Genius often lies in simplicity. Even if it sounds off. So, to figure out the true capacity of human ingenuity, one person recently turned to the place that holds all the secrets to our collective intelligence - Reddit. Now, it's not important whether or not you caught my sarcasm; 1 month ago, redditor NecessaryPrudence posted a question on the platform asking, "What is so stupid but it actually really works?" and it immediately went viral, generating nearly 12,000 upvotes and 4,478 comments. From soothing bug bites with hand sanitizer to putting ice cubes in the dryer with a garment that needs ironing, here are some of the best replies, proving that if something looks stupid but does the job -- it isn't stupid!

#1

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Stay at least a year behind in technology and gaming. Better, yet, two. You'll save a s**t-ton of money.

DFSdog , JESHOOTS Report

Magpie
Community Member
5 months ago

Also a lot of the bugs will have been fixed.

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NecessaryPrudence told Bored Panda that they have had quite a few random conversations with friends and family that sometimes produced silly but somewhat interesting thoughts and questions, and it was what inspired this post, too.

"It's not something I intentionally came up with," NecessaryPrudence said. "Not even a serious conversation, but rather just chitchat."

The original poster has done things they would consider "really stupid" that actually worked out well. It made NecessaryPrudence relate to a lot of the answers, they said.

#2

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks I work in a hospital and when I'm doing something scary I tell kids that whatever they do they must not laugh.

_A_ioi_ , cdc Report

Stephanie Did It
Community Member
5 months ago

Works every time!

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Reading the replies, they also realized that people have varying perceptions of what "stupid" is. "Is it really that stupid if it actually works? Maybe they see things as stupid because they don't see themselves doing these things until they find themselves actually doing it and get favorable results. The thought after the 'stupid' deed is what's funny," NecessaryPrudence summarized the post.

But what really defines an act as "stupid"? To find the answer to this question, Balazs Aczel and Bence Palfi of Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary teamed up with Baylor University's Zoltan Kekecs and analyzed various real-life examples. They first built a formidable assortment of 180 stories describing stupid actions, collected via the internet and from daily reports provided by a group of 26 college students. Then, a group of seven raters reviewed all of the stories to ensure that they described a "stupid" action, were comprehensible, and were relatively brief.

#3

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks If you want someone you don't know well to like you, ask them for a small favor.

When I get new coworkers I go out of my way to ask them for something little, like borrowing a stapler or giving an opinion on something I'm working on.

Then they feel like they can ask me for something next time they need help, and soon I've tricked them into thinking I'm a nice person.

I don't know why it works but it does.

flyting1881 , fzeo Report

Blakkur Sverrir
Community Member
5 months ago

Can't remember where I read it, but there actually is a scientific study that found out that people who DID YOU a favour are thinking better of you and are more likely to give you another favour, than people that YOU DID a favour. Seems strange. Feels like it should be the other way. But it's true

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From the data, the researchers distilled three key categories that make an action stupid. "The first situation in which people call an action stupid is when the actor takes high risks while lacking the necessary skills to perform the risky action," they explained. "A typical story for this is when burglars wanted to steal cell phones, but instead stole GPS navigation devices. They didn't switch them off so the police were able to track them easily. We named this category 'Confident ignorance.'"

#4

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks I've worked in mental health for years. I can't tell you how many people tell me what a good listener I am..because I just shut up and let people talk.

It's not rocket science, but the large majority of people just want to feel like their voices are being heard. Too many therapists and providers don't know how to be quiet and stop loving the sound of their own voices.

DeadSharkEyes , RobinHiggins Report

chi-wei shen
Community Member
5 months ago

Thinking loud can help you in many situations not only in mental health. This loud thinking works best if there is someone to listen to you.

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The second cluster consisted of cases of "Absentmindedness—Lack of practicality." "A typical story here is when someone inflates more air in the car tires than allowed. Here the person either forgot to pay attention to the action or he or she doesn't know something essential about tire inflation."

Finally, the third category is "Lack of control." "Cases here are thought to be the result of obsessive, compulsive, or addictive behavior. For example, one of the stories in this category described a person who canceled a meeting with a good friend to instead continue playing video games at home," the researchers explained.

There you have it. Now, the next time your friend falls on their face while attempting to ride a shopping cart, you can tell them exactly why they were acting stupid.

#5

Exercising once per day

cutting down on caffeine after noon

keeping your phone out of your bed

reading light fiction at bedtime

keeping a notepad and pencil next to your bed

Then you will fall asleep on time.

Syntactic_Acrobatics Report

ChimeraBubbles
Community Member
5 months ago

How can I upvote this twice?

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#6

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks My aunt puts her expensive jewelry in a zip lock bag, and her cheap jewelry in the jewelry boxes. She apparently had a lot of her jewelry stolen in the past by family. She now only has the cheap stuff stolen.

tminor787 , kylefrederick10 Report

Magpie
Community Member
5 months ago

This is so sad!

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#7

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Feeling tired, headache, muscle cramps? Drink water. It is amazing how many people walk around in a state of dehydration. Water is an amazing fluid that solves a lot of problems.

GreenSalsa96 , R4vi Report

Nevid
Community Member
5 months ago

Don't feel tired? No muscle cramps? No headache? Drink water anyway. Don't wait being dehydrated in the first place and drink water regularly.

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#8

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks I don’t even know what made them think of it, but some researchers filled iPods for their elderly, confused clients with their favorite music. When they listen to the music, they are calm, recognize people better and are generally more cognizant.

readerf52 , herbert2512 Report

chi-wei shen
Community Member
5 months ago

Music has a calming effect and when your're calm everything works better.

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#9

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Putting a piece a duct tape on your bike seat so people won't steal it.

Who wants to try and sell a potentially ripped bike seat, let alone buy one.

ElBeatch , American Cyclery Official Report

Adam C
Community Member
5 months ago

This is not stupid at all

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#10

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks For me personally, I make a to-do list but put like 3 or 4 things that are just mind-numbingly simple. I knock them out, cross them off, feel productive, and feel motivated to hammer out the tougher pieces.

boyvsfood2 , Suzy Hazelwood Report

B-b-bird
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

This is my forever habit. And I should say not only it makes your life more simple, it keeps you productive and aware. One tip... if you started noticing that you have sooo many things on a list, AND by the time you accomplished them and crossed out... even more thing you had to add, AND it's like never ending story of piling up even though you are utilizing all your daylight hours. AND this piling up is stressing you, AND you need to highlight or put exclamation mark next to those with higher priority.... ...then your workload is too big, time to stop, take a breath and do something about your load. Health of your body and mind is of highest priority.

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#11

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks My anti-clothing static device. I think I learned about this on reddit.

I live in a dry climate and static cling was always a problem. I really dislike fabric softeners for multiple reasons, but this trick solved the problem.

Take an old cloth (mine is a cloth napkin) and pin 7-10 big safety pins to it. Just toss it in the dryer with your clothes. The safety pins hit the sides of the dryer, continually grounding your laundry.

mference123 , stevepb Report

Scagsy
Community Member
5 months ago

Scienced the sh!t out of it. Great job!

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#12

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks If you think someone is following you, literally act as crazy and stupid as you can. It is so stupid but the other person is usually so freaked out they leave you alone

Zedfourkay , Transformer18 Report

Adam C
Community Member
5 months ago

This is so sad, people have to act crazy to stay safe.

Helen Haley
Community Member
5 months ago

Most women know this.

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Katy McMouse
Community Member
5 months ago

One Halloween a friend gave me a DIY blood pack because I wasn't wearing a costume and it might have helped me not get assaulted. I had a bad feeling about a guy standing near the elevator in a parking garage I was walking through. Sure enough, I heard footfalls rapidly approaching from behind. Without even really thinking about it, I popped that blood pack in my mouth, grabbed my skull on both sides, let out a really loud groan and turned to face him, biting down on the pack just as he saw my face. It stopped him dead in his tracks and he turned tail and took off. I wasn't wearing any sort of costume or makeup, so if he had not been about to do something horrible, why didn't he try to help? Pinterest saved my ass that night.

elfin
Community Member
5 months ago

I'm not sure about this one. Predators tend to be looking for easy prey and this could make you look like easy prey.

Mama Panda
Community Member
5 months ago

I have been known to turn around and walk straight at them. I will memorize what they look like, what they are wearing and any other things that will help the police ID them. I also am reaching into my bag when I do this like I am reaching for a gun or a weapon. Sometimes I have even gotten vocal with them. They do not like any attention being brought to them at all and will typically retreat when confronted.

Mimi M
Community Member
4 months ago

Yep - a good one. I also will stop suddenly, forcing them to pass me. Then I follow them. This is particularly good if someone is pretty close behind. I've done this several times.

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infinite upvote
Community Member
5 months ago

I've done this with creeps - it 10/10 works. My fave trick is to find a garbage can and start throwing the contents around while making eye contact with the guy who's following me

Go Hawks
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

I signed on just to comment on this. Sometimes people are simply going the same way you are, but sometimes that turns into following. I was followed once, and since I was headed towards a sort of isolated woody area, I tested the idea by going around a block (literally 4 rights, right back to where I was). He was still there. So I pretend answered my phone enthusiastically (phone was on vibrate, so no accidental real call ring), turned 180°, and walked straight past him. It stopped that guy on that occasion.

Roadkill The Brave
Community Member
5 months ago

If you're walking in the same direction as someone and you're behind them stay partially to one side or the other so if they turn their head a bit they can see you. Its walking directly behind someone that really will set off alarm bells in their head. I have spent years disabling my triggers and someone coming up behind me, especially if they touch me from behind, is one that will set off flashbacks to the point I have to be medicated. A lot of people make assumptions as to why I get so twitchy and quite frankly if I can spot you in my peripheral its a non-issue because I've seen you, know you're there, and know you're not the threat. If I can't spot you, buddy yeah I start talking to myself as I get twitchier. Generally makes people get out from behind you.

Mimi M
Community Member
4 months ago

When I walk up behind another woman, I always go from the side, so she can see me.

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BeazleBug
Community Member
5 months ago

No need to act crazy...just mutter "I need to kill them all. I want to kill them all." over and over just like when you watch the TV news.

boredpanDaman
Community Member
5 months ago

thats creepy!

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Jane Petersen
Community Member
4 months ago

In 1999, I was a very young woman at a conference in D.C., far away from my small town. A group of us were walking and being bumpkins when this methed-out homeless guy was following us closely and harassing us for money. We were all terrified but that just made him do it more. I finally just stopped, turned around, and yelled like an animal "NOOOOOOOOOO!" He freaked out and ran the other way! The other kids were like, "dayum, you scared us!" LOL

Lindsey Judd-Bruder
Community Member
4 months ago

Maybe this is why no one has ever followed me, ever...

Sasha Kuleshov
Community Member
5 months ago

As a woman I preach testimony to this :D

MJ
Community Member
5 months ago

I don’t know... it could also backfire, because some can see that as an advantage? Should just learn some self defense techniques.

Kate
Community Member
5 months ago

But first, maybe ask yourself if they’re just headed in the same direction as you?

Carolina Fernández González
Community Member
4 months ago

When I don't feel safe in the street or I feel someone is too close to me I start to cough as loud as I can like if I'm very sick, works like a charm (pre COVID)

Thunder
Community Member
5 months ago

I once was being followed when I was on vacation and that same night I was being robbed.

Éva Nemes
Community Member
5 months ago

Was the first lesson on self-defense course. :) Sad, but very useful.

BabyCharmander
Community Member
5 months ago

You can also turn to face them, look them directly in the eyes, and ask them a simple question or a simple statement (ask for the time, comment on the weather, etc). If they’re a creep, they won’t want to bother you because you’ve gotten a good look at their face.

Robert Young
Community Member
3 months ago

My friend was talking on a payphone, and the guy kept staring at her from across the way. And she told her friend on the phone about it. Then she said no matter what I say next just laughed. So the closer he got she started talking about how her crotch it did she think she may have gonorrhea or syphilis, she said the itching and burning is horrible. And went on and on and on, the guy ended up crossing the street to get away from her.

Robert Robi Z
Community Member
4 months ago

Or they will go and rob you or just beat you up for the sake of itself, because they feel your vunerability

Magpie
Community Member
4 months ago

This is very difficult area. Sadly the mentally ill suffer a LOT more abuse than the non mentally ill......

Coco
Community Member
4 months ago

or others will pay attention to you and might help.

Cindy Jarrett
Community Member
5 months ago

I like this one!! Done this a bit in the past, pretend I’m mentally challenged verbally

moeless
Community Member
5 months ago

I'm not acting.

Z Alexi
Community Member
5 months ago

If you think someone's following you, accelerate your pace & literally be as loud as possible [talk to yourself; turn off phone].  Start cackling & coughing, throw pennies [any coins] onto the ground every 10 ft.  Pretend you’re picking up something off the ground [keep doing this, while watching the stalker as you're bent over]. If he thinks you're nuts, he may look for someone else to rob/attack...someone who's unaware [or has earbuds in ears & isn't focusing on her surroundings].

Marcia Cash
Community Member
5 months ago

I used to carry a little .44 in my purse, but it was so heavy (and illegal), so now I just WALK like I'm armed to the teeth and scary guys actually cross the street to get away from me!

Azure Adams
Community Member
5 months ago

This works... now only if it were an act...

Darwinist
Community Member
5 months ago

People simply hate weirdos

Gabby M
Community Member
4 months ago

I have done this in the past.....works like a charm. Especially pretending to pick my nose & eating it!!

CharliAnn Olney
Community Member
5 months ago

My father (God rest his soul) was a Sheriff. He said the safest thing for me to do if I thought I was going to be attacked was to "go nuts!" It actually worked. To bad it didn't work for him. He was shot for the crime of being a white cop.

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#13

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Taking a shower to remedy any ailment. Prescribed by my mother. Headache? Take a shower. Anxious? Go take a shower with lavender. Have a cold? Get in the shower with Vix vapor rub. It's not a cure all, but I guarantee it always makes me feel less bad than before.

essenkay , tookapic Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
5 months ago

Having a shower always makes me feel better. I hate getting into bed feeling grubby.

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#14

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks "The Superhero Stance"

Stand up straight. Chest out, shoulder back, hands on hips, chin slightly elevated.

It's so f**king stupid. But damned if you don't start to believe your own fake superhero hype.

PolloMagnifico , lucaslenzi Report

Jody Brown
Community Member
5 months ago

It would work even better for me if I looked like her.

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#15

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Telling your little kids to clean their room is a guaranteed way to get them to spend the day playing with their toys.

skulltvhat , Design_Miss_C Report

Elsker
Community Member
5 months ago

true... but then you still have to clean up de room yourself. so if anyone has tips to get them to actually clean?

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#16

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Putting hand sanitizer on bug bites. It's the most glorious feeling and it works better than any itch spray!

stoneyevora , hiroo yamagata Report

Nicola Roberts
Community Member
5 months ago

... but not on the paper cut you didn't realise you had!

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#17

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Long story short: A boorish guy was bullying my grandfather at a movie theater. My grandpa turned around and literally blew air on his face. The man was so weirded out that he left the theater.

jollysystem75 , jakehills Report

Stephanie Did It
Community Member
5 months ago

I would NOT do that during this pandemic, it would be construed as a physical attack and could get you hurt or in deep trouble!

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#18

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks My depression makes it hard for me to do chores on command, but I figured out that if I set a timer or give myself some time to psych myself up, then I do it. It doesn’t always work, but 85% of the time I end up succeeding, and it’s a huge leap from a few months ago when I just shut down over chores.

HouseFanatic64 , Sadia Report

Malakai
Community Member
5 months ago

This is a great tip. I'm going to start trying this and see if it helps--thank you for sharing! :)

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#19

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks If you think someone is watching you in a crowd, yawn. If they yawn too, they are watching you. Yawning is contagious!

colmatrix33 , mluotio83 Report

Blakkur Sverrir
Community Member
5 months ago

Except for psychopaths. Psychopaths are not affected by someone else yawning

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#20

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Smile when you talk on the phone and you sound much happier than you really are.

worrymon , nastya_gepp Report

Vic
Community Member
5 months ago

Eat cake, you feel happier than you real are.. 😀

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#21

Eating off a smaller plate. That trick helped me lose 80lbs.

jimvv36 Report

Cuddles
Community Member
5 months ago

It's true. You can't eat what won't fit on the plate. Although if you're going back for more it's not really gonna help much.

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#22

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Dressing well at work. You can be an amazing worker but people really do judge you by how you look. And by well I mean looking put together and professional. This applies for trades/blue collar work as well as white collar. I’ve worked both.

lefouilly , Darrell Jesonis Report

chi-wei shen
Community Member
5 months ago

This works almost everywhere, not only at work. If you wear formal clothes at work and go to a supermarket before going home you might see the difference.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#23

If you always forget if you have locked the door/closed the oven/charged your smartphone/... do something stupid after you did the thing you're about to forget. You won't remember the actual locking, but you'll remember the stupid thing, and then you'll know you did the thing. Stupid things include doing a little dance or pirouette, singing a small song (rickroll yourself!) or saying something really stupid like "I'd like to eat a towel right now!".

Erycius Report

Toea Muresan Iulia
Community Member
5 months ago

yes, but you have to change it every day... :)

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#24

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Wash your hands in shaving cream to remove fish/onion/nasty smells.

Rednecknrusty , mwa206 Report

Wubbleyew
Community Member
5 months ago

I'm more impressed with the face in the foam than the hack itself

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#25

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Watching movies you've already seen to help you fall asleep

gemini88mill , StockSnap Report

Magpie
Community Member
5 months ago

I listen to cricket. - the game.

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#26

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Positive self talk

cyber_buddy , leninscape Report

Scagsy
Community Member
5 months ago

This is going to be a real kick-ass comment and get loads of upvotes!

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#27

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Facial expressions affect your mood. Just faking a smile can help boost a meh or bad mood. Just squinting in the sunlight can bring your mood down. So spend time smiling and wear sunglasses.

dudius7 , Pexels Report

Clandestine
Community Member
5 months ago

I did this when I was in a low place and it helped a lot! I wish we were wearing masks then, would have made it easier.

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#28

People resent being emotionally manipulated, so don't do it. Ever.

You might get something in the short term when you try to 'butter up' or trick a person, but if you instead are civil and clear about what you want they will not spend days plotting revenge.

Substantial_Quote Report

chi-wei shen
Community Member
5 months ago

Don't spend days plotting revenge! If you got manipulated by someone address this problem and, if necessary, avoid that person in future, but do not waste your time, your energy, and your mental health with plotting revenge.

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#29

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Yell “strength of a bear!” before lifting something heavy

chamoisjuice , Ichigo121212 Report

JuJu
Community Member
5 months ago

Does "By the power of Grayskull..." also work?

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#30

Stupid-But-Works-Life-Hacks Wearing two pairs of socks, one thin pair under a thick pair. Sounds stupid. it helps wick the sweat away from your feet reducing stinky feet and crusty socks.

Bobby6k34 , LUM3N Report

Sullivan Webster
Community Member
5 months ago

I hate crusty socks

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Note: this post originally had 58 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.