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What is absolutely hilarious as long as it’s not happening to you?

The Germans have a word for it.

A combination of “damage” and “joy”, Oxford defines schadenfreude as “pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.”

Recently a thread appeared on the popular “AskReddit” subreddit that gives us all a chance to enjoy a little schadenfreude.

User “thelittlegoodwolf_” asked “What is absolutely hilarious as long as it’s not happening to you?

The question has received over 39,000 upvotes and 17,000 comments since being posted.

At the time of writing, here are the top 10 comments for your schadenfreude pleasure:

  1. Throwing something then having it bounce and hit you in the head. (30.2k points)
  2. Waving back at someone whose wave wasn’t intended for you. (24.4k points)
  3. Looking somewhere else and then walking into a pole. (24.4k points)
  4. Watching someone try to teach a 100% incompetent coworker a new skill. (22.7k points)
  5. When somebody answers a question so wrong that you start to wonder if they’re even in that class or they sat down in the wrong lecture. (21.3k points)
  6. Calling your teacher mom or dad. (20.3k points)
  7. Someone fighting off a spiderweb. (20.3k points)
  8. People who take like a whole 10 seconds to actually fall over. Drunk or on icy surfaces. They try so hard to right themselves but always come crashing down. (17.1k points)
  9. Telling embarrassing things while being drunk. Bonus points if you don’t. remember anything you said the next day (15.3k points)
  10. Accidentally saying “I love you” when leaving a coworker due to habit. (15.2k points)

Looking at this top 10 we can feel solidarity. These things are hilarious not because the people suffer horribly – you’ll notice these are all minor slip ups – but because most of us screwed up in the same way.

After each of the top posts, there are dozens of comments in which people share stories about having done identical or at least similar stupid things.

For example, under number 2 user “jackie–moon” wrote “Just happened to me on a college campus. I’m in my 6th year and this young girl waved at “me” and I thought she knew me through my younger sister. Waved back, got an awkward face and laugh from the girls when they saw me wave. So embarrasssing.

Ah, the beauty of Reddit. You are not alone jackie–moon.

It’s further proof that we’re all winging it a lot of the time, that no one has it all worked out and we all mess up. It’s kind of comforting, isn’t it?

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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