Pretty much everyone's teenage years are a festival of self-consciousness, acute embarrassment, body horror and light alienation.
As any number of teen shows and movies have documented - from American Pie, Freaks and Geeks, Mean Girls and Superbad to The InBetweeners - adolescence is an often mortifying time, defined by exam stress, indignities witnessed and suffered at house parties and faltering first love.
While recalling your own historic gaffes can be traumatic, hearing about other people's youthful mistakes and lingering shame is another matter entirely, as TrollingSar found out when he asked the adults of Reddit:
What is something you really regret doing as a teenager?
The replies he received were superb, varied and entirely relatable.
NotBridget, for one, regretted wasting so much time on an unrealised infatuation.
Obsessing over my crush. What a waste of my precious time and energy.
Pussyfooting around my crushes and not just telling them how I felt.
To those of you still in high school: just fucking go for it. It's high school, pretty much everything is transient. And besides, High School is far from the deep-end. Just take the plunge.
noodles13 was embarrassed about being too shy and reserved.
I wish I wasn't so quiet. I had plenty of opportunities to have had a good friend friend group and even a boyfriend or two. I just let let had get the best of me and made me think that no one liked me or cared about me. In reality, I didn't like me enough to let myself have friends. I should have gone out, I should have talked to people, and I shouldn't have been afraid.
Like many, Spidertari lamented placing too much importance on what other people thought of her.
I regret that I was overly concerned what other people thought of me and completely ignored my studies. Even though I still think much of it was bullshit, if I had just applied myself I would have had so many more career options and better critical thinking skills when I was in my 20's. Took me 20 more years to get to finally get to that point.
Nolifecrisis never brushed his teeth! I know this is supposed to be a no-judgement zone but come on man.
Not brushing my teeth. Led to a root canal at age 18, accompanied by some of the most intense pain I've ever felt in my life. And I now have 5 crowns, that's fun.
Some, Unicorn_poop_ among them, regretted being surly and short tempered with a parent.
I fought with my mom. A lot. I'm now about to graduate college, and my deepest regret in life so far is not listening to her while I was still home. Now that I'm completely on my own, I have screwed up many times, and each I've come back crawling to her more times than I can count-just for her to give me the advice I rejected as a teenager.
LawsonButcher, likewise, felt remorse over not spending enough time with family.
not spending time with family. you know once it's gone you never get it back.
at that age my friends were everything, spent next to no time at home.
can still have friends and a social life, but set aside a day to hang out at home every week. don't even talk to 98% of those friends anymore, and the 2% that I do, is very sporadic.
Animal_shapes did not heed his teachers' warnings and took too much meth.
I did a lot of drugs. Mostly non addictive ones. And then I smoked meth for the first time when I was 17. Smoked like twice a month when I was 18 and stopped when I was 20. I'm 22 now and sometimes I have powerful urges to smoke again and that's not cool because I'm in college. Doing meth again would ruin my life lol.
Lastly, ahrzone reports a problem we didn't have back in my day, way back in the primordial, prehistoric mists of 2003.
sharing personal information online. I never got stalked or anything, but nowadays some of that stuff STILL exists. I even put up stories I wanted to one day publish.
Nothing comes of it now, but all it takes is one person with a vendetta against me to find out what stupid 15 year old me thought.