We all might have more in common than we think, especially when it comes to getting embarrassed over something we thought we knew (but really didn't). Reddit user LightningCole asked the members of the online community to share some of the things that they learned embarrassingly late. With over 18.6k comments in the thread, we can say for sure that it’s one of those universal secrets that nearly everyone can relate to. What’s obvious to you might not be obvious to us!
Remember to upvote your fave answers as you chuckle your way down this list. After you’re done, let us know in the comments what things you learned embarrassingly late in life, dear Pandas! Did you think that chocolate milk comes from brown cows until you were 30? Maybe you thought that the European Council and the Council of the European Union were one and the same at some point in your life? We can’t wait to read what you have to share.
Bored Panda spoke about embarrassing knowledge blind spots and why they're, well, embarrassing with Vanessa Bohns, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University. Bohns also explained what the healthiest way to react to embarrassment is. Scroll down and have a read.
"We spend a lot of time and effort presenting an ideal version of ourselves to other people. When something happens that contrasts with the image we’ve been projecting—when we say or do something that shows we actually aren’t as graceful or as smart as we’d like people to believe—we feel embarrassed," Bohns said.
"Discovering you were wrong about something most everyone else around you has long known to be true is one of those moments. In that moment we learn, 'Wait a minute, maybe I haven’t been presenting the image of being smart or worldly that I thought I was presenting all this time,' which is embarrassing."
Bohns pointed out to Bored Panda that embarrassment has its positive sides—it’s not all bad like some of us believe.
“One thing that’s interesting about embarrassment is that, for as much as we might experience it as painful in the moment, it’s actually very socially adaptive. Being embarrassed signals to other people that you care about what they think. And that actually draws people in to you,” she said.
“So blushing, burying your head in your hands, laughing, acknowledging how embarrassing something was, are all totally healthy ways to react,” Bohns explained to us that we shouldn’t feel embarrassed about, well, feeling embarrassed.
“The unhealthy way to react is to pretend you’re not embarrassed, that you didn’t make a mistake, or to get angry. Those things undo the positive effect of embarrassment typically has on other people by conveying insincerity and pushing people away rather than drawing them in,” Bohns said.
Knowledge blind spots are something that we’ll always have. To some extent. We’ll never be able to get rid of all of them but we should do our best to improve ourselves constantly.
However, the problem isn’t so easy because you don’t know what you don’t know or what you’re wrong about. It’s not like we spend every single second of every day analyzing every bit of knowledge in our minds. Nobody’s got that kind of time—we’ve got other things to do!
Some blind spots are related to a lack of education and worldliness and can be corrected by actively seeking out new information and perspectives, bit by bit. Reading new books, watching films, going to lectures, meeting new people—all of these things slowly fill in any gaps in knowledge that we might have. It’s a long and involved process but it might just be the easy part.
Other blind spots that we have are related to our assumptions and preconceptions about the world which might not always be right. However, we’re so emotionally invested in holding on to these ideas that we don’t want to let go. Because it feels like we’re losing a part of ourselves.
If we’re truly sincere about wanting to get rid of our blind spots, then we have to put our points of view out there and be prepared to learn that we’re wrong. Over and over again. It’s a painful process (it’s bound to bruise our egos) but it’s the quickest way to learn.
So if you’re prepared to take the temporary hits to your self-esteem, even learning new things embarrassingly late doesn’t have to be embarrassing!