If your life is a story, you’re obviously the main character. But aside from your family and friends, who would the other characters be? What role would the people who cross your path play? Further, what kind of role have you played in those other people’s lives? As humans, we often refuse to admit we're the wrong ones in a situation. A lot of the time, pride and other emotions get in the way, causing us to stick to our stories at all costs. It's only after we've had some time to cool down and really think about things that we start to realize maybe they were right and we were wrong... We were the villains.
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#1 Trying Too Hard To Get A Drink
I saw an open spot at a very crowded bar and thought “SWEET!” I went to go order and right when I got the bartender’s attention I heard, “Excuse me?” I looked down and I was leaning over the head of a guy in a wheelchair, hence the open space at the bar. Drunk me didn't put it together and said, “Hey, what's up?” Then I put my order in. When I sobered I realized what a horrible thing I'd done. My heart is pounding just typing this up.
#2 A Not-So-Special Birthday
A year ago today I was interviewing for a job. I was in the lobby making small talk with the receptionist. It was her birthday and also happened to be my friend's birthday. She told me what she was doing for her birthday. I don't remember exactly, but her boyfriend was taking her to dinner. I piped in with, "My friend's husband is taking her to the beach for the weekend."
Huge mistake. I immediately noticed a change in her posture. She hated me instantly. She has hated me ever since. I have always been nice to her, and have no idea how to change the situation. I wish I could. I get that I was an unintentional one-upper at that moment. I've always even been avoiding anything that might seem braggadocios around her.
I was the devil for a day, one year ago today. Been paying for it since.
#3 Playing A Little Too Rough
I once broke my friend's neck playing recess football. It was a complete accident and I felt horrible, but that didn't help him not have to wear a neck brace and sleep in an upright position for two months.
That's how I remember it anyway, it was a long time ago.
#4 Stepping In With Social Services
I reported a (former) friend to social services for neglecting her toddler.
I knew she was having a hard time—she was a single teen mother—but she shouted at her son a lot. However, alarm bells really started ringing after I turned up at her place one morning. The kid was wandering about alone in a room full of broken booze bottles, rotten food, overfilling ashtrays, and dozens of filled diapers. She was nowhere to be seen, and it later became apparent that she was in her bedroom with some random guy. Even though she knew I was there, she didn't appear. So, I cleaned the room to make it safe and played with him until she finally got up. Then I took my leave and got straight in contact with the right people.
I later found out the kid was placed with his father and grandmother. I probably really messed up her life but I have no regrets.
#5 Chad, Destroyer of Betas
I went to a show by some emo cover band and I ended up at the front by the stage and talked/danced with this pretty cute girl who popped up next to me. After a while, I decided to ask for her number. I gave her my phone and as this happens a guy comes from the crowd with a drink for her. I find out shortly after that he invited her to this show, but she didn't realize it was meant as a date.
She takes the drink then gives me her number right in front of the guy, pretty much ignoring him. At that moment I become Chad, Destroyer of Betas.
We go somewhere quieter in the venue and flirt for a bit. I feel bad for the dude having been in that situation before, and tell her she should clarify that she's not interested. They go off and have an uncomfortable conversation which is probably for the best as she said she was never going to be into him. But yeah, he probably sees me as the bad guy and I don't blame him.
#6 Derailing A Political Campaign
A local politician reneged on a promise he had made me. I got mad so I started plotting to throw him off the board he was on. It took me about a year but I successfully isolated him and removed him from power. He didn't even see it coming, he was too busy laying the groundwork to run for mayor. It's been four years and he still won't look at me in the supermarket.
#7 Too Young To Settle
Probably when I broke up with my girlfriend that I started dating in high school. We had made some plans about me going into the military or joining the police force so I could provide for us once we got married. Then I was like, "yeah, I don't want to do any of that, I'm 19" and I left. She was pregnant by another man less than a year later.
#8 Haunted By Playground Cruelty
It happened in 5th grade and it still makes me feel bad. I had become rather popular in school. I had a group of friends and most of the other boys wanted to be in our circle. There was this other kid named Trevor. He kept trying to be friends with us and hang around with us. He wasn't that bad but he just didn't know how to react to things. He was always over the top or super talkative when something happened. I finally got tired of him and said something along the lines of, "Hey, no one wants you around." It was during some event and most of the grade heard it and he pretty much got shunned.
We ended up moving an hour away for my Dad's work before the end of the year. I still feel terrible about it. I never really found out what happened to him. I am not sure if I made him an outcast for more than that year, but I did at least make him an outcast for a few months. I just didn't want him bothering us but I took it too far. I was a bad guy that day. I've gone out of my way several times since then to try to make up for it, even if it doesn't have a huge impact. I am sorry Trevor.
#9 Mistress Made A Fool
I pursued my ex who had a girlfriend because he led me to believe that he was breaking up with her, and was sexting me. He ended up not breaking up with her, and when word got out about me and him, he told everyone that I was crazy and obsessed with him and trying to sabotage his relationship. He made no mention of the fact that he was the one who was trying to sext me. So I guess I'm the crazy ex-girlfriend in his narrative. And his current girlfriend's.
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#10 Foul Ball On The Beach
In Mexico, I was on the beach and see a ball come flying at me. I thought I saw one of the kids in the ocean yelling at me to kick it back. I blasted that ball way into the ocean, overshooting the kid who asked for it. Turns out it was someone else's ball, who was actually on the beach. It literally looked like I picked up their ball and just kicked it away into the ocean. The look on their faces said it all.
#11 Cycling In The Snow
We hired a guy for my department at work. Turns out he has no driver's license and has to ride his bike to and from work every day. In the summer this was no big deal but not so much when winter comes. Then he moved to a new apartment farther away and out past where I lived. I gave him a ride home every once in a while but told him that he needed to get his license back because I would not get up earlier to drive away from work to pick him up. Winter came and he was still riding his bike and asked me for a ride in the morning. I was the bad guy for telling him no.
#12 The Bearer Of Bad News
I'm a college admissions counselor. I get to tell a lot of prospective students and their families that they've been denied to the university. I've been doing this for years and it still gets really awkward when they cry.
#13 Not The Way To Make Friends
I was at a rush event in college and ran into a friend I knew in middle school. We were talking and catching up and there was a girl bothering him and just shamelessly hitting on him. It could have been the overly masculine atmosphere or the many 40s I drank that night, but something made me tap him on the shoulder and say, “Dude, you can do better.” To which he replied, “That’s my girlfriend." Then my face went cold and I ran away.
It’s probably the worst thing I’ve ever done. Every time I’d see him around for the rest of college I’d avoid him like the plague.
#14 Post-Divorce Manipulation
The person I dated directly after my divorce. I didn't realize how much trauma I was still dealing with, and how manipulative it had made me.
#15 Ghosting Out Of Necessity
The guy I ghosted. After he kissed me, it turns out this insane girl liked him (like actually insane, the kind who would get banned from school for carrying a weapon). She came to my house and threatened my mom saying she was going to hurt her.
I wish I could let him know I was sorry, I just was trying to keep my family's safety in mind. Thankfully he's married now!
#16 Scaring Away Rugby Recruits
I said once during orientation to three freshmen how rugby can be pretty scary since I got knocked out once, and people are still quoting me saying how scary rugby is. The rugby team blames me for their lack of new members.
#17 Partying Versus Praying
I was probably the bad guy in my freshman roommate's story. The guy was super religious, straight edge, and worked super hard but still was getting mediocre grades. I was partying all the time, stumbling into our room blackout regularly, threw up on his bed with him in it one time, and still was doing way better in school than him.
#18 The Evil Stepmother
I am the evil stepmother. So, technically, "bad girl" instead of "bad guy". I was 23 when I entered my stepson's life. He was 12. Super annoying, but most 12-year-olds are. In retrospect, I did a lot of things wrong trying to help guide him through some very tumultuous teenage years, but it was always with the best of intentions. Seventeen years later, he still resents me for wrecking his life, nevermind his conscious adult choices to commit multiple felonies and end up in prison. I will go to my grave regretting our (lack of) relationship.
#19 Chipping Away At Her Confidence
When I was a teenager I made “friends” with a girl who liked me and liked to tell me all her problems. Being the screwed up teenager I was, I always told her that stuff was her fault and if everyone said those bad things about her they were probably true. I definitely messed up her confidence.
BUT we stopped talking eventually and she got really good at gymnastics and turned into a happy, confident, and successful person.
Once I got a little older I realized how terrible I was for manipulating her and made changes to start being a better person. In the end, everything worked out pretty well once I completely cut off contact with her.
#20 Sensibly Throwing Shoes
I was the bad guy to my entire class from 1st grade through 5th grade. I got bullied by this one kid I’ll call Colton. Colton here used to call me names and stuff, but I had a huge anger issue, so, like any sensible child, I would take off my shoes and throw them at the kid calling me names. These names weren’t even like the usual “Fatty” or some berating words. Nah, I’d get mad at just different versions of my name. Really stupid looking back. Also, I had a terrible aim, so I didn’t hit Colton too often, but, my other classmates got a face full of shoes more often than he did.
So, sorry people I went to elementary school with. I hope I’m not as bad now.
#21 Scarring Story Of Stealing Mailboxes
When I was 15 years old I went out with my girlfriend in her car with a couple of buddies. We thought it would be fun to steal some mailboxes and drink some beers. My friend and I thought it would be a good idea for me to drive, although I had not gotten my license yet, because it would be easier for us to get out of the Mustang together to rip off mailboxes. We got about three mailboxes before I tried to cross a highway and pulled out in front of a car. Both cars were totaled and my girlfriend got cut up from flying glass. She wound up with scars on her neck and hands from this. Naturally, her parents forbade me from having contact with her and the relationship ended soon after. When someone asks about her scars I am pretty sure her story starts with something like “Well, there was this jerk I dated in high school...”
#22 The Tortuous Substitute Teacher
I'm a substitute teacher.
I'm basically the bad guy to a classroom full of kids anytime the lesson plans don't include the word, "movie".
#23 A Rendezvous With His Roommate's Girlfriend
I slept with my roommate’s girlfriend. To be fair, I had been on the island for about a week, had not met my roommate yet, and had an attractive girl seduce me to her room after a 12-hour shift pulling evening watch. I only came to find out later when I bragged about it to some buddies that it was my roommate's girlfriend.
#24 Her Price Wasn't Right
In the last round of contestants row on The Price is Right, I bid $1 higher than the contestant before me who had just got called up, thus eliminating her chance to win out of the row. The death stare was legendarily hilarious.
#25 A Dislocation On The Slopes
I collided with this giant German kid while skiing once. He was younger than me but like a foot taller. Somehow I was fine and his shoulder was dislocated. It was totally my fault and I'm sure it put a bit of a damper on the rest of his vacation in Canada.
#26 Called Out For Cheating In Coach
I once shared a plane with a girl who was making out with the guy in the seat next to her. It turns out her boyfriend was waiting at arrivals when we landed. I told him and got a lot of abuse and denials until Plane Guy chimed in. Then Plane Guy, the boyfriend, and I had a bro huddle and hashed out what happened between us while Shouty McKissyFace was trying to muscle in and save her relationship. I don't know what happened to them in the end, but I doubt I was the good guy in their minds. I felt I did the right thing though, so yay for morals!
#27 A Proposal Gone Bad
I broke up with my first college girlfriend after about six months of dating when she proposed to me during our art appreciation class.
We still had class together so she made a big deal about how she was coming out as a lesbian and later when we started learning about theater, she made her project a play about how I cheated on and lied to her.
#28 Buying And Evicting
I bought a house recently for a fantastic deal. The catch was that it came with an awful tenant in it. Today I evicted him and his wife/kid. I was not enjoyable, but he took it well I think.
#29 Connecting The Dots
Once I was playing connect four with my friend. He put two tiles in and I said, “not the first time you cheated!” He and his wife are getting divorced now.
#30 Being A Bully In Burger King
A few friends and I were in a burger king at a window seat. It was really dark outside so I could only see the reflection. I was making faces at a friend when a woman came in shouting at me for making faces at a disabled person. I tried to explain, but she wasn't having any of it. She ended up punching my friend for laughing when I did it... But yeah I was making retarded faces at a retarded person without realizing it.
#31 The Tipsy Disstrack
I made a diss track about my classmate in college and another one for my crush's boyfriend while I was drunk. My friends recorded me and my shenanigans. Although for me it was just a joke, it ended up looking like something real, so, yeah.
#32 Pocketing The Pizza Delivery Man's Money
When my husband was a teenager he paid $50 to a pizza delivery guy to drive him from a music festival back to his campsite. While they were driving the pizza delivery guy was telling him how he was saving up money so he could buy a better car than what he had, because his car was such a piece of crap. When he went to get fuel, my husband noticed a big wad of money in the console. About $600 worth. He ended up stealing the money, getting a lift back to the campground, and paying the delivery driver with his own $50.
#33 Tearing Up The Dance Floor And Dress
I stepped on the wedding dress during the reception. There was an audible tear and visible tears.
#34 Flooded With Regret
I was going on a date after a big rain. As we were driving, I didn’t notice a pretty big puddle and drove through it kind of fast. It created a huge tidal wave that hit all the people standing at a bus stop.
#35 An Morally Unwarranted Arrest
I arrested a single mother after a desk supervisor found out she let her kids walk to school by themselves—on a military base about two blocks from the school. Rules were rules to him. More to the story, but we let her go after my patrol supervisor found out.
#36 The Facebook Reveal
A few years ago, a buddy of mine asked me out of the blue how I knew this one girl. Turns out, the girl he was asking about was his first fiance who cheated on him 15 years ago.
And guess what... I was the guy she was with. Back when it happened, she didn't tell me about him, so I was totally in the clear. Still felt kinda scummy though.
The power of Facebook, man.
#37 Call Centre Woes
I work in a call center for an insurance company. So you know, I'm always the bad guy to customers...
It's my fault for raising rates in Florida for absolutely no good reason. It's not like cars are more expensive, medical care has gotten more expensive, and the state, in general, is sinking into the freaking ocean...
It's my fault for not making sure Marsha paid her bills on time. And it's in no way her fault that she never checked her balance statements because her account was set to auto-pay.
#38 Sorry For Ruining Your Wedding
I went to my friend's wedding, but before I continue with that story, here's some important context:
I left my best friend to live with a guy in Los Angeles. Soon after, my relationship with the guy ended abruptly and I had to fly home to the East coast just two days before her wedding. Long story short, I showed up at her wedding, uninvited and beyond tipsy.
I didn’t interrupt her ceremony, but when cocktail hour came, I completely lost it. I locked myself in the country club bathroom and was sobbing and screaming. I was in there for hours and refused to come out, so they broke down the door and about four guys had to drag me out. I was sent to the hospital that night.
Fast forward to today and I’m still in recovery. I’m also on medication... but my best friend has officially cut me out of her life, even after I apologized.
#39 It's Mr. Steal Yo Girl
When we were 15, my best friend told me he fancied this girl at a party we were at. She started coming on to me and we ended up getting together, much to the despair of my best friend. Terrible move on my part.
Anyway, fast forward 12 years and I'm engaged to the same girl. My best friend, on the other hand, got pneumonia whilst traveling in Norway and died alone.
#40 The Blame Game Regret
I totally blamed the weird kid when I vandalized a seventh-grade classroom, and he ended up getting suspended.
#41 Words Will Always Hurt Me
I was a stupid kid back then and I hung out with a lot of the bullies in my grade. One day in Algebra class, they're all in a group talking badly about some of the larger women in our grade. I chime in. I name drop one of my female friends into the conversation, not realizing she's just five feet away from me.
As we're leaving class at the end of the day, she's bawling her eyes out and I'm clearly confused as to what happened to her. Then our mutual friend comes up to me with a death glare and simply repeats what I said.
I will never live this day down and it always reminds me to watch what I say.
#42 No Bro Code
I stole my friend's girlfriend when he cheated on her.
I told her that he was cheating on her, so she broke up with him. About a month later she asked me out. We have been together for a little over a year now.
He no longer talks to me. I know bro code says to cover for him no matter what but, I didn't care. People deserve to know when they are being cheated on.
#43 Forcing Maturity
As I was standing on my front lawn, spraying chemicals on dandelions, a little neighbor girl asked if I was watering my flowers. I replied, "No, I'm ending them." An expression of sadness washed over both of our faces. We shared a moment is silence. "That's mean," she said, before pedaling off. She was forced to grow up way too quickly.
#44 "Stealing" Watches
When I was a kid at summer camp, I used to always find digital watches lying around. I collected like, three of them one summer and was showing them off to other kids. One was like, "Hey that's my watch, I took it off when I went swimming." I thought about it and realized, wow, yeah I do "find" a lot of these watches near the pool. Turned out, I had just been stealing other kids digital watches that they were taking off and leaving by the poolside before swimming. I gave him back his watch.
#45 What Are Tips?
My cousin did this at the restaurant when she was a little kid. She left to go to the bathroom and came back ten minutes later with a handful of money. Her mom asked, "Where did you find that?" Her reply was: "People forgot it at their tables."
#46 Put A Smile On
One of the first jobs I took seriously was, in fact, McDonald's. You can hate it all you want, but it's incredible how detailed the instructions are. From a processing and logistics point of view, they can make you a fresh hamburger in under a minute. That's amazing if you've ever worked in a kitchen.
I was usually working as an "initiator," which is like the leader of the kitchen. You decide what gets made first by toasting the buns and sending them down the line with the proper wrapper and condiments. Generally speaking, you also call out to the co-workers if there's any special order; like if there are large orders of nuggets or something coming in. A hyper 20-year-old worker can really put the strain on some elderly line workers. I kept them working hard during rush hours.
One particular dinner rush, I really gave our only cook Terry a hard time. He was in a motorcycle accident when he was younger. I wouldn't call him handicapped or mentally challenged, he was just a really slow mover and thinker. He kept coming up short on things like nuggets, chicken patties, burgers, etc. it was really slowing us down. At one point, he was holding a dirty tray, walking across the kitchen, and I yelled at him to get more burgers cooking.
He just stopped, gave me an evil stare, threw the dirty tray on the ground, and yelled, "Not everyone is perfect as you are! Some people have to try harder to do normal things!" My heart sank and I started feeling really bad. I still remember that moment almost 15 years later. If you've ever worked in a busy kitchen, you know how those moments create strong bonds between co-workers. I ended up being good friends with the guy and helped him out a bit more when I could.
#47 My Mistake
I was at an intersection and the lane shifted once you crossed it. I honked at a guy because he got into my lane. I asked him: "Are you trying to have an accident?" He told me, "Your lane shifts, you idiot!" 99% of the time, I am a good driver and the other person is an absolute moron. A few days, later I realized the guy was right and I was wrong. I wish I could time travel and say, "My mistake, you were right."
#48 Scott Pilgrim
Kind of a dumb story, but I think its really funny. I was watching Scott Pilgrim in class towards the end of my senior year of high school. My thought process went along the lines of: "I'm a white nerdy guy—I identify with Scott. Wait... maybe this goes deeper than that... Dang, am I Scott? Wow, I'm Scott. I need to work on this."
#49 Under Pressure
A co-worker and I were not getting along. Something wasn't clicking and I thought she was just old, rude and lazy. Eventually, I got called into the boss's office and she was there, crying her eyes out. My boss informed me that she had been telling them I was being rude, aggressive and overall a jerk. But it turned out, she felt she was under pressure because of my attitude, and she couldn't handle it.
I felt awful and apologized profusely. I was young at the time and it was a big wake up moment for me. I was at a point in my life where I was trying to turn myself around physically, but now I knew I had to for my attitude as well. That co-worker and I became quite close over time, and even though I left that job six years ago, we still keep in touch.
When I was 18, many, many years ago, I worked a job where I was the jerk without realizing it. One day, a coworker was having a rough time with something and apparently, I was being my usual self. He pretty much told me off by letting me know how people talk about me behind my back because of how much of a jerk I am. It caught me off guard but it also got me to evaluate myself. Yup, I was a jerk.
Turns out, what I thought was playful banter was just me being rude and dismissive. I cursed constantly and as much at others as anything else. Again, under the impression that it was all in fun. I also learned that my sarcasm does not come across as such. It was an eye-opener for sure and it helped me change in many ways. That coworker did later apologize for snapping at me but I wasn't at all upset about it, I also apologized to him.
#51 Only Want One Thing
When I texted a girl to hang out (platonically) and her response was, "What would we do, all you ever wanted me for one thing." It was about 10 years ago when I was 19 and in college. It was one of the only regrets I've had regarding how I've treated another person. I've given her a formal apology and (barring details that really show how I was the bad guy) I explained how I saw things. Now, we're not on enemy terms—she's a mother and married to the best friend who consoled my jerk behavior! Win-win?
#52 True Awareness
Once when I was in a relationship, before having spent time at a mental hospital to get me right again, I thought my girlfriend was the bad and manipulative one... but in reality, I manipulated her so much that it caused me to believe she was manipulating me... That's how bad it was. Self-deception is pandemic. True awareness is a rare and difficult skill.
#53 Be A Roy
I knew I was the bad guy when she was happier without me... and a lot happier with him than she was with me. Guys, you either leave this life a Jim or live long enough to become a Roy. The twist is you can become that cool version of Roy in season 9 where he got his life together and was happy too.
#54 When You're The Problem
I was on a highway off-ramp taking an exit. A van to my left cut in front of me then stopped. "What the heck is this jerk doing?!" I said to myself as I slammed on the horn. I swerve around the car, gave the driver the finger, and sped off... My wife then told me he was pulling over for the ambulance that I just cut off. Whoops... I felt like a real piece of work.
#55 A Good Brother
As a kid, my parents would always take my brother’s side on everything. Not in a bad abusive way, but like, say he forgot to run an errand... They'd just be like, “Oh, he didn’t mean to forget.” Meanwhile, if I forgot to do a chore, it would be: “Why are you being so lazy?”
When I was away at college, I realized, and I don’t mean this in a vindictive way or anything, that my brother really has the most absolute pure intentions of anyone on the planet. I have good intentions like 90% of the time. I’m not perfect, but my brother seriously just wants everyone to be happy and help everyone. So I realized that for most of our childhood I was the “bad guy.”
Seriously though, like, I do keto when I’m cutting and he wants to drop a few pounds, (he’s not doing keto) so he meal prepped himself some food, wrote the carb content on all of it, put it in the fridge and said I could eat whatever. He literally meal-prepped for me without me asking just because he can.
#56 Underlying Issues
My husband and I weren't getting along. He was always doing something that angered me and I didn't keep it inside. He, in turn, was getting fed up with me and eventually, it started pushing us apart. About two, months ago I went to the doctor and, after a conversation we had, she told me I had anxiety. Apparently, it was causing me to be irritable and on edge. I immediately felt like a huge jerk and started reflecting back on everything. She wrote me a prescription and I've been feeling so much better. I really didn't realize how hard I was being on him about the silliest stuff. He's such a great guy and does so much for our family. I was truly the bad guy.
#57 The Nine-Month Lie
I lied to my girlfriend about something in the first month of our relationship. It was pretty serious and involved an abusive ex-FWB that I had been seeing around the time we met. I finally told her the truth nine months later. It's going to take a long time to get her trust back. I’m in it for the long haul though. I guess I always knew I was the bad guy as long as I kept the truth from her and I hoped it would kind of go away. Now that it’s out, I’ve had to fully accept my bad guy role and improve our situation one day at a time.
#58 Karma Is Real
There was a point, roughly about high school and college-age, when I believed in karma... That me dealing with all the bad stuff with a smile on my face meant that I was owed something... That this was all some underdog story about the guy who was dragged through the muck and emerged on the other side with everything he ever wanted.
It wasn't anything anyone did that broke me out, just a stress-related mental breakdown that sort of rebooted the way I looked at things. No karma, no grand story of which I was some pivotal character; just me and the world. I had been pressuring friends to do nice things for me because of the stuff I dealt with at home or work, which just simply doesn't make sense now that I think about it.
I realized several friends who had "abandoned me" had simply gotten fed up with the needy, whining, clinging jerk I was turning into. Apologies followed to anyone I felt I had wronged. People I had mistreated because I felt that they were the 'villain' in my life. They were friends I had taken for granted. I started to process my stresses better and I've long since stopped demanding the world to pay me some nonexistent dues.
#59 Too Immature
Looking back at high school, I get why I wasn't popular. And it wasn't because of all the athletic Chads and Staceys, it was because I talked about my "little guy" on day 1 and had no social skills.
#60 Silly Arguments Are Never Worth It
When he told me my negative attitude was having a serious effect on our relationship and I realized I was on the verge of losing him over silly arguments I didn’t even know why I was starting. You don’t know what you’ve got 'til it’s almost gone. Ladies, treat your men the way you want to be treated.
#61 HR Is Here For You
I'm an HR manager. So, I think I'm the bad guy every morning when I wake up and look in the mirror as I'm getting ready. I remember when I first got hired at one job and during orientation, I was told "HR is here for you. If you have any issues, come to us!" I had to keep myself from laughing. Now, I'm an HR manager. I was laughing at my future self.
#62 Fantastic Parents
I realized that I had really fantastic parents, but I was an ungrateful kid. They really tried their best and are probably in the top five percentile for people in their situation, yet I was a spoiled, entitled piece of work. It was a relatively recent discovery. I'm working on it.
#63 A War Story
I realized right away. It was an easy conclusion to reach. We haven't fought an organized army in a while, but in Vietnam, it was easy to sympathize with other soldiers, even the enemy. The North Vietnamese Army guys were just like us, mostly. And some of them were elite, heroic soldiers, highly skilled, well-trained and brave as heck. It's not treason to admit that.
Among the NVA, the most elite and courageous were the Sappers—specially-trained wire rats who carried satchel charges. They'd zip through your wire (which, in this case, was not much), and blow up your stuff. You too, if you got in the way. Give 'em capes and a shiny outfit, they'd fit right in a DC comic. Me, I was a hands-off kind of soldier—the artillery guy. My job was to end people from a distance... A nice, safe distance. Close-quarter fighting was somebody else's job.
That somebody was AWOL one night. I was minimally armed, and the Sapper was unlucky. I still feel a little bad about that. He was a brave guy.
My current boyfriend and I are on break, and it's entirely my fault. I've been abused in the past, so a lot of paranoia surfaced, and I was accusing him of all sorts of things while being overly possessive. I actually became abusive myself, out of fear of him abusing me, and one time when he was tipsy, he finally broke down and said a lot of things he'd been sitting on.
It broke my heart. I literally had nothing to defend myself with. It was entirely true, every word of it, and it was soul-wrenching that I'd hurt him this much. So we're on break whist I get therapy. If I'm being honest with myself, I don't think he's going to take me back, or if I deserve him back, but I owe it to him to improve myself so at least this won't happen again with someone else. I love you Mike, and I'm so sorry.
#65 Bad And Badder
When I realized that despite him being abusive, I was worse. He went from a sweet guy with a good job and a car to a bum living with a bunch of hoarders. He lost his self-esteem and moved across the country to start from scratch with his family. I realized my choices were selfish and awful and after having a heart to heart closure, I've left him alone. He's thriving so well it makes me happy to see it.
#66 Poor Frogs
As a little girl, my uncle took me out catching frogs. Fun! I love frogs, and I was way better at catching them than he was. We kept all the frogs we caught in a big jar—naturally, I assumed we had a couple of dozen pet frogs now. Nah. The next day, when we all went fishing, my uncle used the frogs as live bait. I'm so sorry, frogs. I didn't know.
#67 Immediate Remorse
This was before everyone had a cell phone, back in the '90s. It was the weekend after high school graduation and my friend was driving around the neighborhood. We passed by our friend's house and we noticed an abnormal amount of cars out front. We immediately thought that he had a graduation party and didn't invite us. Internally, we were super angry. We knocked and his mom let us in. She gave no mention of anything—the house wasn't decorated, so we assumed maybe they didn't care to go that length. We found my friend in his room and asked, "What's with all the people? Are you having a party without us?" Then, he told us his dad had passed away the night before of a heart attack. It was before Father's Day.
#68 Sarcasm Taken Seriously
I'm a very sarcastic person. My entire family is wickedly sarcastic. My nephew, who was four years old at the time, was going to sleep in my room with me when we stayed at a cabin on vacation. When he heard that he was going to be sleeping in my room and that we had snacks and fun stuff in there, he said to me, "You mean you do like me?! We are friends!" It broke my little heart.
#69 Narcissistic Tendencies
It was a slow process. I am arguably more narcissistic than the average person, though I do not qualify for the actual disorder. I remember one day sitting in therapy and realizing that I had been emotionally manipulating my boss who had gone out of his way to be exceptionally kind and available to me. In return, I barely worked, so much to the point where he had to start picking up my slack. I talked badly about him to all of my coworkers, though most of them already disliked him. Often, I would engage him on topics that were meaningful to him just because I could sit for two hours in his office, and get paid not to work. What he perceived to be a meaningful connection was mostly entertainment for me.
I started crying, like bawling. I couldn't believe it. On a grander scale, I started to understand how I was doing that to pretty much everyone. It's strange because I always perceived others as manipulating and using me, which justified my behavior. I never understood (and honestly, still struggle to understand) that other people care about me or are affected by my actions. I thought everyone was playing the same game I was. Turns out, that wasn't ENTIRELY the case.
#70 People Can Change
My last major girlfriend was my soul mate. We lived together and worked a few jobs together. I was too scared to drive, so I didn't have my driver's license and relied on her 100%. I never wanted to do anything she wanted to do. I was possessive and jealous. I flew off the handle when we broke up. I realized after all was said and done why she wanted out so bad, and that I turned into exactly the kind of guy I hate. I'm still not perfect. But nowadays, I'm far better than that pathetic jerk I used to be.
#71 Laziness Is A Disease
I thought I was depressed and my parents didn’t understand me, but now I’m pretty sure I’m fundamentally lazy and incapable of change.
#72 Total Selfishness
I went to a job interview over my girlfriend's sister's wedding. I got the job, (it's a dream job and everything is fine and dandy with it), but it ruined so many relationships in the process. I thought I was been driven and proactive. Instead, I was selfish and probably should have stayed to keep the peace.
#73 Train Troll
I was attempting to exit an even more crowded-than-usual NYC subway during the evening rush hour and the Tetris dance of people staying on to let people off was going particularly poorly. Some people just weren’t moving at all, not even pretending with their half-hearted leans, and it really annoys me when people clearly think keeping their spot near the door is more important than letting you disembark. I snapped just a bit and barked “Move!” to no one in particular. I’m not a particularly imposing guy for the record; just average, but a guy nonetheless.
Immediately, I heard a sort of cry, then a whimper from a bit ahead of me. As I finally make my way past people finally making way, I saw the source: A woman in her mid-'50s, wearing sunglasses and clutching a white cane, literally shaking in terror. My entire interior collapsed and consumed itself right then and I felt like literally the worst person in the world. I try to be more patient on the train now. Sometimes it sucks, but you never really know. Rarely are you being inconvenienced purely because someone else is a sadistic jerk.
#74 Always Double-Check
I was volunteering at a hostel once and my coworker told me everyone in Room 3 was supposed to check out that day... Check out was at 10, so when I went into the room and there was a guy still in bed, I naturally kicked him out. I tried to be all funny like, “You don’t have to leave, but you can’t stay here.” He gave me a confused look and left the room. I changed all the sheets and cleaned the room. Later in the day, I was walking past the room and he was laying on the bed again...
I said, “Come on man, I just cleaned that bed and you’re sleeping in it again?” He responded, “Well... I’m barely sleeping.” I rolled my eyes and said, “But someone else’s head had to go on that pillow.” As I walked away in irritation. I hear him respond, “I guess that’s true...” Now, at 10 p.m., my co-worker and I were confused as to why he hadn’t left, so she checked the books again, and we realized he booked that room until the next day... It turned out I was the jerk the whole time and made a complete fool of myself.
#75 Former Bully
I always hated primary school because none of the other little girls liked me. The only ones that did were awful to me, and their "friendship" didn't last after I moved schools. At 19, I ran into one of the girls I actually quite liked. When I ran up and greeted her, she was tipsy. She immediately turned to her friend and said: "Ugh, this is that girl who always made fun of me when I was young."
Her friend immediately turned and ranted at me about how insecure I had made this girl and what a witch I was. I was too shocked to say anything, and they left the bar before I could apologize. Looking back, I completely deserved how I was treated. I have a lot of failings that as a child I couldn't recognize and control. These days people tell me I'm the nicest person they know and can't seem to believe that I work incredibly hard to be like that to make up for past mistakes.
#76 Revenge Slap
I once slapped a little kid for throwing snowballs at me and my friends. He was crying afterward. To be fair, I was 13 at the time, we told him to stop, and we tried walking away. The snowballs hurt because they had ice in it. He also stole from a bag I had with me, so he was a little brat. I wouldn't do it today though.
#77 Sibling Regrets
When I was kicking my little brother on the ground, and I was screaming at him that “I did not want to do it, but he was making me.” After I sat down and thought for a minute, I realized that I was an abusive jerk. I realized that it was not a one-time thing. This was about six years ago. We have gotten a lot closer since then, but I still feel awful about it. The way I treated him will always be one of my biggest regrets.
#78 Little-Big Feud
I had an arch-nemesis in elementary school. She was always really mean to me but I didn't really do much in return. Anyway, this little feud lasted up until sixth grade. I noticed her walking around at recess with a purse; a purse I too had. I thought, "Well, if she has that purse too than it must be mine. She must have stolen it." I went up to her and tore it out of her hands, saying it was mine. She started crying and went up to one of the teacher assistants. Unfortunately, that teacher assistant recognized that bag was like mine, because she'd seen me walk around with the same one.
I went back to my little friend group and I started looking through the bag, quickly realizing nothing inside was mine. The only thing inside was a bunch of pads. I took all of them out and walked over to the girl I took the purse from and threw them at her feet and said, "You left something in my bag." I ended up going home that day and finding the purse I thought she stole in my closet. I still have both of the purses, actually. That day must have been hell for that girl, and I do feel terrible about it now.
#79 Tipsy Turvy
I was super tipsy and something my friend did really ticked me off, so I stood up and tried to storm out of the party. A group of people held me back and I got really mad trying to push through them. I looked around and everyone was looking at me with this mixture of disgust and horror. I realized I was just being a huge, sensitive, overreacting jerk.
#80 Old Habits Die Hard
When my boyfriend and I argue, I have this tendency to "shut down, shut up, avoid, cold shoulder." I didn't realize how harmful it was until I saw this Kristen Bell interview where she talked about doing the same tactic with her now-husband-then-boyfriend, and how her husband had called her out on it. Stepping away to cool off is one thing, but if the intention to shut down completely is to avoid having a mature, honest discussion, it can make your partner feel guilty for speaking up in the first place. I always touted myself as being the more experienced half, but I realized then that I have some habits to break.
#81 A Guilty Spank
The first time I spanked my daughter. I got so frustrated—I was trying to get her to bed and she was just refusing. Instead of making her take a timeout, I popped her bum. Immediate waterworks. I’d never felt so guilty. I've literally cried about it. It wasn’t hard at all and she was wearing a diaper, but that didn’t change anything. She got so many cuddles the next couple days. It worked though. She stopped getting out of bed and was fine the next morning as if nothing happened.
#82 Bad Judgment
I put my quarters underneath the rail of a pool table, the universal sign of reserving the next game. When the game ended, this jerk jumped up, threw his quarters in the game, and started racking the balls. I asked him what he was doing, and as I was a little tipsy I'm sure it wasn't politely asked. He said he was starting the game. I gave him this big, "Who do you think you are cutting the line" spiel. He just looked at me and pointed at the sign-up chalkboard where the next games were tallied. Yeah, I was the jerk that day.
#83 Jerk Behavior
I spent years trying to figure out why I couldn't get a date with anyone. One day, I realized that the people I'd learned the rules of social behavior from, specifically romance, were idiots who got away with a lot because they were attractive and charismatic. As I am neither attractive nor charismatic, people did not find my jerk behavior charming. They just found it... jerk-ish. And rightly so.
#84 Popular Guy Insecurities
When I was younger, I was dating a girl. I was definitely self-absorbed and "confident," which in turn made me a popular guy in school. Well, I was dating this nice girl, and we were walking downtown. She saw one of her friends she hadn't seen in a while and they chatted. She introduced me, then apologized after. I was kind of confused and asked why and she said she shouldn't have talked to him. I did some serious self-reflection about how I viewed her friendships with other guys and sometimes I was kind of a jerk.
#85 Manipulative Streak
I have trouble controlling impulses and detach very easily. I also have a vicious tongue and a manipulative streak. When I'm boxed into a corner I lash out. You can imagine. Yeah, regret always comes after.
#86 Never Say Never
At some point in my early 20s, I was apologizing to my boss and telling him "I promise this won't ever happen again." And then suddenly it hit me: I've been saying that a lot lately.
#87 Pathological White Liar
When I realized I was a pathological white liar trying to get out of menial tasks that would have taken very little time because I was lazy as hell. This was putting a lot of pressure on relationships in my life, but luckily I caught myself before I did irreparable harm to any of them. I'm no longer that way, but I still catch myself on the pattern every now and then and have to train it out all over again