We are all people, aren’t we? Well, some of you might be robots, but let’s just say for the sake of it that you’re not one of them. If that’s true, then probably just like me and everybody else on the planet, you do a bunch of crappy things that you’d never admit in front of anyone. You might even go to your grave without ever revealing them, and that’s okay. Probably it might not be a good idea to tout them out loudly, anyway.
Crappy Things We All Do
This list is definitely not an all-inclusive one. It’s not a pet peeve list of mine, either. I do some of these crappy things more often than I’d like to admit. It’s merely a top-of-mind thing that came to me one day when I had a coffee too late in the evening, and I couldn’t sleep.
So, don’t look at this list as a judgmental rant against these crappy things we all do. It’s also not a manifesto to convince the world to stop doing those things. It’s just an observation, an analysis of human behavior.
So, take it lightly and, if you find yourself on this list, so be it. Take it like a champ and run with it.
Pretend we don’t see someone
There’s a time to talk, and there’s a time to be left alone. Very often, the latter is interrupted by the appearance of a person you know.
You might be in the supermarket, on the subway, or maybe you’re just strolling through the park.
And then you see them… Someone you know. Someone you are certain will want to stop and have a chit-chat, but you don’t feel like it. So, it’s time for action.
You suddenly look past them as though you haven’t even noticed them being there. At this point, you psych yourself out so much that the person doesn’t exist that, in fact, for a brief moment in space and time, they don’t. They cease to exist.
You then swiftly pivot so that there’s absolutely no way they’d be able to catch your eye, and you walk away with a straight face. No smile, no shiver. You put your hands in your pockets, maybe wipe an imaginary sweat drop off your brow and move on.
You’ll never speak about this. Later on, when you finally meet with that person, you won’t acknowledge, even if they call you out on it.
“I saw you at Stop & Shop. I even waved, but you walked away.”
“Really?” you shrug it off.
Deny, deny, deny. Life goes on.
Pee in the pool
Seriously, there’s something magical about dipping your whole body in water that automatically turns a switch in your head, and you gotta go. I firmly believe that if you are in a public pool, you are technically swimming in pee. Yeah, it’s diluted, but you know it’s there. And if there are kids in the pool, forget it.
The sad thing is, everybody does it, but most people will never admit it. Why? Because it sounds embarrassing. The other sad but true thing is that people won’t stop doing it for as long as humanity exists, and no one will ever admit it.
If you own a pool, people have peed in it (and you did it, too), no matter how close you’d build the bathroom.
I also find it funny how many people are searching for “pee in pool detectors.” Oh, if those would truly exist, what a sad reality check it would be.
Hail to chlorine!
Make up an excuse to get off the phone
We rarely say what we think when we want to get off the phone with someone. It feels like the real reason would hurt the other person or make us seem like assholes.
For example, saying, “Hey, I have something to do right now, and I can’t talk,” might make the other person feel less important than the thing that you have to do. If that’s the case, so what?
Would you get offended if someone said that to you? I wouldn’t. Respect and care work both ways, and being authentic is better than lying.
The issue is that when we want to get off the phone, we always come up with the craziest situation possible that would seemingly make the other person not even able to compare themselves to it.
“My stove just exploded. I gotta go.”
“My grandma’s para-gliding in the backyard, and I think one cord snapped off. I gotta go.”
“There’s a grizzly bear in my kitchen. I’ll call you in the evening.”
Here’s the thing: nobody believes what you say, and they all know you’re trying to get off the phone. At this point, it’s almost like a social contract. We all do it, so we might as well be okay with it.
Should you be authentic and not lie? Sure, you should. But, well, sometimes a little white lie won’t kill you, so long as it doesn’t become a habit of handling difficult situations.
For now, I think it’s okay to go ahead and Larry David your way out of it (if you haven’t watched Curb Your Enthusiasm, you won’t get this; sorry!)
Leave a drop of milk in the cartoon
That’s a generic title for taking anything from anywhere and leaving just a little bit of it in there, so you don’t have to throw the whole thing away or clean it up. Usually, throwing the entire thing away might also imply having to take a trip to fetch a replacement.
For instance, if there’s only a bit of toilet paper left and you take the last piece, you might need to go to the basement and grab a new roll. But if you leave just enough for the next person to have some, the burden falls on them. Neat, right?
Definitely not. It’s probably one of the most annoying things when others do it. When you do it, not so much…
I said no judgments, but I’m gonna have to call stop on this one!
Wear socks with holes in them
Socks with holes don’t belong in your drawer unless you have a weird sock-collecting fetish.
If you don’t have such a collector’s inclination, socks with holes belong in the trash. In the spirit of true decluttering, any article of clothing with holes in them that cannot be fixed by sowing it belongs in the garbage.
And, please, don’t have a separate pile that you only wear around the house. You know why? Because one day, you’ll run out of good socks because you messed up the laundry cycle. When that happens, you’ll go for the ones with the holes as a last resort.
To make it easy, think about it this way: picture every day you get dressed as a day you’ll go on a first date, and the date will culminate with you and the other person getting naked. What are the things that you’d feel embarrassed if they were to see? Besides dirty underwear, socks with holes, for sure.
Make things sound ten times greater
Have you ever told a story and made yourself look a lot greater than you were? No? What’s the matter with you?
The truth is, we all like to be heroes. Since most of us don’t get the chance to be heroes, at least we try to create situations that make us feel like a hero. From there, it’s just a tiny leap until we convert that need to a desire for others to think of us as majestic human beings who transcend life and perform at the highest level.
Are we, really? No, we’re not. Maybe in one field or other, we excel but not enough to have everyone mesmerized when we walk into a room.
So, then, what do we do? We embellish our stories. We increase the size, the length, the weight, the girth, what have you–all to sound just a tiny bit better than in reality.
Is it damaging? I doubt it unless you slip deep into a Munchhausen type of situation, and you lie your ass off all the time.
Besides that, go ahead; give a little color, give a slight feel. Use the fine brush to add a few details that you wish had been at the time. That’s okay.
Maybe that six-inch fish you caught while fishing wasn’t two feet long, but who cares?
Pretend to like someone’s children
This one hurts; it really does. And truthfully, there’s no way around it. I have kids, and I believe they are the most beautiful specimens that have ever existed and will ever exist. I’m sure you feel the same.
The sad truth: they aren’t. But that assessment is subjective because there’s no such thing as absolute beauty or cuteness. Everything is relative and subject to your interpretations.
So, yeah, some kids will look cute and pretty, while others won’t. Should we do a Kramer and freak out when we see one that we don’t consider cute enough? No, I don’t think so.
In this particular case, let us keep on keeping on and allow those parents to hold on to that idea that their kids are the princesses and princess they believe they are.
It’s okay. They’ve suffered enough. Let them have a win.
Tell little lies to avoid a conversation
There comes a time when you need to have a chat; not a pleasant kind of chat, but more on the dreadful side than not. Usually, it’s about something you’ve done or haven’t done or otherwise should’ve done. It’s what we all know as difficult conversations.
Those types of conversations are prone to bring over a slew of uncomfortable emotions, and most people would prefer to avoid feeling that way.
So, we come up with something tiny—an innocent lie—to get out of that conversation. We usually drop those fake stories on the cusp of the conversation, just in time to prevent it from happening.
“Oh, I have a terrible headache” is one of the classics, but there are others, such as “I had the worst day,” even though you didn’t.
These are preemptive things you throw in the ring, so the other person becomes reluctant to engage in the conversation. If they bite it, the diversion succeeds.
Of course, it would be best to face that conversation and deal with those uncomfortable emotions the right way, but now and then, I think it’s okay to give yourself an out, so long as it doesn’t become your M.O.
Covertly stare at people
Look, there are some attractive people out there who’ll take your breath away on a whim. You’ll feel mesmerized in their presence, and you’ll stare; with our without sunglasses.
Deep down inside, you hope that they’ll notice you from the corner of their eyes and open up a big smile, open their arms and hug you. “I love you too.”
Instead, the thought in their head is probably, “who is that creep staring at me from behind that column, and should I call the police?”
The point of this is: it’s probably not a good idea to be a creep, even though creepiness itself is subjective.
Pretend to like what others like
We all have an innate need to belong and find our tribe. We need to be a part of something, and that something must embrace us completely.
It’s human nature to crave that connectedness, so it’s not a surprise that we’ll try to belong by pretending many a time.
It usually happens when we find a group or a person we want to connect with. At that moment, we are all faced with this dilemma: be ourselves or be more of what that person or group expects us to be?
Often, we opt for the latter, and we mold ourselves into the shape of what that desired group or person needs us to be and become somebody else.
We laugh at jokes we don’t find funny. We agree to statements we’d otherwise reject. Sometimes, we even offer stories that support our liking.
Why? Because we want to belong.
Is it right? I don’t think it is, but I’ve done it. With the risk of sounding too Machiavellian, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. (Hey, I’m well aware Machiavelli wasn’t an Italian gangster from Brooklyn!)
Say you get it when you have no clue
Harvard professor Bob Keegan describes a phenomenon happening in the workforce today as “the second job.” That means spending an enormous amount of energy managing your image rather than doing the work.
One part of managing your image is ensuring that the people around you believe that you are knowledgeable and can perform in your role without outside help.
The role can be in your profession, but it applies just as much to functions such as husband, parent, friend.
We all like others to believe that we are smart and, thus, we understand things. They must know that we are capable and, therefore, we know our shit.
So, when we are told to do something, we often say, “of course, I’ve got that covered,” even though we have absolutely no clue what it’s about.
How long can you pull that off? Well, if you’re crafty enough, forever. If you’re not, your house of cards will tumble one day, and everyone will see the real you.
An even more interesting perspective is when you are in a position of authority, such as a parent or boss. When you ask people to do things, do you know when they shake their heads, yes, but have no clue what you’re talking about?
Lie on your resume
This is a tough one, I’ll admit it. All resumes have to be a tiny bit embellished, much like no sales pitch is entirely accurate.
I’m talking about little white lies, such as putting “masterful in Excel,” when in fact you are “moderately good,” or writing “10 years of experience,” when you mean eight.
At its core, I think this one is okay. If you get that job at the end of the day, the fluff on your resume will be short-lived. You’ll have to figure out a way to either do the job or learn it on the job.
So, rest assured: as long as the resume is a hiring tool, there will always be some level of resume embellishment. Just do it smartly and don’t totally make shit up because you’ll get caught.
Keep On Keeping On, Human
I am a firm believer that being yourself and being proud of who you are is a critical prerequisite for living a happy life. Trying to be someone else, or lying, faking, and hiding your way through life is a very winding and backward way to get to that happiness.
It’s tempting to think you can take a shortcut, but although in the short run it might seem that way, in the long run, it will bite you in the ass severely.
Authenticity and honesty are your best bets when it comes to the long-term. Sure, you can fake it until you make it in the short term, but it won’t work in the long run. It will always lead to you having an egg on your face.
That being said, it’s okay to forgo those concepts once in a while and let your guard down. After all, you’re human. Be human.
Other Articles About Things We All Do
- 11 Shitty Things We All Do But Never Admit
- 15 Bad Things Even The Nicest People Do
- 8 Things We All Do Which Makes Us Terrible People, But We Do It Anyway!
Now, before you go, I have…
3 Questions For You
- How many items on this list do you do in your day-to-day?
- Are there any other crappy things people do that you know of?
- What’s the one crappy thing you’d wish everyone would stop doing?
Please share your answers in the comments below. Sharing knowledge helps us all improve and get better!
Hi there! I’m Iulian, and I want to thank you for reading my article. There’s a lot more if you stick around. I write about personal development, productivity, fiction writing, and more. Also, I’ve created Self-Growth Journey, a free program that helps you get unstuck and create the beautiful life you deserve. Enjoy!