It's human nature for us to feel like we belong. Individuals can't thrive without the influence of others who are part of various communities.
Thankfully, the advent of the internet made social networking easier for like-minded people to find each other.
But the convenience of finding your people also allowed for ominous groups with questionable intentions to flourish.
Curious to hear about the type of cliques people should avoid, Redditor FreshPrinceAV asked:
"What cults are on the rise that should be made aware of?"
These groups use the guise of religion to manipulate the impressionable.
"A personal experience of mine. Back in 2018 during my first year in the university, there is a Korean cult that tries to recruit teens and adults. During this time, they focus more in recruiting teens since they are 'easier to fool.'"
"They approached me outside school and asked me if I believe in 'God the Father.' So I said I heard about it but it is a little different from my religion. They proceeded in asking if I live alone and other personal stuff, until they asked me to come with them for a minute and they will explain how I can become a member of their church."
"The moment I heard the term 'God the Mother' as they call a chosen female member (mostly teens and minors) to lead their church with their pastor, I immediately refused. The thing is, it is very relevant in Korea and the 'God the Mother' is their term for the female candidate who is chosen to marry their pastor."
Claiming "Bible Study"
"I was a well read Christian at some point, so when this group bumped into me they were unable to sway my opinion to their benefit. I even visited their offices in nyc to entertain myself (I wanted to understand a little better how this cult worked)."
"They do lots of 'Bible Studies' that really aren't bible Studies at all. It's simply them telling you their perspective of what the scriptures say. Nothing is up for negotiation. Their interpretation is stated as fact. They feed you the belief system with the Bible, and you're expected to simply believe it. That's the type of 'Bible Study' this group offers."
Recruiting Them Young
"Youth With A Mission, or YWAM. Maybe it's better in other places, but my local chapter gets them YOUNG and keeps them entirely dependant on them. They get no practical experience, no money, no education. Tons of people there in their 30s with kids still relying on YWAM."
"If you have ever heard the story from FarCry 5, YWAM in the area it's based on is pretty close to that. We even have a pastor that gets worshipped as though he is God. Levi Lusko."
People Are Compared To Arrows In A Quiver
"In the U.S."
"Quiverful and IFB (Independent Fundamentalist Baptist). Hard to trace because there are a lot of home meetings and non-organization. A lot of IFBers have basically merged into and taken over regular old Southern Baptist churches as well."
"I escaped from the Quiverful/IFB "cult" about two years ago now. They've completely brainwashed my family. I can't even have a relationship with any of them now that I've left. I'm constantly having to de-program myself from the harmful messaging the IFB shoved down my throat my whole life. The programming was even worse for me and my siblings because we were also homeschooled. My whole life was church and my homeschool group. I wasn't allowed to have friends or beliefs outside of that protective bubble. It's a scary thing and I'm so glad more people are starting to realize it isn't an innocent movement."
Growing Up In A Cult
"I grew up Baptist in Tennessee and Georgia. I faced so much neglect and abuse. When my dad found out I was bisexual I was kicked out. I was harassed at my job by church members and at one point they stole my car. The police wouldn't do anything, they were church members as well. It got so bad i had to leave town. And thats not the worst of it. Nowadays my dad is heavily into conspiracy theories and shares a lot of harmful rhetoric and misinformation online as well as to his sunday school class. I definitely grew up in a cult."
"My dad was a fundamentalist baptist pastor before he got sick. So much of what these people believe is toxic to women and minorities but if you call it out in the community you get 'but people who do that stuff aren’t real Christians.' (No true Scotsman irl)"
"It’s so deeply problematic and getting people out of the church is impossible, even to push them to a more liberal church."
Active Recruitment Underway
"Jehovah's Witnesses are the fastest-growing church body in the U.S. and Canada."
"Doomsday Cult" Overseas
"Haven't seen it yet here - Shincheonji. The sect that caused a major covid outbreak in South Korea. They have spread like wildfire to other countries via online classes during the pandemic."
"They are a super secretive doomsday cult. They try to recruit already practicing Christians and people who are searching for something spiritual, offering them counseling and later Bible classes. They are super friendly at the beginning and the classes are very biblically sound at the start."
"Over the time they come upwith more and more weird stuff, guilt tripping people into sacrificing insane amount of their time and even resources, brainwashing them unto thinking their leader Lee Man Hee is the personifies Second Coming of Jesus and everyone with a different opinion is a spawn of the devil doomed to hell."
"The sect is very well organized and they straight up lie about where the teaching comes from until they feel the person is ready to know (brainwashed enough)."
"Steer clear of them people! And for any Christian out there, don't believe anyone who says that the Gospel is not enough"– kpopcrab
Not all cults exploit religion to go about their manipulative missions.
"Agreed. A cult does not need to be overtly religious to be a cult. MLMs often prey on religious beliefs and religious networks, though."
So-Called "Coaching" Groups
“'Coaching' groups. ✋🏻"
"Those organizations will get deep into your skin if you let them, bring you a false sense of security and fellowship, and get sensible information that could be used against you.
"Mostly made out of sensitive people with a lot of issues and insecurities that these 'professionals' will exploit to get money in exchange of 'experiences.'"
"EDIT: by coaching I meant 'Life Coaching' and they go around this 'neuroscience' abstract concept. Allow me to elaborate, for those who had never been in one of those."
"My personal experience was in 2018-2019. I was in a really bad place: low self esteem, unaddressed depression, school burnout, and a recent breakup. The last one was the reason I was lured into one of these groups, when she said that this could be 'a great opportunity to make our relationship work.' I went to her level 2 graduation and she seemed genuinely happy. We had a talk and I decided to take the Life Coach program."
"Level 1: they 'deconstruct' everything for you. Make you 'realize' that all of the things you’ve done are because you’ve never payed attention to your life, and promise you that you’ll be able to fix it. With their help. For a price. Hours range from 6-8 daily. They encourage you to take the 2nd level, where you will 'explore your potential' and break your 'idea box' (this being all the things you’ve been taught and make your persona)."
"Level 2: this was the hardest for me. They will put you in a position of compromise such that your failure is everyone’s failure, making peer pressure heavy. Strict hours that will open the door to demolarize practices in order to align you with the group’s main goal (which is to succeed this course). Hours get heavier: 8 AM to 3 AM next day. They tire you down, which allow the coach to manipulate your feelings. This is also the part where they will make you confess your darkest secrets (mine was heavy, so I couldn’t say it) and will make the group to pressure you to give in. I had a mental breakdown at this point, feeling like a hostage. By the end of the level, they will 'elevate' you with the help of previous members (literally, once you beat the final test, every single one of the members in the 3 programs will come and congratulate you; it was so relieving). This sets Level 3 in motion."
"Level 3: you will set goals for personal improvement for yourself. Pressure at this point was unbearable for me. I’d get calls every single hour to let know my progress, even followed around the city to 'bring reliable evidence.' It was at this point where my partner told me that she was worried about things that I did in the 2nd Level (coaches would tell her that I was unstable, and the things I confided to one of them in my vulnerable state, after they sworn to me that everything was private). I felt betrayed, and at this point I saw the thing for what it was, a scheme where vulnerable people would get comfort. For a price (which was getting more expensive each week). After that, I went home, had another breakdown. My psychiatrist recommended to call the thing off and start therapy, which I knew I needed and took the first step forward (I’d say that was the only positive thing about all this)."
"After all this, I decided to quit: they made me pay for the rest of the program and, after the swipe, I was banned from the premises. No one was allowed to look at me, call me, or other sort of contact. Even my partner decided to call the thing off 3 months after and started dating one of the guys she met there. Those were difficult times, but therapy and my nuclear family support was there for me."
"I’m in a better place now, learned from that experience and decided to get my mental health in my own hands from then on. I don’t know if it will work for other kind of people, but I’d recommend to go to a certified mental health professional instead of this."
While having a sense of belonging is human nature, be careful of the communities desperate to expand their membership.
Research, find out their intentions, and consult your friends.
When you're at a low point in life and feel lonely, your vulnerability is what makes you a target.
So be cautious when you set out to find your people. And don't ever feel obligated to pay money for your "friendships."
The Mandela effect is when multiple people share the same, incorrect memory.
Its name stems from when paranormal researcher Fiona Broome falsely believed that the future president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, died in prison in the 1980s.
A false memory she shared with a number of others.
Our memories have been known to deceive us, as we might frequently forget someone's name or one of our numerous online passwords.
But when we share a memory that turns out to be false with many others, convincing ourselves it wasn't the truth can be a very difficult ordeal indeed.
Redditor Mysterious_Boat_1701 was curious to hear people's most unsettling experiences with the Mandela Effect, leading them to ask:
"Which Mandela effect freaks you out the most and why?"
A mysterious gym
"Just had one personally."
"Went to a mall where there was supposedly a gym, asked around and nobody that worked at the mall knew what I was talking about."
"Looked around and couldn't find it."
"Come back a few months later and it’s right there in front of my face, you'd have to be strung out to not notice it."
"idk how or when it just appeared but it freaked me out."- prex320278
A "fruit"ful logo.
"That the fruit of the loom logo never had a cornucopia."
"What’s crazy about that one is that someone emailed the creator of the logo about it and he said even he remembers it having one."- mrcock2·
Less well intentioned than they thought.
"I Mandela effected my whole family once."
"Years ago there was a football player on a rival team that always did a dumb celebration after he got a sack and my family and I always hated it."
"One night after he did it my family started trashing the celebration and I said as a joke 'we are all going to feel terrible when we find out he is doing that celebration as a request from a make-a-wish kid'."
"Fast forward to years later and our team is playing that team again."
"The player got a sack and did the celebration."
"I rolled my eyes and said 'I hate that celebration so much' my mom instantly turned and said 'don't say that, he is doing it for a sick kid'."
"'I actually like it."
"So I was like 'what?'"
"'No there is no sick kid', my whole family then proceeded to argue with me'."
"They all vividly remembered reading articles about it, seeing special report segments before games about it, and other information."
"Some of them even thought they knew the disease the kid had and even extra details about why the kid chose that specific celebration."
"They all had these shared memories that they were sure were true."
"I was floored by all this and insisted none of that was true."
"So we looked it up.'
'No kid like that ever existed.'
"They still have trouble wrapping their heads around this one."
"Turned out human memory is not near as reliable as we think"
"It was American Football and the player was Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings and his cattle roping sack celebration."
"This was maybe 10 years ago."- AUSpartan37College Football Win GIF by Michigan State FootballGiphy
His eyesight was better than we thought.
"Mr. Monopoly's monocle."- Additional_Day9903
It's not easy being green.
"I have a personal one that to this day a decade later still destroys my mind."
"I had an old(ish) 2001 dodge neon."
"With BLACK SEATS.'
"I drove this car for years and years, like 80,000 miles.'
'All through college."
"I took work breaks in my car, commuted hours every day total, to college and then the opposite direction to work and back."
"I even lived out of this thing on several occasions.'
'The day I go and trade it in, I'm pulling misc things out of the car at the dealer."
'And the seats are GREEN."
"Not even a little."
'Like very unmistakably GREEN."
"In my black Neon, with black interior, that ALWAYS HAD BLACK SEATS."
"My girlfriend then, wife now, goes oh they've always been green."
"EXCEPT THEY F*CKING WEREN'T DON'T LIE TO ME."
"This is still upsetting to this day..... life is a lie and nothing is real."- ZakuLegionWinona Ryder Omg GIFGiphy
An urban legend was born.
"Not a global one, just a family thing."
"Back in 2002 my grandma had her 60th birthday, my father took us home at 10.00pm, ready for bed."
"We, me and brother, were 12 and 14 at this time."
'All went well."
"Over the years, a story was made up that we went missing after visiting the local playground after dinner at said grandma's birthday party."
"Some neighbors help to search us, the whole train of 'missing children in a smal village'-thing."
"Fun fact: we never went missing."
"Dad brought us home, put on 'Toy Story' on tv and left."
"My brother and I heard first about this in 2015.'
"From different people on different occasions."
"'Ah your one of the missing boys'."
"I first thought they were mocking me for a different event.'
"I got lost, but it was 2013, alcohol inflicted, different story."
"But then they ALL tell us the same story about us going missing."
'And the stories are damn close to 'true' in every story my mum is driving around the same neighbors to different locations to search, old wine yard, old mill etc."
"Sometimes I think I got lost on the most brutal way."
"I was lost and changed this plane of existence with another one."
"It sometimes made me think about my whole life."- tjorben123missing kenny mccormick GIF by South Park Giphy
Memories are a fascinating thing.
They can be changed or altered with even the tiniest suggestion.
And making the truth seem less believable than lies.
One last time. One last meal.
How do you chose a last meal?
Let's hope we never have to find out.
People on death row get that option.
Do they deserve it?
Whose to say?
But they have it.
A steak. A pizza... Burger King.
The food world is their oyster.
Oyster. Also an option.
The menu is endless...
Redditor No-Caterpillar4212 wanted to know what our menu choices would be if we faced the end. They asked:
"You're on a death row, you have one hour left, they ask for your final meal - what is it?"
I'd want 2 hours in a Golden Coral with a bar. Covers it all.
Masailor moon cooking GIFGiphy
"Everything my mom has ever made."
"I want a nice filet mignon, medium rare, a baked potato with everything on it, and a nice Cabernet from a good year - I'm thinking 2135."
"'Sorry, we couldn't get the Cabernet from 2135. So instead of what could have been a great wine request from a more plausible period of time, you get this crappy stuff we sourced from Wal-Mart. Enjoy your meal, I hope that maintaining your sense of humor was worth it."'
"Something badly cooked so I will be sick and want to die sooner and have diarrhea so bad it will be a last revenge!"
"Taco bell it is!"
"If Taco Bell makes you poop a lot, it's a sign that you probably need more fiber in your diet."
The Yuck Factor
"A huge bowl of baked beans, a bowl of shredded wheat, a six egg omelette, and a gallon of apple cider. I'm gonna make it awful for everyone."
"Save yourself the hassle of eating all that, just ask for one pack of sugar free Haribo gummy bears. Should make for an interesting time for the folks watching you die."
"You void your bowels when you die too so that should be lovely."
PerfectFried Chicken Scandal GIF by ABC NetworkGiphy
"Fried chicken with some Fanta."
Fried chicken is on the top of everyone's list!
DetailsInterested GIF by Nick CannonGiphy
"150mg of MDMA. I’m dying happy."
"This should absolutely be allowed. If our leaders insist on the practice of capital punishment then the condemned should be able to ingest any substance they damn please."
"McFlurry. Those machine are always broken. I just bought myself some time."
"Is this like an American thing? I worked at a McDonald's in Denmark once and our machine was never once broken when i was there."
"I saw a video about this once. I'm a little fuzzy on the details but I think it has something to do with the contract that was signed in America. Only one company is allowed to do maintenance on the machines and they basically lock out if it's cleaned incorrectly. It's a crap system."
"Cabbage!! Add some cabbage. I don’t know if an hour if enough to take effect but there was an old coworker on a cabbage diet. Omg she smelled, like it was coming out of her pores. She knew she smelled and kept apologizing and reminding us of the diet."
The OG Always
"Olive Garden. Unlimited soup and breadsticks."
"I saw a sketch once, can't remember who it 2qs from. But a an inmate ordered the all you can eat buffet and had been eating for like 8 years. He's constantly on the toilet and takes micro-naps between bites."
"Unlimited for 1 hour. Cool."
How GoldenGolden Girls Dorothy GIF by HULUGiphy
"If my grandma is still alive her potato soup and cheesecake. Hopefully I'd be able to cook said meal with her one last time."
Let's hope none of us has to make this decision.
Most people have friends they've been close to for most of their lives.
But at the same time, friends evolve, and everyone finds themselves losing touch with any number of people they at one point considered their friends over time.
Most of the time, this isn't intentional, but just simply happens.
On rare occasions though, people might realize that their friends were not exactly who they thought they were, and didn't like who they revealed themselves to be.
Redditor One-Refrigerator69 was curious to hear stories of people who realized their friends were not exactly the nicest people to be around, leading them to ask:
"When was the moment you realized that your friends are assholes?"
Compared to others...
"When I started hanging out with better people."- Darklink326
All it took was getting my life together
"When I quit drinking ‘cos it was killing me."
"There were people I literally saw every single day who just disappeared as if by magic."
"12 years ago this week, as it happens."
"I’m not anti-drink, far from it."
"Some people, me included, just can’t enjoy it without it becoming a problem."
"Everyone is different."- bigdaftgeordie
A little perspective goes a long way.
"After I realized that other people don't sh*t on each other on every possible occasion in their circle."
"And that it isn't right when a 'friend' uses every known insecurity as an argument against you when you do not behave the way he/she would want you to."- ViscousPlatemanThe Simpsons GIF by MOODMANGiphy
Lack of respect for other people's things
"I let my friend borrow my ps2 when I went to boot camp."
"When I came back, he said he sold it and gave me $50 I think?"
"This was in 2006."- madmike-86
Lack of mutual respect
"When he does sh*t to me and acts like it’s no big deal, then I do the same back and he gets offended."- Primary-Maybe-2749·
Constantly being taken advantage of.
"They only bothered with me when it suited them."
"I'd rather have nobody than have to deal with that."- zombi33mjhappy eric cartman GIF by South Park Giphy
When they literally revealed themselves to be criminals
"When they robbed me at gunpoint."- Ok_Student8032
When they stopped liking them after a change of situation
"Fourth grade, when my parents economical situation went downhill and suddenly no one invited me to their birthday party."
"Until Seven years later no one had never invited me to their birthday, or to anything at all actually."- Justalittletoserious
Not being able to get a word in...
"When they tell me to shut up when I say anything."- the_golden_cheesela respuesta GIF by Becky GGiphy
Violently playing with emotions
"She got a boyfriend and would let him listen to our phone calls and not tell me, even if I was crying about personal stuff that I would only ever tell her."
"Then they both started lying to me about my crush liking me back, forcing both him and me into awkward positions, telling everyone we liked each other so they'd play along, swapping places constantly to make us sit next to each other, pressuring him into giving me a lap dance, making him kiss the prettiest girl in the room, etc, and encouraged me to shoot my shot more and more."
"All the while they knew he didn't like me, he had told them both directly."
"One night I was crying on the phone cause I was so confused why my advances weren't working, and they just kept explaining it away, blaming some other bullsh*t reason and telling me to try again."
"The next day they told me they were laughing throughout the whole call, because I didn't get it and I was so upset."
"I should add I had no dating experience at all and nobody had ever liked me at this point."- Juliemj
It's always sad when our friends disappoint us.
But when our friends proved to be completely different people than we thought they were, it can be devastating.
As the saying goes, one never truly knows who their friends are.
When visiting any foreign country, one should always be familiar with the laws and customs of the land.
After all, what might be generally accepted on your home turf, might be frowned upon, if not illegal, elsewhere.
For that matter, even locals might need a refresher course on what they can and can't do while at home.
A recent Redditor was curious to hear what tourists and locals alike should avoid doing in the USA, leading them to ask:
"In the United States, what should you never do?"
Stay out of the skies!
"Don't fly a drone in Washington, DC."
"The whole D.C. Area is a no fly zone."
"It's a federal offense."
"Just don't do it."- PeytonCarrK
Cops can't be bribed.
"Don't try to bribe cops when you get pulled over."
"I had some Argentinian friends immediately pull out their wallets and start pooling their cash when they got pulled over once.'
"Fortunately someone in the car noticed and told them to put it away immediately."- PeytonCarrK
"Don't pay off the police."
"My dad has friends from several third-world nations where it is common practice to give the police some cash when you are pulled over."
"However, if you try to bribe a police officer here, you'll get into a lot of trouble."- JohnASmiley
Know your rights.
"Everyone, including foreigners, has the right to be silent and have a lawyer when being questioned."
"Don’t say anything."
"Also, even if you speak English fairly well, ask for an interpreter."- WickedLilThing
Enjoy all that nature has to offer... carefully!
"Don't wander off in the national parks."
"It's very real wilderness and you can get lost and die out there."
"This includes going over railings you aren't supposed to, or off trails."
"People have died accidentally falling into a steam geyser that looked like normal water, mauled by animals or left to the elements."- AlphaOhmeganational parks GIF by Visit The USAGiphy
Allow plenty of time!
"Expect consistency at TSA in airports."- WickedLilThing
Some terminology doesn't translate...
"If you’re from England, they’re called cigarettes here."- Yung_Onions
Make sure your license is up to date.
"If you come from a walkable country don’t come here expecting the same."
"There are some areas with good public transportation and bicycle/pedestrian friendly streets but for the most part, especially outside of cities, the areas are designed to accommodate cars more than anything else."
"The reason a lot of Americans drive everywhere is because, depending on where you live, we have no choice."- The_Cars93Dog Driving GIFGiphy
Wait for instructions.
"Get out of your car and approach the cop when being stopped by a cop unless told to."- hildrash
Whether your'e waling down a street in a foreign country, or the street you've lived on for your entire life, it's always wise to be on guard and aware of your surroundings.
Not to mention, obey the law.