Nowadays, we find dates via the internet, and it's not so strange to think about picking a time and place to meet up with a complete stranger.
However, when the internet was first becoming a thing 10-15 years ago, things were very very different, and sometimes, they were scary.
Most of the time, people you met on the internet came from chat rooms, or forums, or something with some sort of an unknown factor involved. Social media has pretty much solved the anonymity factor, but most of our parents would not let us go near strangers on the internet for fear of what may happen. These stories reflect that time.
Here were some of those tales.
Dreams Came TrueGiphy
First person I met from the internet, we started a private game server together. Fun times, fell out of touch.
Second person I met from the internet hooked me up with a job in IT, got me started in the industry, and has been my career mentor ever since. He played on our private server.
Our Millennial Lives Intersected
I met one of my best friends in an AOL chatroom 18 years ago. I chatted with her nightly for about a year, lost contact for 2, then bumped into her IRL and have been friends ever since. We were also recently roomates for a year and a half. She is basically a sister to me.
Sad Endings Don't Make The Stories Less Worthwhile
We had been planning to meet after known each other for years on line, just a couple of crazy old guys who loved cars, beer, and weird sh*t. I had a business trip that was gonna take me out near to where he lived (he lived in Northern NH, and I had a trip to Montreal), but my business trip got delayed, and delayed again. And between those cancellations, his cancer, which he had defeated once, came back with a f*cking vengeance.
When I contacted him about my updated schedule to come out in, what was then, 6 weeks from the call, he said his docs said he had weeks to live. I told him I didn't care what it meant, I was gonna stick with the plan. So I reserved a rental car on the hope he'd still be kicking. I stayed in touch regularly, he moved to a hospice and I let him know that I had cared for my dying grandmother through months of hospice, 24/6, as she died of cancer, so I'd been there and seen it. I was not scared of hospice and would be honored to see him regardless of where he was.
When the weekend came, my flight got delayed, there was a forecast of frozen mix between Montreal and the border, but I drove it anyway. I landed in Montreal, paid out of pocket for my rental car, dropped my bags at the hotel downtown, and drove to NH. I got to the hospice around 9:00 PM and talked to him and his wife for hours. I brought his some timbits at his request, it was the only thing he asked for. Eventually, around 2:30 AM I realized that I needed to head back, because I had to be at work, teaching a class, at 9 AM, back in Canada, so I slowly say my goodbyes, take a picture with them, and drive back. I called my son to keep me awake, and when I got to the border back to Canada I told the guards that I had some carrots in my bag that had come from the US via plane, to Canada, to NH, and now back to Canada, and that was the only thing I had to declare. My son stayed with me on the phone until I got back to my hotel, where I took a power nap, and then taught my class that day.
Guard duck (my friends online nickname) passed on last Thanksgiving (which was just a couple of weeks after I visited). But he held on and fought and faced it through it all. He never flinched or looked away, he was thankful for the extra time he had with his wife and getting to see friends. He and his wife were among the greatest people I have ever met.
Speaking of, I got a Christmas card from her a couple of days ago, I'm in the process of putting together a care package for her. She's doing as well as could be.
I guess, this is just to say, imaginary internet friends are sometimes the best friends you'll ever make. And I regret nothing.
RIP Guard Duck.
Far Away But Closer Than Ever
Back in 2008, my 3 Call of Duty buddies from a few states away and I would play every day after school, after randomly adding each other. They all 3 knew each other IRL. Friend #1's dad passed away suddenly and I sent him and his mom a sympathy card. They were both really moved by the gesture and I was invited there over the summer. As of today, #1 and I have met up 3 times, and #2 and #3 4 times. We continue to game and text at least once or twice a week, now that we've all grown up. I consider them closer friends than a lot of the people I'm friends with here at home.
A New CollaboratorGiphy
Probably not what you are looking for but this was kind of wild.
I posted in a thread looking for vocalists in my area to sing on some songs I've been working on. Someone responded to look up someone via Instagram. I looked her up and she's good. Really good. Turns out she's been recording at a studio just down the street from my house.
I let a little while pass without messaging her because I wasn't quite ready to send anything out yet. Cut to my band's show last weekend at this dive bar on the other side of town. Get off the stage and she's in the crowd actually approached us and complemented us. Took me a minute before I made the connection. Sent her the songs yesterday and she liked them.
Does Craig's List count? Because I got a lot of roommates off Craig's List over the years. Became very good friends with a few of them. One of them had this ex-boyfriend she wouldn't stop complaining about, all day everyday. Her stories about him were so outlandish & she was so embittered, it made me insanely curious about what his side of the story was, given that I lived with her & knew that she could be...a handful.
I wound up meeting him randomly a few years later (not online) & paid extra-close attention because I knew who he was from all of her endless complaining. I was like, "Huh...He's really cute, and he seems smart. And funny. Not at all like a human garbage monster." And then we fell in love, had a baby, blah blah blah. I sometimes wonder if it would have happened if I'd never met this random bitter ex-girlfriend after posting a roommate ad on Craig's List. I probably wouldn't have paid nearly as much attention to him if I hadn't been hearing terrible stories about him for literally years. (FWIW, we are still together & I really must attribute her stories to the fact that everyone is a less-than-ideal partner when they're like 17 years old.)
The Wonderful Partner From Oz
I kinda have two examples here.
Met a guy online through a pen pal website (I love writing letters). I live in Australia and he lived in California. We decided to try a long distance relationship and after 6 months he came to stay with me for 3 weeks. He never left and we've been together nearly 9 years, married for 2.
During the wedding planning process I was an avid gamer. I met someone to play games with that was going to teach me to play better since I wasn't very good. Got talking and found out that the guy and his wife were wedding photographers and we had just had ours cancel because he double booked himself. They flew down and did our wedding photography for us!
All in all, had pretty good experiences I would say!
Little Groups, Big Families
I joined a couple small gaming forums in 2002. I befriended lots of people on each, and found myself wanting to meet everyone. Some people thought the idea creepy, but it was purely out of friendship on my side.
So in 2008 I saved up about $1500 and went on a 3 week, 8,000 mile road trip to meet anyone who was interested in having me visit them. I met over 20 people on that trip, every visit was awesome in its own way. (It's a lot cheaper than you might think it is if you're willing to sleep in your car or if people you visit let you stay the night).
One of the women I met on that trip married me 6 years later. Been together ever since.
I've also had one friend from that group live with me for a couple years, before the road trip actually, and I've met several others under other circumstances.
Meet people from the internet. It's great, trust me. I can literally say it changed my life, and for the better.
This Is Why The Show 'Catfish' Exists
I fell for a girl once. We met in a chat room and talked just about every day for 2 years. Long distance with her in the US and me in Australia. One day she basically just disappeared without word and feeling impulsive I thought I'd fly over to visit her. Would be just like a movie, making a grand romantic gesture and everything working out perfect. So I flew all the way to a small town called Ooltewah, TN. Booked the closest hotel to her house which was an almost 10 mile walk to her house. So I walked all the way and knocked on the door, hear the footsteps rushing to the door, my heart racing. Open the door and it's a 13 year old African-American boy. Knocked on every door in that street hoping I'd just made a mistake but no dice. One of the lowest points of my life walking back to the hotel and spending the rest of the week alone on the opposite side of the world.
WoW, I Love This StoryGiphy
This pertains to two different friends.
We played World of Warcraft for something like 7 years. We had always joked and mentioned about actually hanging out but we were both middle schoolers when we started playing WoW. Fast forward to 2016 both of us are grown up with jobs and still in constant contact through video games and social media we finally went forward with a plan for me to fly from Minnesota where I live out to New York where he lived. Spent a week out there and had some of the most fun of my life. I returned in 2017 for a two-week stay. Planning on going back again this spring. He's even tried to get me to move out there with him.
The second friend was the guy that introduced me to my first friend. I never chalked him up as the type that would open his door to strangers from the internet. He was our guild leader in WoW and was quite a bit older than all of us like 10 years so for most of the time knowing him it wasn't really something I considered until 2018 where I'm in my mid-20s and hanging out with people in their 30s isn't weird at all. I rented a car and drove down and met up with him after nearly 10 years of gaming together and spent an enjoyable week hanging out and playing video games together.
I strongly suggest if you trust your internet/gaming friends enough to go visit them. It's something I haven't for a second regretted and has become a yearly tradition for me.
Raise your hands--who had an emo phase in the 2000s? I know I did, as did a lot of people around me. All of us heard “It's just a phase" from our parents at some point, but when you're a kid, life as we know it seems so permanent.
Of course, most of the time, it was “just a phase". And looking back, those phases are regrettable, to say the least. Here are some prime examples of that.
What was your biggest/most regrettable "It's not a phase, mom. It's my life." that, in fact, turned out to be just a phase and not your life?
The enthusiasm of a young person can lead to some unexpected changes that parents are just not ready for.
I was VERY into The Transformers when I was a wee lad in the 1980s. One day, I decided to change my name to the name of my favorite Autobot. My name was lame, and I wanted an awesome Transformer name. And I was VERY insistent that my parents only call me by my new name. Calling me by my 'old' name would cause a big fat tantrum on my part.
So for the better part of a week, my poor parents had to call me Wheeljack.
Very 2008.Ariana Grande Shrug GIFGiphy
My cat-ear phase. I wore cat ears every single day. Everywhere. I had like 20 pairs of them. Now everyone thinks I'm a furry.
I find that very cute and wouldn't have thought you'd be furry. Even if you'd had cat mittens. I think my suspicions would have started if you moved a bit like a cat, displayed catlike grooming habits or got a cat mask.
Not gonna lie, that car sounds cool.
I went to a car show once as a teen, and the only newer car there was some chick's PT cruiser. It was hot glittery pink, and at the time I was obsessed. I insisted that one day I would have a hot pink car, with pink seats, pink dash, pink carpets, etc. I was pretty heavily goth at the time, so my parents just rolled their eyes.
These phases can often lead to some very strange fashion choices.
When I was a teenager (early 00s), I was waiting for my mother to pick me up and was wearing one of those sh!tty sports wristwatches. It was itching me so I took it off for a second, but then she arrived and because I was struggling to get it back on my wrist, I looped it around the equally sh!tty chain I had around my neck in a rush to get out the door.
My mom asked me about it in the car, and I told her this was my new style and I planned to wear it like that every day. She rolled her eyes.
I wore that watch on a chain around my neck every single day for 3 years or so. There are even professional family photos where I'm wearing it because I refused to take it off.
One day, the chain broke and I lost the watch. I was in high school at that point anyway and it was a major lady repellent, so... phase over.
Not everyone can be Eminem.slim shady eminem GIFGiphy
Baggy pants, being a rapper someday and being a professional skater.
When I was about 14 and Eminem was starting to blow up I bought myself a keyboard with a synthesizer. It cost like $200 which was all the money I had saved up. It finally came (this was way before amazon prime and such) and I tried rapping.
My sister told me "you're effing horrible" and I gave up right then and there.
This should be a sin.
I used to button the top buttons of polo shirts.
I must say, this is probably the worst one I've read.
Looking back at our regrettable choices, all we can do is cringe.
An optimistic look at bad tattoos.check me out season 3 GIF by PortlandiaGiphy
Being a tattooer. Regrettable because of those poor people who have my awful doodles on their bodies.
Take heart! My favorite tattoo is the one I drunkenly got my buddy to do in his living room one year during March Madness! It's dumb and frankly mediocre? But such a good story and has such good associations I smile every time I see it.
My friend and I decided we were going to open a bar in Jamaica with exotic snakes in glass cages in the walls at each booth. We convinced ourselves it would be amazing for at least two years in college. It was going to be called Fredro's.
My entire family made fun of me for it. Once we got out of college, we realized it was not feasible and joined the office grind. We're also two white guys with no ties to Jamaica.
Talk about cringey.
I wore a top hat with an anime pin on it for around a year. Met one of my current best friends while wearing it, idk how he could bear to speak to me after that.
My weirdest phase was probably when I insisted on wearing knee-high rainbow socks to school every day. But honestly, I don't regret it. I rocked those socks, and I wish I still have a pair.
To all the people out there cringing over their past selves, remember that you were just a kid, and to be easy on yourselves. After all, we've all been there
It should not take much for a consumer to be satisfied with the products they purchase.
Yet, too often, manufacturers who oversell their products fail to deliver what is promised and are inevitably left with angry customers who want their money back.
Whether the merchandise was defective or ridiculously overpriced, strangers online shared some of their worst purchases when Redditor BooksMcGee asked:
"What is the worst product you ever paid money for?"
Short Life Span
"This NERF gun that's supposed to shoot tennis balls for your dog. I bought it cause I thought you could load 3 at a time and shoot them far, but it's just one and it's super loud and the gun broke after like 4 shots (reading reviews later, this was a common issue)."
"There were these toys called squiggles when I was a kid and the commercials made it seem like the toy was alive. It looked like you would get this crazy little fuzzy worms as pets that would follow you around an so sick tricks and listen to your every command. It was really just a piece of fluffy string tied to another piece of string with googly eyes on it. People may say that it was supposed to be a magic trick but they should also explain that to a 5 year old who really wanted a pet."
"Not their fault, but I paid $70 for a Yugioh card hours before it was limited to one copy. Probably dropped to $20 by the end of the day."
These purchases were bad for your bum.
"A bicycle that literally fell apart before I made it out of the parking lot."
Not Worth Sitting On
"Joybird brand couch. Was so terrible, we returned it. Still hard to believe, we returned a freaking couch."
Going Nowhere Fast
"A 2000 VW Beetle (used)."
"Biggest piece of sh*t that literally had to have just about everything replaced before 100k miles and would still break down every time you left the driveway to the point where the tow-truck driver knew us on a first-name basis."
"An Oldsmobile Achieva from one of those buy here pay here places. I should have known better, but I was young and thought I was getting a good deal. I had the thing for about 5 months, I drove it for maybe 3 weeks. The rest of the time it was either in the shop, or in my driveway waiting until pay day so I could afford to fix whatever broke on it this week. Eventually told the dealer just take it, I'm not paying for it any more. He said nope, and I will make sure your credit is ruined. I said well you sold me a lemon, do you really want to go this route? He came and took it. Never reported anything to credit. I heard he got sued by several other people who sold sh**ty cars too and eventually went out of business."
"Always amazes me when I see them driving around still, I can only assume there's enthusiasts who just love repairing horribly designed cars."
These Redditors were not convinced what they ingested was edible.
"A box of plain Cheerios. Thought they were honey nut, poured a bowl, was very disappointed."
"If I wanted to taste cardboard, I'd just eat the box."
"A burnt frozen pizza at the air and space museum cafe in DC. I Don't wish that experience on anyone. There are some amazing restaurants in DC, don't settle."
The following electronics just gave off a bad charge.
"Asus Transformer Pad TF700"
"This was one of those early 'high end' Android tablets that was grossly underpowered, and it showed. Thing was slow as sh!t in no time flat. Rookie mistake investing into shiny new tech while they were still working all the bugs out. Think I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $350-400 for it..."
"macbook pro 2018 13" touchbar. 2 years old and dead (battery). they're asking $300-$400 to change the battery. malfunctioning keyboard with double presses and missing presses. that's a lot of money for bad design."
"Past winter my old room heater broke down and I had to buy a new one. Went to a store nearby and somehow got convinced to buy a very costly heating device.. It's also my fault, since there were some sligthly cheaper options around, but nope. I wanted the expensive one thinking it will make my small room a volcano with little to no effort/cost (that's also what the seller told me). Long story short the device wasn't doing ANYTHING. No significant temperature changes, too much space, a weird noise, and was doubling my previous device in utility cost. I still gloom over those 80 euros.."
Some of my disappointing purchases was clothing, but only because I purchased them online. Unless they are a brand I'm familiar with, I'm usually fine with buying new jeans off of their websites.
But when it comes to graphic tees only available on specialty shops, an M-size shirt is not necessarily the same size as those found in other reputable stores.
I bought a medium sized T-shirt from a boutique store online because I loved the look of the design. But when it arrived, the supposed medium fit me like an XL.
At least I gained a fierce cleaning rag from this impulsive purchase.
We all know the job interview butterflies.
We sit outside the office or wait for the phone call and our foot taps at rapid speed. We run through some rehearsed answers, but worry that they'll ask a slew of things we never even considered. We try not to sweat too much.
Often, it turns out alright. We may not get the job, but we're respectable, give solid answers, and learn a lot about the place we're trying to get hired.
Other times, however, all of our far-fetched worries seem to come to life.
Curious to hear just how bad an interview can go, Redditor UIGrimsen asked:
"What was your worst job interview?"
Plenty of people had some truly bizarre stories to share. Part of these train wrecks were bad luck, and part were the insane antics of the people giving the interview.
But for us, they're simply hilarious.
"I applied for a job in a Planetarium, the interview was conducted in a big dome."
"Problem was, another part of the Planetarium staff was doing fire alarm tests during the interview. The dome amplified the sound so much, it was deafening. The interview staff acted like nothing was going on. We had to shout so we could hear each other."
"My mom raises chickens … and during COVID one of them got sick (not COVID). She had it inside to feed water hourly to try to nurse it back to life. My mom has to run an errand so I'm in charge of this chicken for the afternoon."
"I was on a phone screening with a candidate for a position in my office and this chicken starts having a seizure and dies on the middle of this phone call. I look over and it's laying almost like it was crucified."
"The candidate heard the commotion and asked if everything was ok … Which I relied 'yeah, the chicken just died.' "
"She withdrew her application the next morning."
"1.) I walked in as the HR lady farted"
"2.) it was a small office with no windows"
"3.) I asked her questions about their employee retention rate that she couldn't answer"
"4.) the fart stayed the duration of the interview"
"5.) I hope the fart got the job, because I didn't want it"
A Very Instructive Moment
"Applied to work at a vet clinic. Veterinarian did the interview while spaying a cat, apparently one of the cleanest and quickest surgeries they do. I fainted."
"Was not offered the job (after I woke up)."
Others shared moments when their excitement was deflated instantly. They encountered such closed-minded interviewers that there was almost no need for discussion.
That Bus Perk
"As an interviewee It was when I applied to a job as a Junior programmer and in 5 minutes the guys goes 'look, I'll be honest, there is no job, you can get an internship, no pay, we offer the bus pass' "
Plains, Trains, and Automobiles Later...
"I took vacation days to interview, bought my own plane ticket, and paid for my own hotel. First thing the interviewer said was, 'I have no intention of hiring you. This is just a courtesy because I knew your brother.' I had 8 more hours left in my interview day. It was painful."
"They ended up offering me the position many weeks down the road because they couldn't fill the position. I politely declined and got a very passive aggressively worded survey to fill out explaining why I passed."
There's a Right Answer??
"Wanted to work at H&M, got interviewed by the worst person ever."
"One question was and I am legit not lying, 'What is your favorite color and why?' "
"I answered 'baby blue because it's calming and not too harsh to the eyes.' My interviewer then said Oooh, sorry! Red is what we were looking for. And then proceeded to show me the exit."
Last, some shared the times they arrived for the interview excited and enthusiastic, but quickly learned how out of their league the position was.
These interviews looked more like brutal interrogations from the FBI than job interviews.
All the Principals
"Fresh out of college, I was looking for my first teaching job. I applied at a small district for an elementary school position."
"I walked in, expecting the principal and a few teachers. Instead I had the superintendent of the district, some high-level admin, and every single elementary school principal in the district. Probably 15 people in all. They peppered me with questions for 45 minutes."
"I had zero experience, just my student teaching. I did not get the job."
Shove Your Masters
"Finished up a masters degree in physics. Got a phone interview and was was told it would be an introductory chat. Was confronted with a technical interview panel (over the phone) of 6 PhDs, 4 of which had graduated from the research group I had just left. We walked through my research project in about 10 minutes."
"Then the pain began... felt like I'd only learned kindergarten physics."
An Extremely Intimidating Position
"Got an interview for a job as a floor manager at a gigantic steel foundry. I have some background in metallurgy so I thought it'd fit. It paid $90k and I was qualified resume-wise. I got there, turned out it was a group interview with three other applicants, to hear the pitch."
"If something messes up, the company loses $100,000 (some shockingly high amount, I don't remember if it was exactly 100k) per hour and it's your sole responsibility to fix it. They said you'd have to be on call 24/7 to handle anything that comes up."
"I got to the solo part out of curiosity and the interviewer they put me with said something to the effect of 'I know this job sounds bad, but actually it's even worse.' I was desperate for a job because I didn't land one straight out of college, but I was glad not to hear back from them after the interview..."
Here's hoping you don't have a job interview scheduled and this just amplified your anxiety 1000%. The nice thing to remember is that these horror stories are few and far between.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Believe it or not, Canadians don't live in igloos or freeze to death all year round. If you go to Germany, it's highly unlikely that every German you meet will be cold and uninviting. Hop over to the United Kingdom and you're not going to run into tons of people with terrible teeth and bad hygeine.
These are called stereotypes, my friends, and it's best you leave them at the door. People were more than willing to strike down some stereotypes about the countries they know and love after Redditor HelloThere577 asked the online community,
"What are some false stereotypes about your country?"
"When most folks envision Scotland, they think of kilts, whisky, bagpipes, and red hair.
All of those things exist (and are common) here.
People might also imagine verdant hillsides, rocky bluffs, and skies that randomly switch between clear and cloudy.
Once again, that's completely accurate.
However, one stereotype which has absolutely no foundation, in reality, is the assumption that Scotsmen are constantly hunting haggis. In fact, haggis-hunting only takes place in February (which is the season for deosil haggis) and May (which is the season for widdershins haggis). For the rest of the year, the haggis is more or less left alone."
"I am originally from Portugal and moved to the United States. Around 80% of the people that I have met thought Portugal was either in South America, owned by Brazil, or a part of Spain. When I first came here it made me really sad."
"If the wildlife hurts or kills you in Australia, it's generally because you are f***** stupid. You are 10000 times more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident in Australia than by anything in nature."
This is likely very true, but knowing me, I'd probably be easy pickings for one of those huntsman spiders.
"That we end every sentence with "eh" and drink maple syrup by the gallon and have moose and igloos in our backyards."
You mean... you don't?
Just kidding. Canada is lovely––visit sometime. It's a lovely place.
The United States
"That we always have a shotgun at the ready. A shotgun is a home gun where a pistol is your everyday gun. Your revolver is your dress gun, for special occasions. Then of course your assault rifle is for when you're kicking back and cracking open a cold one with the boys."
"Anything related to The Sound of Music."
Probably gets annoying afer a short while. Great movie, though. Still dreaming about a trip to Salzburg.
"A lot of Americans seem to think we're inbred because we're an island. This is dumb, because it's a very big island (10th biggest in the world), and it's not isolated, we've been invaded, invading, and trading with the mainland for thousands of years."
"That we are car thieves. Crime was widespread in Poland in the 90s but today crime (including theft) rate in Poland is low."
"We do gesticulate a lot, but we definitely don't yell like crazy."
It seems Italian Americans are the ones who could learn a thing or two about being more reserved.
"Iceland. We're not some utopian Disneyland filled with quirky superstitious people that all believe in elves."
Remember: The world is an enormous place filled with people from all walks of life, and they don't take too kindly too stereotypes. Expand your horizons by having conversations with as many people as possible. You'd be surprised how quickly your preconceived notions will vanish.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.