There are some things we are just not meant to hear. No matter how enticing or engaging it might be to listen in on someone's private conversation, there are times when those conversations should be kept between those having the talk. But we don't always listen to our conscience and listen anyway.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share the most disturbing thing they overheard between two people, and those who responded will be the first to say that they regret what they heard. All of the following stories play into that idea, and the results are shocking. All posts have been edited for clarity.
"It was my then boyfriend's birthday, and he was living in a suite with five of his fraternity guys. I wore lingerie, put flowers on his bed, and waited in his room to surprise him and give him the best birthday he'd ever had.
Unfortunately for me, he was in the common room talking to another friend of his on the phone. I couldn't quite hear the whole conversation, but I remember him saying, 'I just use her because she gives great head. She's honestly a bimbo and should kill herself soon so she can get off my back.'
I had a suicidal past that he knew about. It was definitely awkward when he came in. I got dressed and left, crying. I cried that entire night. Then I blocked him from my phone and on every social media platform.
He gave me a very sincere apology, and we're on reasonable terms now, but we never got back together."
"I was waiting tables at a Mexican restaurant when a woman came in and said she was waiting for her husband. She ordered a drink for herself, told me what he'd want when he got there, then went ahead and ordered foods for both of them so they could eat right when he arrived. I thought she was getting stood up at first, but she didn't seem to care. She ordered herself another drink and was looking at some paperwork in a big manila envelope when I brought it to her. Her husband showed up not too long after that, so I brought him the drink she ordered for him and told them the food would be out in a minute.
When I came back with the food, she handed him the manila envelope as I put the dishes on the table. He instantly burst into tears and started yelling, asking her why. She told him she never loved him and that she wanted a divorce. Their table was right by the waiter station, so even when I left, I could see and hear everything. My manager got mad that I hadn't walked by to ask if they liked their food, so I was forced to go over and ask them while she was calmly telling how she wanted to split everything. He was still sobbing. She went ahead and gave me her card to pay. I brought it back and she tipped me (very well). Then she stood up to leave. At this point, the man fell to the floor and held her legs, begging her not to leave. I was still standing right there. She told him to 'be a man about it and have some dignity.' Then she left. He sat at the table for about another hour, never touching the food or drink. When he left, he apologized to me and gave me a $100 bill."
"When I was 15, I had to go spend a few weeks with my dad and stepmom. My stepmom never liked me. Ever. It became more noticeable when they had a daughter. Our birthdays were one month apart. One year, I got a football and a crappy Dallas Cowboys backpack (I hate football). On her birthday, she got a ton of computer games and toys.
When I was staying with them, I woke up early one morning. I noticed my door was open, so I got up to close it. When I got close to the door, I could hear my stepmom saying, 'I told Gary not to invite him. I hate him.' We were leaving for a vacation the next day. I spent the entire trip silent as a church mouse. I, quite literally, had nothing to say. I knew she would hate whatever I said, so I went mute.
When I got back home with my mom, I told my dad what happened and he called me a liar. I haven't seen or spoken to him since then. This was 13 years ago and it still bums me out as much now as it did then. I mean, I'm happy I don't have to deal with that level of crazy anymore, but I'd rather have a dad."
"When I was maybe 10 or 11, I overheard my stepmom talking to my friend's mom about my puppy that had recently disappeared. I learned the puppy had not run away, but that my stepmom had driven it to the middle of nowhere and 'set it free' because she didn't want to have a puppy in the house.
My stepmom is the worst human being I have ever met. It's worth mentioning that she has gotten rid of my possessions before without asking, like giving my clothes or toys to Goodwill while I was at school.
I have asked her a few times about what really happened with the puppy, and I give her the opportunity to come clean, but she is always evasive about the whole thing. She will eventually get what's coming to her. I hope she suffers as much as possible in her life and dies painfully."
"I overheard my best friend's 13-year-old daughter talking about hooking up with someone, doing some hardcore illegal substances, and getting it on without protection. I almost interrupted her when she got to talking about the butt stuff they were having because I was getting a little uncomfortable. That's when she mentioned the name of the guy. It was her dad's older brother and another one of my best friends.
I've seen a lot of messed up things in life over the last four and a half decades but having to tell my 39-year-old friend that his 42-year-old brother was banging his 13-year-old daughter was the worst.
Within 48 hours, one was in a coma and the daughter was dead. She killed herself. Her 'heart was broken' because her dad beat his older brother so bad that they ended up pulling the plug about a year later.
Sometimes I think it would have been better if I hadn't said anything."
"My dad's girlfriend is a special education teacher. I heard her telling my dad about a student she had with Down's Syndrome. The kid had awful parents and lived in the rough part of town.
The kid never brushed his teeth, and as a result, his teeth rotted out and he had to get them all pulled. He was given pain medication, but his mother ended up taking all the pills herself. The boy would be in so much pain in class that he would have to be taken out of class because he couldn't stop yelling. He yelled so much that the stitches in his mouth ripped.
I asked my dad's girlfriend about the student's situation, and she told me that she did report it, but for some reason or another, the mother still had custody of her son. She didn't go into it much and acted as though it wasn't something she wanted to talk about, so I didn't ask further questions."
"I woke up around midnight on Easter when I was about 6 to hopefully get a glimpse of the Easter Bunny, but I only heard my mom crying to my dad on the phone. They were divorced, but she was begging him to come get my brother and me because she had no money to get us any chocolate. She was hysterical.
I went back to bed and pretended to be surprised when my dad was there in the morning to get us. He told us that the Easter Bunny got mixed up about where we were staying."
"My husband and I were at McDonald's. We took our son to the Playplace to try to let him burn off energy so we could finish grocery shopping.
A mother was in there with her three kids. One by one, she would make each one of them sit down and was interrogating them. 'Where did your dad sit at the spring concert? Who did he sit by? Did he sit with Mason's mom? Did he talk to any of the other moms? Was he laughing and smiling when he talked to Carter's mom? Did you guys come right home afterward?'
She was writing it all down. Each child was not allowed to go play unless they answered her questions."
"I was once at a conference with my boss. We were in a hotel lobby about to meet with a big-deal manager from another company to talk about a deal when he took a call from his wife.
She said there was a soldier outside their house with important news that could only be conveyed in person. She wouldn't talk to the guy because she knew what the news would be. Their son was stationed in Iraq. His wife handed her phone to the guy in uniform on their doorstep.
My boss said, 'I'm 500 miles away right now. Do you have something important to tell me about my son?'
Then he looked at us and said he had to go home and walked away."
"My wife and I were enjoying an otherwise fantastic dinner at a really nice restaurant. Seated in the booth behind us was another married couple (an older, nerdy type guy and a very pretty, much younger woman) that were in the throes of separation/divorce.
In an angry whisper, the wife made a list of material demands such as a pool, new car, and a beach house. The consequence for his not delivering on her wants was: 'I'll bang every friend you've got, and I know a lot of other freaky people on top of that.'
He sheepishly replied, 'No, that's not necessary. I'll start working on it Monday.'
Another time, my wife and I were enjoying ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins on a beautiful Saturday in the spring. Seated at a table next to ours were a man and a little boy, who looked to be 4 years old. The child asked, 'Daddy, why didn't Mom want to come with us today, and why don't you live in our house anymore?'
Hearing that made my wife instantly weep and our barely eaten ice cream went in the trash as we exited the store."
"I picked up the house phone to find a conversation already in progress. And that's how I learned my stepdad was having an affair with his brother's wife. It was actually my mom on the phone, in tears, explaining the situation to her best friend. From what I understand, my stepdad's brother was the first to find out about the affair and gave my stepdad an ultimatum to tell my mom or he would.
I was 14 at the time and about as emotionally mature as you would expect a 14-year-old to be, so I freaked out and did the only rational thing I could think of, I told my grandparents (my mom's parents). So the whole thing comes out, my stepdad and mom split up and, as you would expect, both families now wanted nothing to do with my former stepdad.
That was until my mom took him back about six months later. She didn't actually tell me she took him back, he just started showing up to the house more and more. Everyone was supposed to just act as nothing had ever happened. I was 15 by this time and moved out of the house about a month later.
This all happened 14 years ago, and I still steadfastly refuse to be in the same room as my former stepdad, let alone speak to him. My mom and I have a tenuous relationship. We'll send each other a card on birthdays and that's about it."
"My kid played baseball last spring, and while most of the parents were pretty low-key, there was one dad who was kind of obnoxious. He had been some type of highly ranked D3 athlete with a huge ego and was living vicariously through his 5-year-old. My heart broke when he berated his kid for crying after he got out and told him how embarrassing it was that his kid was the only one crying. Pretty messed up.
Somehow this jerk of a guy also had this super cute wife which was really confusing because he was never particularly nice to her either. I mean, she had a tiny bit of baby weight left, but still, she was an absolutely gorgeous woman.
So fast forward to the last game of the year. The coaches threw this mini party and got all the kids Italian Ice. There was a ton, so they offered it to the parents too. I happened to be standing behind this couple. She got her kid his Italian Ice and got one for herself, too. When she sat down beside his husband, he whispered to her, 'I think it's pretty obvious you don't need those calories.'"
"My in-laws were staying with us (uninvited) and brought their two Yorkies with them. Our German Shepherd was 6 months old at the time and full of energy and wanted to play with everyone and everything. She might have been a tenth the age of the Yorkies, but she still outweighed them by a good 30 pounds. My in-laws were losing their minds because my dog was being 'mean' to theirs. While they were here, they treated her like garbage while we were at work. They kept her locked away during the day while their dogs ran around her house, as evidenced by the scratch/chew marks in the room that we kept her while the house was empty.
After two days of this, I set up my computer and recorded my basement. They didn't realize this until mid-afternoon, at which point it was far too late for them. In the morning, they were complaining that my dog was being loud. My mother-in-law was the best though! She called one of her friends and talked on and on about how terrible it was staying here, about how we didn't treat her Yorkies with respect, and how it seemed like we were avoiding her. We stayed upstairs with our dog while we were home so she wouldn't be anxious. She then said to her husband a little bit later, 'We could stay here as long as we want and ruin their marriage,' speaking about my wife and me. About 30 minutes after dropping that bomb, my father-in-law noticed my computer and covered the camera, however, it was far too late at that point, the damage was done.
Later that night, they went to bed early, so we played with our pup downstairs and enjoyed having the house 'to ourselves.' My mother-in-law got up and went to the bathroom, the pup heard and took off upstairs after her. I followed so that she didn't jump when my mother-in-law got out of the bathroom. When she exited, we exchanged pleasantries and she returned to the guest room. My dog escaped my hold and ran to the door, but didn't go inside. We don't allow dogs into that room because my nephew is allergic to dogs, so we keep the guest room as dog free as possible so he can sleep comfortably when he comes over. I realized that there was something in there that had caught my pup's attention. I ran downstairs, missing just about every step and said to my wife, 'I think they have their dogs in there.' Even more impressively, my wife got upstairs without touching a single step. She stormed into the guest room and said, 'Get the dogs out of this room.'
The coldest reply ever came from my mother-in-law, 'But there are no dogs in here' as she held the covers extra still.
My wife left and somehow I stayed composed enough to say, 'Our apologies,' as I shut the door.
Not five minutes later, my mother-in-law came downstairs and again, cold as can be, said, 'Is there a problem?' My wife and her mom got into quite the screaming match about disrespecting us, our home, our dog, and the rules of our home. Her mother vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
Right up until my father-in-law stepped in with, 'What, were you spying on us?' Ok, all bets are off now. My wife said we did keep watch over the house and we did see and hear what they were doing, specifically the part about ruining our marriage. Her mother denied ever saying anything of the sort and slapped my wife. My German Shepherd didn't like that and went into full defense mode. So I dove down to stop her from causing a huge lawsuit, holding her and my wife back, who was flailing away.
Finally, my wife let it go, telling them, 'Get out of my house, get out right now.' That may be the absolute best moment of my life, ever. My in-laws packed their crap and left."
"When I was a little kid, like 5 years old, I really wanted this stupid stamp set from Family Dollar.
My mom and I walked there one day so she could buy tampons. Once we got there, we found both the tampons and the sticker set in the clearance bin. I overheard her talking to the lady at the cash register (when price checking them) about how she only had money for one of the items and that she was going to buy me the stamp set over the tampons.
I'm 21 now, and I never told my mom that I heard her say that. She always pretended that we had enough money, but she would skip meals or give up her stuff to make sure we had enough, and it breaks my heart thinking about it."
"I was a server and had a couple come in. They seemed happy at first. He said, 'Order whatever you want,' and made sure she had a drink and got dessert. Then he gave me his card ahead of time and said he wanted to pay for it before she tried everything she wanted.
As she was finishing up dessert, I walked by and I heard him say, 'So...you know I know, right?' My ears perked up. He continued, 'You have to know that I know. Haha, I mean, I'm not stupid.'
'What are you talking about, babe?'
'Of all the people. Of all the people! Haha! Him? That's just...Eye opening. I'm sorry you felt like you weren't getting enough from me.' The whole time, he spoke with a pretty friendly, matter-of-fact tone.
I was bussing and cleaning tables around them and got the gist that she lived with him and he bought her a car, but now he's taking it back and needs her to move out, though he will give her time. Then he waved me down, left a huge tip, kissed her on the cheek, and left her sitting there.
She sat there staring at the table for about an hour before picking up her phone and calling someone. It was the most epic, heart-wrenching, well-played break up I've ever seen."
"It was common knowledge around the office that my old boss was cheating on his wife. One night, I received a string of texts from my boss that were supposed to go to his mistress. The texts confessed his true love for her and outlined a plan to kill his wife so they could be together.
Apparently, he had her number in his contact list saved under MY NAME so that his wife wouldn't be suspicious of him texting a woman. But he accidentally went and texted my real number instead of hers. I panicked because it was just a matter of time before he realized his mistake.
I immediately called a coworker, forwarded a copy of the texts to him for insurance, had my wife go to her parents' house, and called the police. I honestly have no idea what happened to him after that, because he never came back to work and nobody followed up with me.
To this day, nobody at my work talks about him or that situation."