People Over 40 Share Their Best Advice For Folks In Their 20s
With each passing year, it's hard not to look back on your life, and the decisions you've made.
How you wished you'd done this or hadn't done that.
Wishing that you were brave enough to try something, or wish you'd never even heard of something you took part in.
It can be said that the time we might look back on with the most regret is our 20s, that decade of life most heavily associated with figuring out what we want to do with our lives.
Some might wish they'd accomplished more in their 20s, while others might wish they slowed things down and didn't rush into some things.
Redditor morningperzon was curious to hear from people in their 40s what advice they would give to those still enjoying the adventure that is their 20s, leading them to ask:
"People who are 40+, what’s your advice to people in their 20s?"
"Don't put yourself in ridiculous amounts of debt trying to portray a certain image."
"You'll spend your entire life trying to get out of the hole you dug or you'll have to declare bankruptcy."
"Set aside enough money to cover 3-6 months of expenses for emergencies just like now."
"Moreover, save now for your retirement years."
"It doesn't require much and if you have it taken directly from your paycheck you won't be inclined to not pay yourself first."
"Take care of your body."
"Exercise to maintain a healthy weight and good cardiovascular health."
"As you get older, it's much harder to maintain these."
"Enjoy the days of your youth without going overboard."
"There is nothing wrong with having a good time, yet if you are always waking up wondering what happened last night, why you can't remember how you spent so much money or you always have a hangover; you should tone it down a bit."
"Don't take advice or criticism as a personal attack."
"Most times the people who care about you have observed behavior in you which is off-putting, doesn't reflect who you really are or could be or would make you a more rounded person.- Thomasgraham76
Respect your body, make good choices
"I'm going to post this b/c I know someone young is struggling w/ addiction rn."
"Don't waste your life."
"Don't wake up at 39 and let that sh*t hit you like a ton of bricks that you've pissed away half of your life on drugs."- scorpiobw1980
Love yourself and be happy!
"Don't let yourself get out of shape."
"If you're addicted to nicotine, stop. If not, don't ever start."
"VERY few companies out there will ever give a sh*t about you."
"You should never feel any loyalty to them."
"Ask him/her/them out."
"Worst case you get a 'no'."
"Life isn't a competition, no one wins and no one gets out alive."
"Be happy as much as possible." - user deletedHappy Season 9 GIF by The OfficeGiphy
Don't be beholden to plans and expectations
"Don't fall for the trap that your life needs to be one long narrative that you should be building."
"Life is best when it's a bunch of happy moments that just happen to be connected."
"Don't try to make your life into a novel, make it a book of poems."- Ok-Wallaby9642
Save those dentist bills...
"Brush your teeth."- Dazzling-Adeptness11
"Take care of your teeth."- iuytrefdgh436yujhe2
"Floss your teeth really well, at least once a week."
"Will save you money in the future."- Otherwise_Picture_77Teeth Tooth GIF by OllieTorresGiphy
Stay loose and limber
"Never get out of the habit."
"You don't have to be in the best shape to be happy, but stretching makes everything feel better, keeps it feeling good, and means that when you inevitably hurt yourself at some point in the future it's easier to recover." - User deleted
"You may feel invincible now."
"Every person in their 20s does."
"And then you hit 30."
"And you start noticing things like it hurts when you jump down the last two stairs instead of walking down them, or when you wake up, or just, from existing."
"In my 40s now, and I'm still doing just fine, and find my daily yoga practice matters more than any other exercise I've ever done."- JoshG1981Warm Up Golf GIF by Farmers Insurance ®Giphy
Find out who are your real friends
"Ghost your sh*tty friends."
"They are as much of a liability to your health and future as any other malicious factors in your life right now."
"And if you have to ask if they're a sh*tty friend, they are a sh*tty friend."
Save Those Pennies
"Put $ away NOW."
"You don't think old age will ever come your way, but just today you got closer to it."
"'Time goes by like hurricane, faster than a speeding train" Allman Bros.- kittykittyspank
"Start saving money even if it is only 5 or 10 dollars a week."
"Put it into a free stock account with the money tossed at a big corporation and just let it sit."- EelBittenPig Save GIF by Banco ItaúGiphy
Bottom line, live your best life!
"Start an investment fund."
"Develop good habits with your diet and physical activity."
"Don’t obsess over relationships or lack there of."
"Only follow your bliss if you have a good idea or plan on how you’re going to make a career out of it."
"Lastly, don’t live life virtually."
"Keep your social media in check."
"Don’t let it become your life."
"Go outside."- No-Philosopher-4793
If you have an addiction that is affecting your life deal with it now."
"Eliminate it or go to and participate in recovery."
"Lift weights and exercise."
"Your body is your temple and you will feel great in your 40s if you keep up with an exercise routine."
"Your boss does not care about you."
"You may think that you're special or talented and you very well might be."
"Your boss and your company does not care about you."
"Do your required hours and then go home, don't give extra."
"If you decide to get married, this shouldn't and isn't a thing for everyone BTW, make sure it's not just for love but to have a partner and a best friend."
"I'm so lucky I have a great wife."
"Having kids is a wonderful experience."
"While I personally think it's the best thing I've ever done it's certainly not for everyone and you will give up a lot of your personal life, hobbies, time alone and everything that you once did for yourself."
"Focus on having good people in your life."
"Eliminate the toxic people that can't change."
"Challenge yourself everyday, learn everyday and do new and exciting things."
"Travelling the world on the cheap has been a most rewarding experience."
"See and meet all different kinds of people from all walks of life."- ThorSawCbs Live Your Best Life GIF by The Late Show With Stephen ColbertGiphy
Continue to strive for excellence.
No matter if it kills you, make a daily routine to balance the following areas of your life."
"Studying, Work, Spirituality, Physical Fitness, and Cleanliness in environment/Stellar face/teeth/bodily grooming habits."
"Entertainment comes last, but daily if even for a 1/2 hr, so you don't binge or don't resort to toxic binge-type behavior."
"Don't do drugs ever."
"if you have, stop."
"They may expand your mind for a moment."
"But it's like making a hole in the walls of your house."
"Even when you lock your doors, something crawly can get in."
"Never take something internally that will leave you in a state more vulnerable than you already are."
"When working, make an LLC and put yourself and spouse and children on payroll."
"Set aside 1/3rd of your paycheck forever."
"1/3 rd of THAT will be used in stable return endeavors."
"Another 1/3rd will go into gold."
"Or similar store of value."
"The final 1/3rd will go into saving to buy land/real estate."
"Build your credit thru 20 levels and learn how to spend other people's money and make a profit on it."
"Work on things on a daily basis."
"Chip away slowly every day."
"This is how excellence is built."
"Never leave anything for last minute."
"STEP on your ego."
"If your ego doesn't like something, do it."
"If your ego likes something, delay it."
"Find a guide, someone to follow and learn from."
"A true master."
"Don't be so proud that you won't bend the knee to learn from masters."
"Understand your weaknesses."
"Learn from them."
"Laziness is a killer."
"Anger, Pride, Jealousy and Stubbornness will destroy you."
"You don't have to control everything in other people's lives."
"Your partner or children."
"Advise, enforce but don't force. control everything in YOUR life."
"Your behavior, your speech, your actions."
"Being in control of yourself, and the ability to RELY on yourself as circumstances change around you, is a sustaining reward."
"Meet people from all over the world."
"You share the earth with them for a reason."
"Do not be insular."
"Share food, culture, intentions and laughter with people who look nothing like you."
"This will turn you into a real human being."
"Give back as much as you can."
"Give in a way that if you give with your right hand, your left hand is unaware."
"Beware people who compliment you."
"They want something from you."
"Learn self-defense or a martial art."
"When interacting with people on a business level."
"Meaning, money will exchange hands for a service."
"Prior to meeting with them, outline what the cost will be and what the reasonable expected result will be."
"It will make the experience easier."
"Written contract for everything that will have long-term effects on your life."
"Record video as much as you can before, during after."
"Make records of everything that can have legal repercussions, like landlord leases, buying cars, homes, business partnerships and learn to organize and preserve these digitally for easy accessibility."
"Just off the top of my head."
"Good luck."- BuzzLawldrin
Be a gracious guest
"Never show up to a party, no matter how small, empty handed."
"It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to be a lot."
"Just bring something in the realm of food."- melissastandard
Needless to say, life should always be about moving forward, and not looking back with regret.
Though the younger generations will no doubt be thankful 20 years from now for getting this advice.
If they listen to it, that is...
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Reddit user cloudtdaz asked: 'What food have you tried liking but just can’t?'
There's a misconception that some foods are so superb in flavor or quality that everyone will love them, but taste is extremely subjective. A person's sense of taste can vary greatly even within the same family.
There's also some debate about the capabilities of the human tongue.
Biology suggests human taste buds only detect four flavors:
What one person tastes is likely not an exact match to what someone else does.
Some people love spicy foods while others feel physical pain when eating foods featuring chilis. Some people are sensitive to salt while others add extra salt to everything they eat.
Because our sense of taste is so individual, it's inevitable some popular foods won’t be palatable to everyone. And that's not even considering texture, smell or appearance which can also turn a diner right off.
Curious about which foods left people disappointed, Reddit user cloudtdaz asked:
"What food have you tried liking but just can’t?"
"Peeps,the Easter sugared candy."
"I like to think I can digest anything covered in sugar BUT NOT THAT...."
"They’re best when they’re stale. I can’t eat them fresh."
"My grandmother would send them to my dad every single year. He would leave them in the cabinet for probably 2-3 years. When the new pack arrived on Easter he popped open the 3-year-old pack."
"He dry aged peeps. That's incredible and terrifying."
"Peeps are some of the foulest creations that have ever hit the food realm. Whoever invented them needs to have their existence removed from history."
"I hated them as a kid but as an adult I decided to try them again, thinking maybe my tastebuds had matured by then."
"Nope. They were still just as awful as I remembered."
"My grandpa used to eat them every morning with coffee instead of milk."
"I'm not sure if he was lactose intolerant or what but good grief, I can't imagine what that combination tasted like."
"As a kid, I never felt more lied to."
"I liked grape juice and grape flavored candy, so why wouldn’t I like 'Grape-Nuts'?"
"Hate the cereal, but love the ice cream."
"Not sure if it's just regional, but here in Maine Grape-Nuts ice cream was around for decades. I think only Gifford's still makes it commercially."
"Intestines/innards of any kind and solid portions of fat on meat."
"One of my husband's favorite dishes is barbequed intestines (Japanese barbecue) and I can smell its appeal, but I physically can't deal with the texture."
"And it really saddens me because I've always wanted to eat menudo and I know the soup is bomb AF 😭."
"I think I have some sort of fat/chewy PTSD from when I was forced to eat gristle off of meat as a kid."
"Yeah I can't do innards either."
My mom loves that stuff because 'it was the cheap stuff back then" and they had a big family. I guess I'm glad I'm an only child."
"I've accepted my DNA just can't stand the stuff."
"My mom loves it. She makes it look so good."
"I'm 29 and I still think 'hmm maybe this time...'."
"Nah. It's like tar vomit."
"Same with my mom."
"Black licorice, black jellybeans. She loved ‘em."
"I inherited exactly ZERO of her taste buds for that."
"It is the foulest flavor ever."
"Black licorice tastes like depression."
"I can’t drink eggnog."
"Every year I give it a shot and try to like it, but I just can’t."
"I mean , it’s essentially drinking (sometimes alcoholic ) custard. So that’s fair."
"I myself cannot be trusted with eggnog and should not be left unsupervised or I will put a straw in a half gallon container and slowly sip years off my life."
"I’ve always thought it tastes like bad bubblegum so I’ve never really been a fan either."
"Yep this. I give it a shot every year to see if it’s changed. It doesn’t."
"I give it to someone else in my house who likes it; or pour it down the drain."
"It’s truly awful. Texture taste smell, all just bad."
"Liver the smell alone makes me sick."
"I just wonder how Humans get to that stage."
"They find something, it smells foul, cook it, still smells foul, AND THEN DARES TO EAT IT."
"We're glorious as a species."
"I'm guessing when we first started eating liver, humans didn't smell very good either."
"I have tried it maybe 15 times, different preparations because people claim their recepie makes it not taste like sh*t."
"Lo and behold, it still tastes like funky iron meat."
"I don't even like foie gras for the same reason, that metallic taste comes through, ugh!"
"Kombucha, smells like stinky feet and taste like vinegar to me."
"Kombucha absolutely DOES taste like vinegar, coming from someone who loves it. Other kombucha enjoyers will try to deny the vinegar taste, I embrace it because I bloody love vinegar."
"I even have 'sipping vinegars' in my fridge in various flavors, to add to cocktails or to pour a shot glass of and sip on… just pure vinegar."
"Very strange of me, and I totally understand why other people would not like that flavor."
"Oooh people used to drink vinegary things a lot more because they were refreshing! Try raspberry shrub!"
"I know this is a drink, but sparkling water."
"I like some flavors, but I can’t stand that after taste. Bleh!"
"The way I describe it: 'it's what tv static would taste like' or 'it's the same flavor as hitting your funny-bone'."
"We were given some flavored water at work and my employee said it tasted like 'a strawberry farted in the water'."
"My son calls LaCroix a piece of fruit waving to to a can of water."
"I say with Perrier that someone yelled a flavour into the water."
"My favorite is 'someone placed a lime skittle next to some soda water'."
"Overnight oats. They're basically lumpy, cold snot in my throat first thing in the morning."
"I gag just thinking about adding chia seeds."
"This comment has me literally confused as to if I actually like my overnight oats or just tell myself I do."
"Oh man. I feel this."
"It just looks like refrigerated vomit to me. Absolutely not."
"I tried to like overnight oats for a couple of weeks."
"Tried a bunch of different recipes, but they all ended up being disgustingly sweet slop."
"The only one I sort-of liked was the 'chai latte' one, which emphasized spices over sweets."
"Still not worth the effort to make them—I'd rather just make microwave oatmeal."
"Wine. Every year I'll try it around the holidays with family and it's still gross."
"You can only appreciate wine after you have tasted the bitterness of life."
"Once in my life I have tasted wine that I actually liked, and that was Golconda wine, which I tried in Darjeeling."
"After I got back to the USA, I decided that I would, for the first time in my life, actually spend money to acquire wine."
"Went to a wine shop. They had never heard of it."
"Turns out it’s not exported, and if you want some, you have to go to India."
"Olives. I've tried many varieties."
"I always try them because they look like they'd be good but they're just not."
"As a bartender for over a decade, I’m constantly surrounded by olives."
"They always look good & once in a while I’m like 'do I like these yet?'.”
"No. I still hate olives, & I hate myself more for trying again each time & expecting different results."
"Matcha ! Just tasteslike grass to me."
"I worked in a business park that had a matcha headquarters in it. They moved out and dumped big boxes full of matcha samples that they took to trade shows."
"Never tried it before but I was thinking what a treat I had found, I would be enjoying free matcha for at least a year if not longer."
"Boy was I wrong."
"Seriously, I do not get the hype about it at ALL."
"Like when people tell me matcha frappes at Starbucks are the best I'm just like 🥴🥴 bffr dude?"
"That sh*t tastes like creamier wheatgrass. Nasty."
"Any kind of mushroom."
"It's not the texture there is always a taste that i cant do for some reason."
"Taste and texture for me! It’s the only food I absolutely hated since I was a child."
"Same. I can eat them on a supreme pizza because they just get lost in everything else, but if I can taste them, I'm out."
"Eating cooked mushrooms feels like chewing on rubber."
"Beets. I just can't."
"What got me to like cooked beets was a beet and goatcheese salad at an upperscale restaurant."
"Nope! Tried one of those and they still taste like dirt."
"I don't care how you prepare them, pickled, roasted, whatever the f'k, they taste like dirt."
"Wash them, peel them, boil them, add sugar, mix with sour cream, put in a salad, all you accomplish is different tastes to accompany the overwhelming flavor of DIRT."
"Soggy fried okra is the dinner of my nightmares."
"Okra is an abomination."
"I like damn near all vegetables but that slimy bullsh*t can f'k right off back to the ectoplasmic bog it slithered out of."
"Okra? She’s not that bad."
"You have to at least admit she was generous with the audiences and she's a decent interviewer."
I have two to add that weren't mentioned:
- lima beans
Which is embarrassing as both are culinary staples in my culture.
Lima beans are probably disliked by plenty of people, but salmon is on lots of restaurant menus. I've tried it over a dozen ways—poached, broiled, grilled, pan-seared, smoked, marinated, as sashimi, dried, loafed, baked—and I just don't like the taste of it.
Salmon is the only fish or seafood I've tried that I dislike and I've had both octopus and sea urchin. I'm sure my ancestors are mocking me.
Have you ever really wanted to like a popular food but ended up giving it a hard pass?
Share your experience in the comments!
Marriage is a sacred bond between two people…but sometimes it isn’t quite as easy as just saying yes to that special person. Sometimes you just have to look at your friend, take a deep breath, and agree to get married if you’re both sad and single in later years. These Redditors share tales of times when a marriage pact worked out—or didn’t.
The Better Manwedding, wedding rings, marriage, jewelry, love, marry, the ...wedding, wedding rings, marriage, jewelry, love, marry, the ...
Not a pact but a joking promise: My best friend and his girlfriend had been dating for several years. I told her, jokingly, if he didn't marry her in a year, I would. We were friends, never dated, never kissed, nothing.
A year later we were walking down the aisle. I can't stress how big of a surprise it was for both of us when we got together. That was two kids and almost 24 years ago. Our oldest starts college this fall. The best thing is, we're the way we were when we were just friends; being married hasn't changed much.
No, Thank You
I made this pact with my best male friend in high school—but there was a bizarre twist. When we were about 20, he told me that even if he got married before 30 and I still wasn't married, he would divorce her for me, which I found to be an odd statement. We went our separate ways and I didn't hear back from him until I turned 31. By this time, he was married and I was not. We spent the day together and he asked me, "Remember our marriage pact"?
He wanted to divorce his wife for me. I declined.
The Pact Player
I made pacts with a bunch of female friends through high school, college, and university. On my wedding day, just before the service, one girl made reference to our pact, only for two of the other girls to overhear her and state that they also had a pact.
All three were shocked I went to such lengths. I was coy about it, though, and made the pacts at different ages in case one or two became off the market. You could say I was a pact player.
The Momma’s Boyman and woman dancing at center of treesPhoto by Scott Broome on Unsplash
My cousin had a pact, and it was heartbreaking. The guy she made the pact with was a Momma's Boy cranked up to 11.
She made the pact with someone she knew, then watched her cousins and friends all get married and/or have babies back-to-back in the space of a couple of years, so they enacted their pact. He proposed on Christmas Day, they married on Valentine's, and fast-tracked a pregnancy.
In the first trimester, things went south. Momma's Boy involved his mother in their marital squabbles—and the consequences were devastating. She convinced him to leave his brand-new, pregnant wife. His wife gives the ultimatum: show up for the birth or stay gone.
Guess who’s back living with her parents with a new baby and a divorce in the works?
That’s One Way To Do It
My husband and I actually have a different pact.
He grew up in a home where both his parents were married and never got a divorce but he watched all four of his older siblings screw up in relationships and have unplanned children, or multiple divorces, or a wife who tried to run her husband over…So he decided that he wanted to be married and never get a divorce.
I grew up in a home where my parents were divorced, and I would go every other week from my mom to my dad's. And they lived about an hour away from each other. It brought me a lot of stress in my life and I also decided that when I grew up, I wanted to find somebody who I would be with forever and never get divorced.
My husband and I met in high school and we decided we liked each other a lot. Two years into our relationship, we decided to get engaged. Three years after that, about two months before the wedding, we sat down and had an in-depth conversation about our relationship and what we expected of each other.
And we decided then and there that if we ever decided that we wanted to get a divorce, it would be a knife fight. We would battle it out until one of us passed, and then the other would be single.
A Little Dramatic
When I was a sophomore, I made that exact pact with a woman I was casually dating. She was a gorgeous, tall redhead with a tendency to be overdramatic. She was the first woman I was ever obsessed with in my adult life. We actually wrote up the pact, signed it, and got someone in our dorm to act as our witness.
Several years after graduation, I brought it up to her when we met for a drink. Her reaction was brutal. She said she'd never speak to me if I ever mentioned it again. When I ran into her during a college reunion last year, I realized that I no longer had any feelings for her whatsoever, which was a pleasant surprise.
Effort Pays Offwhite and red airplane on the road during daytimePhoto by JD X on Unsplash
I had a real close friend in high school that was a social butterfly and, for whatever reason, liked to hang out with awkward nerds like me. One day she suggested a marriage pact if we were both still single at 35, and I agreed with a laugh because, hey, I didn't expect her to remember me among all her other friends and there was no way she'd still be single by then.
After graduation, her family moved to the other side of the country and I figured I'd just be another Facebook friend. But we stayed in touch and actually started talking more—constant Skype webcam and phone calls way too late into the night.
It turned out I was one of the few people that actually bothered to put anything into a continuing relationship, and about a year after graduation she confessed that she had fallen in love with me.
That was seven years ago. We're getting married in 29 days.
Sharing Pregnancy Joy
I made a pact about 10 years ago with a very close friend. We never dated, we just agreed this would make sense in the long run if we don't find our soulmates on the way to his 30th.
Well, I met someone else and I'm now 30 and 6 1/2 months pregnant with the love of my life. But I was in for a huge surprise. About two months ago, I met my friend and his girlfriend at the OB-GYN waiting room—I came for a regular pregnancy check and they came for their pregnancy confirmation.
We laughed because we didn't share the news with each other yet and we never spoke about the pact with our partners. Now we're both waiting for our firstborns with different people and sharing pregnancy joy and stuff. It turned out better than we could ever imagine.
Holding On A Little Too Hard
I made a marriage pact with my very good friend in 10th grade—around 1988 or so—that we'd get married at 27 if we were both still single. We had every class together for three years straight, got along famously, and were just greatly compatible. She went overseas for college and I joined the armed forces, and she just stopped responding to letters after around 9 months.
In 1992, I got engaged, and suddenly ran into her in a mall. I introduced my future wife, and my old friend lost her mind. Right in front of my future bride and all, in the middle of the shopping center, screaming at me about how I betrayed our agreement, I belonged with her, yadda yadda yadda. Calm as can be, my wife asked her why she stopped writing to me then?
Like a light switch flipping, my old friend started bawling her eyes out, and plopped down on the floor. We hurried out of there, and I never saw her again. Bullet dodged.
The Saddest Storyshallow focus photography of man and woman holding handsPhoto by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
We met in college, and were instant best friends. I was 20; she was 18. We spent all our time together and were briefly lovers, but we never formally dated because both of us were very much into being wild and free and enjoying our youth. We dated other people on and off, but we talked about it and agreed that a committed relationship between the two of us would be an all-or-nothing kind of thing.
Since neither of us wanted to give up our hedonistic, promiscuous, irresponsible lifestyle, we made a point of not committing to a relationship. A few years went by that way, and we were very happy—but then life threw her a horrible curve ball.
Her sister died suddenly. It was a car accident. They were 16 and 18. My friend was utterly, completely devastated. It still hurts me to remember it, even now. Her father, though, was even more devastated, to the point where he was legitimately willing to let himself starve rather than try to go on living. She moved home, out of state, to take care of him.
She cut ties with everyone for a while, even me. I didn't see her again for two years. She was so different after that. Before the accident, she'd always been the most joyful, exuberant, positive person I'd ever met. After she came back, she was quieter, sadder, maybe wiser. I wanted to be there for her more than I'd ever wanted anything in the world. Not being able to fix things for her, not being able to make it better, that hurt more than anything I could ever remember. I guess that's when I realized how in love with her I was.
I told her that I loved her, that I wanted to be there with her—but her reaction was devastating. She told me that she couldn't handle the idea of any kind of emotional connection for a while. Maybe a few years, she said. Maybe never. Maybe she'd never be able to open up emotionally again.
She said she needed space from me, particularly from me. She said she needed to figure out what it meant to be alive in a world where her sisters were gone. She asked me to give her time, and I told her that I'd give her anything she wanted. She told me that she'd never been happier than when we were together.
I told her that I understood, and that's when we made our pact. I was 25 then, and she was 23. We agreed: if she turned 30 and I turned 32, and if she had learned to heal, and if she hadn't fallen in love with someone else, and if I hadn't fallen in love with someone else, then we'd get married. So that's how we parted ways.
She moved to Wyoming, to be alone. I moved to Germany, to get as far away from her as I could. We didn't keep in touch at first, but over the next few years we built up a correspondence. We wrote letters because we both liked writing letters. We emailed now and then. Sometimes we'd mail each other books that we thought the other would like.
Years went on, and we became closer and closer. When I turned 30, I half-jokingly brought up our marriage pact. I told her that I hadn't ever fallen for anyone else. She replied that she was still very serious about our agreement, and that she'd never fallen in love with anyone else either. I asked her if she thought she had begun to heal, and she said she had, as much as a person could ever heal from something like that.
A year later, she told me she'd like us to meet and spend some time together, to see if the spark was still there. It was. She was living in California at that time, and I found a job there. I'd always wanted to live in California anyway. I proposed to her six months later, and she smiled and told me "no fair", that I had to wait another few months, when she'd be turning 30. I thought it was silly, but at that point, things were going so well that a few months didn't seem like they could matter at all. But we never got our happily ever after.
She passed. That's how the story ends. She was hit by a car and spent two days in the ICU before her body gave out. I went to her funeral. I spoke to her father but I barely remember what we said. I've never spoken to him since. I don't have the willpower to make myself find out how he's doing.
I'm in therapy and trying to learn how to have feelings again, other than blank, mindless, miserable rage. I often wonder if this is what it felt like for her. She made progress. She learned to feel again. That thought is what keeps me going. She did it. She'd want me to do it.
Older And Wiser
My wife and I dated during that awkward summer between high school and college and then she went her way and I went mine. We sort of joked about such a thing. I think I saw her for lunch like one time when we were 20ish.
Anyway, I ran into her again at a friend's party when I was 28 and we hit it off. She'd just gotten divorced from a two-year marriage and I was just back from law school. It was nice as we both knew the other wasn't a psychopath and we more or less got on with one another's family and friends.
Almost 20 years on from running into one another again, we’ve been married 16 years, with a couple of kids and a life in the suburbs.
Just Couldn’t Wait
We made a pact when I was 21 and he was 20 that we would get married when I was 40 if both of us were still single. We couldn't wait that long and he asked me to marry him when I was 23. We've been married now for just over four years.
I think that if you're seriously making a pact like that, you need to ask yourselves if the reason you're not getting married now is a good enough reason. In our case, it wasn't.
Divorce Would Be Bestsilhouette of man and woman under yellow skyPhoto by Eric Ward on Unsplash
I have friends that did it…and it was a total disaster. She's an awful person and cheated on him in the first six months. They had the most awkward wedding ever but are still together. I wish they would divorce. It's not so much the pact they made when they were kids, it’s just that she sucks.
Meant To Be
I dated this girl 10 years ago, in high school, in Australia. She was my first. I thought I was going to marry her and then she dumped me; she considers it a dumb decision now, but it needed to happen that way. I just joke about it.
We didn't talk for 8 years.
While I was on exchange in London earlier this year, I visited Barcelona. I knew she lived there at the time, so I messaged her for advice on where to go. It was the first time I'd felt comfortable messaging her.
She had flown to Australia the day before, but offered me advice. We also started catching up, and ended up messaging nonstop every day since.
While I was walking around Barcelona, I took a photo of her apartment completely by accident, which she told me weeks later when I uploaded the pic. I just liked the paint job on the building. Out of all the streets, in all the cities in the world, one of 20 photos I took of buildings was hers. I still can't believe it—but the coincidences didn’t stop there.
When I got home from studying, we caught up. It just grew from there. We went from exes, to friends, to potentials, to dating.
We also realized that in our 2002 primary school photo, from when I was 10, I was standing directly behind her. I liked her then, but only spoke to her when I was 15. We also realized we lived within 100m of each other for years, during the time we didn't speak. My Dad also works with her housemate, and is “the crazy dude” from work.
Like a moron, I had organized a second semester abroad before we started dating. We kinda decided it as I left the country. Now I have 4 months of purgatory in Canada, while I wait to meet up with her in Barcelona.
In true wild style, I asked her to marry me, because trust me, it's just something I know. She said yes, but I need to ask in person. I bought the engagement ring last week, on my 25th birthday, and now I just have to look at it for another 3 months.
So not a pact, as such, but a literal rom-com IRL. I study film, and could very easily make this a script. Maybe one day.
Always There For Support
I had one of these with a very hot guy who was smart, funny, and had a great personality. He moved to another state but we kept in touch, still cared for each other, and all that good jazz.
He ended up catching HIV from a girlfriend who hid her diagnosis from him. He lost many friends and was so hurt by it.
I stood by him. I helped him find support groups and what not, and am still friends with him because that's what you do when your friend suffers like that.
This person is very optimistic about his diagnosis and plans to live a good long life. And honestly, if he hasn't found someone or is still up for it, I would probably just go through with it still.
Don’t Leave It Too Latewoman in pink and white crew neck t-shirt standing near green plants during daytimePhoto by kabita Darlami on Unsplash
I would have.
We met in high school. I was a sophomore, she was a freshman. I taught her Japanese class because a friend had done it for my class, and it was fun and a great experience for me. We bonded hard and ended up dating. It only lasted a few months, but we stayed good friends.
We went every year together to the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in DC, and we always caught up. That trip, just for three days out of the year, was like a little time bubble—nothing back home mattered, and we got to spend three heavenly days together.
The first time we went together was when the marriage pact was made. At first, it was at 25. We settled on it, then a week later renegotiated to 30. Every year we reminded each other; every year made it more real for me, and something awesome to look forward to while simultaneously knowing we could still do what we wanted to before then.
I graduated. We fell apart. She went downhill a bit, until she got pregnant at 18; I acted out trying to fix my crippling depression. I remember hearing about it. It didn't shatter my dreams of marrying her—if she was single at 30, kids or no, I was putting a ring on it. It never bothered me.
Kid 2 came a few years later. A few years after that, we bumped into each other and caught up. It was like no time had passed, and we went right back into our old friendship, incorporating all the things that happened over the years. She was 24, I was 25.
We spent the next two years trying to put a relationship together before the pact was due; it worked between us, but what didn't work was that we both had established, busy lives apart. I worked 50-60 hours a week, while she was a full-time mom and social services worker. We tried, we really did. But it always came down to work and kids. I loved her more than anything.
She passed two months ago. We never got to carry through with our pact, but we'd gotten so close. I would have carried out the pact; I would have married her anytime between the past few years and 30. But I didn't. I beat myself up a bit for it, even if I had just had a few years to call her my wife.
She'll always be in my heart, and that voice in my head that stops me from treating myself poorly. She has become my voice of reason, and maybe that makes me a little crazy, but it keeps her close to me. That'll never leave me.
Putting Up With Each Other For Life
Me and my best friend since 6th grade had a running joke: we should give dating a go because chances were we would end up getting married anyway, since she's the only person who puts up with my junk and vice versa.
We got married last month after five years of dating.
The Divorce Pact
We married young and have two kids together—we parent well together and there's no one else that I could handle long road trips with, but we really, really suck at marriage. So we came up with a bizarre plan. We jokingly made a divorce pact for 2020, thinking we would both still be young enough to enjoy going out then and would have gotten the kids through some of the tougher transitional times of adolescence.
As it turned out we made it only a year longer than our pact and we are currently in the process of ending our marriage. But there is no one I'd rather work peacefully through this with than him, whether in 2020 or today.
The Pastor’s Daughtergirl in blue and white floral dress holding blue metal fencePhoto by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash
It wasn’t really a pact we made together but more of a promise I made to myself. I was three when our church got new pastors, and they had a 1-year-old daughter. I grew up being told by my parents that the first thing I said when I saw her was, “I’m going to marry her”.
We grew up together and were very good friends. There was the age difference, so she had friends in her range and I had mine, but when we were together we were pretty inseparable. For some reason, I always thought we were meant to be together. I guess I took that “I’m gonna marry her” to heart.
So even after she moved away and I had very little contact with her, I still kept her in the back of my mind. Whenever I wallowed in self-pity and thought I was going to be forever alone, I always told myself at least there was her. I always thought of showing up wherever she was and sweeping her off her feet. Like she was just waiting for me or something. I feel horrible for thinking that now.
And now we’re happily married. Just not to each other. I have my wife and she has her own.
We reconnected right after Facebook became a thing and it was very obvious she’s a lesbian. That was what finally got me off my butt. I no longer kept the idea of marrying her on a back burner. I’m very happy with my family and she is with hers. And that’s all that matters.
The Best Kind Of College Wedding
At my university, we have what might be called a buddy system for incoming freshers, where second years “adopt” freshers as “college children” after getting “college married”.
So going into the second term, I realized that I still wasn’t college married and most of the girls I knew had already married off. So I said to one of my best (male) friends, “if we don’t find girls to college marry by the end of this term, we’ll marry each other”.
Towards the end of the term, a couple of friends of mine were celebrating their “college wedding”. My friend was a mathematician, so beforehand I made two paper rings and wrote out “2x2 matrices” and “integers” on each one—both examples of mathematical “rings”. At the dinner, while fairly inebriated, I got down on one knee and proposed.
We’re now happily “college married”, with three “college children” who’ve gotten married themselves!
The Road Trip
Me and my wife have been very close friends since childhood. When we were 17, we promised if we were both single by 25, I would ask her to marry me. Life took us in different directions after high school. I was in the army and she became a nurse.
When I finished my contract, I came back to my home city of Calgary, Alberta. She just so happened to be going to the Calgary Stampede for her birthday that year. I told her to come visit while in town. When we saw each other it was like we had never spent time apart.
I asked if she would come with me on a road trip to Memphis, TN so I could buy a guitar I've always wanted. She came along and that road trip turned into a whole tour of the USA. On the northern coast of California, I told her I loved her. A year later we were living together. A year after that we went back to California and at the same little seaside town, I asked her to marry me.
We were both 25. We had our dream wedding the following September and bought our first home together. We have been enjoying life and traveling since. Just celebrated our anniversary in Italy. So far, so good, and I couldn't ask for a better partner to share life with.
The Arrangementa man and woman standing in a fieldPhoto by Jessica Hearn on Unsplash
We left our spouses around the same time (not for each other) and decided to share a house. We got to talking one night and decided we each had all the things the other was looking for, plus we got along really well. We were in our mid-30s by then and sick of the dating scene, so we just laid it out like a business arrangement. We had no idea where it would go—but we were in for a big surprise.
What started off as an "arrangement" eventually evolved into something extremely serious and passionate. We've been together now for almost seven years and married for almost one. We are extremely in love and I have zero regrets.
This Is Why People Should Communicate Better
She was the loud, popular, social butterfly, I was the awkward sheltered kid. By way of sheer luck and proxy, we became very close friends in high school. I couldn't avoid crushing on her something fierce, but I obviously wasn't going to make the move on someone so far out of my league and ruin our friendship.
I forget exactly how the conversation came to be, but at one point she brought up how we should totally get married if we were both still single by the time we were 30. Obviously, she was joking or she would find someone way before then, so I sheepishly agreed and forgot about it. I even set her up with a friend of mine and they were great together.
Graduation came, she moved to the other side of the country, and we effectively dropped out of contact like so many other high school friends.
Two years later I made a Facebook page, we got back in contact, and she started unloading on me about her failing relationship with the guy I set her up with. Apparently, the long distance wasn't working too well and he had become distant to the point of outright ignoring her. I was disappointed in my other friend, but I was happy to hear her voice again.
But then the conversations got longer. And then she brought the pact back up. And then she told me the relationship with the friend was effectively done, and she was tired of waiting for him. And then she said she loved me, she always had a thing for me, she just hadn’t wanted to say anything for fear of ruining our friendship.
We were together for three years long-distance, only ever seeing each other during holidays and long breaks, before I graduated college and moved across the country to be with her. We're getting married in October, five full years before the pact would've happened.
The Most Special Person In Their Life
We met at a school dance in 7th grade, the day after her 12th birthday. We "dated" for just over three years into 10th grade, then she broke up with me just before Christmas because I was a foolish little boy. Luckily for me, she's the most kind-hearted, caring person I've ever met, and we remained friends despite my general jerk nature.
We both dated other people through the rest of high school and college and into our mid-20s, and somewhere in there we agreed to get married if we were both single at 35. I'm not sure either of us really meant it, but I do know that we both cared deeply for each other. I had gone south for college while she went north, and neither of us stayed in contact with many people from high school, but we always made a point to catch up once a month.
Then, this past Christmas, almost 11 years to the date that we broke up and the first time we had been single at the same time, she asked if I had ever seriously considered the two of us getting married. A few days prior she sent me a text asking if I wanted to "watch Christmas movies," which was a bit different from any of her previous invitations to hang out, so I was anticipating (or maybe mostly hoping for) this very conversation and had bought her a gift reminiscent of the one I gave her back in 7th grade. I gave her the gift and told her she had always been the most special person in my life.
Long story short, that conversation may have saved my life. Over the preceding year, I had become depressed and gotten into some bad habits. I opened up to her about all of that, and she accepted me in spite of it.
Two months later, I quit my job, which I hated with every ounce of my being, and I moved to be with her. We've lived together for the past four months, I've quit all of the nonsense and gotten back on the career path I wanted, and two weeks ago I asked her to marry me. She said yes, and I've never been happier in my life. We married early by about 8 years, but I'm not complaining.
He Took The Hinta man, woman, and child are posing for a picturePhoto by Trust "Tru" Katsande on Unsplash
My best friend of 10 years said to me one day that if we weren't with anyone by the time she was 30, we would have to be together. As beautiful as she was, I never made a move because I used to date her female best friend, so I thought the "girl code" would halt my advance.
But once she said that, I was like "Hold up, she's possibly into me"?! I made the move! Six months after that conversation, we got married. It was a fairly easy transition. Currently married for 3 years with 2 children.
Moving 2000 Miles
My boyfriend and I made such a pact about seven years ago. We met online and were friends, and over the years shared our misfortunes of broken hearts and bad relationships, so we made a pact that by 30, if we were both single, I'd move the 2,000 miles and be with him.
I actually moved here at 28, and two years later we are engaged and I couldn't be happier. I don't regret my decision in the least.
A couple of friends from high school made such a pledge. He always had a crush on her, she was always interested in other guys and straight-up said she'd settle for him if no other takers.
They moved in together ("ONLY as roommates!") in their late 20s, awkwardly slept together one night a few years later (next morning, "Don't think this means we're together"), and a few years after that they were basically a couple, though she insisted they weren't.
At 35, I asked him if they were finally official. He said, "She says she just uses me for her lady needs, but I asked her once how she'd feel about me dating someone else. She told me to feel free to date anyone I want if I'm okay with getting my ‘little friend’ cut off in my sleep. So yeah, I'd say we're official”!
From Mystery To Marriagegrayscale photography of kids walking on roadPhoto by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Anyone remember Google Mystery Missions years ago?
If not, Mystery Missions was a site where you put in a request and other people had to fulfill that request. Each time you reloaded the page you'd get new ones to look through. I stumbled across hers looking for someone to talk to. This was about a decade ago when we were both 14.
She was from Memphis, I from Chicago. We instantly became best friends. For years we talked every single day. Around 17/18 we made a marriage pact saying by 30 we'd marry if we were still single. At this point we knew we both had strong feelings for each other but the thought of being in the same place didn't seem possible at the time.
Since the pact, we lost touch here and there. It felt like a big piece of me was missing whenever that happened. We both had relationships that didn't work out. About two years ago, we started talking about being in a relationship and just being together. I met her for the first time about 18 months ago. We're engaged, and she found a new job in Chicago.
Love Over An MMO
My husband and I met on Ultima Online. Just two kids playing video games but we swapped email addresses, AOL Instant Messenger, then Facebook in college. He always said we'd end up together one day and I was just kinda like, yeah yeah.
I flew from SC to PA to visit him after graduating college and we started dating, got engaged, and married all within a year and a half. We never actually thought there would be a scenario in life where we'd even meet face-to-face, let alone end up together. We've been married for seven years this coming weekend.
Dodged That One
A girl I dated for about a year broke up with me when I told her that I wasn't wanting to get married. A month later she hooked up with her high school friend. They had made the marriage pact years earlier and she claimed it. They were married three months later. Well, it turns out that I dodged a bullet.
She called to talk to me a year later to let me know that she was pregnant and that she didn't know how to tell him that it wasn't his and that she didn't know who the father was because she had cheated on him so many times.
Noped out of that conversation and haven't heard from her since.
Just Five Years To Gowoman kissing man's headPhoto by Justin Follis on Unsplash
My friend actually just did this. They apparently said by the time they were 30 they would get married. He was married but caught his wife cheating, then his father passed a couple of months later and he couldn't get custody of his kids because of a downward spiral.
He messaged an old friend on Facebook who he made this pact with, although he is only 25. She wasn't doing great either, relationship-wise, and was just working and raising her daughter. They both said why not and have been together for about six months. From the looks of it, they are happy as can be.
I had this pact with my best friend. We dated at the age of 15, broke up at 16, went through the entire dramatic first heartbreak bit, forgave one another, admitted that there were still feelings but we wanted to see what else life had to offer, and made the promise that if we were both single at the age of 30, we'd just call it and get married.
We dated other people, went to college, moved to other states, stopped talking for a while due to jealous SOs, became friends again, had one lousy hookup, and stayed close friends. Then at the age of 25, we decided that waiting five more years was a giant waste of time. We were best friends, we were in love, we got along very well, we both had our fair share of crazy experiences that we released out of our systems.
We're 27 now, planning to get married around 30 just to somewhat stick with our plan, happy as can be.
The best relationship advice in the world: Marry your best friend.
Choosing Your Best Friend
My wife and I were best friends. I was in a terrible long-term relationship with a crazy ex. I had to choose a summer internship and knowing that my ex was going to be in Taiwan, I chose to move across the country to be the furthest I could get away from her on this planet.
My wife and I talked every day and although we wouldn't date for another 2 years, we made a promise that if we weren't married by the time we were 30, we'd marry each other. I didn't think anything of it, and lost touch with my wife for two years.
The summer before my senior year of college, my wife asked me to join her as the finance lead on a school consulting competition in Hong Kong. My ex flipped out and vowed to never talk to me again if I spent all semester practicing and going. That’s when I knew it. I knew that if I went, my 6-year relationship would be kaput and I'd be choosing my best friend.
It was the best decision of my life. We got married last February and took 15 months on our honeymoon to travel to 31 different countries. Don't stick with crazy, you'll know when you find the right one.
My Best Friend’s Sister’s Best Friendwomen and man talking outside the buildingPhoto by Alexis Brown on Unsplash
My best friend from 3rd grade has a twin sister, whose own best friend frequented birthday parties, hangouts, etc. She and I naturally got to know each other through the years and had a crush on each other the whole time but it always happened that one was in a relationship when the other was single so nothing ever came of it.
I moved away from Washington to Minnesota with my mom in 8th grade but we still kept in touch through AIM. When we were 16, we were chatting it up and I told her, "One day I'm gonna marry you''.
We promised each other that at 30 we would marry each other if we were still single. Long story short, I turned 30 last June. We have been married since 2013. She is my best friend; we share everything, rarely argue, never hold any grudges, and trust each other. I don't see any way my life could get any better.
Earlier Than Anticipated
My best friend since we were really young. We always had crushes on each other. In high school, our timing was awful and we never ended up dating but we did make a marriage pact: if we were both single at 30, we'd get married.
Some years passed. We moved away from each other, grew distant, dated other people. Long story short, we're now back in each other's lives and I'm reasonably sure we're going to make good on the pact earlier than originally anticipated.
A Different Point Of View
We did this too. We made it four years, and three years of marriage counseling before we got divorced. Apparently being an insecure nice guy who picks up the girl of his dreams after she realizes that being the It girl in high school ends immediately after high school breeds resentment.
Fifteen years and tons of therapy later, I'm happily married to a woman I respect, and I'm also capable of understanding that I was the jerk.
Still A Chance?gold-colored ring on hands surrounded by green leavesPhoto by Jacob Rank on Unsplash
In my early 20s, I would hook up with this chick here and there. We were actually pretty good friends, but we never really hung out outside of social groups. She was fun and we always found ourselves in the corner ignoring the group. Anyway, we made a pact that if we weren't in a relationship by 30, we would get married—but it didn’t really go the way I expected it to.
Then she got back with her ex.
It's been 10 years, and she reminded me of our marriage pact. I had completely forgotten. We're both married now, to other people.
We still talk here and there. And sometimes she tells me that she thinks we would've made a great couple, so I worry that she's not too happy where she is. I haven't seen her in person in years.
No Hard Feelings
This happened with a best friend of mine. She said if both of us were single at 35, we'd get married to each other.
Two years later, I asked her out. She was taken aback, ghosted me for a year, then invited me to her wedding. I had no hard feelings, so I went anyway.
A Modern Kind Of Marriage
Some good friends of mine are a gay man and a lesbian woman, who decided if they didn't get in serious relationships, they'd marry. It sounded sad—but it turned out amazing.
They have two wonderful kids together and they are amazing people.
They are still looking for their ideal partner, but it's very clear that they love each other and care much for their kids.
Together Forevera black and white photo of a man and a womanPhoto by gaspar zaldo on Unsplash
Not me but my great-grandparents who adopted my grandpa. I didn't get to know them as much as I would like but this is a cute story.
Great-grandpa and great-grandma were sweethearts from kindergarten and dated all through high school, but she moved away. Before she left, they amicably split, as long-distance relationships in those days were pretty much impossible. They agreed that if they ever saw each other again, and they weren't already married, they would get back together.
Time passed and he married his first wife, a Serbian lady who had MS, or some other terrible disease. He took care of her for many years before she passed. After she passed, one day he ran into great-grandma again! In the supermarket! And they talked, and he asked if she was married, and yes, she had married a veteran and was very happy.
Some time passed and the veteran passed as well. Great-grandma found great-grandpa in the phone book and they reunited, both missing their lost loves, and fell in love with each other all over again. They got married not long after and adopted two kids, and were happy until she eventually passed.
She always said that she would come back as a monarch butterfly. They kept a huge garden in the backyard and the butterflies would stop on their migration to Mexico. The next time the butterflies came through after she passed, one of them came to land on his hand, and stayed for a few minutes, before she flew off. And one of them does this every year that they return.
Better Than The Rest
My husband and I were best friends in 8th grade and were those kids that kinda hated everyone else at our school. We always said we were going to get married when we got older “because everyone else sucks” but never dated in high school because we just went down different paths, but stayed good friends.
We started talking more again after high school, started dating, and are now very happily married.
Love In San Fran
When I was in college, there was a girl in my major classes that I really got along with and we would study together, do class projects, and collaborate with each other whenever we could. She was just really cool to hang around with and she was really hot too.
She had a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend back home so it was just friends. I respected that even though a lot of the things he did were bad. Like he’d cheat on her or when he’d visit her, he’d start some stupid fight with her and drive back home a day or two early.
I just loved hanging out with her. We had a lot of shared interests and we continued to collaborate, sometimes helping each other with projects in classes only one of us were in.
Then when we were seniors, she broke up with her loser boyfriend. Only I had a serious girlfriend at the time. We still worked on stuff together. During one late-night, caffeine-fueled project session, we were talking about the future and she said, “If neither of us is married when we turn 30, we should just get married and live happily ever after”. I agreed and we went on speculating about what our lives would be like and so on.
After we graduated, I moved across the country and she moved to SF. We tried staying in touch, but it was hard, so we lost touch for a long while.
I went to a conference in SF and thought it would be great to get in touch with her while I was there, but had no idea how to find her. About a week before I left, I got a call from her. She was working for the group that organized the conference and saw my name on the list and got my number from there.
I flew out early and we met for dinner the weekend before the conference. We just picked up where we left off as friends. We’d both had a couple of bad relationships/breakups, but were both unattached. She was just as hot as she was in school. Long story short, we hooked up. I stayed in my hotel for just one or two nights, the rest was at her place.
After I went home, we talked every night on the phone. Eventually I quit my job and moved to SF to live with her. We got married when we were 35. Still going.
Someone Get Spielberg On The Phoneman in gray crew neck t-shirt kissing woman in black and white stripe long sleevePhoto by Martin Blanquer on Unsplash
I made this pact with a girlfriend from high school (early 1990s), but much later in life.
We dated in the 9th (me) and 10th (her) grade. We had a falling out for a bit due to my stupidity, but by the time she was graduating high school, we were pretty close again. We went in very different directions but managed to stay in touch. She partied a lot and sort of drifted. I was doing responsible stuff: college, military reserve, starting a civilian career. We would connect every once in a while over the years and there always seemed to be a little something special there, but for the distance.
She called me out of the blue one year—but not for the reason I expected. She told me I needed to watch the NFL draft because her boyfriend or fiancé was likely to be drafted by a team in the state where she knew I lived. If all went as expected it would bring us closer (in distance) than we had been in a long time. By this time I was in my first marriage.
He did get drafted and they moved to the state, just two hours away. I met and partied with him/them for his birthday before his rookie season started. Good dude. Big dude. She and I were strictly platonic. He ended up getting traded around the league over the next couple of years and they ended up living a couple states away. Meanwhile, I was certainly married by this time and had deployed to Iraq.
Again, she contacted me out of the blue while I was in Iraq, after she happened to see me featured in an obscure trade magazine. After her and the NFL player broke up, she had taken an entry level job in my civilian career field and happened to pick up the magazine for the first time ever that month. We started connecting again, remotely, and still purely platonic.
I came home from that deployment to a marriage in ruins. She cheated. I filed for divorce. While I was adjusting to being home after more than 18 months, and my impending lack of marital status, I decided to fly out to visit my friend who welcomed me to stay with her a few days to help me mend. It was between Christmas and New Year and I was a bit fragile mentally. During those couple of days we connected even more and confided a lot in each other. But she had a few boyfriends (I met at least three) and lots of drama at the time. Clearly, I had my own drama going on.
I think that was when we made the deal, after knowing each other more than 10 years. We knew we both loved each other, I'm convinced, but we both knew we needed to live (and heal) a little more before we set ourselves up for failure. I think the agreement at that time was that we would get married if neither of us were already, by 30. We talked about it regularly over the years, both assuring the other it wasn't a joke. Even her parents knew of the deal.
She moved again. Her biological father drove out to help move her across the country to the state where we were originally from. On their way through my city they stopped to visit. He stayed in a hotel. She stayed the night at my house. For the first time in what seemed like forever, we were both single and it was clear how much we loved each other. The next day she left and for the next couple of years we continued to live across the country from each other. We stayed in touch and saw each other occasionally. The agreement remained in effect but we kept moving the age because we just weren't ready.
Then two things happened. I met a girl and got notice that I would deploy again about the same time. The girl I met, I really liked. She had her stuff together and was beautiful. I wasn't trying to go overseas again attached to anyone. And, at the time, she was really indecisive too.
Meanwhile, I went out to visit the original girl. Then, she came out to visit me. The new girl was still indecisive. The original girl had been having trouble finding work in her home state even after aesthetician school.
While she was visiting, we partied a lot. In fact, that's about all she wanted to do. I didn't mind much because I was leaving soon anyway. Among the many, many bad decisions we made, was one where she agreed to house-sit for me and take care of my dog while I was deployed for a year. I gave her use of my truck too. All she had to pay for was her food and gas. Sounds like the makings of a country song, right?
Now, I know what you all are thinking...but I had known this person for over 16 years. She wasn't a random. She needed help and so did I. All I wanted was for her to get a job and to help get her on her feet. I went into it with the proper intentions. It was a gift and I expected nothing in return. There were genuinely no expectations about a future for us beyond what already was. Besides, I was conflicted...she was the beautiful party girl with baggage I had known and loved forever. But, the new girl was truly marriage material that I couldn't get a consistent read from. It didn't matter because I didn't have to decide for at least a year.
A year made all the difference. The new girl and I talked every day I was gone. She was supportive throughout the deployment in so many ways. My old friend had a few boyfriends along the way, which was genuinely fine, but I came home to my house and vehicle in bad condition. Thankfully the dog was alive, most likely because the neighbors across the street came and took him from my house.
I took the new girl to meet my parents a month after I got home from deployment and asked her to marry me on that trip. We moved to another state for my civilian career and we'll have been married for 10 years next year.
The original girl ended up staying in the town where she came to live with me and met another guy who she ended up marrying. I miss my old friend. I still love her and want the best for her. If she is living a better life today than she was 11 years ago, and I think she is, then it wasn't all for nothing. I'm just no longer a part of it.
The Joke Pact
We have a joke pact (35, I think?) and also an elaborate ridiculous story about being each other’s second spouse because of natural causes but also unnatural causes. It’s a whole ridiculous thing by now (we’ve been BFFs for 13+ years) and it only gets more ridiculous as time goes on.
My boyfriend (of five years) thinks it’s hilarious. The three of us have been on a vacation together, planning an international trip for when Covid ends, etc. I’m so thankful they get along so well!
Remaining Just Friends
I was 16 or 17 when a friend and I made the pact to marry by 30. I forgot that he was already well into his 20s at the time. He contacted me when I was only 24 to ask about the pact.
He had just gotten out of a bad relationship and I had just gotten into a serious one. I just celebrated my 5th anniversary with the same person but my friend and I still talk sometimes.
It turned out he has a bunch of health issues and is always in and out of the hospital. I think the main issue is his heart but I think it might be because he never really took care of himself when he was younger. He also has weird political views and even when things get heated we go out of our way to acknowledge that we have opposing opinions but we're still friends.
I Think So Toowoman in brown sweater covering her face with her handPhoto by Dev Asangbam on Unsplash
My first serious boyfriend when I was 17 to 18; we broke up but remained good friends. When I was around 20, we discussed that we would marry at 40 if we were still single. All our friends rooted for us ending up together, as we just vibed really well and were solid friends.
About five years later he got married, blocked me on everything, and never spoke to me again. So I think the pact is off.
The Uncle’s Tribute
My mom's soul sister made a pact with my uncle where if they both were still single when they were 30, they would get married. She was 18, he was 19. They had been friends for over five years at that point.
My mom was the common link, the one who introduced them. She knew they would have been perfect for each other. They started dating a few weeks after they made the pact. They were so happy.
But she was from an abusive household and suffered from depression. Our family always tried to keep her happy; she would mostly crash at my mom's place to escape whatever storm was going on. It ended in heartbreak. But one day she simply couldn't take it all and ended her life at the age of 25. My mom's brother was devastated.
However, my uncle stayed true to his pact in the most touching way. He held a huge memorial for her on what would have been her 30th birthday. Invited all her close friends, his family, and anyone who knew and loved her, everyone except her family—from what my mom recalls, they had already moved past the slight inconvenience of losing their daughter.
My uncle, till his last breath, celebrated that memorial day as her birthday and his marriage anniversary with the love of his life. Needless to say he never married. He adopted a baby girl and gave her the middle name of my mom’s soul sister. In India the concept of middle names does not exist, and middle names are generally the first name of the father—yet he gave her a middle name.
Just Put A Ring On It
I met this girl in kindergarten. She was my best friend, my childhood "girlfriend", until we were nine, when she moved to a different city and we lost contact.
Years went by and I met her again at a party when I was 15 and she was on a trip to visit her family. We exchanged ICQ numbers, or whatever chat service was trending at the time and started talking again.
Two years later, she moved back for her last year of high school. We started dating like a month after she came back and then guess what? I moved for college and she moved to another country.
We had sporadic conversations from time to time. Sometimes she would call me at 1 am after months without talking to complain about her life, boyfriend, and that kind of stuff for hours. This was kinda problematic for me since I had a live-in girlfriend and she wasn't happy with a girl calling me in the middle of the night even if the other girl had a boyfriend and lived 2,000 miles away.
Years went by. We had this weird sporadic relationship and thanks to the internet I was able to stalk her a bit. I always considered her as something that was "lost", an impossible thing.
Three years ago, she called me on my birthday and told me she broke up with her boyfriend and was moving to the same city I was living in. In that moment I realized I've been in love with this girl my entire life and I didn't know what to do. It didn’t really go how I expected, though.
Nothing happened. She moved, but we didn't talk at all. I broke up with my girlfriend, moved on with my life, and I had the opportunity to move to a different country.
One day I was looking for clothes and I ran into her on the street. We went for a drink, talked for hours, realized we lived nine blocks away from each other, and things happened.
We talked every day and met again the week after for what was probably the saddest conversation I had in my life. We had taken really different paths in life and ended up with pretty much the same interests but we never did anything. I told her I was going to move again; she told me she was moving too, 11,000 miles away, and it was sad how life had constantly taken us on different paths. We made a pact that by the time we are 40, no matter where we are, we are meeting again to be together.
My contract ends in February and I plan to go see her for her 30th birthday next year to tell her I don't want to wait another 10 years. She might think the same, she might not. Truth be told, if I have to wait my entire life, I probably will.
Love At First Sightman and woman holding handsPhoto by PHUOC LE on Unsplash
I dated a wonderful woman for a few years. The commitment was always kind of on/off, and we both dated other people during this time. Things were exacerbated by us both being single parents. We were always quite close; when we were dating we'd talk about our respective partners, no jealousy whatsoever.
We ended up as FWB for a while, but one night speaking on MSN, we made a pact that if we both hit 40 and neither of us were married then we would get hitched. For quite some time I thought we actually would get married…but fate had something different in store for me.
During one of our drier spells, I was at her house fixing her washing machine and her sister popped in to say hi. Well, not only did she look amazing, but I could tell she was checking me out, but I left it at that.
More talking online and I joked with her that I'm going to bed her sister, and she joked back that I should try if I want, but that her sis is married and very happy.
Turned out, not as happy as everyone thought. Terrible husband.
Very long story cut short, I've been married to her sister for four years now.
Got Game Even At Fourteen
We met on a computer bulletin board system when I was 21 and in college. We both had ambiguous handles and didn't know each other's gender at first. Once he figured out I was a girl, he figured I was fat and ugly (I wasn't) because why else would I be hanging out on a BBS with a bunch of geeks? When I figured out he was a guy, I thought he must be in his forties. I considered the age difference and decided I could maybe make it work.
He was actually 14. I definitely couldn't make that work.
This was awfully inconvenient because we were falling in love. I finally agreed to marry him if I were single at age 60. He eventually talked me down to 40. We tried dating other people but just ended up disappointing them because we were both in love with someone else. We talked pretty much every day, usually via internet chat. Most of our relationship was long-distance because we lived in different states or different countries.
We got married when I was 29. He had just turned 23, which seems a lot more respectable.
We've been married 14 years.
We can all agree that first impressions are important. No matter what may happen after that first encounter, the first impression has a way of lingering.
But some bad first impressions are absolute deal-breakers. No matter how kind or awesome a person might seem, there's really no coming back from that...
Redditor Dizzy-Effort-1375 asked:
"What was the worst first impression you ever had with someone?"
Know Your Place
"When I went before the Judge, I was drunk and argued with him."
"That earned me 10 extra days for contempt of court."
"Fortunately, I'm now six years sober."
Cruelty Is Unattractive
"I met a girl at work. I thought she was cute until she bragged about purposefully hitting a bird with her truck because 'birds are stupid.'"
"There's nothing quite like some animal cruelty to kill your attraction level."
Know-It-Alls Not Welcome
"A family friend wanted to introduce her new boyfriend to her friend group."
"The dude was a know-it-all. He talked over everybody, was very condescending, and was just a rude jerk."
"We gave him a do-over and he was even worse the second time."
"That was over 15 years ago and they're still together. I don't see my friend much anymore."
How Rude, Indeed
"I went into a dealership to support my wife as she shopped for her car. A skeezy salesman came up, introduced himself to me, and immediately acted all buddy-buddy with me, and started calling me by my first name. He never acknowledged my wife."
"I told him she was actually the one car shopping, and he barely batted an eye and kept trying to sell to me."
"I politely reminded him, and he still refused to deal with her."
"We walked right out without a word. F**k that guy. And f**k Bob HowardToyota in North Oklahoma City."
"More like 'Bob Howrude Toyota in North Oklahoma City'!"
Stop Micro-Managing Me
"I was 19 years old and just starting my first real full-time job. I was taken around by the foreman and introduced to my new co-workers."
"All was well until I was introduced to Walter, the resident old pr*ck, who was to be my supervisor. He took one look at me and said, 'When are you quitting?'"
"I never even got a chance. He rode my a** every day. He repeatedly told the boss I was no good and I should find another job."
"He got fired two months later for being a d**k to everyone. I lasted 36 years."
He Probably Thinks The Moon Landing Was a Hoax, Too.
"I had to pick up a new coworker to drive to the location we'd be working for the week. After talking about the job for about 25 minutes, he asked, 'So what do you think about 9/11?'"
"I knew it was going to be a long week."
"I said the most non-committal thing I could imagine because we still had hours in the car. 'It was a thing that happened.'"
"He rolled his eyes and said, 'Oh, so you think it happened.'"
The Impression That Sticks
"I was dating this girl in another town and I was there visiting her. We were walking around downtown and these six or seven guys cornered me in a dark parking lot."
"This one guy started shoving me, going on about how I was 'in his town' and he should kick my face in for being where I shouldn't."
"I was so p**sed. If he didn't have six other guys with him, it would've gone down very differently. He really embarrassed me in front of my girl. Thankfully, the cops showed up before it escalated though, with those 6 other guys there... I might be dead."
"20 years later, he married my sister. He's actually a really great guy, a great husband, and a great father to my nieces and nephew... but I still have a hard time getting past that first encounter. I HATE the fact that I have to think of him as a decent person."
The Worst Priorities
"I'm a nurse and when I worked on a ward for the elderly, I had to call and ask the family of a very lovely lady who was dying to come and see her."
"They only lived a few miles away from the hospital but took seven hours to arrive. By that time, the lady had passed away."
"I had to tell the family as soon as they arrived. I expected tears and sadness, but the daughter only said, 'It's okay. Mum had a great life insurance policy.'"
"No tears. No upset. They were all smiling and trying to hide it. I hated them."
That Hidden Sense of Humor
"My best friend. We met in middle school and she’s blonde, gorgeous, and seemed super stuck up when I first met her. Obviously, I made assumptions about her."
"As it turns out, she’s super socially awkward, and once I got to know her, I found out that she has a super bizarre sense of humor (which I love), but she doesn’t show it to strangers."
"20 years later and we’re still best friends."
The Entitled Parker
"I came to work one day when I knew a new person was starting. In the employee parking area was a car I'd never seen before using up two spaces."
"My first thought was, 'She's one of THOSE people.'"
"And she was."
Troubling At Best
"I met a woman who went on to defend torture at length. Even when her arguments were debunked, she was still in favor of it."
Just So Humble
"A new hire I was supposed to train, let's call him Chad, because that's his name, came in on day one and said during introductions, 'Some people say they're a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none; not me, I'm a master at everything I touch.'"
"And that was that, instant dislike. He was gone the next day, lol (laughing out loud)."
The Teen Cringe Is Real
"For me? I was 13, my brother brought home some college roommates with no warning, and I was (apparently) having a bad enough hair day to literally dive behind our couch to hide from them."
"My mom called me to come introduce myself, and I continued to hide, but when my mom sent my little sisters to find me, I was worried I’d get found, so I popped up out of nowhere and said hi, still standing behind the couch."
"To this day, my brother's roommates said that was one of the funniest things they’d ever experienced, lol (laughing out loud), and one of my cringiest memories. Haha!"
No Point of Reference
"I guess it wasn't really bad, but it was weird."
"I was getting ready for work, went outside for a smoke, and my upstairs neighbor said 'Hey,' from her balcony."
"She wanted to introduce me to her visiting sister, so I said 'Hey there, how's it going,' and pointed at my name tag while saying, 'I'm Bob, of course.'"
"The sister looked at me a bit weird, but I didn't think much of it."
"Then I went back in to finish getting ready and realized I did not in fact have my work shirt on yet, so there was no name tag. So... as far as that lady knew, I just said my name and randomly pointed at my manboob. Like, 'Hey, I'm Bob... check THIS out.'"
"I mean, you can't go back and explain at that point. I have no idea what she thought of me but I am guessing it was somewhere between moron and weirdo, and I never tried to find out."
The Lie of First Impressions
"It was an old school friend's partner I'd never met before. My friend's parents emigrated in the late 1960s and we were penpals after she went to New Zealand."
"Her partner was coming over alone for three weeks for some research to do with his MA at Otago University in Dunedin, and I said he could stay with us. This was back in the 90s."
"When he turned up at our door, he was in shorts and a vest and waving a bottle of spirits in one hand and a skateboard under the other arm. He was heavily tattooed (including his face) and dreadlocked."
"I maintained a friendly smile, but my heart did sink, I can't lie."
"I was so very, very wrong. He's a brilliant bloke. I didn't know he was half Maori and had never encountered Maori tattoos before. The spirits were for us (he's teetotal) and he was a great house guest."
"He always cleaned the bath after he used it, bought food and cooked really brilliant meals, very funny, the cats loved him, he took the dog for walks (who spent about three weeks gazing adoringly at him and slept at his feet) the kids and my husband loved him."
"He taught my kids the Haka. My kids got major kudos because the cool Maori skateboarder was staying at their house."
"When he left, he gave us a beautiful framed drawing he'd done of a native NZ bird on a Manuka shrub as a thank-you present."
"It taught me an important lesson. First impressions can be very misleading. I wish he'd been here for more than three weeks (although he's visited since)."
For the first impressions that were genuinely terrible, it's clear why these Redditors would not want to continue interacting with the people involved, or how they would not be surprised by people not wanting to interact with them.
But there are also reminders here of how first impressions, however lasting, can be wrong, and the relationship beyond the first impression can be wonderful if we manage to look past it.
The human race is supposedly touted as a superior species compared to other lifeforms on Earth.
Sadly, the generalization does not apply to everyone.
And while the notion that "nobody is perfect" is perpetually expressed to console those who've made regretful mistakes, that is not entirely true.
We see them in the news all the time.
Dimwits–which may include those with no social graces or lack of basic life skills in order to survive adulting through life–are among us.
Curious to those who've face-palmed in response to an individual's intelligence level, Redditor Joker101001 asked:
"Albert Einstein once said 'The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.' What are some examples of this that you have experienced?"
People shared their observations about our intellect..or lack thereof.
"You shouldn’t believe every quote you read on the internet. — Abraham Lincoln."
"I think he was re-quoting Julius Caesar who made this comment the morning he was warned not to go out that day."
"I think the more educated we become, the more we know how little we actually know, and it’s humbling, but ignorant people really have no idea what they don’t know, leading them to be confident about their ignorant stances."
"Physics has kind of reached a point where we realized we don't know how anything works at a fundamental level. Every theory breaks down at tiny or gigantic scales. There is a crisis in cosmology, spinning glaxies have either disproven gravity or proven undetected dark matter, and the vast majority of matter and energy is undetectably dark. We don't know why matter exists (as opposed to antimatter, given their symmetries). We don't know how time and space work inside black holes, how many dimensions there really are, or whether space and time are quantized. We've kinda figured out ordinary matter at human scales, but that's it."
The Thing About Doubt
"There are limitations to human knowledge and our understanding of things. Rather than acknowledging these limitations, people fill them in with supernatural explanations. When you express uncertainty or doubt, you are mocked or they ascribe to a lack of self confidence."
"Doubt is the beginning of wisdom, not the end of it."
Knowledge Vs. Intelligence
"Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit."
"Intelligence is combining the tomato with other ingredients to make something better."
"Knowledge is what we learn, intelligence is what we do with what we have learned."
"Charisma is the exact opposite of what I just did - citing an academic paper on reddit."
People shared their most dullest interactions.
"Oh boy. I once met a guy who was so stupid that he thought the ocean was alive and waves was it breathing. I remember one time in school he was doing homework for another class and asked the teacher “Where were the Canaanites from?” She jokingly said Nova Scotia. He asked how to spell it. This guy thought Beauty and the Beast was based on a true story about a girl and a bear. He would constantly make bets that he lost and never learned his lesson. He didn’t know that chicken the food came from chicken the animal. I have met a lot of stupid people in my life but I have never met anyone quite so bafflingly stupid that I had to wonder if they, in high school, could even read."
"A friend of mine once met a young woman who thought that fluttering leaves caused the wind to blow."
"A former classmate of mine (in college, mind you) once said the sky was blue because it reflected the ocean."
"She thought the sky was blue everywhere, even hundreds or thousands of miles inland, because of the ocean."
"I worked at an embassy. One day a guy came to me, completely explained a scam he did. It had failed and he wanted to know how I could help him "as we are countrymen".
"Called my colleagues at home and set them on his a** too."
"As a high school math teacher, I cringe when students hand in a test and say 'I think I aced it.' It’s almost always an F."
"One time I left a stats exam in college and texted my friend, “if I knew a test was going to kill me and I went anyway, is that suicide?” She said “I think it’s more like when you walk through a bad part of town alone at night and get shot. It’s not really your fault.”
Kiwi Get A Clarification?
"When I was in middle school I convinced a girl that the kiwi birds laid the kiwi fruit as food for their babies. It wasn’t that hard to convince her."
"Flat eathers. It is difficult to find more dumb."
"These days, there's quite a bit of overlap there. Flat earthers tend to be very anti-establishment, but because they also tend to be very religious and Trump is supported by many fundies, there's a definite connection there. Plus, his support of conspiracies makes him seem like 'one of them'; some flat earthers thought Trump would be the one to expose NASA and the fake ISS, but that never happened."
I think COVID pulled back the curtain on the lack of intelligence on display.
Irrational mob mentality prevented US citizens from critical thinking and drawing irrational and false conclusions from sheer panic.
Remember the toilet paper shortage and the anti-vaxxer movement?
I was more terrified of our lack of humanity and compassion than the virus that was being allowed to spread thanks to ignorance.