Catfishing is a deceptive practice in which individuals lure unsuspecting victims into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.
That's unnerving, and although the term has been around since at least the 1940s, it gained significant attention in our social media age thanks to the documentary Catfish, about a man who developed an online relationship with a woman who was not what she seemed.
Today's burning question came from Redditor XerXesKay, who asked: "Redditors, have you ever been catfished? How did you deal or are you dealing with it at the moment?"
"Met a chick on some random app..."
Met a chick on some random app, we talked, trades photos, made plans to meet up. I went to her place and when she opened the door she looked nothing like the pictures she sent me. I thought it was a prank or maybe her sister or a friend, but she greeted me by name and invited me in. I thought to myself maybe I'm misremembering the pictures. So after some time chatting I go to the bathroom to check those photos and they are in fact not her. Hair color, skin tone, and general body shape are the same, but it's not her. So I text my dad and ask him to call me in about 20 minutes in a panic. I go out, act normal, get a panicked phone call, then leave in a hurry. Never spoke to her since. I felt bad at first, but the more I thought about it I realized she's the one who tried to dupe me and there is something very wrong with a person to use photos of someone else to represent them, then expect it to just work out or be okay.
"Well the short answer is that I married her."
Well the short answer is that I married her. I met my wife on Yahoo messenger in 2004 when she was 14 and I was 15. We spoke over messenger, then a few months later over the phone every single day. I decided to send her an extra webcam that I had so we could video chat for the first time. Everything was good until she received it in the mail about 4-5 days later, then before turning it on she spilled everything. She had lied about her name, appearance and was using a fake email. It took hours but I finally talked her into turning the camera on and showing me and of course it wasn't no where close to the pics.
Months of speaking for hours a day, I was heartbroken and I told her to explain why she lied for so long. She told me that not only did she have some anxiety about her looks but her mom was extremely strict on what she was doing over the internet. I felt betrayed so I told her to give me a week or so to think about everything and she cried and begged me not to do that and we could be friends. I ended up ignoring her for a couple of weeks but I could not help but miss her like crazy. I finally started to accept and understand more of why she lied and honestly I wasn't disappointed in the way she looked either, in fact I think I liked her better than the fake pics.
I called one day out of the blue and she was so happy to hear from me and we decided to "try" this long distance relationship even at a very young age. Well, as a cancer survivor I had to take yearly trips Memphis Tennessee to St. Judes hospital for check ups and I finally talked her mom into bringing her to meet me there since it was only an hour drive from their home town. In person, we just clicked. We had so much fun and had so much in common that we had to keep trying.
Fast forward to now, she moved to my home town, we are now married, have a house, a car and have lived together for almost 10 years.
"Yeah, she was super manipulative..."
My (now ex, of course) wife once tried to catfish me WHILE WE WERE MARRIED. Made a very obviously fake Facebook profile named Ashley something or other, had a bunch of obviously overly flirty conversation, talked way too much shit on herself, and even sent me a picture of a random pair of tits. I was suspicious front the get-go, but I let it continue until I had definitive proof that she was behind it. Always giving her just enough to keep up the conversation, but never incriminating myself. I waited until i saw the messages that I was sending to 'Ashley' pop up on her phone. And once I had proof, I still waited to see what she would do. The next day, she texted me while I was at work asking 'do you know Ashley (whatever the last name was)?' I played dumb and said no, and she was like 'oh really? Because she told me you've been flirting with her.' And that's when I decided enough is enough and called her out on it.
When I confronted her, she still tried to spin the blame on me, saying that I 'failed her test' because I didn't immediately come to her and tell her that another woman was flirting with me. She also claimed to have had some guy send a picture of his dick, which she was planning to use to accuse me of sending a picture of my dick to this fake woman, as if I don't know what my own dick looks like.
Yeah, she was super manipulative, insecure, and controlling, and getting divorced was the best decision I've ever made.
"I go to said diner..."
So, I've been catfished before...
I was in the site OkCupid, and this 23 year old woman starts talking to me. We talk, kind of hit it off, and then she wants me to go to her place. I say no, because I don't want to go to a strangers place, as that is what I was taught for years. Always meet up in public. She says fine, and recommends a diner near her.
I go to said diner, and there's no woman. I'm standing around the front, a little confused as she had emailed me and said she was there.
At that point (and I am not joking here), a 40+, overweight, unkempt MAN walks up to me, and tells me he actually is the woman I had been talking to. Startled, all I could say was "What? Why?!" He then told me he thought that since I was already here, I'd want to hang out anyway.
I pretty much yelled out "What the fuck, asshole! What the fuck is wrong with you?!" and left very quickly.
I'm not gonna lie, that little situation made me VERY paranoid from then on in dating. I don't want to think about what might have happened if I went to "her" place, and was met with... that.
Maybe he was mentally ill, or really lonely, honestly I don't care, you don't go lying about that.
"I met a girl on OKCupid..."
I met a girl on OkCupid many years ago named Cassie. She was a med student at U Chicago and after chatting briefly she decided we wouldn't be a good match and should just be friends. For nearly 2 years we were best buds, chatting online every day and sharing deep secrets about ourselves. We never spoke on the phone, never met in person.
Then, I met a girl named Lana. Turns out she was also a med student at U Chicago. I asked Cassie about her and she said she knew her, but that her name wasn't Lana. Lana and I proceeded to email back and forth for a long time, with her saying she would love to go on a date with me after her boards exams were finished but that she was too busy at this time.
Eventually I got impatient — young people are stupid — and demanded we meet up. Things went sour from there. Both people disappeared at the same time and no amount of Googling ever identified either of them.
To this day, I am convinced that neither of those people were real and I was part of some elaborate U Chicago psychology experiment to find out how much strangers would reveal about themselves to someone they never met. I felt like Cassie was my best friend, and like Lana would have been an ideal partner for me. It was heartbreaking to see them both disappear at the same time.
Oh gosh. Yes. Yes I have and it was wild. I started talking to this guy on tinder back in 2014 or so. I was still young and new at online dating so I didn't vet the guys very well. This guy was cute and had some photos of him from far away. He looked totally normal. As we talked he let me know he still lived with his mom and was about 1.5 hours away. I breezed through a couple more red flags and we agreed to meet somewhat in the middle.
I arrived first and sat at the bar. I told the bartender it was a blind date so I'd have some backup if I needed it. I ordered a beer and was waiting about 5 minutes when this guy waddled in. He was maybe 5'2 and probably around 250+. I smiled and said hi and thought to myself " I drove 45 minutes for this, I'm going to enjoy dinner at least". As he sat down he handed me fake flowers. But they weren't just any fake flowers, they were 4th of July fake flowers and they looked like they'd just been pulled from their location in the dirt. I accepted them and we said hellos and ordered food. Right before the food came he said he was going to the bathroom.
I started eating and the bartender and I exchanged looks that said "well this is happening ". Ten minutes go by and he's still not back from the bathroom. Now I'm about halfway through my food. 10 more minutes passed and I finally texted him. "You okay in there?" No response. Finally it's been about 30 minutes and I realize he's left. I finished my meal, told the bartender he left, ordered another beer. They didn't make me pay for his food and I left.
So yep I got catfished and he left about 20 minutes into the date. I've been amused about it ever since. I don't know what he expected, I definitely looked like the photos I had up and he definitely didn't.
"Talked to a girl for a month or so."
Happened to me once a long time ago:
Talked to a girl for a month or so before deciding meet up (with romantic intentions), and since we lived on opposite ends of the country--which was a long ride--she wanted to stay with me for a week. Great; no problems. The day arrived and so did she, but she was conciderably... bigger... than her photos led on. Barely even recognized her. Don't get me wrong; I don't mind a little extra thicc, but I do mind being lied to and the extend in which she went to hide her weight was both sad and slightly impressive. But, since we'd spend a whole week together, I didn't mention it and instead tried to have a good time--which we had. Only regret I have was having sex with her since I didn't do it out of attraction and/or affection, but out of compulsion since she was really pushy about it and I felt like I "owed" it to her for spending money and time on travel.
Haven't online dated since, and have no plans to do it again.
"Then one day he broke down."
I think my catfishing story is pretty innocent. Met a super sweet boy. He was funny, we talked well, had a nice personality. But not my type exactly. Overtime he got depressed through, and I kept trying to find out why. We would skype, and I'd see him. He'd be hiding most of his face behind his hand cause he was shy and wearing a beanie all the way down in his eyes. But I saw him. I heard his voice. Did not second guess anything. I mean, not a deep voice. But a reasonable voice since we were only 14 or so.
Then one day he broke down. He had to tell me. I'd known him for a year. Told he was actually a she. She was gay, had known so for many years, and had a deep crush on me. But had figured if she pretended she was a guy, we could end up dating.
Now.. girls don't do it for me. But I felt sorry for her. So I agreed to online date her. It only lasted a few weeks though. Before we agreed it wasn't working because I couldn't see her as more as a friend. We stayed friends for a while. But over time lost contact. I often think of her.
"Anyway, I invited her to a bar..."
I accidentally catfished a girl. We met in January in front of the student union at school. Since it was cold as hell I was bundled up in typical winter wear: hat, scarf, heavy jacket, jeans, black leather boots. Anyway I got her number and we chatted on the phone a few times and went out on a date. I threw on some jeans, black boots a baseball cap and a flannel shirt. We ended up having lunch at a diner and then went back to her place that she shared with her mom and watched TV. This went on for a few weeks: we would meet up somewhere at school or at lunch and then chill at her place. I was a total gentleman too because she was a little younger than me and from another country and sort of seemed naive. She only had one other boyfriend before she met me.
Anyway, I invited her to a bar to see my band play. She wasn't legal drinking age but that's no big deal because I pretty much knew everyone and could easily get her into a bar no problem. My roommate actually went and picked her up because I had to set up our show. This was dumpy little bar so we had a lot of work to do onstage since we had a lot of electronic equipment.
So her and the roommate get there, take a seat at the bar and I came up and told her how excited I was that she was there. She looked at me like she had never seen me before. And then I realized she never really did. Like every time we hung out I was wearing jeans, a long sleeved shirt and a hat. So she never saw my blue spiky hair, my tattoos, my spiked belt, my Dead Kennedy's "Nazi Punks Fuck Off!" t-shirt or my black leather jacket covered in spikes and patches of bands like Black Flag and Circle Jerks.
She had no idea I was a punk rocker dude. None at all. And since she was from a small town in the middle of a 3rd world country and only been in America for less than a year I guess she missed some clues like the fact that most of my flannel shirts had writing on them or my hats had band names or were plaid. But in the end it all worked out. We've been married almost 12 years. Together almost 20.
"What perhaps stings most..."
Yes. Chatted for years with this woman, and she was perfect... too perfect, looking back. I was in love, and from what she let me to believe, she was too. We even talked about plans for the future together.
Until she dropped from hours of chatting per day, to one email in two weeks, to none at all, no replies, no nothing.
Last email was over 2 years ago. Still miss her. Heavily suspect I got catfished. Looking back, all the red flags were there. The photos she sent, were never a spontaneous selfie. Her first and last name were very common, so impossible to google. And a few others.
Luckily, no money was lost, only my pride. Still miss 'her', after 2 years, and am still hoping she will turn up one day, even though I know I shouldn't.
She even said things like "every relationship can work... as long as you have faith, and work hard". I feel I did both and still have faith.
Told her one time my biggest fear was waking up one day and finding out she was gone, that it was all a dream. I guess I woke up.
What perhaps stings most, is that I wasn't even allowed a breakup message... Even a simple "this isn't working, I'm out" would have given me some closure. Instead, I kept (and still am) hoping for some miracle to happen.
This sounds cliched, I know, but even after those years after 'she' left... I doubt I will ever feel the same way about anyone again. I'm too shy to meet new people anyway, especially after shit like this, so...
Am not feeling good about life.
"He told me he was a marine..."
Met a guy on a dating site. He told me he was a marine, went to a top military school in the States (despite the fact we are both in Europe) and sent me a picture of what he led me to believe was himself: a tall, dark, handsome man in very good shape. We agree to meet in the lobby of the hotel I was going to stay at while in his city.
I come down to find a guy sitting in the darkest area of the lobby waiting for me. I greeted him, he looked sort of the same as the guy in the picture but shorter, around my height (5'6). The guy in the picture was at least 6'2 ish, but I thought, meh, I could have made a mistake. You can't correctly judge height in pictures anyway, unless they are standing next to something or someone you know for scale.
So I disregard my intuition and we talk for about two hours. I say I have to go back to my room as I am a bit tired after travelling. He wonders if he can join me in my room. It's a polite no from me, but he suggests we meet the next day. I agree, knowing I can always back out of it since I'm still on the fence.
When I get back to my room I immediately check the picture he sent me. Having stared at this guy's face for two hours I now immediately see it is definitely not him. I sent him a message saying that he is not the guy in the picture and that I am not interested in meeting the next day. He insists it is him, and that I am sorely mistaken. The entire time I was in his city he never stopped texting me. I blocked him. When I got back to my home city he began a campaign of sending me weekly email messages. I'd block him and he'd just come back with a new email address, telling me things like "I should have fucked you that night", as if my consent in the matter was non-consequential.
I ended up deleting my entire profile on the dating site as well as my email address.
I got catfished a few years ago on one of those free dating sites. The guy in the pictures was really hot, like model hot, but he had enough photos on his profile it seemed legit. I saw it said he went to my school but I'd never seen him before, and a guy this hot I feel like I'd notice (which in hindsight should've been a red flag) but at the time I was curious so I sent the first message. We start chatting, and we hit it off. Lots of common interests, he makes good conversation. Tells me he's a commuter and his schedule is irregular. That explains to me well enough why I'd never seen him (the kids who commuted to the school were like a separate social sphere). He says he's seen me before but he feels awkward just approaching people. I can buy that.
Anyway, fast forward like a week. We've texted and chatted on the phone, and I'm ready to meet him. Schedule a time and a place, of course he no-shows. I sat around for like 45 mins. It's in an open area on campus with a bunch of tables so people are coming and going. There's this one kind of shabby looking overweight guy who sat like 2 tables away for like 30 minutes doing nothing. I don't interact with him but I notice he's glancing at me every once and a while. But it's art school, people are weird, maybe he's drawing me on a pad I can't see? Wouldn't be the first time.
So I go back to my dorm, I'm pissed, and I let the dude know. He gives me some stuff about something came up last minute and he tried to call but something or other excuses excuses. I'm forgiving and say I'll give him another shot but that I was busy that week so it wouldn't be until the next weekend. He's good with that.
So we keep talking in the meantime. I tried video chatting him a couple of times, but every time he declined them with some excuse. Throughout the week I notice that shabby overweight guy in a few more places. I keep getting that weird "watching you" feeling from him.
So one night, shortly before the weekend, we're talking and I just happen to mention, half-joking "I think I have a stalker" and this guy gets immediately defensive with things like "are you sure you're not misinterpreting it?" and I'm just like woah, hold on a minute. This guy gets all worked up then goes radio silent for a while. Comes back to me with apology texts a few hours later, and I'm just like wtf. That's when 2 and 2 start to come together. I ask the guy why he never showed, why he won't video chat etc. Starts telling me I'd be upset. I ask why, he won't tell. Finally I just say "those are not your pictures, are they?" He admits it, and I ask him who he is. Sends me his picture. He's the overweight shabby guy. He then asks me if we're still on, and I'm like obviously not dude. He then launches into the obligatory "you're shallow and won't date me because I'm fat" tirade and I simply said "I can look past the weight, but I can't look past a liar" and blocked him.
He tried following me once after that but I made a massive scene and he dipped. Never saw him again. Thank god.
"This happened to me when I was young..."
This happened to me when I was young, like 14 or 15. I came across a "guy" on a website and we chatted over AIM for several years.
Eventually it kind of started to get chaotic on his end and so I started to ask questions. It came out that he was female and I actually didn't mind, I was bi anyway. It didn't work out for literally 10000 reasons, but it is one of those shameful things I carry with me.
Thank God I never sent money or photos or anything.
"That was the end of that."
Sort of. Was also sorta my fault. Matched with a guy on tinder who had a profile picture of two guys. I automatically assumed he was the guy at the very front of the picture because he was the only one in focus. The other guy was in the background and you could barely see his face, only a tiny amount of his head was showing, actually. Guy at the front had his full body on show and I thought it was pretty obvious that was him.
My stupid ass didn't ask, anyway. I mean in my defence here, who would have a tinder profile picture where only a tiny portion of their head is on show? I'm sure many girls got caught out with this dude.
Arrived to meet him and he was obviously not the guy in the photo. He was the one lurking in the background. I was pretty surprised but I took the date in my stride. He seemed a nice guy, so I went back to his for drinks.
He put a Harry Potter film on (whatever, I love HP!!) and proceeded to say the lines word for word with each and every character. That was the end of that. Never saw him again.
"When I was in high school..."
When I was in high school, I had a very distant friendship with a certain boy there, but he became obsessed with me. After repeatedly asking me out and becoming increasingly creepy, I cut all ties with him. Years later, after we had both graduated, he still tried to find ways to contact me to tell me he was still in love and that we were meant for each other.
In college, I started using tinder and other dating apps. This boy must've seen my profile at some point, because he made countless profiles hoping to match with me. Whenever I matched one of his fake accounts, he would message me and try to turn the conversation sexual as quickly as possible.
I figured out it was him pretty quickly from his writing style, the fact that he was using images of girls he was Facebook friends with but that didn't go to our high school, and some other giveaways. It was extraordinarily creepy, and I wasn't able to use apps like that for years because of him. I still FaceTime everyone I match with before talking to them, because I still worry one of them will really be him.
Once. Met on OKCupid. I didn't take it very seriously because she seemed nuts, was also talking to a friend of mine and once she started sending pics, it was pretty clear none were of the same person. One day I tripped over the person many of the pics actually belonged to on the same site. Called her out about it on AIM, and she immediately blocked us.
"I had some success in college athletics..."
Yeah. I had some success in college athletics but had a really poor social life having devoted a sport. Well, I would messages time and time from random fans and people asking for advice and such. Some the conversation would go further, some would not. There was one person where the conversation went on for a good few months. It turned out the person wasn't real. It kind of sucked because they were one of the few if not only person I have had, up until knowing, a good relationship with. It's been a good five years and haven't been able to make a friend even remotely close to the person that lied about who they were.
"We chatted back and forth..."
Yes, and we've been happily dating for over a year now.
I 'met' this guy on okcupid, and we immediately hit it off. He was the same age as me (19), really sweet, cute and fun to talk to, actually seemed like he was interested in getting to know me rather than just trying to get something out of me. I'd had some pretty bad experiences with boring and downright creepy guys on the site before, so this was a huge breath of fresh air.
We chatted back and forth on the site for a while, before switching to discord, where we talked increasingly over the next few months, gradually getting closer. We never talked on voice chat, because he said he was too shy, which I guess, strange, but I didn't question it much because honestly, I was too.
Things carried on for a while like this. Meeting in person wasn't really on the table for a while at least, since we were both young and lacking in money and lived a couple hundred miles from each other. But we talked for hours almost every day, played videogames together, generally had a great time.
Eventually, we started flirting with the idea of organising a trip for one of us to come visit the other. He seemed very enthusiastic about it at times, at others, weirdly awkward and distant. After this happened a couple of times, I asked him what was wrong. After trying to avoid it but me continually pressing, he told me.
I hadn't been talking to who I had thought. Most of the details had been correct. The age, the general life situation and day to day events...but 'he' was actually 'she', a closeted lesbian. She immediately broke down apologizing, but my mind was spinning. I couldn't believe I'd been lied to for so long. I told her I didn't like girls that way, immediately blocked her on all platforms and ran to bed in tears.
I tried my best to carry on with things as normal for about a week. But honestly, even if I'd been lied to, I couldn't help but miss her. Maybe some of the particulars had been lies, but I realised I genuinely still missed the companionship, and more than that, I still felt something romantically between us.
After a few more days of hard self-reflection and thought, I unblocked her on discord, and messaged her. We talked for a while. She apologised profusely and said she'd never expected to hear from me again, nor did she think she deserved to. I said I understood, and we talked through things for a long time. Reasons, thoughts, feelings. I said I'd realised that even though I'd never had feelings like that for a girl before, I did for her, and if she still wanted to, we could at least try and make it work.
So far, it is, we've met up amd visited each other several times now, and honestly I'm the happiest I've ever been!
I left. It's not that I didn't find her attractive, it was a trust issue. Right out the gate you show me you decided to lie about something that you couldn't hide. You know eventually I'd see you in person and know you lied about that. How can I trust anything you've told me up to that point after that? How can I trust that later, when something happens you should tell me but can easily hide, that you will? It's starting things off on a very bad foot.
"Normal tinder convo."
Normal tinder convo. Little too sexual from her part, so I was pretty suspicious. So I asked for snap. Got a snap. Was just getting snaps of "her" watching TV. Asked to see her face and just got a snap of some dude's face with a message "never had someone be so suspicious before". Talked to him for 5 minutes just kinda curious what he catfishes for, then deleted him. Good times.
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Y'all know that one Hannah Montana song? “Everybody makes mistakes! Everybody has those days!" That's the song I sing to myself every time I accidentally burn myself while making ramen. It comforts me to know, however, that there are a lot of worse mistakes out there than some spilled ramen. Who knew?
In fact, some mistakes are so astronomical that they're remembered for decades afterwards, leaving the one who made the mistake a legacy of being a dumba**. Here are a few of them!!!
Some may argue that the existence of the Universe was a mistake. I disagree. It was clearly Zayn leaving One Direction. But these next few were pretty bad too.
If you do the math, this is also the reason why Hentai exists.
I'll say the wrong turn Franz Ferdinand's driver made that went right in front of Gavrilo Princip.
EDIT: yes I'm aware war may still have broken out even if Franz Ferdinand wasn't assassinated
Imagine you're Gavrilo Princip. The assassination plot you and your friends had been cooking up for about the last year or so has been a complete and total disaster, just a monumental f*ck-up of the highest degree. You're staked out at this deli thinking maybe, just maybe the car will pass by, and by some stroke of sheer luck, it does.
If you're Princip, this is nothing short of serendipity.
Petition to return to the ocean.Ocean Surf GIFGiphy
"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans."
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move." - Douglas Adams
This was, in fact, a monumental mistake.
Sears not beating Amazon to the punch.
Blockbuster not buying Netflix.
You thought THOSE were bad? Well gear up for their next few, because they are 100% accurate. Except the one about Cats, that movie slaps.
I don’t know sports, but sure.
Seahawks not running it.
I used to wear a Seahawks jersey whenever I took a test because I knew I would pass when I shouldn't.
CATS is great, y'all are just boring.Giphy
The Emoji Movie.
That live action movie about Cats is also up there.
Very fair point.
Humans are not wired to have that many social interactions and maintain that many relationships. Plus the echochambers it allows people to create for themselves, no matter how conspiratorial or vile their beliefs, means that stupid/evil people are no longer shunned into changing their mind.
Not sure it was worth being able to see what a celebrity had for lunch or what new "dance" your younger cousin and her tween friends are doing.
But in all seriousness, some horrible things may now have happened if the right thing was halted at the right time.
Washington called it.George Washington Disney GIF by Hamilton: An American MusicalGiphy
Voting for people based on what side of the political spectrum they're on. George Washington himself advised against political parties because he thought they would cause too much division in this country. Unfortunately for everyone, he was right.
Big oops on that one.
Barack Obama mocking Donald Trump at the Correspondents Dinner might have led directly to his 2016 run....
"Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald," Obama said. "And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?"
Then he turned serious: "But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of 'Celebrity Apprentice' — at the steakhouse, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn't blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled."
This is the best Star Wars and no one can change my mind.
I'll take 'Star Wars Christmas Special' for $100.
That atrocious pile of manure gave us Boba Fett, so without the Christmas Special there won't be The Mandalorian.
Wow, in this article, I openly admitted my love for Cats AND The Star Wars Holiday Special. So maybe my existence was the biggest mistake of all.
ANYWAY, I hope you enjoyed, and I hope you all feel a little bit better about yourself. Because when push comes to shove, at least you didn't accidentally start World War I
When I was younger, it seemed every adult believed that you couldn't swim for several hours after eating. Why did they all believe this? I fought them on this all the time, by the way. I shouldn't have had to, just because I'd eaten some barbecue during a pool party. Guess what, though? That belief is unfounded.
After Redditor MelonInACat asked the online community, "What is a common myth that has been debunked that too many people believe?" people told us about the myths that are still around despite credible evidence.
"Do you know how many wellness checks..."
You must wait 24 hours before reporting a missing person.
- 24 hours from when? The time you realized they were missing? The time you estimate they went missing? The time of the initial report to police?
- Who is the legal timekeeper? If this is a law, it must have a designated timekeeper for official records. City police? County sheriff? Do I hire a private attorney to file a time-keeping motion in court?
- If the most likely time to find a missing person is the first 24 hours, why would you wait 24 hours?
- If the person dies or is severely injured because the county/state refused to initiate a search, doesn't that put some liability on their office? It seems like that would've been tested in court by now.
There's no law governing how long you have to wait before notifying the police of a missing person. It's nonsense. File a report as soon as you suspect the person is missing or in danger.
Do you know how many wellness checks officers go on in a day? Call it in, man...
CALL IT IN!
Why would you wait so long? It's absurd and wastes valuable time. And in the event something has happened, you could very well be saving someone's life.
"Popping your knuckles..."
Popping your knuckles is actually harmless and the "study" that claimed it caused arthritis was heavily flawed. Studies now show that it has nothing to do with causing arthritis.
I heard this one all the time.
I didn't crack my knuckles anyway because I didn't understand the appeal. Why were all the first-graders so fascinated by this?
"That if you get too close..."
That if you get too close to a baby bird, the mother will smell human on the baby and abandon the nest.
You probably should still avoid touching baby birds for other reasons like disease or risking injury to the animal though.
"That waking a sleepwalker..."
That waking a sleepwalker is dangerous for them. They might wake up confused, but they'll be fine unless you scream at them or something.
"That your hair and fingernails..."
That your hair and fingernails still grow after you die. It's mainly an optical illusion. Your skin decays and shrinks, causing hair and fingernails to look like they've grown.
I grew up hearing this.
There are entire generations of people who believe this.
"We all know the story."
The War of The Worlds broadcast in 1938. We all know the story: Orson Welle's broadcast War of The Worlds over the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). But people only tuned in partway through and heard the radio announcing that machines were landing in the country and were advancing and attacking. People panicked in the streets and thought aliens really were invading. There was hysteria on the streets, people were looting and traffic jams backed up as people tried to escape.
But it turns out, that isn't really true. It turns out barely anyone actually listened to the broadcast, and the few that were listening knew it was Orson Welles and knew it was just a broadcast of War of the Worlds. If there was anyone that did tune in and mishear it and panicked, it was nowhere near the hundreds and thousands that have been reported in this myth.
This one is definitely a popular urban myth by this point.
Cool story, but nowhere near as exciting as you might have heard. If anything, that mythos probably helped Welles get full artistic control of the projects, like Ciitizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, that made him a star.
"You don't have to wait..."
You don't have to wait 3 hours after eating to swim. Every summer I have to fight my in-laws about it.
"Do you really think..."
That not turning your airplane mode on (smartphone) can interfere/jam communications.
Do you really think if a smartphone might endanger a whole plane with passengers they would let it fly?
"No amount of reasoning..."
That cats kill babies.
I've run into this so many times since having kids. And it's not the older grandmas making these statements. I've had 20-year-olds tell me that you can't have cats if you plan to have babies because "they'll steal their breath" or some other variation. No amount of reasoning or rationale will dissuade them of this belief.
"Maybe it's just one of those things..."
YOUR. BLOOD. IS. NOT. BLUE! Seriously tho, I was told that everyone's blood was blue on the inside when I was younger, and I honestly don't know why my Mom thought that. Maybe it's just one of those things that you only believe because your family has been saying it since your Grandma's Grandpa's Grandma's Grandma's Grandpa or something like that.
Here's some valuable advice, guys:
Google is your friend. It's very easy to debunk this stuff. I remember being taught that the tongue had taste zones––we even had to fill out a worksheet labeling the tongue's different zones. That's totally wrong, in case you haven't figured it out.
Have some myths you've heard you'd like more people to know have already been debunked? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!
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As much as we're not supposed to feel satisfaction upon observing the struggles of other people, it can be hard to resist a silent, internal fist pump when some blunder occurs immediately after we tried to help the person prevent it.
It is all a result of stubbornness.
The person we're trying to help is stubborn. They think they know the best way to do something, or the exact information required for a given moment.
And, on top of that, they think we're being stubborn when we try to intervene.
So all of our attempts to help fall on deaf ears. And the results can be as calamitous as they are satisfying.
TenaciousBrit asked, "What's your 'I told you so' moment?"
Many people chose to talk about the times their friends or family ended up producing some truly entertaining physical comedy.
And the laughter was only enhanced with the knowledge that they'd just predicted the whole thing.
"Was picking beans with my sister and mom. To this day I still don't know why the fence was electric but it was. I touched it and I got zapped. It wasn't too bad but it hurt. I jumped away and my sister saw me, I said that it was an electric fence."
"Of course she just thought I was pranking her. I was trying to tell her the whole time we picked beans but she didn't believe me. Right at the end she touched the fence and she didn't see it coming at all... Her face was just like, 'Oh shi-' "
"Loved the car ride home, 'I told you... Idiot.' "
No Babies, Two Hurt Backs
"My sister and I were out sledding when we were kids at this place with a really steep hill. I had unknowingly gone down a sled path that had a jump in it, and when I landed it really hurt my back."
"So when I got back up to the top of the hill I told my sister 'don't go that way, the jump really hurts.' She called me a baby and didn't believe me that it really hurt so she decided she would go down that path on her sled."
"Well, she hit the jump and didn't get back up, turns out she fell so hard she had broken her leg. When we finally got her back up the hill and to the car, I got to tell her 'I told you so.' "
"This dumb a**hole woman wouldn't leave the llamas at our petting zoo alone, even after I warned her."
"Eventually they had enough and spit alllll over her. Green goopy spit from head to torso."
"She threw up a bunch and I laughed. Until I smelled it and then I was retching too."
Others recalled the times they trusted their instincts, only to be gaslighted by medical professionals.
But they did, eventually, get the help they needed. And the mixture of pride and frustration toward the other doctor was palpable.
"Had a weirdly dark freckle. The color of chocolate. I showed spouse and he called me a hypochondriac and if I go to a doctor, I'd be wasting their time."
"I went to the dermatologist. It was melanoma."
Years of Itchy Apples
"Since I was 14, my throat got itchy when I ate apples. I told my mom but she thought I just didn't want to eat apples and forced me to eat them."
"Went to the doctor's office and got a test for allergies."
"Turns out, I'm allergic to apples, peaches, and many other fruits."
This Was a Baby We're Talking About Here!
"My newborn baby was projectile vomiting after every feeding. I took her to the doctor several times, always ended up being sent away with suggestions to try a different formula. I tried like 4 different ones, no change."
"The 4th or 5th visit, they sent me away again with the same recommendation even though I pleaded with them to figure out what was wrong with my baby. I left the office and drove to the ER instead. She ended up having emergency surgery that day."
"The surgeon said she would have starved to death (or maybe dehydrated?) had she gone much longer without the surgery. I gave the doctors in that office a piece of my mind."
Dirt: Not Always the Answer
"Went to the doctor on and off for breathing problems to no avail. A lot of 'rub some dirt on it' mentality. Wound up in the ER as a result of an asthma attack. Kept the bracelet on and everything when I went back the next week to see him."
"Not as satisfying as I would've hoped."
And some people discussed the times they knew or predicted a piece of information, but couldn't seem to persuade someone else through dialogue or conversation.
But, of course, the truth always comes out.
Chose the Wrong Partner
"Lawyer here. Fired a partner who I found some real irregularities in their spending habits vs. what they were making after he couldn't provide a good answer to where it came from. Other partner left and started a new firm with them because they disagreed with my decision and refused to look at the evidence."
"Turns out he stole 500k of a clients money, got disbarred, and is now facing prison time. I told her to look at the evidence and she didn't listen. 🤷🏼♂️"
"Someone started talking about a bottle of Newman's Own salad dressing while at dinner with my family and I said something like 'I'm pretty sure that was started by the Actor/Race car driver Paul Newman.' to which one of my siblings replied 'No it was someone else.' "
"I grabbed the bottle and turned it around and started reading the label out loud. The first sentence was 'Paul Newman's career was acting, but his passion was auto racing.' I stopped reading after that."
He Knew Immediately
"Bed frame wasn't properly lashed down while moving, partner insisted the weight of the frame would keep it in place."
"Flew into the middle of a major intersection on a left turn. We dodged four lanes of oncoming traffic to collect the pieces."
"I fixed my partner with a look that could peel paint, and he said 'I know, I know, you told me so and you're right. I'm sorry.' "
"I still give him sh** for it every time we move something. It's funny now, but god damn was I pissed at the time."
We can draw a couple of lessons from this list.
First, know that, at the end of the day, you can only do your best to share your opinion. You need to accept that they're going to do what they're going to do.
Second, when someone tries to give you advice, maybe take a moment to listen.
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One of the most upsetting aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic––which is saying a lot, frankly––is the number of people who have been so affected by misinformation and disinformation. You know the ones to which I refer: These are the people who are convinced the virus is a hoax despite the lives it's claimed and the devastation it has wrought on society at large. Disinformation kills––there are stories of people who remained convinced that Covid-19 is a hoax even while intubated in the ICU, even up to their last breath.
After Redditor asked the online community, "Doctors of Reddit, what happened when you diagnosed a Covid-19 denier with Covid-19?" doctors and other medical professionals shared these rather unsettling stories.
"The one that sticks out in my mind..."
I'm a doctor working in acute internal medicine. I've seen lots of COVID over the last 12 months, probably 300+ cases. The one that sticks out in my mind the most was a 70-year-old lady with COPD. She refused to have a vaccine because she didn't trust it despite the fact she was eligible for one for weeks beforehand (in the UK). Subsequently caught COVID and was admitted to hospital. She repeatedly doubted this was the diagnosis. She refused to go to our COVID High Dependency Unit despite quite significant respiratory failure. Of course, she deteriorated over a number of days to the point where she was on maximal oxygen on the ward and at that point finally accepted treatment in HDU with high flow oxygen, although continued to doubt she had COVID. Died within 24 hours of her HDU admission having refused to go to ICU.
And of course, what did her family say? They were convinced she never had COVID and even went as far as accusing us of withholding life-saving treatment from her. Unfortunately, there's no treatment for stupidity.
Indeed there isn't.
A completely avoidable tragedy.
"My worst experience..."
My worst experience was when a 2-year-old kid got diagnosed with COVID. His mother had brought him with c/o fever and diarrhea. The child was severely dehydrated and so we had to do a mandatory swab test since we planned to admit him. It came positive and the mother refused to admit it. We were ready to perform a repeat test and we even advised the parents to get tested. Her defense was "The child never left the house. It's just me and the father who go to work daily. The grandmother babysits while we are away. How can he even get COVID without leaving the house." She had called her husband, he came with 10-15 relatives in a car, they broke a few chairs and then left with the baby. We just informed about the case to the COVID control centre.
"Only one patient ever accused me..."
Infectious disease doctor here. Seen about 450-500 COVID patients in the hospital since it all started. Only one patient ever accused me of using the nasal swab to give him COVID (along with a microchip). A handful have ranted nonstop about China. Everyone else has been sick enough to accept it, but lots still refuse the idea of vaccination even after being in the ICU.
"I had a lady who was maxed out..."
I had a lady who was maxed out on high flow (the next step is breathing tube) who still refused to believe she had Covid and was holding a negative test in her hand that she had taken a week prior.
The denial is so strong here.
It would be sad if it wasn't so horrifying.
"I'm an attending physician..."
I'm an attending physician at our Triage Unit. On a Friday, an older gentleman (60 + years) came in with his entire family (wife, sister, BIL, 2 nephews, and 3 children), none of them with a face mask. All had mild COVID symptoms except him, he was saturating 80% with evident shortness of breath. We insisted on doing PCR and a chest CAT scan looking for COVID but he and his wife refused, saying that COVID wasn't real and it was just a bacterial infection. The more we talked with him the more agitated he got to the point that his face was red. We suggested hospitalizing him to stabilize him and start treatment, but they accused us of exaggerating his symptoms and that we only wanted to hospitalize him so we could steal the liquid in his knees (a stupid rumor that was going around when this whole thing started).
They both cursed at us and said they were going to a better hospital to get antibiotics. Fast forward 24 hours later on Saturday, I get a call from the hospital next county over telling us that they intubated one of our patients because he went into respiratory failure when he arrived and they had to transfer him here because they don't have the appropriate equipment. We transfer the patient on Sunday only to find out on the CAT scan he had 90% of lung damage. He passed away on Monday morning.
Just before the family took the body away, I gave the widow the death certificate (that I filled out) and before walking away, she turns around and waves the certificate yelling "See! I told you it wasn't COVID! It says here: "Death due to pulmonary pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2! I knew it was a bacteria!" I told her: "SARS-CoV-2 is COVID-19, ma'am."
The lengths people are willing to go to stay in denial astound me.
Basic critical thinking appears to have gone out the window here.
I'm a family doc who mostly does outpatient.
I live in a pretty conservative area with a good proportion of COVID deniers, so I've been seeing COVID deniers since this mess became politicized (I've lost a few patients over the mask mandate).
Anyway, I'm pretty pleased to say that several of my COVID denying patients have completely turned their attitude around when they (or a close family member) contracted COVID. Even if their case wasn't severe, the sudden terror that they could wind up on a ventilator overnight really puts the fear of God into people.
Unfortunately, I still have some patients who are still pretty obnoxious despite their covid diagnosis. They mostly dig deeper into paranoia. If not about the virus itself, then about the circumstances surrounding them contracting it.
"If Fauci had done his job from the beginning, it never would've hit this town."
"It's the entire fault of Obamacare that I can't get the experimental immunoglobulin treatment!" (It's not, your eligibility for the infusion is dependent on a list of risk factors).
And, probably my favorite...
"So I have COVID and it's completely your responsibility to fix it. I need you to send Hydroxychloroquine, Zinc, Vit D, Lisinopril, and azithromycin to the pharmacy..." Then they proceed to get pissed at me when I don't.
"During our peak time..."
I'm an emergency department physician in the US. I work in an area that had the highest death rate for a solid couple of weeks in the country.
During our peak time when we had national news crews here covering how we were a s***show, saw numerous people screaming their Covid disease wasn't real despite being hypoxic and on large amounts of oxygen due to Covid. That was an unpleasant time as this was still early (May/June) and it was extremely political like people apparently plotting to kidnap our state governor due to lockdowns.
Saw a lot of people refusing Covid testing who needed admission for non-covid purposes because the swabs would give them covid or put some sort of tracking device. They weren't pleased when they then had to be admitted to our full-blown Covid floors. Our Covid floors resembled a warzone because they were understaffed and relative s***hole conditions as we basically converted hallways into covid floors.
Also saw a lot of people young people who weren't exactly deniers but thought you basically couldn't sick if you were young. Lots of people with their lungs permanently scarred or at a minimum a couple of weeks of misery and/or spread it to their loved ones who got extremely ill.
"The willful cognitive dissonance..."
Physician here. The willful cognitive dissonance is real. It never ceases to amaze me how many patients will refuse assistance from me to register to get vaccinated, make claims that vaccines are harmful, but then accept my medical care on anything else that suits their whim. Patients absolutely have the autonomy to refuse care, but why would you continue to see a physician and accept their medical advice and care if you think they would simultaneously recommend something to you that would be harmful?
I've posed this question to patients who are vaccine-hesitant: "Why would you let me manage your diabetes and hypertension if you think I would harm you by recommending vaccinations?" You cannot get any kind of thoughtful response aside from, "I just don't want to be vaccinated."
"Some denier patients lived..."
RN here with most of 2020 spent in COVID land. I never had anyone refuse treatment when things got serious. I know some of the MDs I worked with got yelled at, like the rest of us...but honestly, that happens frequently anyway.
Some denier patients lived, many of which had accepted reality by the end of their stay after seeing what we all were going through to treat them.
Some died telling me I was a sheep or an idiot or a liar between gasps of air.
COVID didn't care.
This comment is strangely poetic.
Covid definitely doesn't care. The virus lays waste to people and... that's it. Good luck with your games of Russian roulette.
"People are crazy."
I work on a COVID unit and I ran into a patient like this. They'd tell me over and over again about how they weren't really sick and about how I didn't need to be gowned up in PPE. They even tried to take my face shield off. If you test positive for COVID two times then you have COVID! People are crazy.
Covid disinformation is a very serious problem and it's costing people their lives.
What can be done about it?
News literacy matters: It's important to get information from verifiable sources. Scientists and medical professionals are trustworthy. Those with backgrounds in public health know what they're talking about. Some conspiracy theory you received from your distant cousin on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger is not worth your time or consideration.
Have some of your own Covid denial stories to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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