Hobbies are often things that we enjoy with others, or at least don't feel the need to keep secret from those around us. Sometimes family and friends just don't get it, though, and it's easier to just live your best life in secret than to deal with the probing questions or possible ridicule.
Reddit user u/Indigo muffin asked:
I voice act.
My family is mostly non-American, and don't know the first thing about voice acting. They've caught me looking like I'm talking to myself doing funny voices, and pretty much thought I was nuts. Since then, I've been keeping this hobby away from them. It's not something I tend to do to get the bills paid, as I lack equipment of any kind. I just do it for fun. I like altering my voice and singing songs in different voices. I also just like to be dramatic lol.
I record myself reading books aloud. Like Berenstain Bears chapter books, Choose Your Own Adventure, Goosebumps, etc. I do the voices, edit out the mistakes, sometimes add music or sound effects. Then I listen to those recordings while doing household tasks, or especially when I can't sleep. Hearing my own voice reading helps me doze off like you wouldn't believe.
I collect Micro Machines. The classic originals from the late '80s. I have probably close to 1,000 of them and I keep them at work so my family doesn't find out and want to play with them.
I've been volunteering at a cat shelter for about a year and havent said anything about it to my friends. It just feels kinda awkward because I'm a 19 year old dude and most other volunteers are middle-aged women lol.
I build virtual houses in the Sims to post on the gallery. I think I'm up to like 8,000some downloads. (Which is not that much but... yeah I post often). On days off when no one's around I might post five builds in a day. I just find it super relaxing. I like to flesh everything out with little knick knacks so it looks like real people live there. So yeah I'm an adult who plays doll house. What about it?
Sewing, not so much a weird hobby but my family is pretty old fashioned aka really sexist so as a man they would have a field day if they knew more then half the stuff my wife made for them was actually me.
It's really relaxing, satisfying creating stuff, and I save a lot of money never having to throw clothes out.
Sometimes when im bored (havent done it in a while though), i'll put on sunglasses and sit somewhere public that has a lot of foot traffic and watch people. Its absolutely hilarious and can be very entertaining at times.
I don't really do it anymore, but I liked to get cheap liquid glue, put it on my fingers or something, then peel it off. It was always strangely therapeutic for me, but I'd be pretty embarrassed getting caught.
I've been writing a novel for the past 3 years, spending a good chunk of my time polishing it, researching, getting the tone just right. It has been a challenge because I've been writing it in English; English isn't my first language and I'm a construction worker.
I'm going to turn 60 in March. I feel young but I have a hobby that might not seem right for my age. Thankfully my spouse, 2 years younger than me, is in to it as well.
We absolutely love playing video games. We each have our own Nintendo Switches. We are both hooked on Minecraft but have tons of games.
Listen ... we're just gonna be totally honest with you.
The answer is "not much" IF loved ones can come too.
Reddit user benharper09 asked
"Americans of Reddit: What would it take for you to consider moving to Europe to live and work there?"
We don't know if this Reddit user is, like, gathering market data or just really wants to know why Americans don't leave - but here's what Reddit had to say.
Whole Squad Comes With
"My wife and I have discussed moving out of the States, but family keeps us rooted. Maybe when the parents have passed."
"I used to live in Louisiana and it’s a damn nightmare there but when me and my wife found out we were pregnant in 2020 I decided that by 2022 I wouldn’t be in Louisiana anymore raising my child and we let all our family know. There’s still FaceTime and social media and mailing gifts and all that."
"If they want to see him or us in person then they can travel here but I wasn’t staying in hell so he can be near his family. It’ll be better for him to be somewhere that’s not as damn horrible. I literally had fear for my life from about age 10-33 when I moved. Nothing was gonna make me stay and raise my kid with that same fear."
"This is a big one. Our entire support system is either here in town or within 2 hours away."
A Jobhomer simpson job GIFGiphy
"Um, job opportunities? Europe doesn't let you just up and live there if you want to."
"Here in Austria we are currently looking for a large number of people willing to work. Austria has around 150.000 job openings that cannot be filled because there aren't enough people."
"I doubt Americans will fill many, particularly with professional jobs requiring a college degree, as salaries tend to be far high over here."
"There are obviously a few exceptions, but as a general rule I don’t see it happening."
"There are pretty significant differences in cost of living too though, as many European countries have healthcare, childcare, you can actually live in many European cities without owning a car which as I understand it is realistically impossible in the US. Looking at salary v. salary is too simplistic to really compare the buying power you're left with after taxes."
Are We Even Wanted?
"Do they even want us?"
"Not if you are old without money. Or young without skills."
"Yeah. We do. I would welcome Americans with open arms. Though I understand it's hard for most Americans to move to Europe."
"I mean maybe you personally be okay with Americans moving to your country but your immigration laws are not so amenable."
"It's not that Americans don't consider or want to move to Europe as this question implies, we want to but it's not easy to do legally."
"We are strongly considering making the move. My biggest concern is the language barrier. I know some people may speak English as a second language but I wouldn’t want to presume."
Pros Over Cons
"Consider yes. Actually moving to one of the many countries with their pros, cons, and immigration policies is a whole other matter. This kind of thing works best for people who are very young, very rich, or have an employer involved."
"Not Europe, but I looked into Canada for a while and the pros and cons ended up convincing me it wasn't worth it for my family."
"For the last few years this has been an annual discussion my wife and I have. The pros just don’t outweigh the cons yet. Burning a huge amount of money to move away from family and friends to be an outsider in a place where seasonal depression would crush me and cold weather issues would be detrimental to my wife’s health issue along with a lower paying job with fewer prospects for advancement in a place where the cost of living is so much more expensive…it always seems like a good idea until we list out all these things."
"That and Canada seems to be experiencing the same issues the US is - albeit on a much quieter level (which to some degree is often more concerning. Trucker convey tried to happen here and it got egged out of existence with them all fleeing. In Canada everyone stood around and just let it exist. For days. And days.) - which make me realize I might be better off staying put. It also seems wrong for me to be the one to up and move when I am white, straight, and in a decent financial position. My vote, my voice, my donations all make a difference for marginal groups that are fighting. We have a lot of friends in the LGBTQ community and being the ones that got to leave would just kind of haunt me."
Language Barrierseason 10 friends GIFGiphy
"Aside from everything everyone has said is language. I took Spanish for 6 years and maybe understand 10%. I took German for a year and can say hello. I did duelingo polish everyday for six months and got nowhere."
"I've accepted its damn near impossible for me to learn a language. I could sell my house to have the money. I could leave my family. But job stability and language...those are my 2 big problems."
"This is the big one for me. You could go to Germany, Denmark, Norway as a tourist and just speak English. But working a day-to-day job, going to the supermarket and all that, you really need to speak the language to be productive, no matter how patient your co-workers are. (I’m a software engineer)"
"I will say, being in the country helps immensely. I can't imagine trying to learn a language while sitting in the US."
Once You Understand, It Makes It Hard
"My family are immigrants to the US so know how hard it is to start somewhere new. Also a lot of my family is in the US and I don’t want to miss my nieces and nephews growing up"
"I am a UK person living in America (have been here ages) - I know my wife and children dont like the way america is shifting, and through citizenship of me and my children I could easily get everyone legally into the UK."
"But... would my (college age) kids want to go there? Would we be able to make friends as near-retirees? Would the (inferior) material standard of living be too much of an adjustment and we would be shivering through the winter wondering what we did?"
"The favorable exchange rate makes it tempting too... but the reality is I think there would be some big personal drawbacks for my family"
"Being able to guarantee my safety as a practicing Jew."
"I love Europe, have loved my time in Europe, but the track record on that score .....is not great."
"I feel the same way as a black woman. I'm used to and can often reconize/avoid most of the racism in the US. But it's an entirely different beast in other countries. At my age, I don't think I have it in me to navigate those complexities."
"I can understand this. The problem about saying “moving to Europe” is that Europe has so many different cultures and attitudes depending on where you go."
"Here in the UK, racism certainly still exists but as a mixed race person, I’ve only experienced racism towards myself a handful of times and I personally believe the UK has some really good attitudes to race, especially in London probably the most diverse place in the world"
MoneyThe Simpsons Money GIFGiphy
"And help with the paperwork and whatnot. It’s not easy to immigrate to Europe, they’re not really interested in you just arriving."
"It can be expensive, long and frustrating but I just did this with a big family and pets about a year ago."
"Particularly thankful today to be "somewhere else" with my teens and twenties daughters."
"All the help you need is on Reddit. Lots of helpful people and resources."
"You start at the beginning, and learn learn learn. Just like any other thing you want to know. People figure it all out every day, and I am confident you could, too!"
Marketable Skill Or Marriage
"I have no marketable skills that eu countries want. And most don’t accept a lot of what I can do for a work visa. So my best bet to immigrate is marriage."
"Same. No one in Europe wants me, so the answer to OP's question is, "it would take any counry in the EU wanting me."
"Came here to say this. From the research I've done, the desirable skills for most countries are stem/healthcare/etc. and while it makes sense why that is, not everyone can just up and make a career change to one of those fields."
"That can be expensive or daunting even if you're just doing it to change jobs and stay in the US."
"This. If it was easy/possible for most Americans to move to Europe a lot more of us would be leaving. Even if you ignore the legal hurdles, more than half of Americans can’t afford a $1000 emergency (the most relevant statistic I could find), and probably couldn’t afford to move states let alone continents."
"I'm married to an eu citizen. My kids are eu citizens. But I still can't get residency until I'm at least conversationally fluent in the language."
AS Long As There Is No Dragonsstop motion horror GIFGiphy
"The castles look nice, but the threat if dragons keep me away."
"That's not much of a problem in Europe, my hometown only got destroyed 5 times by a dragon in 30 years."
"Did the smith and the cobbler survive the dragon strike? Or did the plague do them in?"
"So you have 'dragon season' like we have Hurricane season and Tornado season. Got it."
"We have sorted that problem in Wales and advertise the fact on our flag."
"The dragons you see coming. It's the rats that get you"
You've seen what Reddit has to say, so now it's your turn at the mic.
Americans, what would it take for YOU to head across the pond to live in Europe?
Men have this reputation for being simple, straightforward creatures.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Humans in general are not simple, straightforward creatures, but men are just ... baffling.
At least as far as the women of Reddit are concerned.
Reddit user Theunknowndud asked:
"Women, what do you find the most confusing about men?"
These fine femmes saw an opportunity to vent and ask questions and they absolutely ran with it.
Here's what they most wanted to know about.
Not Going To The Doctorperry cox whatever GIFGiphy
"Why some men don’t go to the doctor or dentist, unless someone else makes the appointment for them."
"Because if someone else makes appointment for me I feel obligated to go. But I don't care about myself enough to make the appointment myself and I just learn to live with whatever the problem is."
"It's like reading my own mind."
"I go because I'm told it is medically necessary by my wife. Otherwise I've been conditioned to determine whether it is financially necessary. In other words, if I'm not missing work because of it, it isn't necessary."
"I can't speak for everyone, but that is what I grew up with and I can't just "break" it, so I really do rely on my wife to force the issue, otherwise the cost factor pretty much overrules everything."
"I hate making appointments unless absolutely necessary. I don’t feel like going to a doctor is a necessity unless I’m not feeling well (I know I’m an idiot). As far as the dentist goes my wife made the appointment once and ever since then the receptionist makes my next appointment."
"You can be completely oblivious to any mess in the house but can spot a wall has been brush painted in the wrong direction from 20ft away."
"Wall is permanent mess is temporary"
"I am a man. I don't know anything about painting so don't spot stuff like that but every time I visit someone I spot how they set up their router/WiFi and see why they might have problems with their WiFi connection as they just hide their stuff away instead of putting the box in a way the waves flow unobstructed. I work in IT."
"English is not my first language and I'm kinda tired but hope what I wrote makes sense."
"I learned some guys are like this because they were never raised to clean up after themselves. Their moms or caretakers always did the tidying for them, so they never learned to “see” mess and do anything about it."
"Compare this to something like wall painting which can be something that they spend a lot of time perfecting."
Breath, I Forgot To BreatheBreathe Schitts Creek GIF by CBCGiphy
"I'm a man. But something that confused my wife is when I suddenly take a deep breath for no reason. She's like 'are you ok? You sure? Anything you need to talk about? What's going on?' And I just say 'nah I'm fine, think I just forgot to breathe and catching up'."
"To be honest, I feel really blessed that I have someone who cares enough to ask if I'm OK. But yeh, seriously just forgot to breathe 😀"
"Dude it's so fukin true that i was taking a deep breath as i was reading ur comment."
"Are you ok? Anything you need to talk about?"
"My wife's biggest gripe is that I will spend time hiking / drinking / driving / whatever with friends I haven't seen in months, and when I get home I will have absolutely nothing to report back despite having talked solidly with them for six hours."
"My wife on the other hand will casually pass a friend in the street and within ten minutes knows what theyve done every day since they last spoke, the health and financial status of them and all other friends and relatives, and a forward facing calendar for the next three months."
"It’s funny though. All the bullsh*t we talk about as guys slowly leaks a bunch of personal information over time. You can tell that one guy isn’t happy with his relationship, one guy is broke, one guy hates his job, one guy has a medical issue. You know all of this without really talking about it just because you spend quality time with them. Yet even we can’t recount it directly, we just know it in the moment when we are with the boys."
"Damn you really hit the nail on the head there."
- User Deleted
Going Into Screensaver Modelooking homer simpson GIFGiphy
"I’ve learned a lot being married to my husband, but there’s one thing I fail to understand in general. Why do you guys like to stare out the window so often? It’s usually just going up to a window or looking out the front door, and you fall into a trance. What’s up with that?"
"I actually do this a lot."
"Also when I’m in the shower I will just stand and think."
"I’m usually thinking how to solve a problem that will probably never occur."
"Lol. I love it. It’s particularly amusing to me when I’ll realize the room has fallen silent and I look up and he’s just there. Staring. My dad did it too."
"It's a way to trick your brain to go idle long enough to enter screensaver."
Power Saving mode
"My gf is still baffled at the fact that I can just turn off my brain and not think of anything"
"There's a science museum where I live and there's a game you can play that uses brain waves. Basically it has a ball in the middle of the table that moves based on who has the least amount of brain activity at the time. And you want the ball to move away from you."
"You put on a head piece and when both players are ready, they touch the two pads on the table with you hands. I'm currently undefeated at a record of 14-0. Idk if I'm dumb or if I just shut everything off but life support lol"
"I found my husband on the couch in a dead silent house whistling tunelessly and playing bongos on his own tummy. When I asked what he's thinking about as he's doing that he says 'You know...nothin'. Like listening to the wind in your mind and sh*t. Everyone does it'."
"No Cowboy, we don't all do that. Y'all have some magic happening. Sounds nice."
One Of The Worlds Mysteries
"D*cks, the way they work is confusing. Like I’ve been told they only react when seeing or feeling something they like but I’ve also been told it will just decide to pop up randomly though the day with nothing."
"True, d*cks are doing what they want. Sometimes out of nowhere it just decides to stands up. Also, it can stand up when you're aroused (obviously) or when you're excited to see someone you haven't seen in a long time."
"Can confirm, i got a got a penis and im still confused how it works at times."
"Fun fact: The penis has pressure sensors, just touching it a bit or squeezing a bit can be enough to trigger an erection."
"Boners are strange. Morning wood is the result of overstimulation from a dream. We get nervous boners. We get sad boners. We get angry boners."
Forgive And Forgeti forgive you hug GIF by Kim's ConvenienceGiphy
"I find it confusing how men are so forgiving. It’s one of the things I adore the most about men and find the most baffling. I’m learning now that men will get over things like 40 minutes after they happen and genuinely get frustrated and sad when their girls hold grudges. I’ve found that the people I’ve had falling outs with and was able to rekindle my friendships with were mostly all men."
"I also find it weird how men will fight each other and then be best friends the next day."
"You get angry in the moment but then after you're removed from the situation you gotta let yourself cool off. Once you're thinking clearly you'll realize it wasn't that big a deal and get over it. Usually the start of a fight isn't that big it's the stuff that comes after that escalates it so you just recognize that both of you just human and do and say dumb things when your blood is up. Also I think women tend to plan more and then act and men will just act and plan on the fly so that leads to women believing slights or f**k ups are more intentional whereas men will just think of them as mistakes and forgive them."
"Coincidentally, just yesterday I was reminiscing on a friend and me getting into a fight. I hit him over the head with a glass bottle and he gave me a really clean two-piece in response."
"I laughed for a few minutes at how inconsequential that fight was after the fact, but how extreme it was looking back on it. We’re still thick as thieves to this day, lol"
"As a guy I feel we are a bit more black and white about forgiveness. I can easily forgive and forget most low-level things given time but I still have some grudges from over 10 years ago. I will likely never forgive them."
"Basically men work like traffic tickets. Small things are forgiven quickly. Bigger things take time. Some things are permanent."
"Some women feel more like an actual criminal record that never gets expunged."
"If someone is kind/self-aware/brave enough to apologize after they screw up, then it becomes easy to accept an apology from someone who understands they did something wrong and wishes that they hadn’t. Everyone makes mistakes, especially men, so forgiving and moving on is much more sensible than holding a grudge"
I Am OkayAnimated GIFGiphy
"When guys are seriously injured but act like its just a scratch… that they can somehow walk it off. All the guys I know are like this."
"A serious answer is because we don't want to panic and cause an issue"
"This is it right here. As soon as a calm guy starts panicking, everyone is panicking."
"Reminds me of when I accidentally cut a chunk of my finger so deeply that it hung off and you could see white underneath. I was internally freaking out and didn't even want to look at it, but did so I could assess the damage. I calmly asked my partner to bring me some bandages and alcohol and when I turned to look at her, she was pale and her lips were turning blue. She said 'Okay, but I need to sit down for a sec...'."
"I ended up walking all the way to the first aid box on the bottom floor of our apartment building while holding a cup under my finger to catch all the blood. I wasn't gonna try and walk it off, but I absolutely knew I couldn't panic for her and my sake!"
"TLDR: Someone will have to fix it, and panicking makes problems harder to fix."
"Exactly. Panicking doesn't help the situation. A clear head and talking to people on how to help solves way more."
They Jiggle Jiggle...
"How their crotch doesn't hurt when they run or go up the stairs. Like, even with underwear, you just have stuff hanging down there. I don't even have a large chest and it hurts to run regardless if I'm wearing a bra or not"
"I gotta tell you, the penis doesn't weigh much."
"A boob weighs more, and you ladies have two of them."
"One testicle also hangs lower than the other for the specific purpose of not getting crushed when walking."
"I'm a guy and I didn't know this, lol. Neat."
"Our stuff is not as heavy as yours, so we don't feel the dangling effect much. Also, sometimes it hurts when we wear very tight/ short undies"
"A couple things: Breasts are considerably larger and heavier than testicles, so they bounce a lot more. I jump up and down a few times when I get out of the shower, so my towel doesn’t have to soak up quite so much water, and I do support my balls while I’m jumping. That was a mistake I made exactly once. But if you’re wearing briefs, and the bouncing isn’t as much, it’s not really an issue."
"You’ve had your breasts since puberty. We’ve had our penis since birth. We had to learn to walk with it. You had a decade to get used to walking a certain way before your build changed dramatically. We’ve had essentially the same hardware our entire lives."
... at this point I might be more confused than I was going into this article.
We've got mess-blind people, refusal to acknowledge injury as if denial is somehow a healing agent ... and a dude who forgets to breathe.
The land Down Under is one of the most highly anticipated travel destinations for tourists around the world. Australia has fascinating history, beautiful sights, great food, cool wildlife, and some pretty cool people.
But as with any travel destination, there's bound to be a certain degree of culture shock. Have a seat and listen up, because you're in for some surprises.
Australians shared some information with us after Redditor emchmu123 asked the online community,
"Australians of Reddit, what is something that the rest of the world would be surprised or shocked to hear about the country?"
"There are more wild camels..."
"There are more wild camels in Australia than the Middle East."
At some point, the British were just like, what other animals can we introduce to this place? And then they just did it.
"You can drive for 26 hours straight and still be in the same state. It's kinda unsettling, especially those really tiny mining towns that have like a gas station and just flat dryland for as far as you can see."
It's kind of crazy how desolate so much of the country is. You don't just go to the Outback, you prepare to go there.
"In some parts..."
"In some parts of the country you are closer to space than the nearest town."
That's another way to hammer this point home.
"While I was working..."
"While I was working in Whistler people were often shocked to hear we have ski resorts in Australia."
Wow, you guys have everything.
Why do you get all the good stuff?! What about the rest of us?!
"I've never had..."
"I’ve never had shrimp on the barbie - ever!"
Can you even call yourself Australian at this point? How can we possibly process this information as the ignorant tourists that we are?
"Every spring, Magpies take to swooping people who come near their nests. Not a secret really, but I don't know how widely known it is."
I love magpies. They are the mascot of chaos and destruction.
"That there are..."
"That there are vast areas of rainforest as well as the better-known desert areas."
And it's beautiful! You forgot to mention that it's incredibly beautiful.
"The last confirmed death..."
"Almost no one here dies to spiders or snakes. The last confirmed death from a spider bite was in 1979."
This is exactly the kind of propaganda a deadly Australian spider would spread.
"It was a conservative government..."
"It was a conservative government that introduced gun control laws."
A nice fact to whip out at dinner parties the next time someone says that only liberals are for reform.
"You're supposed to eat Vegemite toast with butter. Not just a thick slather of Vegemite like Nutella."
"You're supposed to eat Vegemite toast..."
Hang on a second!
They've certainly not told us everything, but take heed, fellow traveler, and report back. Australia is a hell of a place and you'll have plenty of stories to tell when you come back!
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."
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."