Most of us try to go through our lives without having any regrets. We try our best to milk every moment and make the most of any situation, whether good or bad. But it's impossible to do everything right—without mistakes, we would never learn and grow as individuals. Here are some of the things people still regret doing.
I called my buddy one night because I knew he was having a tough time. I told him I was coming over, and he kept saying no I'm good, I'm good... He was less than a mile away. I said okay, and then his mom called me in the morning saying he was dead. She was wondering he said to me in the phone call. I wish I went over. I know I can't blame myself, but I really wish I did more. I feel like things would be so much more different if I had just rushed over.
Oh god... Where do I begin? I use to gamble... a lot... and I won... a lot. I'd go play the machines and hit for a few thousand or play cards and the same thing, but I was a heavy drinker. I went out one night with $6,000 in cash and I woke up at about $800. This wasn't the first time I would spend thousands on a freaking night. All in all, I could've been set up nicely now, but nope... the drinks got me.
Succumbing to my fear of rejection. It's crazy how much you can build this up; as it might destroy you, and then when it finally happens you're like, "Eh, whatever. Your loss." Turns out that there's just no point feeling bad about not having a relationship with someone who isn't into you too, and all the pre-moment imagination was about someone LIKE that person; variation of them that didn't actually exist. And suddenly there's no REAL loss because there was never anything REAL there.
For nearly a year, I had been talking to this woman. She was literally the best friend I had. Then, we had one conversation and it was all gone. The first two days were absolutely freaking miserable. Yesterday was Day 3, and now it doesn’t hurt as bad. Reading this on Day 4 has actually helped. I don’t so much miss the “wishes opportunity of happiness” as I do the random conversations we would have. Now I’m back to square one on relationships and the best friend spot is open.
Last month, I asked a girl out for the first time in my life. I’m in my early 30s, and I've always struggled with self-worth. She didn’t say yes, and I felt like a complete idiot for a week. But at least now I know, and I can move on to other things and stop dedicating so much mental energy to thinking about her. And the next time someone comes along, I hopefully won’t be so shy about it.
Getting morbidly obese. I no longer am, but some damage is done. I feel that most other mistakes I made can be reversed or mitigated, except this one. I've been obese my whole life. I have a herniated disk in my low back and my knees sound like those of a 50-year-old. I have to keep telling myself that it's better late than never and that I just need to start. I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm more optimistic about my future than ever.
I was ALWAYS overweight my entire life. Then, as a teen and early adult, I became morbidly obese at over 400 lbs, but it was all I knew my entire life. Now I'm 155, 5 lbs overweight. 27% of body fat. I work out 4-6 days a week. I'm a single-digit pant size. I still felt like I ruined my life. I have arthritis in my spine, which seems to be the only weight-related problem I have, thankfully. My blood work is perfect. I have a ton of loose skin, so I'm scared of intimacy. I'm scared to have entire relationships because I'm worried that it's "not fair" that they have to deal with the aftermath that is my body.
Letting my happiness depend on someone else. On the wrong person. But lucky for me, it's all over and life took a turn into a better way. And I'm ready to travel towards the future. To everybody who is in a similar situation that I was: keep on fighting. There is a future worth fighting there out there, even though sometimes you might not see it or it might seem impossible. There are so many opportunities for your situation to improve, you just need to give it some time (and make it through some rough patches).
Believing the doctor when he said I was a “late bloomer” at 17. Attending university and not having gone through puberty is not fun. I had to wait until I was 23 until I was diagnosed correctly with Kallmann syndrome. Kallmann syndrome is a rare hormonal condition that prevents a person from starting or fully completing puberty. It is also associated with a lack of sense of smell. I never went through puberty as a teenager and every time I went to a doctor they just dismissed me as a "late starter" or a "late bloomer" even when I was 19 years old.
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In community college, a Sociology professor asked us to raise our hands and say what religion we were a part of (voluntarily, of course). This was to get an idea of how diverse the class was. Everyone went around and said the typical “Christian,” “Catholic,” “Muslim,” etc., and that was that. The professor then asked, “Are there any others?” so I raised my hand.
I don’t really identify with a certain religion. I was raised Christian but I’m more of an evolution, Big Bang, science-type of a believer. I explained this to the entire class, and the professor asked if there was a name for it. I said, “Uh, Scientology?" He just kind of smiled and said, “Great” before moving on. Then I learned what Scientology really was. Then I learned I’m probably agnostic. This experience had no repercussions other than the fact it still makes me cringe knowing people thought I was a Scientologist.
Getting into what I perceived to be, at the time, a serious relationship in high school. I rushed into marriage right after graduating because she had to be the one, and while I realize that despite the turn it took, that relationship made me who I am and got me to where I am now. Still, I always wonder what could have happened during those few years in college if I hadn’t locked myself down so early.
This was many years ago when I was a little kid on a holiday with my parents. We went camping and, being the social kid I was, I made friends quickly. We connected through our Game Boys and tried out all the games we had. He borrowed me his cartridge of the Pokémon Trading Card Game so I could play at my own tent. I loved it! When it was time for us to go back home again I totally forgot it was still in my Gameboy. I said goodbye, got in the car, and fell asleep since it was a long drive to my hometown.
When we got back, I obviously grabbed my GameBoy again only to notice I accidentally left his cartridge in it. I felt SO bad. I was scared he thought I had stolen it from him since he knew I liked the game so much. Being scared my mother would be angry, I never explained the situation. I hid the game and never played it again. To this day, I am extremely aware of my stuff, especially when I have used other people's things. It's such a silly little thing but I absolutely still regret it many years later.
I was at a birthday sleepover when I was about ten or eleven and we'd all been playing DS a lot because quite a few of us had one. Things like Mario Kart DS and Pokemon Diamond, probably. Anyway, I had a copy of the DS version of Super Mario 64 and I really loved it. I must have been playing it at some point that night. The next day when it was time to go, I couldn't find it at all. I went back and looked plenty of times. I never found out what happened to it but I have a hunch it was stolen, in all likelihood by this one kid who didn't much like me (I didn't like him either). I'm not a grudge-bearing kind of guy but that kid was a little jerk. Even if he wasn't the one who stole the game.
I didn't take college seriously, I was just going through the motions and never graduated. Now all my closest friends have their careers and are making a good living while I'm stuck in mediocrity. I never thought about the future back then and it hurt me big time, I'm 1,000 steps behind everyone else. But I also know I'm not completely alone on this, and that there are a lot of other people that went through similar situations and still succeeded or found happiness.
One of my roommates in college did this. He met this girl playing WoW online. He was a good looking guy, but just socially inept and awkward. After chatting with her for a few months, he dropped out of college and moved to Kansas to live with her. My other roommates were his childhood friends. He didn't tell them or anybody anything before moving. His parents still showed up to take him home for the Christmas break because they had no idea. The girl's mom was the manager of a bank and gave him a decent job there. I moved out the next year so I have no idea how things worked out for him. They could be happily married with kids and stuff for all I know.
I was with my ex for ten years because I was so grateful there was a human that didn't think I was a monster. When you believe you're garbage, you accept people treating you like garbage. The important thing is that we both learned that we don't need to deal with that, and we don't need those people to be happy or whole. I hope you're all happy and know your worth!
I missed the last Christmas I had with my grandma to spend it with my now ex-boyfriend who would have otherwise been alone for Christmas. I didn't know at the time it would be our last Christmas with her. We video called but that isn't quite the same. He broke up with me after I spent a weekend looking after his cat while he was on a work trip. After how he treated me towards the end of the relationship I realize he really wasn't worth missing out on family time for. I'll probably regret this for the rest of my life. I miss you, grandma.
Not seeing my grandfather before he died. I was 17, very much in the puppy love stage of my first relationship, and I was convinced she was the one. I got the news that my grandfather had bowel cancer. He was an amazing man. Despite not having much, he always used to try and make things special for us growing up. He’d appear at 7 a.m. every Christmas morning dressed as Santa and hide ‘magic’ sweets behind cushions in the sitting room. He was a typical grumpy grandad but underneath that, he had a heart of gold.
Instead of visiting him, I spent time with her. I had multiple opportunities. Countless times I could have gone and seen him and I turned those away believing there was ‘always another time’. There wasn’t. He died before I realized what I’d done. I hope he knew just how much I loved him. He meant everything to me and I didn’t even give him the courtesy of saying goodbye. I’ll regret that for the rest of my life.
Not accepting that some disabilities come with natural limitations and that figuring out how to work around them is key (rather than boneheadedly insisting there is no limitation until you are forced to concede, only now you're in a situation with no accommodations and no workarounds or treatment, personally or professionally, for your limitations).
I allowed my buddy in school to perform a wrestling move on me. He lost his footing while he had me on his back and I fell, teeth first on the ground. My right front tooth shattered one quarter. The pain lasted for a week and also lost my chance of getting braces. I know they can always bond it and I can get Invisalign, but it definitely isn't cheap.
I really regret the amount of drinking I did in my 20s and 30s. While I've been sober for over two years and don't plan on ever, EVER being intoxicated again, I will never get past the guilt and shame I feel for putting myself and my family through the awful times and events when I was regularly drinking myself into a coma.
I regret breaking up with my ex when her mental and physical health situation was getting really bad. Five years later, she's recovered completely and I'm still alone. "She's amazing, and I managed to get her, so I can't be as completely worthless on the market as I thought, right?" Hahaha, no. Lightning doesn't strike twice. I am going to be by myself for the rest of my life.
Letting my abusive ex screw up my life as bad as I did. I lost contact with my best friend and I still miss him daily. I almost screwed up so many friendships. It took me years longer to finish my undergrad degree and could have messed up my chances at further education. I still have PTSD level social anxiety. And for what? A selfish jerk who couldn't feel secure about themselves unless they were screaming at me and hitting me? Nah, man. Forget that. What a waste of two years of my life. You always have resources if you need to get out of a bad situation. I'm always here to talk if you need an ear. It gets better. You can be free.
Not working hard enough through school. I always did just enough. I got by with average grades, never pushed myself to work harder to get the top grades which I see now I was fully capable of, I just needed to apply myself and work a bit harder. Now I'm at university (though, it took quite a bit of luck because my A levels were horrific) and I'm determined to turn it around and make something of the chance I've now got.
I trusted my grandma too much, thinking she had my best interests at heart. Everything I did was for her approval and that was the way she was or she'd get angry at me and I accepted it. Not only did it keep me living a lie in the closet for much too long, but it also made me screw up college so freaking bad until I failed out... She pushed me into one she wanted me to go to instead of me even getting the chance to check out the schools and degrees I specifically wanted.
I say this one is the biggest because never finishing college (or being able to afford to go back) feels like what's held me back career-wise to this day. I did, however, finally come out at 27 (5 years after college flopping) and have been much happier with life in general. She still doesn't approve of it, but I don't care because my life is my life and my happiness and I realized that too late, ya know?
Letting her go. I should have asked her to help me with my things, instead of pushing her away. I should have confided in her, my fears and insecurities and being honest about being scared of starting a family as opposed to closing down and just "not wanting to talk about it." I should have told her that I did love her but I was too caught up in my own personal drama and in the mode of "I'm sacrificing anything for my dreams." But, I didn't. And at 36 I know I royally messed up and I got what was coming. And, I understand that. But I should have made that effort and I didn't. And that's the one thing I will always regret.
I left my boyfriend. I was upset over something; I can't remember what now, but as I was sitting down, he leaned over to my level and said to me: "If you're going to sit and cry all day, why are you here?" So I left. He got upset and came apologizing and I believed him. My life would have been so very, very different if I just stayed away. I really wish I could go back and change that moment. But still, it got me to where I am now and I'm very happy... it just could have saved a lot of sadness.
I could not comfort my dying grandfather in the hospital. I could not touch him. Could not tell him what he means to me. I visited him, looked at him, stood at his side but was a horrible company for an old man. He was in a coma at this point but my mother strongly believed that he was hearing and feeling some things. She did a great job. I did not. He was like a stranger to me when I first entered the room even though I loved him greatly. There was only fear in these moments.
Not answering my brother's call before he died. I was 15 at the time and we had just spent all day in the hospital with him. I cried the entire way home and fell asleep not long after we got in the door, so I missed his call. He was my best friend. Six years later and I still struggle with feeling like I let him down.
I kind of wish I'd stood up for a kid in high school. He was fat and nerdy and so was I, but not as big. Another kid got mad at him and was trying to get him to fight. This kid was a psycho. My friend was his friend, and we had hung out once. I'm not sure if he remembered me or not. I'm fairly sure that if I had stepped in I would have gotten hit hard... but maybe not. Later on, that dude broke someone's jaw with one punch and got expelled. So I was right to be afraid of him. Still, sometimes when I think back on school and stuff that happened, that is one thing I always don't feel right about.
Long story short, I was a jerk and lost contact with my big, Midwest family for 25 years. I wanted to get back to them, but the time was just never right. Anyhow, events led to us finally speaking again, but it was too late to have any final words with my dad. I missed that chance by TWO DAYS. Two days earlier out of 25 years, I could have told him that I loved him or that I was okay or something, but no. No words.
My mother wanted to go watch a movie with me but I was broke. I knew she would have bought my ticket but I was too embarrassed to tell her that so I made an excuse and didn’t go with her. She died of a heart attack two months later at the age of 41. I’ll always know the last time she wanted to do something with me I lied to her instead.
My biggest regret was definitely ignoring my better judgment to make my best friend happy. He surprised me at work, insisted that we hang out and ride, and I agreed to go on a quick motorcycle ride after I finished work at 10 p.m. A tipsy driver cut him off on his way back to see me, and he slammed into the guard rail. I was there when he died on the side of the road. No one should ever see somebody they love in that condition.
My dad made me a bracelet and a necklace for my birthday when I was in 5th grade. It took him weeks. I lost the bracelet on the very first day I wore it to school. I searched EVERYWHERE at my school for it. It was gone. My teacher even said, "That’s why you shouldn’t wear jewelry to school." I was devastated. My dad is a really understanding guy though, so he wasn’t upset. I’ve brought it up years later and he just laughs, but I still feel so much guilt. Maybe I really never should have worn it to school. It had turtles on it. I still have the necklace though! It has a polar bear. My dad is cool.
The two biggest regrets of my life: I had a good chance to get a free ride to go to a good university and I never went for the interview because I was scared to fail. I'm extremely passionate about playing the guitar. I sold the very first "nice" guitar I've ever bought that I spent months saving for to pay for an expensive hotel in the city as a last-ditch effort to keep my girlfriend at the time from breaking up with me.
I was starting a summer job where we all live on a property in employee housing. I was broke before starting the season and I only had two pairs of black work pants; one of which was ripped. It had a small tear in the crotch. I decided to keep it and wear it because I needed to wear something other than the same pair of pants. On my second day, I was sitting down with my legs out in front of me when a coworker I was talking to made a face at me and turned away. I looked down and that tear had gotten a little bit bigger. Everything was hanging out. Needless to say, I threw those away and got some new ones.
I had an affair with a friend who was another friend’s girlfriend. She was totally using me but I was so in love I never stopped to think about him. They ended up breaking up due to several reasons but I feel I had a lot to do with that. It’s been 10 years and I still feel ashamed. He died a month ago and these feelings came back stronger than ever.
I stopped drawing or being interested in art since high school 20 years ago. I finally started again to help take my mind off of finding out my wife of 18 years had been texting someone for at least five years. I thought people were joking with me when they said the pictures looked good. I have only been drawing since this week.
A girl came to my school from a different part of the country. Very charismatic, and really upbeat. We finished school and went to high school. She was there for one or two years. Then she left. A year later, I saw her in the city. We both waved and were shocked, delighted to see each other. This was huge for me as I was far from popular.
But I didn't go and talk to her or get her phone number. And that was the last time I ever saw her. 28 years later and I still think about her and that moment and feel regret. Justine, I hope you are having a wonderful life from all the well wishes I send you. I am better for being your friend for those few short years.
...and here come the tears, again.
My roommate was acting kind of strange one day, and I asked her a couple of times if she was okay. She said, "No, I just need to be alone right now." Okay, cool, I understood. A few hours later, a mutual friend of ours banged on the door and told me that my roommate just texted him saying she was trying to end it all. Luckily she made it, but it's been really rough trying not to blame myself. It pains me to think that could have been the last time I ever heard from her.
This was about a decade ago. My older brother was graduating from high school. We were in the car ready to go and being an angsty teen, I wanted to go hang out with my boyfriend instead. My brother had some learning disabilities, and in reality, he shouldn't have graduated. But, he did, and it was a big deal for my mom and everyone else. My mom was a high school drop out, and always pushed us all to graduate, which we did.
I threw such a fit that she ended up dropping me off at my boyfriend's house on the way to the ceremony. My brother died very unexpectedly two years after that. I never got the chance to apologize for being so selfish, and that is my one true regret in life. I always meant to, but it's hard admitting you wronged someone you loved and chose not to stand there in support of them when they needed it. Graduating ended up being his last big accomplishment, and I missed it to hang out with my horrible boyfriend.
One night, when I was 17, my brother stopped by my dad's house to see if he was home. I'm not sure what he wanted but my dad wasn't there, so he went to leave and continue with his night. On his way, out he said "I love you" down the stairs to the basement where I was hanging out with my friends. I didn't say it back. I was 17 and thought I was too cool to say something like that in front of them. He died that night. I think about that moment every day of my life and I wonder if things would have turned out differently if I wasn't being a horrible teenage girl.
I was engaged to a girl in Maryland. She'd been feeling poorly for a day or so and didn't seem to be getting any better, but I had to go to our insurance company because our car had been totaled in an accident and they wanted to interview me before they paid up. I was really conflicted about going. I had a strong feeling I ought to stay with my fiancé, but we talked about it and she told me I should go. We were desperate for the money, so instead of staying with her, I went to the interview.
When I got back she'd gotten much worse. I was really scared, so I called up her dad to bring his car and I carried her out so we could go the to Emergency Room. They brought her in and sent her straight to ICU. I stayed with her until she died later that night. She'd had sepsis. I'll never stop wondering whether she'd still be alive if I hadn't gone to that interview and gotten her to the hospital sooner. It's 15 years ago but still feels like a stab through the heart every time I think about it.
Not seeking psychological help earlier. I was very, very harshly bullied and my parents fought every day. Sometimes, my dad would be physically aggressive and I was the only one to stop him. I was so ignored by everyone that I used to say things out loud and not finish a sentence, not expecting anyone to listen. And I grew with so many issues I feel I had no childhood or teens, no friends or girl until late in college.
Leaving my depression untreated for so long. I’m better now, as I eventually built up the courage and told someone, but this was only after things got bad and stuff went down, so the damage was done there. I feel like if I had talked to someone earlier this whole ordeal wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long as it did. You should always seek help when you're not feeling like yourself.
I don’t regret calling my friend out for the awful things she posted on Facebook, but I do regret the way I called her out. I basically fought fire with fire, shared a screenshot of our private fight publicly, and a lot of people unfriended her for it. I honestly didn’t plan for that last part to happen. I just wanted to see if other people thought I was in the right or wrong. If I could redo that day, I would in a heartbeat. I’m pretty sure her suddenly losing so many friends hurt more than my words ever did.
I cheated on someone I loved who was always good to me with someone who ended up being an abusive piece of trash. I'm not looking for sympathy, but man I made some bad and short-sighted decisions when I was younger. We are still best friends to this day and he forgave me a long time ago. But it was a messed up thing to do and he's the last person who deserved it.
My brother became a father three years ago and said something really beautiful to me about his regrets when she was born. Considering any tiny variation of action or occurrence can create wildly different outcomes. He said something like, "I can't regret anything I've done or that happened to me before this point. If any single thing had been different, I wouldn't have her exactly as she is."
My mom had an emotional breakdown one night and instead of being there for her, I snapped at her and told her, "I can't do this. You need professional help." I had been living with my parents for two years and my mom has problems with drinking. She's mean when she's tipsy and I was tired of taking the brunt of it. I had been begging her for years to get professional help and therapy.
If only I had been more empathetic. She was in so much emotional pain at that moment. Both her mom and brother committed suicide when I was really little (separately). I'll never know the pain of losing half of your family. I wish I had comforted her and told her I loved her, instead of basically saying I didn't care.
Dropping out of college. Like most human beings, I tried to comfort myself by making up excuses. “The workload was too hard, you were taking classes beyond what you were capable of.” NO!! You were a lazy, spoiled brat who couldn’t go the distance. The fact that you even tried to defend your decision means you’re weak.
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