We all might have more in common than we think, especially when it comes to getting embarrassed over something we thought we knew (but really didn't). Reddit user LightningCole asked the members of the online community to share some of the things that they learned embarrassingly late. With over 18.6k comments in the thread, we can say for sure that it’s one of those universal secrets that nearly everyone can relate to. What’s obvious to you might not be obvious to us!

Remember to upvote your fave answers as you chuckle your way down this list. After you’re done, let us know in the comments what things you learned embarrassingly late in life, dear Pandas! Did you think that chocolate milk comes from brown cows until you were 30? Maybe you thought that the European Council and the Council of the European Union were one and the same at some point in your life? We can’t wait to read what you have to share.

Bored Panda spoke about embarrassing knowledge blind spots and why they're, well, embarrassing with Vanessa Bohns, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University. Bohns also explained what the healthiest way to react to embarrassment is. Scroll down and have a read.

#1

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned That not every woman who's nice to me is interested in me, they're just being friendly. Wished someone made that clearer when I was younger, would've saved me a lot of embarrassment and stupid moments in high school and early college.

Err0rbot , unsplash Report

Bob Belcher
Community Member
2 months ago

This, a lot of men need to know exactly this.

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#2

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned When I was 20, I was presented with a really wonderful promotion. It required me to fly to a nearby state for a week of training. I was super ecstatic about the whole thing... until I remembered a friend of mine complaining about her struggles with getting a passport. So, I promptly declined the promotion. My superiors were really stumped as to why I turned down the promotion.

Me: Unfortunately, I don’t have a passport.

Manager: Boringberry... you’ve never flown before, have you?

Me: No. I have not.

Manager: You don’t need a passport to fly within the country.

And then it hit me- my friend was going to Mexico. I was just going to a neighboring state. Once the realization hit, my superiors all erupted in laughter.

The story itself followed me when I went to training. My trainer personally greeted me and asked me if I had any difficulties getting a passport before laughing.

boringberry , piqsels Report

Adam C
Community Member
2 months ago

"You just won 1 million dollars." "Bummer,I can't take it, wallet is too small"

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#3

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned When I was little my Dad told me the big cooling towers that are often found beside electricity generating plants were in fact cloud machines and the prime minister of the day had a switch on his desk to turn the big machine on when it got too hot.

This made complete sense to me as they did produce big clouds of white cumulus-like exhaust when operating.

Fast forward to when I was around 11 years ago and the teacher asks if anyone knows why some days are dry and some days it rains, some days have blue sky and some days have clouds.

Of course at the mention of clouds I knew immediately where clouds come from and stuck my hand up to tell everyone about the prime minister and the cloud machines.

Luckily the teacher picked someone else for the answer and I was most confused to hear someone go on about evaporation and rainfall and so on.

Martin_Birch , i_yudai Report

Stimpy
Community Member
2 months ago

So nice! Since this is the era of "choose your own (alternative) facts" anyway, I am now treating this as a fact

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"We spend a lot of time and effort presenting an ideal version of ourselves to other people. When something happens that contrasts with the image we’ve been projecting—when we say or do something that shows we actually aren’t as graceful or as smart as we’d like people to believe—we feel embarrassed," Bohns said.

"Discovering you were wrong about something most everyone else around you has long known to be true is one of those moments. In that moment we learn, 'Wait a minute, maybe I haven’t been presenting the image of being smart or worldly that I thought I was presenting all this time,' which is embarrassing."

#4

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned That Hawaii was a country before the U.S. annexed it. Unsurprisingly they do not teach us that in high school history class...

seegruyere , Erik Cooper Report

Pseudo Puppy
Community Member
2 months ago

And California was part of MEXICO until the US government bought it from Mexico. Also, "America" is actually 2 continents (north america and south america), not a country. "America" as "Americans" call it, is a PART of the continent "North America", and is actually called "The United STATES of America" ie it's referring to a group of 'states' that united, rather than try to declare themselves as individual countries, when it was being invaded by the British (& other countries).

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#5

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned That the world owes you nothing.

You can be a good person and that's fine but it won't lead to you being blessed with nice things; people can use you if you're too nice to them

I grew up thinking that my life was special and that I was destined for greatness but I'm now just another fish in the sea

Norfolkwegian_8991 , Ricardo Moraleida Report

Bob Belcher
Community Member
2 months ago

I think everyone thinks that at some point as a kid.

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#6

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned I have a cousin who quotes Yogi Berra on a fairly regular basis, and it wasn't until last Thanksgiving that I realized he's a real person, and that my cousin hasn't been admiring the words of Yogi Bear all this time.

hellothereitsanna , Baseball Collection Report

Guy MacGregor
Community Member
2 months ago

To all non-usonian readers : Yogi Berra is a baseball player

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Bohns pointed out to Bored Panda that embarrassment has its positive sides—it’s not all bad like some of us believe.

“One thing that’s interesting about embarrassment is that, for as much as we might experience it as painful in the moment, it’s actually very socially adaptive. Being embarrassed signals to other people that you care about what they think. And that actually draws people in to you,” she said.

“So blushing, burying your head in your hands, laughing, acknowledging how embarrassing something was, are all totally healthy ways to react,” Bohns explained to us that we shouldn’t feel embarrassed about, well, feeling embarrassed.

#7

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned Rottweilers are not just fat Dobermans.

JamesandtheGiantAss , John Mitchell Report

Adam C
Community Member
2 months ago

Haha fat Doberman

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#8

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned That truffles are a mushroom as well as a chocolate. When people talked about sending pigs in the forest to hunt for truffles I thought they’d buried chocolates in there to teach pigs how to dig food up

I was 21

hitmewithurbethshot , Ann Larie Valentine Report

Astrid Nineor
Community Member
2 months ago

I don't like truffles, but chocolate-hunting with dogs? Sign me up! (Making sure the dogs cannot eat it of course)

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#9

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned Riding a bicycle. I learnt it at 18, my parents believed in an astrologer who told them that I would have a terrible accident when I drive or ride. So I had to learn bicycle secretly from a friend.

hoodibaba007 , pxhere Report

Pamela24
Community Member
2 months ago

Wow. That's actually really impressive; it must be so much more difficult to learn as an adult!

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“The unhealthy way to react is to pretend you’re not embarrassed, that you didn’t make a mistake, or to get angry. Those things undo the positive effect of embarrassment typically has on other people by conveying insincerity and pushing people away rather than drawing them in,” Bohns said.

Knowledge blind spots are something that we’ll always have. To some extent. We’ll never be able to get rid of all of them but we should do our best to improve ourselves constantly.

However, the problem isn’t so easy because you don’t know what you don’t know or what you’re wrong about. It’s not like we spend every single second of every day analyzing every bit of knowledge in our minds. Nobody’s got that kind of time—we’ve got other things to do!

#10

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned It's hard to explain this one and I can't google it to find pictures. Everyone has bought a tube of "cream" at some point (antiseptic / steroid / eczema) for example. On some of these "creams", have you noticed that the lid is circular but in the centre of the lid it has a sharp pointy end? Typically, these tubes of "cream" have a seal and I used to remove the lid and break the seal by finding anything sharp and pointy nearby (pen maybe). It took my 23 years to realise that the pointy end in the centre of the lid has a purpose...

Bored-To-Reddit , Sprogz Report

pei meow
Community Member
2 months ago

Oof

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#11

Thought an orgasm and an organism were the same thing.

Gave an entire speech to my class at 13 years old, first month at a new school, about how I wanted to be a marine biologist and work with marine orgasms. Everyone was laughing and I didn't know why. The teacher didn't say anything just laughed along as well. A girl I'd just made friends with had to fill me in after class.

Turns out, they are definitely not the same thing.

JKell18 Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

I was laughed at in class for asking to borrow a rubber (eraser) coz it is another name for a condom.

Sethurama Iyer
Community Member
2 months ago

They call erasers rubber in India too (they also call it "gomme" in France, which translates to gum/rubber)

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Leo Fragoso
Community Member
2 months ago

This is not how a teatcher needs to behave. He/She should have interrupterd at the first time and just say "Its pronounced organism". It wouldn't have made the situation go away but it would improve it quite a lot by not allowing it to escalate until the end of the presentation.

Alex Bailey
Community Member
2 months ago

Yes but some teachers, thankfully the minority, are sadists. I'm fairly sure I've met some teachers who chose the profession purely to see children squirm in misery.

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DforDorothy
Community Member
2 months ago

At that age it's an honest mistake, however,sad that a 13 year old girl (who probably/hopefully doesn't know as much about it) has to fill you in instead of the teacher.

Carrie de Luka
Community Member
2 months ago

That's the downside to not teaching children things - they do share information in the playground and it will be a very mixed bag of fact and fiction. My brother in law was against sex education before puberty until I told him all the 'facts of life' I got taught by my peers in primary school. As long as it is age-appropriate knowledge is generally better than ignorance.

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Zophra
Community Member
2 months ago

First day teaching AP Biology accidentally said "orgasm" instead of "organism." I just responded to my shocked classes' silence with , "Did I just say the wrong thing? Well, AP Biology is getting pretty interesting already, huh?" (But I was secretly dying inside,)

Raine Soo
Community Member
2 months ago

For awhile, my father, who is an immigrant to Canada, had the worst time with condoms and condos.

Meyer Weinstock
Community Member
2 months ago

This might make for an interesting manga plot...

Doggo Georgia
Community Member
2 months ago

Oh my gosh, I thought that until I was about 10 and had "the talk".

Bettye McKee
Community Member
2 months ago

I hate that this is so funny. I hurt myself laughing so hard. So sorry 'cause I know it was embarrassing.

Leisa Farrow
Community Member
2 months ago

whoopsie.

Jasper Lu
Community Member
2 months ago

lmao

Iva Kazalova
Community Member
2 months ago

I call it a rubber in the UK, i think so do most people. Same equivalent in Bulgaria

Quazmodic
Community Member
2 months ago

I found out what an orgasm was when I was 12. You must have been a late bloomer. LOL

AnnieLaurie Burke
Community Member
2 months ago

Ah, but the one can lead to a new one of the other....

Steve Cruz
Community Member
2 months ago

My first time in England, my pockets were jammed with stuff, so when I spotted a souvenir fanny pack, I asked how much it was. The clerk, a young woman, turned red and giggled. Turns out FANNY in much of Europe is slang for female genitals.

abby smink
Community Member
2 months ago

That teacher failed you as a person.

Vanta Black
Community Member
2 months ago

You died a little death that day.

Bob Belcher
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Well at least it was funny.

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#12

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned I only recently found out that ponies are not baby horses, but full-sized ponies.

Booknerd13 , fen-tastic Report

Sethurama Iyer
Community Member
2 months ago

I didn't know that!

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Some blind spots are related to a lack of education and worldliness and can be corrected by actively seeking out new information and perspectives, bit by bit. Reading new books, watching films, going to lectures, meeting new people—all of these things slowly fill in any gaps in knowledge that we might have. It’s a long and involved process but it might just be the easy part.

Other blind spots that we have are related to our assumptions and preconceptions about the world which might not always be right. However, we’re so emotionally invested in holding on to these ideas that we don’t want to let go. Because it feels like we’re losing a part of ourselves.

#13

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned I thought the phrase 'mix by hand' meant to literally shove your hands in the batter and mix, not use a spoon or a mixer. I didn't learn the truth until my mother found me wrist-deep in brownie batter.

jvisc930 , Nenad Stojkovic Report

SanchaTheSeeker
Community Member
2 months ago

Some pros say mixing by hand (literally) is better

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#14

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned That Washington D.C wasn't in the state of Washington...

3311gojw , wikimedia Report

Princess Procrastination
Community Member
2 months ago

Wait really i didnt know that

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#15

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned You know when the doctor hits your knee to check your reflexes? I honestly thought you were supposed to kick your leg up high. Like you felt it and you kick. It wasn’t until I was 23 and moved to another country and had to do a physical that the doctor was like what are you doing?!

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BusLady
Community Member
2 months ago

That makes me wonder how many doctors you saw who didn't' bother to tell you.

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If we’re truly sincere about wanting to get rid of our blind spots, then we have to put our points of view out there and be prepared to learn that we’re wrong. Over and over again. It’s a painful process (it’s bound to bruise our egos) but it’s the quickest way to learn.

So if you’re prepared to take the temporary hits to your self-esteem, even learning new things embarrassingly late doesn’t have to be embarrassing!

#16

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned Not me but my husband.

He didn't know that meat is the animals muscles. He thought every animal had a bodypart named "meat".

He had a bit of an emotional crisis when I told him. He is actually a very intelligent man, but this fact had eluded him as his mother had not wanted to upset him as a child.

Ellatomica , Luis Tamayo Report

Pseudo Puppy
Community Member
2 months ago

this is what happens when you prioritise "protecting" you child, rather than 'teaching' them... :o :/

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#17

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned That Houston is not the name of the guy astronauts talk to.

walden12 Report

BusLady
Community Member
2 months ago

Yes it is. He's been working with the space program since 1958. He's now 102 and thinking about retirement.

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#18

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned Pickles are pickled cucumbers. Took me over 30 years to figure that one out.

drewkawa , Christine Report

Sethurama Iyer
Community Member
2 months ago

What's even more interesting is that Indian pickle is just spiced cooked sour things (like unripe mango and lemon)

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#19

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned When I was in 4th grade i was in love with Chris brown. He was 16. I told my mom when i was 16 we would start dating.... she proceeded to inform me that when I was 16 he would no longer be 16. That’s when I realized everyone was also getting older, not just me

Bigdaddydria1 , chrisbrownofficial Report

Conrad Strucker
Community Member
2 months ago

bullet dodged either way if we're really being honest

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#20

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned Martha's Vineyard isn't just some land that rich people went to that was owned by Martha Stewart.

ughdrunkatvogue Report

Bob Belcher
Community Member
2 months ago

Lol yeah I always thought it was her winery.

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#21

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned That K9 stands for "canine"... Like K9 unit in police is dog unit.

Okhy Report

Madison Feehan
Community Member
2 months ago

I'm sad for the person who didn't know this...

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#22

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned I thought buffalos were birds, and buffalo wings were from said birds.

AussiePickle27 , pixabay Report

ThreeOfAKind
Community Member
2 months ago

To be honest the name “buffalo wings” is really misleading...

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#23

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned That limes weren’t un-ripe lemons.

JagerKitteh , publicdomainpictures Report

ƒιѕн
Community Member
2 months ago

I still tell gullible people this.

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#24

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned Glass objects should not be put on the stove. Guess how I learned that.

yarrowsparrow , Ervins Strauhmanis Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

I learnt that the hard way by accident. Glass exploded and ended up with food and glass everywhere. Worst thing was we had friends over for dinner. It was a disaster.

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#25

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned Thought guerilla warfare was humans in a war against gorilla's

Tonymush , wikipedia Report

Tabitha L
Community Member
2 months ago

Awww. Don't fight gorillas.

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#26

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned I thought the 'do not pass' road sign literally meant 'do not die here.' I had to ask my grandpa what would happen if someone got into a car accident and died there.

ashb4cb0c8483 , pxhere Report

DforDorothy
Community Member
2 months ago

Hopefully this was before you got your driver's license...😏

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#27

The expression "You can't have your cake and eat it too" I'm like... wat? of course you can eat your cake if you have it wtf are all these people talking about? took me til my 20s to figure out it was actually meaning you cant both have the cake on the counter and have eaten it.

profstarship Report

Kaspar Kristiansen
Community Member
2 months ago

Kind of a stupid expression anyway:)

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#28

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned Ambulances don’t patrol around like police cars.

21st_centuryfox , pikist Report

SoozeeQ
Community Member
2 months ago

Dear Bored Panda, would be great, if you could flip your photos before publishing, so that they read correctly. Thanks.

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#29

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned That I do better on my own. Took three divorces before I got a clue.

madtrippinfool , banjo d Report

Pseudo Puppy
Community Member
2 months ago

or maybe you just need to make better choices in who you marry?

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#30

People-Share-Embarrassing-Things-They-Just-Learned Pilot and co-pilot actually has the same hierarchy. I thought that co-pilot is some kind of assistant to the pilot

onikoko , Steve Jurvetson Report

Wyn Williams
Community Member
2 months ago

This isn't true, the co-pilot IE the first officer answers to the captain who is in charge of the flight and legally responsible for it

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