1. "Trying way too hard to be 'not like the other girls.' First off, other girls are awesome, and I’ve probably missed out on many great friendships simply because I wasn’t even willing to give other women a chance. Second, many stereotypically feminine things absolutely rock: skirts, painted nails, pumped-up music, pumpkin spice anything…and I didn’t realize that until [my] mid-twenties, because I’d been so scared to be seen as girly. And lastly, I hung out with some people who were absolute tools, but I thought I was so cool for having 'mainly guy friends.'”
2. "Getting pregnant at 17. Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter more than life itself and would literally die for her. However, it's a really hard thing to do. It's never-ending and you watch all your friends experiencing college and living and learning when you are up to your eyes in nappies and bottles and sleepless nights. Then when your friends start having their babies, yours is an adult so you are not invited to things because they only do things with other parents now."
3. "I listened to the wrong person, started hating a formerly good friend because of all the shit-talking this one friend did behind her back, and eventually went so far as to publicly embarrass her. She (very rightly) has not forgiven me, almost 20 years later, and I still count it as the worst thing I have ever done."
"I try to avoid gossip now, and do my best to be my friends' biggest cheerleader. I don't know if I can ever make up for that one, incredibly shitty thing I did, but I suppose at least I learned from it."
4. "I wish I hadn’t tried so hard to be friends with the popular girls. They had zero interest in me. There was another group of very nice girls who really wanted to be my friend and I mostly ignored them. What a jerk I was."
5. "I wish I realized sooner that I was overworking myself (and my mom was pushing me way, way too hard). For literally as far back as I can remember. I have memories of sobbing over grades I got in elementary school. Anything under 100 was unacceptable to me and to my mom. I totally burned out at 18 and it took all the joy out of something I loved."
"I miss how much I loved to learn. And I feel like the personification wasted potential."
6. "Sending/receiving nudes. To be fair this was like 2007/2008/2009 when camera phones really became popular. Horny teenagers and camera phones is a disaster waiting to happen, and adults in school couldn't even fathom the idea of a cell phone with a camera let alone kids sending naked images of themselves to each other. It was a unique phenomenon at that time in history. I knew kids who would post VERY risque images of themselves on myspace as their profile picture. A 15-year-old wouldn't have seen anything wrong with posting a picture of herself tastefully topless on social media back then. ... We just didn't know any better."
7. "[I was] so determined to impress my classmates that I would stretch the truth so I could brag about myself. Now I realize most of them saw through it. If I could only go back, I would slap some duct tape across younger-me's mouth."
8. "My advice to my young self is: don’t be afraid to try things in high school. I really regret not trying out for cheerleading. It always looked so fun to me, but I was nerdy, not very stylish and assumed I shouldn’t bother. Looking back, I wish I had just tried. Even if I didn’t get it, you build self esteem when you put yourself out there like that."
9. "Not using protection during sex and believing that 'it doesn’t feel as good' and feeling responsible to do what I could to make it feel good. Nothing came of it, thank gosh, but I put myself at risk for teen pregnancy and STDs. I wish I had the confidence to stand up and say no to not using protection."
"I also regret not going out for bigger parts in my drama class. I enjoyed drama, but held back out of fear that I’d look silly or stupid. I would’ve been okay if I didn’t get the part, but I wish I tried out for them just to see."
10. "Long hair and a trench coat. I thought it made me look mysterious and edgy, but it just scared everyone away. There are still people I've known since I was a teenager who won't make eye contact with me."
11. "I wore a fedora to prom, and prior to prom I had asked someone out and took the rejection really badly (said a lot of stupid shit on social media and acted out when asked about it). Also, back when it was a thing to add random people on FB, I used to post all sorts of corny, white knight one-liners."
12. "Online date. Don't do it. There are many people who'll lie to you just to get close to you and exploit you. Even those who are actually younger than you, believe it or not. Had a guy tell me he was around my age at the time we started having feelings for each other. Yeah, no.. our age gap was illegal where he lived. (We were both minors, chill.) Not only was I uncomfortable with said age gap but he lied to me about it and admitted that he was 'worried I would reject him if he told me the truth.' I ditched his ass right after that, felt fucking sick. Moral of the story? Boys are dumb, especially teenage boys."
13. "When I was 18/19 I was meeting all sorts of girls on the internet. AIM, yahoo mess, MSN, IMVU. All that shit. Just cyber sexing my ass off. Eventually, I started visiting all these people. Greyhound adventures, I called them. I had a bunch of expendable income at the time and nothing else to do so hopping on a bus to go across the country to get laid a bunch seemed like a good idea. Most adults thought I was just a runaway and would insist on buying me food. It was fun but I didn't realize till I was much older how fucking dangerous this was."
"A naive 18-year-old, with 5 or 6 hundred dollars in (usually) cash on him, a laptop, and a single bookbag, traveling states away to hookup with someone who I'd never actually met. FORTUNATELY I was lucky enough to meet a bunch of really pretty girls and go to a bunch of states I've never been back to. I'm very lucky I wasn't ever cat fished by a serial killer or a human trafficker or something."
14. "I was a ... hormonal mess of a lad with my tongue down everyone's throat. From the age of 14-19, it was nonstop. [I] really should've taken my relationships a bit more seriously. I did spend four years with one girl, but I hopped around from one girl to the next during breaks, break-ups...etc. As a man aged 30, I look back and cringe. It's obvious I was insecure and didn't like being single."
"I was worse. From 17-25 I hooked up with everything with a pulse. Would cycle through 20 or more women a week, rarely use protection. I cost me jobs, flunked out of college, even got kicked out of my apartment cause I pissed off too many of the female tenants.
I'm 41 now with a family, and it's scary how reckless I was. By the grace of god I never got an STD or got anyone pregnant. Just flat out stupid."
15. "Become infatuated with a girl who was a good friend, watch them go through relationship after relationship, resent her for not sharing the same feelings, act as shoulder to cry on, hoping it will develop into something it will never be, all while ignoring the obvious flirting/signals from the cute, funny, smart girl who wasn't 'the one.' I think we all have that Teen Movie story line at some point in our lives. It's not that I've lived a life of regret, I just think about the wasted efforts and self-loathing I put myself through for absolutely no other reason besides an underdeveloped pre-frontal cortex."
16. "Cowardice. I was so unsure of myself and awkward. I know that all teenagers struggle with this, but as I look back now from my forties...that kid in high school had so much going for him, he just didn't know it. The more he cared about fitting in, the less he fit in, and the worse people treated him. Girls were like an alien species and the future was terrifying. But it didnt have to be."
17. "I didn't stand up for myself enough. I'm still too worried about how people will react if I say no or refuse to do something."
"I'm 20, and I wish I lived more of my life not caring what others think of me. I don't like getting in confrontations, so I'll often just tell people what they want to hear. The problem is that if you make a habit of doing it, people will just expect to hear what they want every time."
18. "I wish I had taken more risks. I worried about getting in trouble too much. I missed out on some fun because of that, and tried to play catch up when I was 19, which lead to me going a bit too hard through my twenties. I'm okay now, successful and doing well. But there's lot's of things I did in my twenties that I might not have done had I got it out of my system in my teens. I'm just lucky things turned out okay for me."
19. "My biggest regret is internalizing all of the religious homophobia I was fed from my parents. My first love was a girl that loved me back, but I pushed her away and never fully appreciated her or got to really date her until years later. I can never turn back the clock and gain back the innocence of a first love."
20. "Driving on the wrong side of the road on a blind turn up an incline in the rain…. because I was late to prom and the guy in front of me was driving slower than I wanted to go. I could have killed, at minimum, two people and myself. Hands down, most screwed up thing I’ve ever done and regretted. I barely even remember prom."
"But I do know my date asked me to take a photo with her and a good looking dude on the football team. Yup. Turns out they were hooking up the whole time. So, lots of regrets."
21. "Devil's Lake state campground Wisconsin mid 1980s. Drunk 20-year-old's friends and I thought it was big fun to REPEATEDLY jump off the ridge to the 40-50 foot pine trees below. At night."
22. "When I was at my grandparents' and I got bored during the afternoon I threw empty glass bottles (the small ones, like Coke or tonic water) out of the window to hear them shatter on the ground. At first it was on the inner courtyard side, then I decided it was funnier to do that onto the street. I ended up damaging a car, got caught and my dad had to fork out like $500 (in '90s money) for repair. Good thing he had insurance, but that didn't cover for the new one he tore me. In hindsight I was lucky it was just a car roof and not the skull of some poor bastard who was walking by while a stupid bored kid was entertaining himself."
23. "We used to take .22 bullets and put them in straws and tape a metal bb to the back to act as the firing pin toss them in the air and fucking run. I’m honestly surprised none of us caught a stray bullet. 0/10 do not recommend."
24. "I used to keep a whole ass bong in my car in high school. I’d get high anywhere anytime. Luckily my dumbass didn’t get caught as a minor. Looking back, if I ever got in the car with a 17 y/o who pulled a bong out the backseat and ripped it before we started driving…I’d get right tf out of that vehicle!!!"
25. "Graffiti on a police car that almost threw me into juvenile jail and fuck up my entire life. The way I got away with it is because my mom started crying in front of the police officer...God bless her soul."
26. "Got drunk at school when I was in 6th grade. I was so drunk that I couldn’t walk to my classes and my friend had to hold me while I walked down the hallway."
27. "Trying hard drugs out of curiosity. They lied about how bad weed and mushrooms were, they were prolly lying about coke and smack too right? Wrong."
28. "Set off a flare on school grounds during an assembly. ... It was a red boat flare from my Dad's boat. I think I was just trying to do a little protest about something at the time. I got in so much trouble from so many people/departments. Certainly learned a lot that day, especially about emergency responses and the law."
Some kids were scared, some didn't understand what was happening. Some thought it was stupid, and some thought it was funny. I guess afterwards they realized it was a serious thing ... with all the attention it gathered. Some never spoke to me again."