People Are Saying These 35 “Normal Things” Are In Fact Very Toxic

Sometimes the world feels like an unfair place. You can’t help but wonder why we are often supposed to do things we shouldn’t be. Like getting a call from work on your day off or being close to your family members just because they’re family and not because you like them. Or shaming coworkers when they leave work on time.

And it turns out, there are many more things that are universally considered as normal, when in fact they’re the exact opposite. It’s just that nobody talks about it. So this Ask Reddit thread has people calling out real-life examples that are “unhealthy, toxic, unfair or unethical” in disguise as perfectly acceptable.

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Below, we wrapped up some of the most interesting points so scroll down and let us know if you agree with them in the comments below!


That you are supposed to be close to/loyal to family because they’re family. My family, my mother especially, is abusive and manipulative. People say, “but it’s your MOM, you only have one MOM.” I say they don’t act like family so I don’t consider them family.

Image credits: Inevitable_Molasses

Bored Panda reached out to marketing expert and book author Alex Wong who is better known as the “Hijack” Copywriter. Wong has been on a mission to help small and corporate businesses “hijack” their client’s minds and help them to grow their businesses and sales. He was happy to share some insights into things and behaviors that we as a society have normalized without even realizing it.

According to Wong, for-profit colleges are one of those things. “I think we accept these as another means of education for those who can’t get into a typical college or university. However, the education you receive is subpar, isn’t recognized, and is more expensive than what you would receive at a typical school,” he argues and adds that they prioritize profits over everything else.


Beauty pageants for kids

Image credits: ahivarn


Older people using “respect your elders,” as a cop-out to being shitty to younger family members and not being held accountable for it.

Image credits: grizzfan


Shaming workmates when they go home on time. “Wow, you’re going home on the dot?” “Yes karen, cause i do my work fast so i can do my hobbies and go to the gym, while you rot away trying to impress the company that will never care about you.”

Image credits: bohenian12

The marketing expert recounted visiting Everest College back in high school to check it out. “The entrance test I was asked to complete was some simple math questions for a grade 6 student. The entire campus was empty and there were no students. It’s safe to say I didn’t go there,” he said.

The other thing that has become very common these days is payday loans. Wong believes that although these may help people who need money quickly and can’t get loans from banks, their interest rates are astronomical. “When you are charging 30-50% interest on a loan, you’re forcing people to be stuck in a vicious cycle of debt.”

He added that “payday loans are accepted because they do offer a service for those who need money quickly, but we need to better educate people on why these are a terrible deal.”


Parents expecting their kids to respect them no matter how disrespectful, rude, or abusive they are to their kids.
Edit: to all those replying to me as if I’m some spoiled 16 year old; I’m 22 with my own kids. I was constantly called a b***h and a c**t growing up, beaten, manipulated, and then told to get over it by the very person who did all these things to me. So if y’all would kindly f**k off with your gaslighting b******t that’d be great. No one here needs to hear your uninformed and well… abusive opinions. 🙂


Telling people who are extremely happy over a new purchase why it’s shitty or why they shouldn’t have done it.

I had a buddy who went from an old beat up pickup to a brand new Mazda 3. It looks amazing, is a manual, etc. One of our old friends harassed the living hell out of him telling him that it was a girls car, and that he should’ve just fixed up his old beater because it was more “manly” meanwhile this other guy is literally driving a car that is completely falling apart.

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My buddy looked so discouraged and sad. I did the best I could to tell him how awesome his car is, and how much better the technology is in it compared to my older Saab.

This guy worked a ton of overtime saving as much as possble while working a barely higher than minimum wage job to get a decent down payment so he would have a nice monthly payment just to have his greatest accomplishment s**t all over. It is sickening.

Image credits: Bussey83


Overweight/obese children being considered “normal” or “healthy” by their parents who are blind to how unhealthy they’re making their children.

Image credits: paperclip1213

“Unless you are the founder or one of the early investors, you have no way to succeed at an MLM,” Wong explained about the flaws of multi-level marketing hiding in plain sight. “Only a few percent of people who join MLMs have a chance of making money, and you would still be better off working a regular part-time job.” The marketing expert argues that we tolerate them because they sell a dream of being your own boss or owning your business and escaping the rat race.

“I had an acquaintance whom I met at a networking event trick me into going to a seminar for Market America years ago. During the whole 1-hour presentation, it was nothing more than a sales pitch to join them. It’s safe to say, I didn’t join them,” Wong told Bored Panda.


Nurses: fighting for 2% payrise.
Politicians: “Sorry not enough money in the budget for that”
Politicians: Give themselves 16% payrise


Teachers spending their own money on classroom supplies. Along with the mentality that if you aren’t sacrificing your entire life “for the kids” that you aren’t a good teacher.

Image credits: Forky7


If someone asks you a yes or no question and you say no then they try to persuade you and get hostile and then expect you to do it anyway. That’s not a question but a demand. F**k those people.

Image credits: anon

Another thing that has been viewed as totally normal which is, in fact, anything but that is teachers spending their own money on classroom supplies, Wong says. “The education system should do a better job supporting its teachers. Teachers are already overworked and underpaid. To expect them to spend their own money to provide a better classroom experience for their students is sad,” he said.

When Wong himself was teaching English in Korea, his co-teacher and he would often have to spend their own money on prizes and gifts for their students. We have become accustomed to high tuition fees and high student debt without questioning it. Many students take the fact for granted.


Overly possessive significant others. Jealousy is not a sign of passion it’s a sign of instability.

Image credits: knnbreakingnews


The school system and how it deals with fights. Whenever a kid is minding his own business and another kid beats the s**t out of him then they BOTH get in trouble. What the f**k?


I’ll probably get downvoted for this, but porn is extremely addictive, gives people unrealistic expectations of sex, and is reason why numerous people are forced into sex trafficking

Edit: Thanks for the silver/gold!!

Image credits: _usernamepassword_

According to Wong, expensive tuition fees and student debt go hand in hand. “It’s gotten to the point where you can only attend college if you have lots of money, borrow lots of money, or have amazing grades to get a scholarship. Students still believe they have to attend college to find a good job or career, which isn’t true anymore. There’s also that constant pressure that if you don’t go, you will be seen as a failure or behind others who do,” he explained and added that “this is exactly how I felt.”

What makes the situation even more difficult is that even after you go to school for 4 years, it doesn’t mean you will find a good-paying career. “After I graduated from college with a BA in psychology, I had a difficult time finding a job. That’s why I ended up going to teach in Korea for a few years to pay off my student debt,” Wong recounted.


Instagram influencers and YouTube celebrities like the Paul brothers.


Forcing somebody who is clearly sick to go to work/school. Like oh gee thanks for forcing your kid upon us, now we get to watch the plague rip through the school.

Edit: Thank you all for the input on this. It’s super cool seeing a bunch of perspectives being put together like this.

Edit 2: Thank you guys for the platinum! It’s really kind of whoever gave it.

Image credits: Mister_4Eyes


Cheerleading in high school. Was a goth weirdo girl in high school and joined cheerleading as a joke like “look anyone can do it” and those uniforms made me so uncomfortable. You can’t bend over even slightly without flashing your a*s to everyone because the skirts are so short. But it’s ok because you’re wearing “spanx” (tiny tight elastic underwear). They skirts look longer than they are because they are higher waisted. In reality they stop right under your buttcheek. We had strict dress codes at school (I once got in trouble for wearing shorts that my mother had picked out for me. They couldn’t have been that bad if my over-protective mother bought them for me) but was allowed-actually it was mandatory, for us to wear uniforms on game days/ spirit days/ whatever the hell.

On top of that, the IDEA of cheerleaders were weird. A game needs attractive girls to cheer on the boys? Part of our uniform is to be sexually appealing? So weird. I understand it’s a legitimate sport, I’m not talking about competitive cheerleading as a sport itself. I’m a black belt in Martial Arts and I remember being impressed by the athleticism of the high-performing girls. I’m talking about cheerleading as it is utilized in the school system.

Wong argues that the problem is college doesn’t train you for the work field. “I think college only makes sense if your job or career requires specific qualifications, such as a doctor, nurse, or engineer. Everything else can be learned online or by yourself. I’ve probably only used 10% of what I learned in college and I’ve never had an employer ask to see my degree. And now that I have my own business, my degree is even less relevant.”


The idea you can’t have a healthy romantic relationship unless you have fights. I don’t mean like disagreements – I mean like full-on, screaming at each other, throwing stuff fights. I’ve had people literally tell me if you don’t have fights like this with your partner, then you’re hiding stuff from each other. Horrible, toxic fights don’t equate to having an emotionally healthy relationship.

Edit: wow! Didn’t expect this to blow up – I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking this way. Also thanks for the silver!

Image credits: silmaril_023


Telling people how to feel or forcibly trying to change how they feel. If someone’s sad, comfort them and let them be sad. If someone’s angry, then let them be angry and work out their frustrations (in a healthy manner of course).

All my life (24M BTW) I’ve been told that I shouldn’t be angry or that I “have no reason to be depressed”. This caused me to fake happiness, and you know what it got me? It got me panic attacks, screamed at for having panic attacks because they thought I was “faking” or needed “to toughen up”, and a burning anger that never seems to go away.

To this day I have trouble feeling emotions other than anger or sadness because I was never allowed to work them out when I was younger.

TLDR: Don’t tell people how to feel. Emotions are human and we need to work them out.


People from work calling you on your day off.

Image credits: anon

On the same note, you may wonder why personal finance isn’t taught in schools. Wong believes it’s terrible. “Unless you major in personal finance or accounting, we aren’t taught how to balance a budget, pay off debt, live within our means, and learn how to invest. I had to learn all of this on my own. I think most people just aren’t comfortable talking about money, so we don’t mind if it isn’t taught in school.”

Moreover, “The government and economy also benefit if we spend our money since it helps stimulate the economy. But it’s becoming more apparent that people are struggling, especially with the rising inflation and high costs of living. Approximately 50% of Canadians are living paycheck to paycheck,” Wong explained.


The way people in fast food and other customer service related jobs are treated.


I’m late, but

Our alcohol culture, especially for young people. I feel like it’s being normalized to over indulge in alcohol, to the point where I know alcoholics who think that what they do is what everybody does.

Image credits: KafkaesqueLife


The Mommy wine culture.

I get so tired of seeing “mommy’s sippy cup” and “mom’s time out” on wine glasses. The whole culture of it is just silly, mom’s can relax without a glass of wine.

Edit: I like wine too, but I don’t blame my drinking of it on my kids.

It’s no secret that the grinding, hustling, and keeping busy culture is also well-tolerated in our society. This is related to the constant pressure of having to keep up with others that people start experiencing early in school.

Wong argues that these two go together. “There is a constant pressure of staying busy, working hard, and keeping up with others.” According to him, deep and fulfilling work is good but there has to be a balance. “When your life is filled with nothing but constant work and pressure, it leads to burnout. And then we feel the pressure to buy nice things, like a new car, a bigger house, or a newer phone, to impress others who don’t care about us, which only makes it worse.”


The idea that a woman’s value is in her appearance, what’s worse is that girls I know are more responsible for this than guys

Image credits: GumbyGamer


When parents tell their little girls that the reason that boy is mean to her is because he likes her. Kids keep that same energy as adults and wonder why then can’t leave that dude being a complete and utter a*****e


American work culture.

Working while sick, working overtime, poor work/life balance, etc…

Image credits: SomeDEGuy

Wong believes that “there is a problem when we are expected to work 40-60 hours a week and be grateful for 2 weeks of vacation a year. I don’t consider that to be truly living.”

On the other hand, it’s common to expect instant gratification without putting in the hard work. Wong explained that although technology has made our lives easier, it has also made it worse. “The fact that we can order something with the push of a button and receive it the next day has spoiled us. It’s made us forget that things that are worth having don’t come easily.”

He continued: “Social media has amplified this when you are exposed to photos and videos of friends and influencers living an amazing life. I think we have to remember that what we see on social media isn’t real and is what the person chooses to show us. Reducing your social media use, working on fulfilling projects, and spending more time in the real world will help us to be more grateful and patient.”


The idea that men have to hate being married, and the constant joking about how their wives are weighing them down


Belittling others to pump up your own self-esteem.

Image credits: anon


Acting like there is something wrong with someone for being a virgin.

Image credits: reuelm


Being forced to work for free in order to keep your job.

Image credits: MaliciousPorpoise


Anything vaguely labeled as “detoxes” or “cleanses”. Take for example the Teamie cleanse teas. They are usually full of unhealthy diuretics and laxatives to encourage weight loss. They have been linked to drug induced liver damage and aren’t regulated by the FDA. The worst part is they are receiving huge endorsements from celebrities. It’s pretty easy to tell by the advertisement that the claims are pseudoscience b******t, but they marketed as health products. Call me crazy but something that can lead to high heart rate/ blood pressure, and vomiting, all just so you can s**t your brains out and lose some water weight isn’t really a “health” product.

Image credits: chobblegobbler898


Telling men to “man up” and “not cry” because it’s perceived as girly by whoever the f**k told them. It’s the most unhealthy thing to tell a person that they shouldn’t feel their emotions. Bottling that s**t up can only cause harm, anger, and resentment. Let people feel their feelings for f***s sake

Edit: ok a few things here

1) thank you for the silver, kind stranger!

2) I meant that you should cry in appropriate situations, definitely learn how to suck it up for a bit than release it later

3) I’m a lady

Image credits: borgashmord





it’s f*****g abusive. i don’t mean 5 minutes of silence to collect your thoughts, i don’t mean saying ‘leave me alone’, i mean pretending that your partner/child/friend just doesn’t exist, and letting them crumple in on themselves for a crime that you *won’t talk to them about*.

Image credits: anon


Not sure if this is actually considered normal, but I have seen push-up bras marketed to pre-teens and teens (known as the Junior’s section here in the US) in the lingerie area of stores like Target.

Since when does any teen girl need or should be encouraged to wear a push-up bra for extra cleaveage?

Edited to add a link for Target’s juniors “intimates” online store:

Edit: Holy post blow up, Batman! Thank you kind stranger for the Silver!
Edit 2: to the women who still buy in Juniors sizes.. while it fits you, it isn’t the target demographic that the sizes are marketed to. Ask yourself why these companies don’t carry sizes for your size in women’s sizes vs Juniors, which are obviously pre-teen and teen sizes and styles.

Fit and size is one thing, actual target market is another.


Staying in abusive relationships, just because there isn’t physical abuse.

“I put up with it because I love him.” You shouldn’t be put through torture because you love someone.

Image credits: anon


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