The popularity of Overheard L.A., San Francisco and New York accounts seems to have awakened the nosy little eavesdroppers within us. Although people say that listening to other private conversations is an impolite thing to do, there’s so much small talk happening in public that sometimes we just can’t help it.

Take a look at how many people shared the meticulously documented conversations they overheard with no context whatsoever. Whether someone’s at the museum, grocery store or working for a 3 billion dollar company, these interactions are equal parts bizarre and hilarious.

We have collected some of the best tweets floating around Twitter, so continue scrolling and upvote your favorite ones. When you’re done with this post, you’ll find some more hilarious quotes right here.

#1

Overheard-Funny-People-Conversations-Twitter

maggieofthetown Report

Lisa T
Community Member
4 months ago

Stop stereotyping kids toys! My three adult kids chose what toys they wanted, whether a doll for the boys or nerf guns for my girl. Let kids be and stop pushing your gender agenda on them.

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If you’ve ever stood in public transport, waited in line at a café, or just talked on your phone while walking down the street, there’s a big chance that you’ve been eavesdropped on.

When you think about listening to conversations of other people, words like “prying” and “nosy” pop right into your head. However, more often than not, these brief interactions are so confusing, they can make anyone stop and listen. 

Bored Panda reached out to Dr. Lauren Emberson, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, to find out more about why we are so fascinated by what strangers have to say. She and her colleagues did a study called Overheard cell-phone conversations: when less speech is more distracting

#2

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figgled Report

Jo Johannsen
Community Member
4 months ago

That's really sweet. ❤

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The researchers were trying to see whether the thinking abilities of 41 volunteers were most affected by listening to two people talking, a monologue, silence, or a “halfalogue”, a one-sided conversation. The results showed that overhearing a “halfalogue” is distracting and decreases performance “on cognitive tasks designed to reflect the attentional demands of daily activities.”

When it comes to listening to cell-phone conversations, our brains are trying to break down what the person on the other end of the call is talking about, which makes it harder for us to concentrate. “By contrast, overhearing both sides of a cell-phone conversation or a monologue does not result in decreased performance.”

However, it seems that not listening to private conversations is difficult because our attentional systems do it automatically. “Our study showed that even when we instruct people not to listen to the conversations when they were doing attentionally demanding tasks, their attention was specifically drawn away from their task when they were listening to a cell phone conversation or a ‘halfalogue,‘” the professor explained. 

#3

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DrNeenaJha Report

Karen Grace
Community Member
4 months ago

This should be higher!

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#4

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iverbwords Report

lunar eclipse
Community Member
4 months ago

Go Janet

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It is not exactly clear why that happens. Dr. Emberson told us that there’s some evidence that the unpredictability of the speech could be the problem here. “Remember that in a cell phone conversation, speech starts and stops,” she mentioned.

“We found that attention is drawn away specifically when the speech starts, not during the silences, suggesting that the unpredictable cell phone speech is hard for you to process compared to a dialogue (even when the speaker changes in a dialogue, it’s not as distracting).” 

#5

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yokatykatikate Report

MB
Community Member
4 months ago

Shitty shoe box. Nice lol

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#6

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mulisa_10 Report

Jo Johannsen
Community Member
4 months ago

Those words would strike fear into the heart of Genghis Khan.

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When asked if people eavesdrop consciously, the professor said that it’s definitely true and that she sometimes does it too: “The inspiration of this study, though, was a feeling that I and many others have that you can’t help but eavesdrop on these cell phone conversations.” 

She added: “I really didn’t want to listen to them but I felt I couldn’t filter them out. And that’s why we tested whether it is an automatic function of your attentional system to tune your mind into them and sure enough, that’s the case!”

#7

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Giancarlo_Volpe Report

Ella Adams
Community Member
4 months ago

Relatable nerd.

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#8

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SuperMascott Report

The Super BumbleBee
Community Member
4 months ago

Omg this kid is my king

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The study revealed that overhearing conversations can make us feel annoyed and irritated. Yet, so many people take these interactions to the internet and see it as a great source of entertainment. Dr. Emberson has offered one explanation for us: “These convos were very irritating at a time before texting when everyone was talking on their cell phones and it was very noisy with those conversations in public spaces like buses.”

#9

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EliasToufexis Report

Daria Z
Community Member
4 months ago

That's the spirit!

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#10

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iam_preethi Report

Vasana Phong
Community Member
4 months ago

True that, you can’t change your life until you change yourself

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“Now most people text (myself included) so they might be more of a curiosity than anything else,” she mentioned. Her personal opinion is that people find such convos bizarre and funny because “they are out of context (you only hear one half) and that engages your curiosity in a way.”

#11

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AnnaHopeful Report

Zena Marsh
Community Member
4 months ago

I like that.

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#12

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MisterMidas Report

The Super BumbleBee
Community Member
4 months ago

If Gandhi was behind the wheel this story may have gone quite differently

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John Locke, a professor of language science and author of Eavesdropping: An Intimate History, mentioned another reason why we may see one-sided convos as irritating. When someone is talking quietly, it grabs people’s attention. However, when they are being loud, many become annoyed. 

#13

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Erum_Sangji Report

Angie Buyong
Community Member
4 months ago

valid point

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#14

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rcote75 Report

Ella Adams
Community Member
4 months ago

BAD 👏🏻 B*TCH 👏🏻 ENRGY👏🏻

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#15

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aastew2 Report

François Carré
Community Member
4 months ago

While the presence of a library in a town might appear like something mundane, the absence of it would be somewhat concerning. So yes.

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The reason behind it is that loud social behavior violates one basic law of nature: “We don’t like donations. We don’t like it when people present us with information about themselves that we’re not seeking.”

“[People] want to know what you’re truly like inside, not what others want them to think,” Locke said. “We love it when we get something that’s truly genuinely true about others and so we still prefer taking it, or if not taking it, extracting clues on our own.”

#16

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andykesson Report

Vasana Phong
Community Member
4 months ago

Ahh, grandmas are the best with answers

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#17

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chicagobars Report

Truth Monster
Community Member
4 months ago

NA NA NA NA NA BAR-MAN!

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#18

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sangsss_ Report

Mir Adwari
Community Member
4 months ago

Yikes... in his shoes I think I'd be tempted. Sorry if no-one agrees with me but how long can you keep harking on back to something before driving the other person round the twist?

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We are very interested in how other people act in private. Most of our lives we spend alone with our thoughts, and it’s interesting to see how others behave when they think no one is observing them. “The only way you can know that is by looking at other people who think that they’re alone,” John Locke mentioned. 

#19

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KyleMorgenstein Report

Mimi La Souris
Community Member
4 months ago

curiously intriguing and disturbing

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#20

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alohawaia Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
4 months ago

Haahaha. Perfect. Mum "oh look, young people are waving, how friendly". :D

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#21

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WordWhispers Report

Ella Adams
Community Member
4 months ago

I wish I could do that.

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Still, one thing we’re sure of—listening to strangers’ conversations can be hilarious. And the fact that we hear only a fraction of the conversation that doesn’t make any sense to us makes it even funnier.

#22

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misstessowen Report

lunar eclipse
Community Member
4 months ago

Yes you do!! Treat yourself

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#23

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bartlettnicole Report

Space whale
Community Member
4 months ago

Yeah those hard-to-reach spots

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#24

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lilireinhart Report

Mimi La Souris
Community Member
4 months ago

#yeaaaah ! :D

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#25

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katiecandraw Report

Bri Lancaster
Community Member
4 months ago

😂

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#26

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maltyhops Report

Narwhal Blast
Community Member
4 months ago

Oh no! They need to explain to him what rickrolling is! Like yesterday! It's the most wholesome thing! <3

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#27

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tay_anderson07 Report

DKS 001
Community Member
4 months ago

I hate when males always think you want them, and all you're doing is being a decent human being

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#28

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zach_halcox Report

adiiantryx
Community Member
4 months ago

ah, it appears that WB has infiltrated disneyland

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#29

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spencerhall Report

Ben Moss
Community Member
4 months ago

The point of texting is you don’t have to reply right away. That’s what phone calls are for

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#30

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gldivittorio Report

DKS 001
Community Member
4 months ago

facepalm

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#31

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samanthamashart Report

September
Community Member
4 months ago

She was being a total piece of sourdough!

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#32

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AmazingPhil Report

Mimi La Souris
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

houses ? vegetable peeler ? toes ? trees ? too much possiblities, The suspense is killing me !

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#33

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ellkay_ Report

Mimi La Souris
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

🤣I’m gonna tell my friend, I love to see her grumbling for 20 minutes all by herself, wiggling her arms around

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#34

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justineltchua Report

Mad Dragon
Community Member
4 months ago

My first thought when I wake up in the morning is, “I can’t wait to go to bed tonight.”

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#35

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718Tv Report

chi-wei shen
Community Member
4 months ago

Double standards aren't really funny.

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Note: this post originally had 63 images. It’s been shortened to the top 35 images based on user votes.