44 People Got Real About The Worst Advice They’ve Ever Received In Their Life

Unsplash / Joshua Ness

Reddit asked its users for the worst advice they’ve ever been given, and it got incredibly real incredibly fast.

1. Credit cards are “free money”

‘Just open another credit card, it’s free money’ coming from my friend who is in thousands of dollars worth of debt and has no idea she will eventually have to pay that off.

— BaconAficionado8

2. Tell your bullies they’re hurting you.

When I was little I told my mom I was sad because some kids were bullying me. She said I should tell them that when they bullied me it hurt me inside, and they would stop. I did what she said. This was bad advice. They did not stop.

— doot_doot

3. Don’t go through chemotherapy.

“Don’t go through chemotherapy, eat this nut and berry mix instead!”- my younger sister, when she visited me in the hospital when I went for febrile neutropenia (no white blood cells, had fever). She also showed up claiming to have bronchitis and didn’t wear a mask and full-on hugged me. Yeah she’s a piece of work.

Even knowing what I do now about what it would do to my reproductive health (TL;DR: permanent menopause at 26), I’d still go with chemotherapy 1100%. I was going to DIE without it, with a 100% guarantee. I would be dead by the time I turn 27. My life is more important than my ability to have children the old fashioned way.

— JenovaCelestia

4. Life insurance is a waste of money.

This wasn’t me personally but my mom told me that we had a neighbor that used to constantly tell my dad that life insurance was a waste of money and tried to convince him to stop paying for it. Fortunately my dad was intelligent because he died five years later and my family would have been completely destroyed without it.

— feeryu

5. You’re wasting your time in school.

In my final semester of college, my insanely jealous, distraught mother called me to make one last plea to get me to drop out. She went on to say “What would you do if you had to watch helplessly as your own daughter threw her life away and became a nurse?!”

By the way, she married an elementary school drop out, and was a bitter retail worker. She couldn’t handle watching me be the first in the family to graduate from college and make something of myself, and she dealt with it by constantly shaming me. If I scored 99% on something, she complained about the last 1%. If I got 100%, she said I was stupid because I didn’t earn bonus marks. We don’t talk anymore and I’m a successful nurse.

— whambamnomaam

6. Stop reading.

“Stop reading! You read too much, you’re going to hurt your eyes! Go watch tv for awhile!” My grandma, every time she visited, while grabbing the books from my hands. It was like something off The Simpsons.

— yiuroitu

7. Family is the only thing that will ever be there for you.

“Your family is the only thing that will ever be there for you. Not your friends, your family.”

Annnd I just got excommunicated from my narcissistic, abusive family two days before thanksgiving.

— r0bbitz

8. Quit taking your antidepressants cold turkey.

My psychiatrist told me I could stop taking the SNRI antidepressants I was on more or less cold turkey. It was technically safe but holy shit, it was a tough couple of weeks…partly because of unpleasant physical sensations and partly because it was the closest to actual crazy id ever felt.

— sunshine-machine

9. Babies don’t need formula.

When my daughter was an infant, my wife couldn’t breastfeed and my daughter couldn’t digest formula very well, so I had to buy a special predigested formula for like $25/can.

I was at the cashier paying for the formula. The guy in front of me was gathering his things. He said to me, he says, “When my kids were babies, I wish I knew what I know now.”

I was like, “What’s that? What do you know?”

He says, “Babies don’t need formula. All they need is sugar water. All the rest is a scam.”

I was like, “I’m so glad you didn’t know that back then.”

— RageQuitFPS

10. There are bigger problems than your depression.

“stop thinking about depression there are more people who have greater problems than yours” non verba

— ekisatikapito

11. Stop paying off your debt.

My mother in law recently tried to solve my money issues.

MIL: stupid question…why can you just stop paying off the debt for a while? It will still be there in say 3-5 years or so.

Wife and I: we can’t stop paying we owe them money and have an agreement to pay a little off each month. Not to mention it has to do with my mother putting me in debt so I had to go to court I can’t just not pay.

MIL: oh…well are you sure you couldn’t just skip a few months? If you didn’t have to pay it off right now you guys could get your own apartment.

Yes thank you because we don’t know that. It’s a shitty situation that I kind of put myself in for trusting my mother. I can’t just stop paying off debt especially with it being a court order. My mother in law seems to bounce between understanding and not constantly. She like my mother also doesn’t seem understand showing good faith that you will pay or are trying to pay something. In their mind “just wait until you have the full amount to pay off” by then there’s interest and late fees and god knows what else. Anytime I explain it she gets it for a while and then goes right back to “can’t you stop paying?”

— ChasingThe_RisingSun

12. Don’t worry about paying off student loans.

When I was in the process of getting student loans, I had a friend’s parent tell me “don’t ever worry about paying those back. It’s not like they can repossess your education and it will hardly affect your credit”. I work as a finance manager at a dealership now and see tons of people’s credit suffering for being delinquent on their student loans.

– jackuio

13. Your high school years will be the best ones of your life.

“your high-school years will be the best ones of your life, so you better enjoy them while you can.”

If high-school was the greatest time of my life, then i would have been better off killing myself then and there.

— DrmantistabaginMD

14. Wearing a Superman cape will make you fly.

When I was about 5-6 years old I was given a Superman cape for my birthday, I was told that it could make me fly, after a few days of not being able to fly, I began asking people how to make it work, they advised that I needed to find somewhere high up to jump off of, so I started jumping off fences, trees, then I was told I needed to jump something taller…

— CheelWinstaaan

15. Do what you love and the money will follow.

“Do what you love and the money will come”

— tsmrcool

16. Ignore the bullies.

Ignore the bullies. You don’t need to fight them but standing up for yourself is far better than taking it, internalising it and letting it hold you back.

— pajamakitten

17. Choose your job over your family.

Had a manager tell me I had to choose between my family and my job, and that I should choose my job.

“40 hours a week isn’t enough, you need to spend 80 hours working to get ahead in life”

Best part was it was the “decision” she made earlier in life. Her and her husband are workaholics, and had a daughter. She basically dumped the daughter off on grandma to raise, and is proud to tell this story.

— slow_worker

18. Don’t go to a country if you don’t know the language.

“You shouldn’t go to Japan if you don’t know the language.”

I studied abroad and now work in Japan. Going to Japan without the language changed my life. It was a good learning experience and you learn a language crazy fast when you need it everyday.

— Scott0595

19. Girls like to be smacked around a little.

Somebody told me girls like to be smacked around a little.

Pro tip: always ask first.

— owbilli

20. Have kids early so you can get it out of the way.

Someone told me that I should have kids in my early 20’s so I can just get it out the way.

— gbtwo88

21. Just get over it.

“Just get over it.” -My mom, any time I had any sort of emotional, mental, or bullying issue.

— 1000Punches

22. Schedule all your college courses at 8 a.m.

“Schedule all your college courses at 8 am, then you’ve got the rest of the day to relax!”

— Irrationalwoman

23. Renting is just throwing away money.

“Renting is just throwing money away!” Sure, if you know for a fact that you’ll be living in the same town for the next 10+ years and have a steady income. Otherwise, stop rent-shaming! Renting is a great option for people who are just starting out, move every few years, or are unsure where they want to end up. Repairs are the responsibility of the landlord, and you can save a lot of money especially with a housemate or two.

— nudist_reddit_mom

24. Don’t trust anyone.

Don’t trust anyone. Please do. Life’s a lot darker when you can’t trust anyone.

— Copeteles

25. Money can’t buy happiness.

“Money can’t buy happiness”

Bullshit it can’t! Is it a guarantee? Of course not. But the only real sources of unhappiness in my life right now are financial — paying medical bills, paying for school, making rent, etc.

Otherwise I’m happy as a clam.

— AskMeAboutMyTshirt

26. You can’t give up on her.

You gotta be persistent. You can’t give up. You gotta keep after her.

No. That’s called stalking.

— f0k4ppl3

27.  You have to go to University or you’ll never get anywhere.

“You have to go to University and get a degree or else you’ll never get anywhere.”

“You should really do English as well as Journalism so that you have something to fall back on. Media is a useless subject.”

I now have a degree I probably won’t use and a fair amount of debt because I took my parents advice. Not all bad as I had a lot of awesome experiences at University and met my current girlfriend who I’ve been with for 6 years now. But it was the last time I took advice from my parents regarding an important, life changing decision.

— JayEdwards88

28. Get new friends.

I called Kids Help Phone when I was a teen to ask for advice on how to help my depressed friend. They advised I find new friends. I wish I was making this up.

— atsignwork

29. Buy a house.

“Buy a house [in 2006]. It’ll be the best decision you ever make!”

Worst decision I’ve ever made.

— TheAethereal

30. Your academic advisor knows what they’re doing.

“Just listen to your academic advisor. They know what they’re doing.”

Thousands of dollars added cost to education, an extra senior year, and a Withdrawal on record. Seriously, don’t be afraid to push back on your advisors if you’re concerned about what they say or do.

— RayFinkleO5

31. Be yourself.

“Be yourself.”

Pretend to be someone better and you’ll probably become someone better.

— xcorinthianx

32. Kill them with kindness.

“Kill them with kindness.” Yeah that’s for people who are at least able to comprehend kindness. And those people you rarely have to kill with anything.

Most of the time it’s much better to give sizeable consequences to deal with.

— Trevor_GoodchiId

33. Just stop being gay.

My mother:

“Just stop being gay” – ummm how does that work?

“Sleep with more men, you won’t be a lesbian then!”

“Lose weight. You’re only gay because men don’t find you attractive”

— shinyhappycat

34. Push through the pain.

Push through the pain. Your fatigue will go away as you exercise more. Yeah, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome don’t with that way. Now my ligaments are messed up and I’m bedridden due to pushing through the pain & fatigue.

— michann00

35. Doctors are a scam.

“Doctors are a scam and every illness, ailment, or injury can be solved through pure mental toughness.” – a guy I used to work with.

He ended up getting fired for poor quality work and being “overly aggressive” with business partners. Lel

— angl3r

36. Go to a Christian school to meet a nice man to marry.

My dad told me to go to a Christian school so I could meet “a nice Christian man to marry.” I’m now engaged to my soon-to-be wife.

— GloriaPocalypse

37. Just pray.

Just pray.

— spiralmeatloaf

38. Work hard and you will make money.

“be good at what you are doing and money will come you naturally/ you will be rewarded”–heard many times from employers who look for good employees to underpay

“work hard and u will make money”–same as above.

— freethestormer10

39. Just let it go.

“Just let it go”

— Sandbox54

40. If someone can do nothing for you, they’re not worth your time.

“If someone can do nothing for you; they’re not worth your time.”

Terrible advice. Those in power see how you treat others and no one wants a dick on their staff.

— laterdude

41. Never quit.

“Never quit” Actually, sometimes quitting is the best thing to do.

— bahwa

42. Get an abortion.

When I found out I was pregnant with my youngest son my mom and her boyfriend told me to abort. Not because I couldn’t afford the baby, or that there was something wrong with him, but because my mom was going through menopause and didn’t want to be reminded that she couldn’t have any more kids.

— ManagingTheMayhem

43. Financing anything is a good idea.

That financing anything (apart from a house) is a good idea. I made the mistake of buying a brand new car and now I’m debt free but I could have used all that money to put a down payment on a house and gotten a much cheaper car.

— captaind_money

44. Anything in any romantic comedy ever.

anything in any romantic comedy ever

— KingShish Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Callie Byrnes

Callie is a writer, editor, and publisher at Thought Catalog. Her debut book, ‘The Words We Left Behind,’ was released in January 2024.

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