People Explain Which Normal Things Make Them Feel Strangely Sad

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Tears and weighty sorrow arrive suddenly. The flow of sad emotions comes in a full-throated surge after its tipped off by something outside of us: a lost loved one, a troubling memory, profound empathy.


But sometimes the stimulus is minor. It's a mundane observation or an inanimate object. A normal piece of daily life fills us with a yearning and a sorry that feels totally disproportionate.

Besides feeling sad we feel foolish, confusedly teary or upset.

We are, however, in good company. A recent Reddit thread brought together the mundanity-induced blasts of sadness. Evidently, plenty of people out there lose it at the drop of a hat.

NotMSH_ asked, "What's a normal thing that makes you strangely sad?"

Depressing Assumptions

"I thrift books a lot, and it always makes me so sad to see ones that are signed from a relative with things like 'I loved this and thought of you. I hope you like it, Mom❤︎' makes me wonder why they got rid of it, if they ever read it." -- weburby

"I actually buy books with inscriptions so they get a second life with me. There is a strange beauty to something that was inscribed many years ago." -- bouncingbad

Attached to Associations

"Throwing away things that have been with you a long time and broke. Electronics, shoes, clothes. I can't bring myself to throw away a f***ing t-shirt because it's like, a nice t-shirt and I wore it a lot and now it has holes and is unusable, but I keep dragging it out."

"I threw out shoes and had to mentally prepare for that. These things carried me for literal miles and miles and here I am just putting them in the garbage."

"F*** that so much."

-- ladderzombie92

Growing Pains

"People falling out, especially long term friends. I know it's a part of being human, and that not everyone gets along all the time. But it hurts watching relationships crumble in just a second." -- lb63marvelfan

"This, or when friendships naturally fizzle out. I had a realization lately that my "core" group of friends from last year, now fizzled out to the point where nobody uses our group chat or plans hangouts at all anymore. We've all grown apart and are doing our own things, we all have different friends."

"It's a very natural thing to happen - growing apart - especially me being in my mid 20s but it made me very sad to realize that the friendships are no longer strong." -- titaniumorbit

Suddenly, a Whole Life

"Finding photos."

"Every now and then I'll buy a second-hand book and someone will have slipped a photo inside, I assume either for safekeeping or to use as a bookmark. They're never super old photos, and they never seem super precious... but that person in the photo is a person, you know?"

"Sometime in the past, someone decided that the sight of that smiling little kid at the foot of a slide on a summer's day was something they wanted a memory of. Maybe that kid's still out there somewhere. Maybe he grew up and he's about my age. Maybe he didn't. Maybe he's an ahole, I don't know -- but someone wanted a picture of him, and now they don't have that picture anymore."

"And what do you even do with a photo? You can't throw it out, because that seems rude. You can't return the photo to the owner with a 'Here, you forgot this', because you don't know who they are."

"So you keep it inside the book it came in, waiting until the day you forget it's there and have a clear-out and the book goes back to a charity shop -- maybe hundreds of miles away, if you've moved house in the interim -- and the whole process can start again."

"... or maybe that's just me, I don't know."

Loneliness Seen

"When an old person is walking around alone. Makes me wonder if they have anybody in their life." -- swift_seahorse

"I used to work at a restaurant and this older person would come in once a week, usually on Monday if I remember right. They always ordered two drinks and two specials. They would eat theirs, leave the other meal and drink untouched, and always decline to have the other meal boxed up."

"We all found it incredibly sad to see that older person who was obviously lonely." -- imgoodygoody

The Tip of an Iceberg

"When I see a business, like a restaurant or a shop, that is completely empty with no customers in it. I think about all the work and investment that went into setting up the business and feel so bad for the owners when they don't get any attention. Don't know why that makes me feel so sad." -- Free-Ad-1243

"When I was in high school there was this ice cream shop me and my friends used to go to. The ice cream was amazing and the owner incredibly friendly."

"I felt kinda bad that we would always come in and loiter for hours after we were done eating, but one time the owner thanked us because he felt like it let other people know they were open and encouraged them to come in, since the place was usually empty. I was pretty sad when it closed." -- afriendly_ghost

Arrested Development

"The passage of time" -- SecretRituals

"Watching old videos of me when I was a kid. I just feel like I'm so old now (I'm not) and time just won't slow down." -- brokendowndryer

"I totally feel this (figuratively and literally). Nostalgia comes in many forms but there's something about watching myself as a toddler without a care in the world that brings up the melancholic kind..."

"It's a weird mix of wishing things were simpler, the hard truth that time goes by faster than you want, and a sprinkle of existential dread." -- Klunderful

A Brief Escape

"When movies end. Now it's back to this barrel of shite." -- Failed_Successfully1

"A film ending, if I watch a film I'm sad for the rest of the day because its over" -- UnacceptableUse

"Similarly when I've finished a book, especially so if it's a long series. Like, I won't see the characters again, their adventures, their personalities. They're gone." -- PM_Nudes_2_Review

Feeling it All on Your Shoulders

"Going shopping reminds me of the vastness and complexity of industrialization and my comparative insignificance and ignorance. My wife hates taking me to the mall." -- Tahh

"Wahhh I was verbalizing something like this recently. But it's more like I just get overwhelmed by how much MATTER there is. Especially how materialistic and excessive it is."

"A mountain is matter, but it's an incredible natural phenomenon. But the fact that we have so much merchandise in the world that, if piled together, is the actual size of a mountain? I just hate it. Can't explain it beyond that." -- blueandwhitetoile

An Ugly Illustration

"Social media."

"It's 'normalized,' I suppose. But I work at a marketing job for a mid market retail website. It's amazing to me that even on a simple ad for some Nike footwear, the conversation can degrade into such vitriol without much effort."

"It just makes me sad to see, and I have to see it for my job pretty much every day."

-- 70U1E

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