wrecked my school project.
Anyway, one day I just couldn’t handle it. During my free period I went to the auditorium and just cried. I didn’t know the tech director was in there with some of my peers. They came up to me and I remember saying, “How do you handle it when someone doesn’t like you?” And they all knew who I was talking about. I remember these sweet kids were so lovely. They told me that I was beautiful and smart and that everyone in the school (it was a tiny school) liked me and the mean girls couldn’t handle that. That always stuck with me.
Later on, one of them tried to sabotage me in senior year by taking my project I worked for months on and tearing it to shreds. The principal knew what I was going through and told me that if I thought it was sabotage they would treat it as such, which is reason to suspend or even expel. I believe in karma so I told them I believed her that it was an accident and she was let go with a detention.
Don't worry—karma finally came knocking, and it was brutal. One of them was detained a few weeks after graduation. Another was dumped by her boyfriend and is randomly suffering from hair loss. The third dropped out of college. And then I got my own little revenge on the girl who wrecked my project.
This girl has the nerve to ask me to borrow some concealer. So I reached down to the bottom of my backpack and pulled out this gnarly, four-year-old stick of concealer that I kept forgetting to throw out because it made me break out. It didn't even have a cap, so I had to wipe off the crumbs and dirt off the top so it looked clean. Then I let her borrow it. She came in later that week with absolutely horrible skin. She had broken out EVERYWHERE. I didn’t even feel bad, it was just plain funny.
#60 When It All Came Crashing Down
Years ago, my mom caught my dad having an affair. I overheard her as she was yelling at the top of her lungs while my dad was sobbing and begging her to take him back. I never looked at my dad the same way after that.
#61 Judging a Book by Its Cover
My friend's son speaks fluent Spanish, but has white skin—so when he brought his wife's minivan in to get it detailed, the Spanish-speaking people cleaning it were all going on and on about how stupid and dirty they thought this guy was, and how he should make his kids clean the van up instead. But that was just the beginning.
Then, they went on and on about how cheap Americans are and how they probably wouldn't even be leaving a tip for all the hard work they were doing. When they were done with their work, my friend’s son went right over to thank them, let them know how much he appreciated the job they did and gave them a large tip—all in Spanish so that they knew without a doubt that he had understood every word they had just said.
#62 One Big Happy Family
I was sitting at a bar when I heard the bartender say the following to another customer:"So did I tell you that I'm going to be either a grandmother or a great aunt?" Her customer looks at her confused, so she explains the situation with these utterly unforgettable words. She replies, "Yeah, my son and his wife got into a fight, so she slept with his cousin (my nephew) and now she's pregnant and they don't know who the father is." I'm like, what?!
#63 Letting the Cat Out of the Bag
When officers showed up at my door to tell me that my upstairs neighbor was dead, I overheard the EMTs say something utterly horrific. One of them sighed, then looked at the other and went, "We're going to have to double bag him." I get it, but it’s just not a pleasant thing to hear about someone you used to chat with every day. Poor guy.
#64 Raised as Their Own
I was looking for some old clothes in the storage part of our house when I found a file folder full of old papers. I casually look them over and discover that I'm adopted. My parents got me when I was just a baby and never told me that biologically, I'm not theirs. Coincidentally, a couple of months later my biological sister got into contact with me.
#65 Family Brunch
My family and I were at a restaurant and there was a father and his daughter (whom we'll call D, for daughter) sitting in the booth right across the aisle from us. D looked to be no more than about 20 years old. She talked the whole time about her ex-boyfriend, Chris. Apparently, Chris had been married to someone else and D could not have cared less.
She said that it was all his wife's fault for not being good enough to keep her husband faithful. Welp, it turns out Chris was still sleeping with his wife through all of this because she got pregnant. When D found out that Chris’ wife was pregnant, she was furious. She told Chris that he had to choose between her and his wife.
At first, Chris chose D. Then, he found out that his unborn child had congenital heart defects. So, he called off the divorce, broke up with D, and moved back in with his wife to help out. D sits there in silence looking slightly bewildered before saying, "I don't know why he chose her and that (insert inappropriate slur here) baby. So what if it dies? They can always make another one!"
But that's not even the worst part. Her dad breaks his silence and asks, "So, your mom and Chris aren't getting divorced?" “YOUR MOM and Chris”?! YOUR MOM?! This crazy lady was having a blatant affair with her much older stepfather, made him choose between her and her pregnant mother, and then made sociopathic comments about her unborn brother!!
#66 Taking the Hint
I’ve always struggled with social anxiety and I finally felt like I was getting a good handle on it. I texted one of these girls where we would be meeting as I was on my way to her apartment. Before I could knock, I heard her saying, “Oh my god. She is so annoying, why couldn’t she just get the freaking hint?”
What followed was just a good few minutes of all these people, who said that they will never judge me and that we were family, just smack talking me for absolutely no reason at all. All the progress I had made towards my social anxiety slid all the way back down the hill. I did get satisfaction when she tried to invite me to her wedding and I didn’t bother to return her messages.
#67 Everybody Wins
I was at a sleepover with my three best friends and was woken by something in the night. While trying to get back to sleep I heard my name, so I obviously listened in. Two of my “friends” were discussing how to phase me out of the group. It felt like they talked for hours about it, how weird I was, how boring I was, how much of a chore I was...it was gutting.
On the positive side, I found a new group of friends, told them about it all, and my previous friends were pretty much ignored by everyone outside of their little group. So, they got what they wanted and I got what I didn't know I desperately needed. All in all, I would consider that a win-win situation, wouldn’t you?
#68 Care Not Reciprocated
I overheard my mother telling a relative that I was useless, selfish, arrogant, ornery, and stupid for giving up on my education. I was 16. I had just transferred from a private college-prep school 7 miles away so I could go to public school 1 mile away (for both I walked & took public buses). I was my mom's caregiver, housekeeper, bill-payer, shopper, gardener, handyman, security service and courier service 24/7.
I had no social life, and I worked part time. I had been doing this alone for three years, though I was the youngest of seven siblings. I was floored. I felt like I had been sucker-punched. I stood there in my apron and rubber gloves, holding a laundry basket, and bawled my eyes out. It wasn't as much the content, which was bad, but the context.
She was lying, and doing it to ensure that I looked bad enough to everyone that if I reached out for help, none would be forthcoming. Learned a hard life lesson that day.
#69 Get Better Looking
It wasn’t something I overheard, but accidentally saw messages popping up on my mother in law’s iPad as she was texting her friend from another room about how I used to be attractive, that I was now fat, and that her son was basically a saint for still being with me. It broke my heart, to be honest. What a nightmare.
#70 The Hate Club
When I was in the fifth grade, one of my friends accidentally invited me to an online chatroom called the "I hate llCloudIXll" chat room. When someone realized I was in the chat they unloaded on me, pointing out every flaw I had and why no one in school liked me. The rest of the chat room followed suit and said some pretty awful things to me. Some of those horrible things are burned in my brain forever.
They included how I should kill myself and how no one would miss me. A few of my closest friends even chimed in at this point and agreed with everything being said. I started to self-mutilate and pretty much went the rest of middle school and high school without friends, unable to trust people or get close to people. To this day I can pretty much count how many true friends I have on one hand. Kids can be freaking awful.
#71 Not Your Fault
I found out my dad was a paranoid schizophrenic one night when I overheard my grandma praying for him (she thought I was asleep). I was like 16 but genuinely thought that his behavior was the most normal thing in the world since I had grown up with it. I cried myself to sleep that night and then did some research to try to understand.
It was a really hard time, but it just got worse. Me and him started fighting really badly maybe because he got sicker, but maybe because I just noticed it more. Because of our conflicts, my mum finally told him to leave the house, and they had a really messy divorce. I still feel guilty about fighting with him to this day. I wonder if things would be better if I had never found out.
He lives alone now and isn’t allowed contact with any of us—it wasn’t originally like that. My siblings used to go and visit him, and he started electrocuting them so “Nobody could hear their thoughts”—I feel so guilty when I think of him living alone without any family around him.
#72 Breaking Oath
My mother and father were both dumb enough to write awful ”letters to the Judge” that presided over my sister’s case. The letters were a sad attempt to make me the bad guy somehow and my sister out to be "a good person.” My sister was charged with child neglect. I had zero involvement and live in a different state. The letters were dated on my birthday. This was the final straw with their crazy garbage.
#73 Getting Serious
Two of my students were talking about this guy who had been texting one of the girls in my class. I chalked it up to middle school drama, and the day went on. Later, I overheard the girl who the others had been talking about say, "I think I'm scared." Something about that just didn't sit right with me. I circled back and was like, "Hey kid, need to talk to me about anything?"
She mulled over it for a bit and then asked if we could have a private convo. Turns out that this guy had sent the girl an inappropriate picture of himself—and oh yeah, he's not a guy their age. It's their teacher from an extracurricular activity. That was not a fun day.
#74 Some Things Are Worse Than Nothing
When my friend was 18, his dad wrote him out of the will before suddenly passing away. The strange thing was that they always got along. It seemed very suspicious. He was then kicked out of the house by his father’s evil wife without a penny to his name. On Christmas Eve, the client went back to get some photos he left there and saw something he shouldn’t have. It was then that he learned just how evil she really was.
He knew where she kept the spare key, so he let himself in. On the way to his room, he saw the step-mom’s phone sitting on a table and as he passed by she got a text message. It read something like, “I’m so happy we got away with it and we can finally be together. He didn’t deserve it anyway.” My friend was convinced that she forced his dad to take him out of the will, then somehow machined his dad's demise with a secret lover. He's in law school now and is planning to go into estate law to help people get through problems like the one he had.
#75 Old News
After speaking with my grandpa on the phone, I realized that he hadn’t properly hung up. I overheard him comment to my uncle about how ungrateful I was. I had at that point visited him every week for a year and cleaned his entire bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, hallway, and living room each time—usually also bringing some food or dessert with me, too.
I moved out of town shortly after this incident.
#76 Head Down
"Deejay? Who would ever love an ugly mutt like that?" said by the guy I was in love with when I was 17, unaware that I had just walked into the room behind him. Went from being sure I was an okay sort who'd surely deserve love someday to never looking people I pass on the street in the eye in order to spare them the sight of my face, all in one day.
#77 But My Teacher Said
A high school teacher told me that after she overheard me telling a friend "I'll probably just ask X out" when we were discussing getting a group together to go watch The Corpse Bride. She then came up to me and said, "You've got to be kidding. No one would ever date you." Thanks...
#78 The Storm Before the Calm
I accidentally discovered the reason why my parents divorced.
I was ten when they separated, and they never really told us why, just that their marriage wasn’t working anymore. I didn’t really care so I didn’t ask, but over the next few years I would eavesdrop on bits and pieces of conversations they had and eventually put the pieces together. Basically, my mom cheated on my dad with my now-stepdad. My mom and now-stepdad worked at the same high-school and my mom had taught each of his kids.
When my dad became suspicious, he put a key-logger on the family computer and her phone and found some suspicious texts/emails/searches, etc. He hired a PI who followed my mom to the airport one day and struck up a conversation with her. My mom took the bait and ended up confessing everything to the PI under the impression it was some random stranger.
I was introduced to my now-stepdad a little under a year after they separated but didn’t meet any of his children or family until a few years later. Turns out he was having an affair as well but was introduced to me and my brothers while he was still with his wife.
#79 There Is No Giraffe Currency
My mom lived in Thailand for a couple years in high school. A bunch of girls were ferrying people across a stream, and one of their patrons at the same time as my mom was extremely tall and lanky. The girls started joking in Thai that he looked like a giraffe. When they got to the opposite bank, and the girls held out their hands for payment, the man simply said in perfect Thai "Giraffes don't have money" and left.
#80 Keep Your Private Life Private
I overheard a girl that I had a huge crush on in high school graphically telling her friends about what she had been doing with her boyfriend during their spare time. Let me put it this way: This stuff was NOT normal, especially not when you consider that we were in seventh grade! The level of my crush on her deflated a bit after that, and I could never unsee the images she put into my imagination.
#81 Hammer Away
I recently overheard my mother, who had been complaining of stomach aches, saying that she "needed a jackhammer to get the poop out of her butt." Thanks for that, Mom.
#82 The Great Protector
My wife had a falling out with some friends of mine that she met through me. We had known them a long time but I had known them for much longer. I was upset with her one night, because they were always asking why she never came around anymore, but she absolutely refused to see them. I always thought it was because of this little side business project they went into together that didn't work out.
So, I'm driving my wife somewhere, and I just start getting upset with her that she won't make up with them and move past it like they did, and it sucks that she never comes with when I go over there. So, she finally broke and told me the painful truth. Every time she went over there without me, they would talk smack about me, putting down my personality, my humor, and much more.
I guess they thought she would be okay with it, like a joking, "Haha my husband can be such a [insert something], right?" But she wasn't okay with it. She's not a confrontational person, so she never really spoke up, but she was disgusted by the way they spoke about me behind my back, and refused to have anything to do with them.
She had been letting me think it was all her fault and she took it because she knew the truth would hurt my feelings. And it did.
#83 Ladies and Germs
I can speak German. At my job in a museum, there was once a group of people who came in. However, they didn't come to see the museum. They just came to sit on our benches, throw a soccer ball around, and act generally as one does outside having a picnic—not sitting inside a museum. I asked them to stop throwing the ball around and to be a little quieter. Their reaction made my blood boil.
They didn't really respond and kept on doing what they were doing as if I didn’t exist. I then hear one of the girls say in German: “That woman is so stupid. We can do whatever we want here, the ball won't hurt anything.” I immediately snapped back into German “Yes, it can. Now, you need to either stop kicking the ball around or leave.” They looked horrified and left right away.
#84 A Helping Hand from Far Away
While stationed in Germany, I lived in this apartment busing that had four floors. I lived on the top floor. The layouts of the apartments were the same for one side, and the bathroom was right by the doors of the apartments. There was this couple that lived two floors beneath me. We all knew that this guy abused his wife some way or another; we never saw her, and she was a complete shut-in. We called the authorities multiple times, but of course with no evidence, they couldn't do anything.
One time on my way up, I heard him yelling, as always. I usually paused by the door to see if I could hear her in distress. Well, as I paused by the door, I heard this piece of human garbage yell something truly chilling across his apartment: "You don't have to cut yourself just because I hit you!" Apparently, the poor girl was in the bathroom cutting herself because she was so tired of being abused.
I called the nine one one promptly. I knew about how long they'd take to get there, so right before they showed up, I began pounding on his door. He answered it, angrily. I immediately laid into him. The whole neighborhood could hear me, even the MPs when they got there. He got locked up; she went to the hospital. I'm just really thankful that I stopped and listened.
#85 It Was a Happy Divorce
I was using my ex-wife's laptop when all these messages started popping up on Messenger. I'm not proud of this, but I started reading them. I wish to God I hadn't. It turns out she had sent a picture message of a fully packed storage unit to her best friend out in South Carolina. It had furniture, appliances, essentially everything she needed to start out with an apartment on her own. I sat on that for several months, before finally bringing it up out of nowhere.
We were literally sitting on the couch one night and I just turned to her and said, "so I know about your storage unit." It was the last thing she ever expected to hear because she thought she was being sneaky. Conversation actually went quite well though, and we ended up deciding that we were going to file for divorce. That divorce just finalized March 3rd of this year.
#86 The Hurt You Give Yourself
It was about a year after my mom passed away, so I was about 11 years old, and my sister was 13. She and I had a rocky relationship at the time, but we had our moments. When she was at a band competition on the weekend, I was dropped off with her. The time came when she had to perform so she gave me her phone. I went through it, being the nosey 11-year-old sister that I was.
I was expecting to find some exciting eighth grader gossip or a secret boyfriend, but what I did find was not a laughing matter. I found dozens of self-harm pictures. Bloody sinks and bloody words carved into my sister's skin. At the time, I didn't even know self-harm was a thing. I didn't confront my sister about the photos until years later, but I did immediately rethink all of our fights and how we were all hurting as a family. My sister and I are best friends now, and those photos did help me gain the perspective I needed to change our relationship, but they still haunt me.
#87 Brother From Another Mother
The other day I was looking for my old passport when I found a few of my Dad's old visitor's passports. Now, my Dad is older than most (he's 70, while I’m a teen), so imagine my surprise when, listed under "children" in the passport, there's the name of a kid born in the 1970s. The best part is that the name isn't on his other passports from later on, so I guess I accidentally found out I have a (dead?) half-brother.
#88 It Was Supposed to Be a Surprise!
I found my own severance cheque. Apparently, someone at the payroll company addressed it to me instead of HR. Opened it at my desk and laughed, packed up my stuff and left.
#89. He’s Not Wrong
I had been dating a girl that I met through our school's theater group (we were building the sets, not acting). She brought her dad in one day to show off her work, and they're talking to each other in German. I'd never met him, so I'm just minding my own business until a good opportunity to introduce myself, when he suddenly starts talking to her about idiot wearing sandals at a construction site (me).
I hop down off a pile of wood and say in German, "well so far I've managed not to injure myself, and they're just so comfortable!"
And just to make things even better, while he's still got this shocked expression on his face, she says, "So daddy, this is my boyfriend... the one I told you about who speaks German..."
#90 Trading Places
When my oldest sister passed, my older sister was crying to my mother about how she felt alone. My mother was trying to reassure her and said, "You still have vampedvixen, though." But my sister said, "Who cares about her? I want [oldest sister] back." I kinda get it...but this was around the same time my mother told me to my face that it should have been me who passed instead.
Her reasoning was that I don't have a husband or kids like my oldest sister did. It seemed like absolutely no one wanted me in my family and they all wished I could have switched places with the one we lost, which is just about the worst feeling in the world. People wonder why I'm depressed now...jeez, yeah, I really wonder why.
#91 Imprisoned By Lies
My grandma got drunk and let it slip that my mom is a convicted felon. She also spilled that my grandfather had an illegitimate child...with my aunt. I put two and two together. My aunt is my mother's sister, my uncle is her son, my mother's brother. And my cousin is my aunt's child, my uncle's sibling, and my mother's niece. It's such a mess. Thank god my mother doesn't know that I know.
I speak Bengali, and three years ago, during a normal school day, me and a couple of friends were headed to lunch, Talking about random stuff, when we pass the main office. My friend makes an excuse about forgetting something in the main office and walks inside, like good friends, I follow him inside. He goes up to the desk and start talking, and I wait patiently by the door.
Suddenly, I hear in Bengali: "The kid standing by the door is fat, you're never going to be this fat are you?" I flip around, and see a woman with a small sixth grader standing beside her. She gives me a smile and walks past. As she passes, I say, again in Bengali: "Did you really think I didn't hear you?" She stops, looks at me, then just picks up her pace.
#93 The Girls That Never Were
When I was 15, I was broke and looking around the house for spare change. I was home alone at the time. I looked in my parents’ room and found a metal box with a pad-lock on it. My curiosity got the best of me and looked around for the key. I found it and unlocked the box. There were letters and a journal inside, written by my mom. Those were what she wrote in for therapy.
It turns out, my mother had had three miscarriages before having me. The letters made me cry my eyes out (I’m a momma’s boy). All three of the miscarriages were going to be girls. She wanted a daughter named Mary Catherine. After she had me, she had to have surgery and was infertile afterward. I always felt sorry for my mother since then. If I get married and have a daughter, I think I’m gonna name her Mary Catherine.
#94 So Much for the Language of Love
Friend of mine divorced his then-wife because she would only speak French when her family would come over. She was Spanish, as was her family. To add, her family spoke English, French, and Spanish; he could only speak Spanish and English. She got bored of being married to him, her family basically talked smack about him while he was there, was only when he recorded a conversation while they were there and got it translated he found out what was going on.
#95 Cashier Revenge
The other day this Chinese couple came through my cashier line, and I asked them all of the usual questions. Then the wife said, "Tell the stupid girl to go faster," in Mandarin. I smiled at her and pretended like I had no idea what she was saying. She kept commenting on how my hair was like a boy's (I have short hair, it's honestly not even that short) and how her grandfather would have gone faster than I was going, all of this in Chinese. And then she said, "Make sure she doesn't forget the water," in Chinese. Then I smiled and said something that made her face twist into a look of sheer terror. I just said, “I won’t forget the water.” Her face drained of color as her husband said “This is why you shouldn’t bad mouth people!” So, so satisfying.