45 People Share How They Witnessed Someone Being Completely Clueless At Something So Simple

Sometimes we do not know what we do not know, and we have to learn it the hard way. For example, if a person doesn’t add water to the pot when they’re boiling pasta, chances are, it will burn. So, in an attempt to figure out what (vital) skills people grow up without, Reddit user arual_x submitted a question to the platform, asking “What’s the most horrifying ‘how do you not know how to do this?’ moment you’ve experienced with another person whilst adulting?”

I know the last word is enough to make zoomers cringe but let’s not get into linguistics. It’s the answers that count. Continue scrolling and check out the most upvoted ones.


I was a drill sergeant in the US Army. The first time you have to show an adult man how to shave is a little shocking. The worst one was the 24 year old male that didn’t know how to tie his boots. He had gotten through reception and pick up day by tightly lacing his boots and tucking the laces in. As they would loosen up throughout the day, he would just pull them tight again. The first Sunday I noticed his boots were barely staying on as he was marching back from dinner. I asked him what was wrong with them as it’s common for privates to have the wrong size boots when they get to us. He didn’t know how to tie them. At all. Not a single knot. I spent an hour showing him how I tie my boots and different techniques if he gets hot spots or blisters. Then I assigned his bunkmate the task of making sure they were tied correctly when he left the bay.

I kind of understood it. He came from a super poor neighborhood, single mom that worked all the time, he didn’t have a lot of positive influences before joining the Army. I was a little worried about his comprehension skills since basic rifle marksmanship is kind of intense and takes some focus, but he did well. I was very happy that on family day he had his low quarters tied and was proud that he had learned so much.

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The idea for the post popped into arual_x’s head when they were reminiscing about a useless ex with a friend. “We were sharing stories and I thought it would be fun to hear other people’s stories too,” the Reddit user told Bored Panda. “I guess you can’t know what you aren’t taught or don’t bother to learn, and there are plenty of ways the modern world reduces the need to learn how to do things. If you can microwave something, why learn to cook? If you can pay someone else to do it, or someone else has always done something for you, why would you bother to learn to do it yourself?”


You know, when they said “Wear a facemask, make it cover both your mouth and nose, don’t touch it, wash your hands and stay home”?

Yeah, simple instructions, and a whole load of people can’t follow them properly. That is messed up.

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My roommate was making brownies from a box. The instructions said to grease the bottom of the pan before pouring in the batter. You bet your ass they picked up the pan, flipped it over, greased the BOTTOM of it, flipped it back over and poured in the brownie batter.

Image credits: TopRamenisha

If after going through the list, you discover that you too lack some of these skills, don’t worry. It’s never too late to learn. I know that sounds cliché but that is what literature suggests. Tchiki Davis, Ph.D., for example, said that you can build pretty much any skill to improve yourself—your emotions, thoughts, or behaviors.

“It doesn’t really matter which skills you want to improve; the key to personal development is taking the right steps—steps that help ensure that you reach whatever goal you are pursuing,” the consultant, writer, and expert on well-being, said.


Oh I have a really funny one, I hope it doesn’t get buried!

Years ago, I bought a friend an electric kettle as a gift. Her boyfriend (who I’m still friends with and who passed along this story) came home one night to find her running out the front door of their apartment with the flaming kettle, and she threw it into the street.

She was screaming about how it was a piece of junk because when she put it on the stove, over a flame, it caught fire and started to melt.

He was laughing uncontrollably when he asked, “what did you think the cord was for?”

They broke up soon after.

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Co-worker announced she was pregnant, then immediately said she was sad that she couldn’t take a bath until the baby was born. I stared, confused, and asked “Why can’t you take a bath?” She looked at me as though I was stupid and said, “Because the baby will drown!” I had to walk away.

Image credits: natgoeshome

What are the most important personal skills? Well, Davis said it really depends on what you’re trying to achieve. It makes little sense to learn how to code if you don’t plan to be a coder or to bench press 400 pounds if you don’t plan to be a weight lifter. Personal development is more about building skills to reach your personal goals. Here is a 9-step program that Davis has found to be important to successful personal development.

“The science is clear,” she said. “The more ways we develop ourselves, the broader our skillset, and the more success we tend to have. So try learning some new emotional skills or do some activities to build new skills. You just might learn something that changes your life.”


My relative tried to put her son on the school bus his first day of kindergarten and got upset when the driver refused to let him on because he wasn’t on the list. She never registered him for school and just thought she could put him on the bus and send him.

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I asked my husband to make some herbal tea for me the first year we were married. I walked into the kitchen to find him standing over the stove with a mug of water sitting directly on the burner.

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Coming back to arual_x, the Reddit user said that, “even the most put-together people are probably lacking somewhere.” And it’s hard to disagree. Life is so multi-dimensional, you can’t do everything.

“The stories might be hilarious but they’re so commonplace that everyone has something like this to be embarrassed about and maybe everyone should focus on self-improvement ever so often,” arual_x added.


Had a guy constantly asking what time it is…by the 6th time I said “bro,there is a clock right there” he said ” I don’t know how to read it…grown ass man..

Couple weeks later on facebook someone shared a picture of cursive writing he made fun of the people who couldn’t read it…I posted a picture of a clock and said what time does this say…he blocked me

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When my friend bought a house, a month into home ownership, she asked me when the city was coming to cut her lawn because it was starting to look like weeds. It was awkward when I had to explain that she needs to cut her own lawn or hire someone.

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My wonderful, selfless, beautiful younger brother asked me how to make ice last year. He’s 24.

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My housemate (24 year old postgrad student) not realising that

You needed to preheat an oven.

You needed to defrost frozen meat before cooking it.

You need to use a baking tray.

After I caught her lining the bottom of our oven with frozen chicken drumsticks.

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My ex–best friend told me that she had needed to buy another new vacuum cleaner, which was the third that month. I asked her what was wrong with it and she said, ‘It’s not picking things up anymore!’ So I asked if she had dumped out the container. She didn’t know that was a thing.

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My ex and I were cooking together and one of the pans got too hot, and we had a minor grease fire.

She grabbed a bag of flour.

As tempted as I was to slap it out of her hands, I didn’t want to aerate a bunch of flour next to a grease fire, so I grabbed it with both hands and forced it (and her, because she wouldn’t let go) over to the countertop, and then dropped the lid on the pan.

I asked her what her logic was, and she said “well, you’re supposed to put baking soda on a grease fire and not water, right?”.

“Yes. Why did you try to use flour?”

“What’s the difference? They’re both white powder.”

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In my honors dorm at Purdue there was a Computer Science major named Jeffrey. He was well known because his parents would stop by every week to pick up his laundry and bring him a case of Fiji water with expensive groceries. His dad was a doctor. We commented on Jeffrey’s long gross toenails and how he needs to cut them. He told us they are long because his mom hasn’t visited in weeks and she was the one who cut them. His mother cut her 19 year old sons toenails. Disgusting. We had to give him a lesson on it.

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My Mom and I moved in with my Grandparents when I was 10 years old. You know, old enough to have learned how to do some basic chores, and certainly old enough to be taught more. Unfortunately my Grandmother, God bless her, was not only terrified of fire (her Mother had a problem with accidentally setting things on fire) but she was also a neat freak that insisted on doing everything herself so it was done right.

My Mom married my (step)Dad when I was 14 years old, and we moved in to a house together as a family. He was horrified to learn that, at nearly 15 years old, I did not know how to wash and dry my own clothes, iron, load a dishwasher, or even use the stove. I could use the oven because I baked with my other Grandmother when I visited, but I had never used the stove top. There are many more things he had to teach me, but those were the things that really had him worried about my ability to care for myself as an adult. It wasn’t that my Grandmother didn’t want me to be able to care for myself. Her fears were just so intense that she didn’t think about how not knowing these basic skills would effect me later in life. I am forever grateful to my Dad for being the Dad I needed because God knows the biological one couldn’t be bothered. Mom couldn’t overrule her own Mother when we lived with her and by the time she married Dad she was sleeping at the hospital five nights a week because her schedule was so insane. I dont even want to think about who I would be if I hadn’t had him to teach me, but I’m pretty sure I would have had to live off of chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and take out through my 20s if it weren’t for him. I probably would’ve smelled pretty bad from the lack of clean clothes too.

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My roommate tried to make pasta by putting a pot on the stove, pouring the noodles in without adding water, and turning on the stove. Then she asked me, ‘How come these aren’t getting soft like when my mom makes them?

Image credits: TopRamenisha


My friend in college once lamented, ‘Ugh. I have to pee and I just put a tampon in like five minutes ago. I hate having to pull them out dry.’ Her mother taught her that there is only one hole down there and peeing with a tampon in isn’t possible.

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Ooohhh I got one. I work as an EMT for a private company, so we mostly deal with nursing homes and the elderly. One day when I was about 6-8 months in, I got assigned a partner who was in my orientation class. He was a little older than me at the time, like mid 20’s, but he seemed a little childish. “Maybe he’s just sheltered, I think to myself.”

Anyways, we got a patient I’ve had a few times before. She was a sweet, little old lady with COPD and CHF living at an assisted living. Call was for pneumonia. She’s prone to this stuff so it wasnt a huge deal, slap her on oxygen and keep her sitting up til we get to the hospital. The first red flag though, was this kid didn’t know anything. He didnt know how to take a blood pressure. He couldn’t find the medical history or medication on the paperwork (which is clearly labeled). He didn’t even push the stretcher, just walked next to it with a hand on it. When I asked him about all that, he said “My partners usually do that for me.”

So, I put her on an oxygen mask and sit her all the way up, mildly agitated. I tell myself it’s just one shift with this kid. He’s in the back with her and I tell him to just switch the oxygen from the bag (which is a small tank) to the main tank (which is huge) because with the amount of oxygen we’re giving her, the bag will run out not even halfway before the hospital. It’s about 25 minutes, which normally wouldn’t be a huge deal. But when we pull up to the hospital and I open the back doors, I’m fucking shook. The oxygen mask isnt inflated (meaning she isnt getting oxygen), shes pale as shit, I can literally see her accessory muscles moving, struggling to breathe. And this kid was sitting behind her, with a clueless half smile on his face, looks at me and says “The main tank is broken, so I left her on the bag.” This women, who needs oxygen without pneumonia, was barely breathing for at LEAST 15 minutes. And this fucking idiot didnt even check. We take her into the hospital. I ask him to find an oxygen tank while explain to this women’s daughter what happened. He says he doesn’t know where to look. I fucking find it and told him to talk to the daughter.

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When it’s all said and done, I check to see what’s broken. He didn’t turn on the tank.

TL;DR EMT partner nearly kills a patient because he didn’t know he had to open the oxygen tank to get oxygen to come out.

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My best friend was sleeping with a new guy. She said she wasn’t sure of his sexual history but she was on birth control to prevent STDs. I was like, ‘Umm…’

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A girl I knew in college had her dad call to remind her to put oil in her truck. She did and then her truck started smelling like french fries and died. She couldn’t understand that this was directly related to the quart of vegetable oil she put in the motor.

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Girl I went to HS with: “why do people say a quarter of an hour? Like what does that even mean?”

Me: “it’s 15 minutes. Because 15 is a fourth of 60, so that’s a quarter of an hour”

Her: looking at me like I’m a f**king idiot “But a quarter is 25…”

Me: …

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I had a roommate at university who’s “cooking” method was put baked beans in a Tupperware, seal the lid, turn on microwave, when lid pops and explodes beans everywhere they’re cooked.

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I remember when I first started dating my now husband, I was hanging out at his apartment waiting for him to get out of work. His place was a bit messy so I decided I’d tidy up for him a bit.

Fast forward to the next morning and he comes in a little shocked.

“Why would you load the dishwasher like…that”

I had never had a dishwasher before in my life lmao. We’re talking cups facing up, big ass pans shoved in, the whole nine yards. Thank god he stuck with me lol

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My friend who was almost 40 had never paid a bill before. When she got divorced and lived on her own for the first time, I got a text from her asking if my power was out too. She realized it was just her and her excuse was she never paid attention to the bills because she thought they were receipts and that the cost was included in her rent.

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I had to ask my roommate to please wash his hands after touching raw chicken. He thought it was fine to just go about his day before I asked.

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My friend from college tried making burrito bowls for dinner and complained that some of the onions were weirdly chewy. She didn’t know onions need to be peeled.

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One of my roommates in college would melt plastic spatulas like crazy. She’d always say it was due to the spatula being made of cheap plastic, but I finally caught her one day. She’d be cooking something and would walk away LEAVING THE PLASTIC SPATULA IN THE PAN WHILE IT WAS STILL ON!

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My dad couldn’t spread butter on his toast when he met my mom.

PhD in neuroscience? No problem.

Building a successful business? Piece of cake.

Spreading butter on a bagel? Talk about unrealistic expectations.

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Don’t think this aligns with your question, but while visiting my friend I found out he preheat his microwave.

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This 19-year-old guy asked me how to cook a fried egg. I gave him instructions and when he came back, he said it took a few attempts because the yolk kept breaking and he thought breaking the yolk made the egg poisonous.

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I had to jump a friend’s car that wouldn’t start. After we finally got it running, she immediately turns off the car and said, ‘Thanks so much, I’ll call you later!’

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When I first met my Ex he didn’t know how to cook. 40 something year old at the time I met him. He only knew how to use a microwave and the best thing he thought of cooking was chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs cooked in the microwave, everything was cooked in the microwave. Wet, soggy, colorless flesh with no flavoring, that’s not how it works, that not how any cooking should be done.

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I took a food safety course and someone asked if they could wash a turkey with dish soap.

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I had spent the night at my ex boyfriend’s place and stayed a bit longer in the morning to help clean the house. I was folding some clothes when I noticed him go from one side of the bed to another without actually doing anything. I looked at him and he looked clueless. He said “can you please make the bed? I’ve never done this, no idea where to start”. I didn’t mean to have a strong reaction to it but man did it leave me speechless… he was 26 at the time. That day I realized his mother often visited his house to make the bed and clean… Yeah…

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College roommate did not know how to wash his body.

Yes. The SMELL.

After a week we threatened him. He took a “shower”.

We sent him back again. With soap.

Three days later he stank again. We told him to shower every day.

Then we taught him how to do laundry. And bought him a coat because he did not own one. In cleveland. In the winter.

Full genius dude, invented a WiFi security standard later on. But no idea how to care for himself.


Someone told me that their husband would put shampoo in their hair and not rinse after applying. The husband for his entire life wondered why his hair was always greasy.

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Oh gosh, I have a few from when I first went to university, living in halls and realising some people literally did not know how to cook a THING.

There was one girl who bought chicken and kept it in the cupboard, despite being told by pretty much everyone else in the flat that it was meant to go in the fridge or freezer. Flat out refused to listen, kept putting it in the cupboard. Don’t know how she didn’t get sick.

Another flatmate who didn’t eat potato for almost a year because he didn’t know how to peel them and didn’t want to try (I tried to teach him). Then he realised he could buy pre-prepared.

One guy who decided to take a nap whilst cooking sausages for dinner, just left them in the grill and only woke up when the fire alarms were going off and the whole building was being evacuated.

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Finally two girls who again almost caused a fire if I hadn’t found them… These two were actually my friends and I was looking for them, found them in one of the kitchens about to “cook” a stir fry. They had a wok with about an inch depth of oil in the bottom, SHIMMERING because it was so hot, and they weren’t sure if it was hot enough to cook with yet. They were really glad I found them because they couldn’t tell that it was boiling oil and were worried the food wouldn’t cook. I was really glad I found them because if they had thrown their stir fry veg in there it would have probably caused a fire, or at least spat boiling oil all over them. I turned it off and tossed one piece of veg in there – turned black almost instantly.

Honestly I was just shocked and appalled that so many 18 year olds had never cooked for themselves before, and even worse that their parents had sent them off to fend for themselves not having taught them. It’s actually scary thinking back!


Not sure if I’d call it “horrifying,” but pretty ridiculous, nonetheless. It’s about me. I just moved into my first home in February of this year. I live alone and am single. Earlier this month I mowed my lawn for the first time. I have never mowed a lawn before, but I’m thinking, how hard can it be? (The answer: not hard at all). Prior to that, I had roped my brother into coming over and doing it for me, but this time I figured I need to actually learn. The lawnmower is an old push mower of my dad’s that he had brought over about a month ago, and he quickly gave me the rundown on how to use it, but I was half paying attention, plus..it’s a lawnmower.

So anyway, I go to start it up, takes me at least 10 tries of pulling the cord as hard as I can with no luck until finally it fires up. I then proceed to begin mowing, and I KNOW this thing is self-propelling – it says so right on it, but I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why it’s so hard to push. The wheels aren’t locked or anything, so I just figure it’s a combination of me not having much upper body strength and my lawn having a lot of uneven spots/divots that prevented the mower from moving smoothly. I finally finish, sweating my ass off like I had just finished seriously working out (my yard is very small…even I finished the front and back in about a half hour-40 mins). Upon reflection, I’m still not convinced that the mower was self-propelling. I mean I know I’m not strong and am somewhat petite, but STILL. So I’m sharing this story with friends and co-workers like wtf did I do wrong and they’re all asking me about this lever, and I’m like yeah, obviously I had to hold the lever down or the motor kills. Well, turns out there’s a SECOND lever that you have to squeeze in order to propel the lawnmower.

I manually pushed that MFer around my whole yard, divots, hills and all, ended up with a blister on my thumb, and sweating profusely through my shirt. Not to mention the few times I stopped it and had to re-start it, I pulled the cord literally at least 20 times to get it to start again; I was waiting for one of my neighbors to come over and ask me if I needed help, the struggle was THAT obvious (I also learned about the little button that you push a few times to make starting easier).

So yeah, mowed today, and let’s just say that things went SIGNIFICANTLY better than last time. Growing up, my dad or brother would mow, and in college up until now, I have always lived in apartments or duplexes, nothing that requires residents to do any lawn care. So, at the age of 32, I have finally learned to use a lawnmower.


Every few weeks, I catch my roommate trying to put his metal tea strainer in the microwave in spite of the fact that our first week living in this apartment, he destroyed the microwave doing this.

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This is like 10 years ago. I was dating a 32 year old and he asked me if I wanted to get together to watch a TV show. I said sure, what time is it on. He looks it up and says to me “8 Pacific 9 Central…?”

I asked what was confusing him and he told me he wasn’t sure if the show was on at 8 or 9. My man did not know what timezone we lived in.

So I was like “Ok, well you know what ocean we’re near, right?” cuz I was trying to get him to think about the Pacific timezone in terms of the giant body of water for which it was named and he immediately got defensive and for real said “Why would I know that? I’m from Texas.”

He’d been living in San Francisco for 5 years and could see the Pacific Ocean out his window.


I guess we were still in high school, but we were 18. Me and my buddy Ferris were just getting into going to the gym. We went with Ferris’s friend Tom. After working out, in the changing room during some small talk I saw Tom putting on a shirt. Tom put the shirt over his head, but didn’t put his arms through the sleeves. He managed to pull the shirt over his torso so that it was adequately on before wiggling all about and bending his arms in odd ways to get them into the sleeves. I didn’t take much notice to it the first few times. But after a few months it was apparent he did this every single time. Tom didn’t know how to put on a shirt. At least efficiently. Eventually we asked Tom why he put his shirt on like that, and he said something along the lines of “Wait what, don’t I do it the same way you guys do?” I guess he had never really thought about it before then.


My wife’s entire family did not grasp that you need to put water in a steam iron.

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Three months into our freshman year of college a friend of mine developed a rash. I suggested he look into hypoallergenic sheets and swap out his others. His response: “I’ve used the same sheets since we moved in, it’s not the sheets.” Mind you, not the same of sheets, but the same exact sheets unchanged and slept/eaten upon/etc. for three months.


I had to teach my boss how to go down to the next line by hitting ‘Enter’ on his computer keyboard.

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First year at uni, a girl in my hall was microwaving some food and left it in the metal foil container. It took three fire engines to put out the fire and we had to have a new kitchen installed.

Image credits: sumandark8600