We all know that wisdom takes time. Just like when you’re a child and burn yourself with an oven, only to realize some surfaces are hot and you'd better stay away from them, so are the other things that require years of constantly learning through your own experience.

So when someone asked a seemingly simple question “What do people learn too late?” on r/AskReddit it immediately resonated with everyone. With 76.4k upvotes and almost 20k comments, we have some of the most illuminating answers below.

From protecting your ears from loud music if you don’t want tinnitus for the rest of your life, to realizing that salary is not the entirety of an equation when it comes to your job satisfaction, these are the things people wish they hadn’t learned the hard way but known it from the beginning.

#1

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) You're not obliged to have children of your own. You can be happy and fulfilled without reproducing.

bumtrinket , Tobias Begemann Report

ben woskje
Community Member
1 year ago

societies obsession with "when are you having kids"... and when you have a kid - "when are you having another" is all types of f****d up. Not everyone is cut out for having kids, some people cant have kids, some people just don't want kids.... leave them alone.

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#2

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) Don’t worry if you aren’t living an exciting or extravagant life. It’s okay to live simply and quietly. It doesn’t mean that you’re wasting your life.

xxmzie_13 , Michael Pollak Report

Otter
Community Member
1 year ago

Happiness comes in getting what you really want out of life, not in doing what you think will impress others.

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#3

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) The value of walking away from someone toxic in your life, even if it is your parents and family. If you are thinking of it and are scared and have somewhere where you can land in a safe place, then do it. It hurts like hell for a long while, but it gets better and one day you realize how peaceful your life is and you find you only miss the family you wish you had had.

irishmuminacoldland , Romain Guy Report

mcborge1
Community Member
1 year ago

I know this one all to well.

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#4

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) Learning when to say no.

Learning how to apologise when it's your fault, and how to not apologise when it's not your fault.

OneSalientOversight , fotografierende Report

Giovanna
Community Member
1 year ago

Yes. And also to value your time and pick your battles. I dont waste my time with people who are not worth it now.

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#5

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) Not everyone is going to like you, no matter how hard you try.

-eDgAR- , Didriks Report

Isabela Ivan
Community Member
1 year ago

You are not supposed to like everyone and not everyone has to like you

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#6

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) Many college degrees have no job market.

Trade school is a financially solid option out of high school.

Tbone139 Report

I I
Community Member
1 year ago

should bring them back , not all kids are academic some work better with their hands

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#7

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) A cat on his back inviting a chesty rub is a trap.

Poops_McClanahan , Counselling Report

JamezyJamez
Community Member
1 year ago

I'm really happy that all three of mine welcome them. When I have friends over, most are weary of my claims that their hands and arms are safe, but it's true!

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#8

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) That it's possible to do everything right and still lose. Just life innit.

KaasmoKraymah , Pat Pilon Report

James016
Community Member
1 year ago

"It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life." Captain Jean-Luc Picard

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#9

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) Take care of your teeth.

BecomingSavior , National Cancer Institute Report

Vasana Phong
Community Member
1 year ago

Yikes, going through mad tooth pain at the moment

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#10

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) That's being wrong and changing your mind is actually nothing to be ashamed of.

SA_DrOpossum , olia danilevich Report

J. F.
Community Member
1 year ago

Being wrong isn't bad, keeping on being wrong to not having to admit being wrong is bad

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#11

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) Don’t ever think it’s ok to “talk” to yourself in a manner you wouldn’t let another human being talk to you.

The biggest abuser I ever had in my life, was my constant companion: the thoughts in my head.

We often take care to choose our words when correcting a child or friend... but if anyone had talked to me, the way I talked to me for 30 straight years, I would have murdered them... and probably got away with it too.

Be nice to yourself, you’re the only you, you have.

Debaser626 , Taylor Smith Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
1 year ago

Easier said than done, that's for sure.

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#12

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) That mental & emotional abuse are a real thing.

Red flags.

nahbroski , Alex Green Report

Turtle42
Community Member
1 year ago

And yet they are least noticed. Cause you can't see it physically.

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#13

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) That it's never too late to learn.

j4yf3rb , Darkangels Report

I I
Community Member
1 year ago

live and learn , don't stop learning until you stop living

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#14

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) That being a parent is not always "the most rewarding thing in the world".

morgisartre , Pat PilonFollow Report

Dark Pearl
Community Member
1 year ago

It's stressful. My mother looks way older than she should, she's always tired and busy... It's horrifying!

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#15

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) The value of a good/unconditional friend.

nowittynameavailable , Free-Photos Report

Vasana Phong
Community Member
1 year ago

I would rather not have any , then have toxic ones, my husband is my best friend

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#16

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) How to manage their finances.

KreamoftheKropp , Emil Kalibradov Report

James016
Community Member
1 year ago

Its something they need to teach in schools if they are not doing so already.

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#17

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) Knowing when to NOT be nice.

-partymonster- , Allan Mas Report

Dark Pearl
Community Member
1 year ago

At least somebody gets it. My best friend is all sweet and innocent and overly nice, and I just wish that she would be a F*****G BITCH occasionally. Especially to me. I deserve it.

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#18

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) How soul crushing, unproductive, impotent and wasteful worrying about things is.

mhol7597 , energepic.com Report

denzoren
Community Member
1 year ago

I worry...constantly...about so much. Sometimes I can't help it.

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#19

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) What not to share on the internet.

DetectiveBowtie , Glenn Carstens-Peters Report

Martha Meyer
Community Member
1 year ago

I think in the 90ies teens knew not to do this very well. Today's teens however seem to do the opposite and I find that quite worrying. It's going to bite at least some of them in the backside in a nasty way later in life.

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#20

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) That the cliche "you never know when it's the last time you'll see to someone" should absolutely be remembered for every occasion. My best friend just died in a car accident this past Saturday, and the last time I saw him we got in an argument and he left and we didn't speak after that. I'm destroyed by it

Jew-Barrymore , Priscilla Du Preez Report

lunar eclipse
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

Oh gosh. I couldn’t imagine. The last time I spoke to my mother, we had an argument. She went into a coma that night and passed away.

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#21

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) That hating people who are different makes you nothing but unhappy.

JazzerBee , Keira Burton Report

Isabella
Community Member
1 year ago

Hating in general, not only different people, makes you unhappy. No reason is good enough for hating. Hate is the poison of the soul.

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#22

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) How dangerous driving a car can be.

Wendigogod27 , Dennis Yang Report

Pennywise
Community Member
1 year ago

I am terrified to learn how to drive a car. TERRIFIED

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#23

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) That some things can never be undone.

The actions you take and the words you speak will come back around sooner or later.

sherrymirza , Keira Burton Report

Maurettis
Community Member
1 year ago

Sadly, sometimes the only way you learn this, is by doing those terrible mistakes

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#24

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) How short life is.

snowmanseeker , Matthias Zomer Report

Lunar Bicycle
Community Member
1 year ago

No kidding. I’m fifty, and I swear I was twenty like ten years ago.

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#25

"Everybody you fight is not your enemy and everybody that helps you is not your friend." - Mike Tyson

[deleted] Report

Pink Floydian Panda
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

Did Iron Mike really say that? That is genuinely profound!

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#26

The sun is the worst thing for your skin, it burns you, causes cancer, and gives you wrinkles. SPF is your friend.

PM_Me_UrRightNipple Report

Michelle M
Community Member
1 year ago

100 upvotes for this. But the sun is also needed for Vitamin D..."in little amount"

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#27

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) That you might be wrong sometimes. Some never learn.

FairlyUnoriginal , Keira Burton Report

Ivo H
Community Member
1 year ago

These who never learn this are often people who are wrong most often

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#28

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) That happiness usually comes from a diverse range of interests, hobbies, and commitments. You are not your job. Your romantic partner cannot be your everything, etc. It's so easy to get sucked into a life where your career is everything or where you wrap your entire identity around your partner. There is nothing wrong with celebrating your loved ones and being close. And there is nothing wrong with caring about your job...you just need more to thrive. I see this so often in relationships. Two people meet and fall in love. They each inspire one another based on their interests and achievements, it's part of what makes them fall in love. But slowly, over time, they let those hobbies go. Stress gets in the way. Bills pile up. And then one day they find themselves wondering why they ever loved this person in the first place. Instead of being sexy and interesting they're just part of a routine.

TLDR: Diversify your interests and activities to be happy. Don't rely on a single person, hobby, or commitment to give you everything you need.

5dognowfive , Redmond Report

Otter
Community Member
1 year ago

Anyone ever see a person whose kids have made them happier than the interests they gave up when they became parents? Me neither.

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#29

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) Sitting on your ass all day is not good for your health at all.

poopellar , DESIGNECOLOGIST Report

AJ
Community Member
1 year ago

Also sometimes sitting on your ass all day (meaning taking a break and not doing a thing entire day) is very important and good for your health and can recharge you like nothing else.

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#30

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) There aren't actually any hot singles in your area.

ABViper , Georgie Pauwels Report

Otter
Community Member
1 year ago

There are so! There are hot singles in every area! And they're all interested in each other, not in us.

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#31

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) How to communicate.

create_and_grow , Garry KnightFollow Report

Michelle M
Community Member
1 year ago

My grandma used to say that 'Communication is the key to any successful relationship'

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#32

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) To appreciate their youth.

[deleted] , Allan Mas Report

Isabela Ivan
Community Member
1 year ago

I used to be very critical of myself as ateen, în my 20s....now at 37 i just think how dumb I was

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#33

How to not give a [damn] about how others see you.

Seems simple enough for me now in my 20s, but back in high school there were many f**ks given about how others saw me. Ironically, those people that didn’t care how others saw them were often the more respected ones.

slothbarns7 Report

Lara Verne
Community Member
1 year ago

The older I get, the less I care.

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#34

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) Saying “I love you” or wanting to reach out to your family, friends, and loved ones, but crippling anxiety stops you. You never know when it may be too late to say these things, so be in the moment, and live/love in the present authentically.

whatthedeafearhears , Heather Mount Report

denzoren
Community Member
1 year ago

I've never been able to really express my feelings for anyone. Now I'm in my 30s and so many missed opportunities later, I can only look back and think what might have been.

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#35

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) Interest rates, credit cards, credit score, money saving techniques, 401K. In other words anything that keeps you from being trapped by poor money management.

TheLivingBubba , Robert Scoble Report

N G
Community Member
1 year ago

What's that card? I've never seen one with LCDs.

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#36

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) To stop being afraid of asking or pursuing the things you want in life

NCbrownboi , Joe Bielawa Report

Green Machine
Community Member
1 year ago

No one else will help you be yourself. Don't live for others all the time.

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#37

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) Social media can consume your life. It’s not all real, and not everyone posting pictures is having a great time, and not every “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH WE SHOULD CATCH UP” is genuine.

Scarlaire , BuzzFarmers Report

Jo Johannsen
Community Member
1 year ago

So much of social media consists of passing on the latest trendy meme, trolling, or arguing about politics. Very little real communication takes place.

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#38

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) Pulling out is not an effective method for birth control.

echohelloworld , Monica Silvestre Report

Pink Floydian Panda
Community Member
1 year ago

Sounds like you learned that one the hard way!

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#39

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) The importance of education. As a kid your always hear generic statements like, "This will help your career" but nothing specific enough to be useful.

christian_daddy1 , Allison Meier Report

Martha Meyer
Community Member
1 year ago

I feel like the emphasize on education sucked the joy out of my teen years especially. So I don't agree with this one. Education is important, but don't align your entire childhood to some "career" in the future.

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#40

People Are Posting Things They Wish They'd Known Sooner (40 Posts) You are your biggest limitation.

AtilaMann , Pixabay Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
1 year ago

That's BS. Your parents, your environment, your education and the people you or your parents know decide your future.

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Note: this post originally had 90 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.