People Share When They Realized That They’ve Been Doing Something The Wrong Way For Years

When you’ve been doing something a certain way since the beginning, your brain just clicks into autopilot. That’s why it can be difficult to realize when you’re making a really silly mistake. Sometimes, people can go nearly their whole lives doing something wrong simply because they never thought to question their original understanding of it.

Here are some of the most interesting times when people around the world first realized they’d been doing something wrong their entire lives. It’s as if the lightbulbs in their heads were suddenly switched on. Get ready to laugh as you work your way down the list—these are some noteworthy oopsie-daisies.

Don’t forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!

#1 All Those Wasted Years Of Manually Starting The Car

I had a used car and I didn’t realize until a couple of years after I bought it that it had remote start. When I sold the car, the buyer asked, “Does this have the remote start feature?” I told him no. Then, he pushed some button I never knew existed on the car key and the car magically turned on. I must have looked like such an idiot.


#2 Fairy Dust Should Be Real, But It Isn’t

When I was five, a Pizza Hut employee told me that the powder on the breadsticks was called fairy dust. I always ordered extra fairy dust on my breadsticks until I was around 14. Then, one day, an employee asked me, “Do you mean garlic salt?” It still devastates me to realize how obtuse I was back then. I hate my friends for letting it go on for so long.

#3 Height Discrepancy: Solved

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 decided to move out of our house. We lifted the cabinet and these beautiful, ornate, screw-on legs wrapped in tape and bubble wrap fell out of the bottom. It looks so much better now!


#4 Always Stay A Thumb’s Distance Behind The Car In Front Of You

When I was learning to drive, my dad was explaining a “rule of thumb” about keeping a safe distance from the car in front. I thought what he meant by “rule of thumb” was that you had to hold your thumb up and if it didn’t cover the entire car, that meant you were too close to it. When he caught me doing that, he asked me what I was doing. When I explained it to him, he burst out laughing.


#5 The Perks Of An Old Cell Phone Are Real

Until last week, when my father-in-law would make a phone call on his very basic, non-touchscreen 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 “OK,” 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.


#6 Better Late To Notice That Built-In Life Hack Than Never

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 tried it, it broke the seal effortlessly. My mind was blown.


#7 The Removable Silverware Dishwasher Tray Has A Purpose

Since the dawn of time, I would pick up the silverware out of their tray in the dishwasher and put them away in their drawers. Then, I’d go back and pick up more silverware out of the dishwasher. My life changed one day when I saw my wife lift the tray out of the dishwasher. I legit stood there with my mouth open.


#8 Itchy Isn’t A Flavor

I always thought eggplant tasted “itchy,” as if it was a flavor. I fed some to my baby and his face turned red. At some point, I went to the doctor and explained what happened to my baby and me whenever we ate eggplant. That’s when I realized we’re both just mildly allergic to eggplant. And itchy isn’t a flavor or sensation.

#9 Facts About Bologna

Apparently, the red ring around the bologna is not supposed to be eaten. I had no idea. For my whole life, I had been eating that red ring. When I finally found out, I was terrified for my life because I thought maybe I had been ingesting harmful chemicals without knowing it. I guess I’ll find out how I fare down the road…

#10 There Is A Right And A Wrong Way To Buy Shoes

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.


#11 That’s Right, You’re Clumsy

My mom used to refer to me as a “bull in a china shop.” I always heard it as “bowl in a china shop,” thinking it was a compliment. At about 22 years old, I heard someone else use the phrase and realized she meant “bull,” not “bowl.”


#12 Be Careful What You Name Yourself On Your Voicemail Message

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.


#13 If Weak Coffee Works, Perhaps It’s Better That Way

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.


#14 A Very Secret Compartment

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.


#15 All That Wasted Money On Lint Rollers

Last month was the first time I discovered lint rollers were peelable. I literally sat for a minute to take that in.


#16 There Are Many Tricks Of Parenthood

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.


#17 Misusing Tongs All Along

I was at a home goods store with my girlfriend talking about how it was weird that 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.

#18 Must Have Been Some Funny-Tasting Tea

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, 2 weeks.


#19 The Best Tipper Of All Time

When I first got a debit card, I would go out to eat at restaurants with my friends and leave a cash tip on the table. When I got the receipt to put down how much I was paying, I would write down how much money I left on the table. For at least six months, I gave double tips to every server I had.


#20 Paper Technically Is Edible

When I was a kid, I was told the paper that came on cupcakes and muffins was edible.

I would spend a decade eating them like this (paper and all) until a friend pointed it out.


#21 Not All Cups Are Treated Equally

My family always had a cup next to the bathroom sink in case you needed to rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth or maybe get a quick drink of water in the middle of the night. My grandma had the same cup at her house. I used it for years whenever I was thirsty. One day, she saw me doing this and said, “Don’t use that cup. That’s where grandma puts her teeth.”

#22 Foreign Language Mistakes

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.


#23 Talk About 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.



#24 Paid Lunch Breaks Are The Greatest

I didn’t find out that I was supposed to punch out for lunch until my third job. And even then, it was because a coworker mentioned in passing that they were clocking out for lunch.


#25 Learning How To Study After All That Time

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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#26 An Essential Thing To Know About Your Couch

My mom bought a new sofa. About six months later, she was hovering under the cushions when the base fabric pulled back to reveal some sort of metal. It was a mattress. It turned out, we had a sofa bed. I made my friends sleep on the floor all this time with a sofa bed right there.


#27 Green Peanut Butter

I’m colorblind and my entire life, I thought peanut butter was green until I turned 19. When I found out it was brown, my mind was blown. It took so long because no one really talks about the color of things like that. For most people, the colors of things are common knowledge.

#28 Headlights Make It A Lot Easier To Drive At Night

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.


#29 The Difference Between Detergent And Fabric Softener

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.

#30 The Perks Of A Multi-Functional Flashlight

I have a flashlight that I’ve had 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.


#31 Wireless Is A Feature You Should Be Using If You Have It

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.


#32 I Bet Most People Don’t Know This Chinese Food Hack

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.


#33 Incense Inferno

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.

#34 Guys And Girls Wear Towels Differently

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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#35 That’s Still Not A Great Reason To Burn A Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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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#36 That Hardware Store Must Have Had A Few Great Years

I worked at a hardware store. On my last day there, the owner was waiting for me to ring out my last transaction before leaving. It just so happened that my last transaction was a return. I processed the return as I always did: on the computer. Turns out, I forgot about Step 2 the entire time I worked there: run the return through the card swipe machine 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. Sorry.


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#37 Showering Is Hard

 I HATED getting into the shower. I hated having to turn on the water, then splash myself with cold water until it turned to a more tolerable temperature. I ended up just standing in the corner waiting for the water to warm up. Then, I came by a comment on the internet advising to just turn on the shower before getting in and wait for it to warm up. I have been doing that ever since.


#38 The Truth About The Underground Railroad

When I was a junior in college, I wrote a paper that alluded to the Underground Railroad. My roommate did a quick read through for me and said: “This is great, except it seems like you think that the Underground Railroad was literally underground.”

I truly believed there were a set of tunnels that made up the Underground Railroad. I didn’t learn otherwise until I was 21. Thanks, public school education.


#39  The Cute Country Bumpkin

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.

#40 Who Doesn’t Like Picking Up Other People’s Trash?

This is embarrassing because I try not to be a jerk. Specifically, I try not to be a self-absorbed jerk who makes life harder for anyone. And yet, somewhere down the line, I don’t know where, I came to understand that when you go to the movie theater, you just leave all of your trash on the floor for the sweepers to clean up in between showtimes. I was 40 years old, at a flick with a friend, who gathered everything up to throw away and I was like, “Why are you doing that?”

The next few minutes were like an M. Night Shyamalan reveal where I pictured myself walking past the theater cleaners who glared at me in my oblivion, walking past the huge trash receptacles right inside the theater doors that I had passed hundreds of times. I felt like the world’s laziest slob. Now I pick up my trash and throw it away as I leave.


#41 The Cold, Hard Toilet

For 22 years of my life, I sat on the ceramic bowl of the toilet to go #2. I thought the plastic seat was for girls because they have smaller butts. It wasn’t until I read about another guy who went through the same realization that I came to know I had been sitting on a cold, hard toilet this whole time. My roommate and girlfriend laughed at me for days for that.


#42 Bring In The Horses!

I have been a server for five years. Three months ago, I asked a woman if she was ready to “saddle up.” She asked me what I had just said and I repeated myself.

The actual phrase is “settle up.” Like, “settle the bill” and not, “saddle up and ride on out of here.” Wow.


#43 Chinese Christmas

I never got Christmas presents. I got CHINESE Christmas presents. What’s the difference? The day after most major holidays, everything’s marked way down. Their rationale was, Chinese New Year always occurs after AMERICAN New Year, so CHINESE Christmas was the same, and so on for Easter, Valentine’s, etc. I didn’t find out they were lying to me until I started working retail, under an AMERICAN manager.

Of course, they had the perfect response to my outrage: “You wanna pay full price, in THIS economy? Go right ahead.”

#44 It’s All The Same Poultry To Him

Up until I was 17, I thought turkeys and chickens were the same bird. I just assumed it was a regional dialect of some sort because as a child I either couldn’t tell them apart or never gave it a second thought. So, being blissfully stupid, when I was asked to pass some turkey to my brother on Thanksgiving, I handed him a large chicken breast and continued to eat. My dad then said, “Umm, your brother asked for the turkey, not the chicken” and me, still being stupid, said, “Aren’t they the same thing?”


#45 Cupcake Moments

I had a eureka moment about 2 years ago when I realized a cupcake is a cake that is roughly the size of a cup. I never made the connection. I was 29 and when I explained to my wife my enthusiasm for realizing this tidbit, she couldn’t stop laughing.

To this day, we call these sudden realizations of the obvious “cupcake moments.”

#46 Wrong Pronunciation

I have a tendency to think I know all about something but end up being completely wrong. Like the word “carafe.” I thought it was pronounced “care-uh-fay,” and I would often use that word at my old job. Corporate came in once to visit and I walked them through my department, all the while telling that our new “care-uh-fays” were selling like crazy. Also, the word “segue.” I thought it was the best word ever; like I was such a grown-up for knowing it. But I spelled it “segway,” and I used it in all my essays, including my AP tests. I mean, I was accepted, so it all worked out.


#47 Deodorant Dummy

For years I would struggle to take the cap off new deodorant (the one under the lid). It was always just stuck there. I had an “ah ha” moment a year or so ago after I figured out I could simply crank the deodorant stick up until the cap was removed. I’m 34. It took me until age 34 to realize this. I’m such a dummy.


#48 Tax Evasion

I accidentally logged my tips incorrectly for the first month or so of working at a restaurant. I’m not quite sure how I was doing it, but I ended up not getting taxed on a couple of hundred dollars because I never logged them as income.


#49 Dr. Scholls Would Be Ashamed

I always put my insoles in with the gel side facing up. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how people liked them. Then, I happened to see someone do it correctly one day. That day like, changed my entire life. My feet had never felt better. I also felt like the world’s biggest idiot. Oh well, at least now I know.


#50 Horses Eat Money

My four-year-old daughter saw a horse and asked me to get her one for her birthday. I apologized and said that there was no way she could have one because horses ate money, and at the time I wasn’t earning much. I definitely was not earning enough to support a horse all the things that go with it. Fast forward to when she turned 13 and she discovered that horses mostly eat hay and fruit. She called me out for convincing her for nine years that horses ate money, thinking that they ate $20 notes or something.


#51  Ignoring Laundry Labels

I know I’m not supposed to machine wash bras, but I do it anyways. I also wash my comforter. And I really should start washing my pillows. Nothing you’ve been doing is really too unusual. Also, here’s some completely unsolicited advice: roast vegetables with salt, pepper, olive oil, and garlic powder if you aren’t already. My mom always steamed vegetables, but my boyfriend taught me how last summer and it changed my life.


#52 The Ian Knot

I stopped tying my shoes as soon as I learned how to tie the Ian Knot. I have it set loose enough to be able to just slide my feet in and out of my shoes as needed, and by the nature of the knot, it never comes undone. I still committed it to memory since I had to re-tie it a lot when I was working out. It’s a game-changer.


#53 Bunny Ears

I learned the “bunny ears” method as a kid and just continued tying my shoes that way until I was in my late teens. My mom saw me one day and thought it was the funniest thing ever. I’m pretty sure she was crying laughing. Like, how was I to know there was a more ADVANCED way to tie my shoes? Whose job was it to teach it to me? Geez, mom. She still brings up at family gatherings how I can’t tie my shoes. She’s right though, I still do bunny ears.


#54 Ponies Are Not Baby Horses

My girlfriend recently explained to me that a pony is, in fact, NOT a baby horse. I’ve always used foal and pony interchangeably. She and I were driving once and when we saw some small horses, I used the wrong term. She said “honey bunny” while patting me on the head, and she has been giving me periodic heck ever since.


#55 Just Pull The Tab

Do you ever buy soda in a 6- or 8-pack of bottles, and then struggle to twist and pull the bottle out of the tight plastic rings? There’s a pull tab connected to a serrated line through the plastic. You can just pull that and then the plastic will break easily when you pull at the bottle. My aunt taught me about this over 20 years ago, because no one in my immediate family was aware of it. I let my fiancee in on the secret just last week.


#56 Broken English

I used to shop at this cheap little Mexican market under my apartment in East LA. One day, I went down to buy a bar of this Mexican soap that was always super cheap. I mentioned to my girlfriend something about the soap being so cheap and the cashier, in broken English, told me that I was bathing with laundry detergent. I’ll never forget her trying so hard to not laugh at me, but honestly, it was pretty funny.


#57 Caulk Guns

Caulk guns. Everyone says that you’re supposed to pull it towards you, but I saw something online that said they’re designed to be pushed away instead. My boss looked at me funny for doing it, but it’s exponentially cleaner and tighter! Just to be clear: when you caulk, you slide the entire gun across the crack that you’re sealing, so it’s that. You can only ever slide it towards you or away from you (unless you’re going sideways, I guess) and most people pull the entire gun and tip towards them whereas sliding it in the other direction works too.


#58 Yoda Is Green?

When I was in high school, I was talking to a colorblind friend asking the usual dumb questions, like: “What color is a green light when you’re driving?” He said he knew which light was which, even though they all looked grey. So I said, ‘Oh, so Yoda is grey too then?” I’ll never forget his horrified expression as he yelled, “Yoda is green!?” It was priceless.


#59 The Cornhusker

A buddy of mine once ate a tamale with the “skin” on. For years, he’d rail against tamales as being nasty and tough. To anybody outside our friend group, you’d think he was just a Nebraska fan, but that’s not why we call him “The Cornhusker.”


#60 Overthinking Allergies

I thought food allergies always lead to an inability to breathe and the need for an Epi-Pen. I started eating healthier when I turned 25 and started getting bad eczema. I went to the dermatologist after a few years and she actually said to me: “Well, this looks like food allergies, but you don’t start developing those randomly at 27.” A couple of months later, I realized nuts made my tongue feel funny, so I cut them out and my skin was better within a month. I’d been allergic to nuts and was almost 30 by the time I realized it.





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