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.

Daria Z
Community Member
2 months ago

Women, too.

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Susannah Stubbs
Community Member
2 months ago

There should be relationship education as well as sex education, often parents aren’t the best role models!

Pseudo Puppy
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

"Polite" and "want to have sex with / date you" are NEVER the same thing. (especially when the one being polite / friendly is at work)

Alan Green
Community Member
2 months ago

I'm the opposite. Thought girls were never interested in me then years later when I bump into women I used to work with they say "Why didn't you ask me (or a friend) out. I/they made it obvious I/they liked you" etc.

Dilly Millandry
Community Member
2 months ago

Shouldn't be down to the man to do the asking all the time.

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Meyer Weinstock
Community Member
2 months ago

How about those of us who just thought they were being nice (Mother taught me rightly), when in actuality, they were more than interested, and we were too clueless to notice? 30 years later, I'm still kicking myself...

Mama Panda
Community Member
2 months ago

This is a common misconception in both genders. Unfortunately tho, there are a lot who just don't seem to understand that people are just nice to be nice.

BusLady
Community Member
2 months ago

It could also save you a sexual harassment accusation. For real. You wouldn't believe the things men have said to me.

Meyer Weinstock
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Bus Lady, on behalf of all men, I apologise. -Rev Dr M, retired teacher (not a bus driver), and still single & looking

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GirlFriday
Community Member
2 months ago

This reminds me a coworker that I had once. It was his first day and he was clearly lost, so I walked up to him and said, "Hi, I am GirlFriday, can I help you find something?" He said he was looking for coffee. I told him to follow me and I showed him where the kitchen is and where the coffee supplies are kept. Then I said, "Hey, if you need anything let me know. Welcome aboard." He replied, "I will have you know that I am a married man." I told him, "That's nice. I don't find you the least bit attractive, I was trying to welcome you to the company." He was an ass and didn't last long. He took that same tack with other women in the office.

Daria B
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

It wouldn't only save you embarrassment, but also the time those girls/women wasted, as well as your time. But the most important this is, you eventually realised that and you have the courage to admit it. Many people never learn. So, seriously, be proud of yourself and thank you for sharing this with the world. (Btw, same is true when genders are switched)

Pseudo Puppy
Community Member
2 months ago

If you reverse this, it would mean that every man who is "friendly", only wants to date / have sex with whoever they're talking to. ie so all guys are "only after one thing"? ie this entire philosophy of "friendly = wants to date / sleep with you" is entirely ludicrous, because not every friendly person is that sleezy / desperate.

Al Emond
Community Member
2 months ago

Glad you said that. Although everyone has a right to their own, my opinion of that post was that it sounded a bit vain. Like “Don’t flatter yourself”. Playing devil’s advocate though too; socially, women experience so much bs as described above (that we men have no idea the scope of), that I can also understand her reaction. Women DO go through a lot of shit men don’t even dream about happening. I wouldn’t want to be a 14 year old girl scared of being abducted etc. I suppose it does reach a boiling point for women.

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Kathy Baylis
Community Member
2 months ago

Some men n.e.v.e.r. learn this.

Charlotte Stewart
Community Member
2 months ago

I wish more people knew this. I hate when people get the wrong idea, just because I'm not being crappy to them.

Marigen Beltran
Community Member
2 months ago

Many people (men and women) still believe that being nice to someone is the same as flirting.

Sasha Kuleshov
Community Member
2 months ago

"I'm nice to men because they might get mad and kill me" - Every woman in México (:

abby smink
Community Member
2 months ago

Honestly, it's a fine and tough line. Can't be too nice, they'll think more is going on than is, but also can't be too aloof, or they'll call you a bitch or worse.

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Esca Sav
Community Member
2 months ago

I found out that if I use emojis in texts, the guy thinks I'm interested in him. I just wanted to be friendlier because people told me I look mad all the time...

Meyer Weinstock
Community Member
2 months ago

My youngest daughter (20 y/o) says the same thing. She inherited my narrow eyes. She says that she's been told that she has a B****-face, in part for the freckles (her mother's side). I, for one, think that he's absolutely beautiful, like her sister (28 y/o), who has the same eyes, but darker skin like mine and without freckles. But, then again, I'm Dad.

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Cee Mor
Community Member
2 months ago

Many guys don't ever realize this, so annoying.

Nico Di Angelo
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

I dunno if ya'll read Percy Jackson and the Olympians but Rachel Dare thought Percy liked her and he didn't. He was just being friendly.

shemeowsalot
Community Member
2 months ago

how many men just went "oh...."

Meyer Weinstock
Community Member
1 month ago

I did.

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Jo Choto
Community Member
2 months ago

I am constantly being mistaken for flirting when I'm just being friendly. I act the same way towards men and women, but only the men seem to think it's a come-on.

Meyer Weinstock
Community Member
1 month ago

Maybe it's cultural, both your side of just being friendly, and their side of thinking that it is more...

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Lola
Community Member
2 months ago

I have avoided many men because of this.

Meyer Weinstock
Community Member
1 month ago

Sad...but safe...

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James Gallegos
Community Member
1 month ago

Happens in the gay community also. Just cuz you say "hi" to someone and are friendly does not mean you want to hook up with them. Some men can't seem to grasp that idea.

Isabella Vega
Community Member
2 months ago

Ouch I wonder how he realized this

Quazmodic
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

On the flip side and reversing this, think of how many fewer sexual harassment cases there would be if all women knew this as well? Sometimes men are "just being friendly" too.

Lyone Fein
Community Member
2 months ago

All women wishing all men knew this.

Max L.
Community Member
2 months ago

Well, don’t worry, we all have stupid moments anyway 😊

Leanne Emmerton
Community Member
2 months ago

Yes!

1337
Community Member
2 months ago

Many men need to learn this..

H.L.Lewis
Community Member
2 months ago

Stalkers never learn this.

AnnieLaurie Burke
Community Member
2 months ago

But, it doesn't hurt to have women friends that are not romantic interests. It's a shame more men don't value platonic friendships with women. Their lives would be richer for it.

Steve Cruz
Community Member
2 months ago

Maybe this is why so many women and gay men are fast friends: we don't WANT anything from them... and some of us will help fix your look before you go public.

Susie
Community Member
2 months ago

It also would've saved the women some hassle. Parents please teach your children that friendliness doesn't equal romantic interest. Also that no one of any gender owes them anything in exchange for being nice.

Jessi Auy
Community Member
2 months ago

I’ve tried explaining this to guy friends before and they refused to listen 🤷🏻‍♀️

Jessi Auy
Community Member
2 months ago

I’ve tried explaining this to guy friends before and they refused to listen

June Ramsey
Community Member
2 months ago

No wonder he thinks like this as there are a lot of men who are only nice to women when they are interested in them. From a 70 year old with experience.

Diane Patrick
Community Member
2 months ago

No common sense.

abby smink
Community Member
2 months ago

Honestly, that's why I get closed off and almost short with men I don't know. So they don't mistake me for something else.

Be Potato
Community Member
2 months ago

Some girls do need to hear about this too!

Mimi777
Community Member
2 months ago

Yep worked in retail commission sales and so many men thought I was interested just because I was nice to them. And I had a couple attractive male coworkers and sometimes weird older women would be super inappropriate towards them! It was gross that they acted that way.

Vincent Philippart
Community Member
2 months ago

Seriously, straight people are so weird.

tuzdayschild
Community Member
2 months ago

This can not be said enough

Daniel Lewis
Community Member
2 months ago

The big clue was when she told you "I charge $100 an hour or $500 for the night."

blugeagua
Community Member
2 months ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

No shit Sherlock

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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.

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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?!

rainiejain2 Report

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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