14 Things We Do But Are Ashamed To Admit

We all have our carefully curated public images. We strive to present ourselves in the best possible light, but beneath the surface, we all have our quirks, habits, and thoughts that we rarely share.

These unspoken behaviors are not malicious or shameful; they’re simply the human condition in all its messy glory. Here, we will discuss common things we all do but feel ashamed to admit. So, let’s get started.


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We’ve all been there—putting off important tasks until the last minute despite knowing the consequences. Procrastination affects 20% of adults and 50% of university students.

It can come from a fear of failure, a dislike for the task at hand, or simply a desire for immediate gratification. We might feel ashamed to admit it because it’s seen as laziness or poor time management, even though it’s a common human experience.

Secretly Enjoying “Guilty Pleasures”

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Whether it’s indulging in reality TV, binging on sugary snacks, or listening to a band considered “uncool,” most of us have things we enjoy that we wouldn’t necessarily advertise. These “guilty pleasures” can be a way to unwind and de-stress, but fearing judgment from others keeps them under wraps.

Social Comparison and Envy

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Social comparison is a fundamental human process where we evaluate ourselves by comparing our achievements, possessions, or even happiness to others. It’s a natural tendency to seek benchmarks and gauge our standing. However, social media has amplified this process.

We’re constantly bombarded with carefully crafted online personas showcasing seemingly perfect lives. Envy creeps in when this upward social comparison leads to a feeling of discontent with our own situation. However, due to the risk of appearing petty or weak, we often deny this feeling.

White Lies

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White lies are small falsehoods told with the intention of avoiding conflict, protecting someone’s feelings, or navigating social situations smoothly. They’re a common social lubricant. However, we might still feel a tinge of shame for them. A study shows that almost 60% of people can’t go 10 minutes without lying.

Sometimes, these white lies have the potential to backfire or cause greater conflict. Hence, most of the time, a direct but kind approach is better than a white lie.

Faking Interest

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Sometimes, a topic might bore us to tears at a work meeting, or a friend excitedly describes their latest hobby with zero appeal. In such situations, sitting politely and faking interest is a social courtesy, but admitting it can feel disingenuous. We might worry about seeming rude or disinterested, even though it’s normal not to be captivated by everything.

Internal Monologues

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Our inner voice isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, critical or judgmental thoughts about ourselves or others pop into our heads completely unbidden. Admitting to these fleeting thoughts can feel embarrassing as if they define us entirely. The truth is, these are just blips on the radar of our complex inner world.  They don’t necessarily reflect our true beliefs, and learning to acknowledge them without judgment is a key part of self-awareness.

Selective Memory

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Our memories are more like impressionistic paintings than high-definition recordings. We often subconsciously edit them, focusing on the positive aspects of past experiences and glossing over the negative. This psychological phenomenon, known as the rosy retrospect bias, helps us maintain a generally optimistic outlook. However, admitting this mental trick can feel like we’re not being truthful.

Taking Mental Shortcuts

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Our brains are wired for efficiency, so we rely on mental shortcuts called heuristics to make quick decisions. These shortcuts can be incredibly useful, allowing us to navigate the world without getting bogged down in every detail. However, they can sometimes lead to biases or misunderstandings. Admitting to using heuristics can feel like an excuse for making a bad judgment. Thus, we often don’t admit to taking those shortcuts.

Pretending To Know

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Sometimes, we project an air of confidence even when internally feeling unsure.  This could be during a job interview, a presentation at work, or even while navigating a social situation.  Presenting a confident facade can be empowering and even lead to positive outcomes.  However, admitting to this can feel like a mask is slipping, revealing a less capable version of ourselves.  Society often praises unwavering confidence, making admitting to self-doubt seem like a weakness.

Spoiling Ourselves

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Everyone deserves a treat now and then.  Whether it’s indulging in that expensive pastry we normally wouldn’t buy, splurging on a new gadget,  or taking an extra-long lunch break, we all have ways of spoiling ourselves.  While these moments can be delightful, admitting to them can feel frivolous or irresponsible.  There’s a societal pressure to be practical and avoid unnecessary indulgence, making us hesitant to confess to these self-indulgent moments.

Taking Pleasure in Chaos

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Sometimes, a little chaos can be strangely exciting.  Maybe it’s the thrill of a last-minute scramble to meet a deadline, the unexpected turn of events in a movie, or even the (controlled) chaos of a bustling household.  While we all value order and predictability, admitting to enjoying a touch of chaos can feel counterintuitive.  Society often celebrates calmness and control, making us hesitant to confess to finding a strange pleasure in the whirlwind.

Selective Self-Disclosure

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In social interactions, we curate the information we reveal about ourselves. We share stories, experiences, and opinions that paint us in a positive light, but some things remain unspoken. This could be past mistakes, embarrassing moments, or even unpopular beliefs.  While self-disclosure fosters connection, admitting to this selective process can feel inauthentic or manipulative. We might worry about being judged for our vulnerabilities or dismissed for our unconventional viewpoints.

Moral Licensing

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Sometimes, we allow ourselves a small transgression after completing a good deed.  This could be indulging in a sugary treat after a healthy workout, staying up late to watch a movie after completing a complicated assignment, or even gossiping a little after volunteering for a charity.  While harmless in moderation, admitting to this moral licensing can feel hypocritical. We might worry about diminishing the value of our good deeds by indulging in seemingly contradictory behavior.

Daydreaming About Alternate Realities

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Our minds naturally wander, and sometimes, we find ourselves daydreaming about alternate realities.  This could be fantasizing about a different career path, picturing ourselves winning the lottery, or even imagining a different romantic relationship.  While harmless, admitting to these daydreams can feel like a lack of focus or dissatisfaction with our current lives.  Society often emphasizes living in the present, making us hesitant to confess to indulging in these flights of fancy.

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