Every adult needs to know a few basic skills in order to survive on their own. Some examples of this are cooking, cleaning, paying bills and doing the laundry. However, that doesn't mean everyone learned those vital skills. Just ask these people.
People on Reddit share the most basic thing they had to explain to an adult. Content has been edited for clarity.
Not The Spatula’s Fault
“One of my roommates in college would go through plastic spatulas like crazy. She’d melt them and wouldn’t say anything about it. She’d only tell me when I’d go to use it and wonder why it was messed up. She’d always say it was due to the spatula being made of cheap plastic. Nope.
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!”
He Needs To Learn How To Budget
“One of my old roommates was really bright academically, but he was terrible with money. Each semester he would start off with a pile of cash from his parents, and roughly blow through it after about two months.
I first noticed it with his dining dollars on campus. Every day, it seemed like he would buy the most expensive sushi option on campus. We’re talking maybe $18.00 which isn’t terrible if it’s once in a while, but this was every day. It’s also college dining hall sushi, so the quality was also just okay without even considering the money spent. Of course around midterms when his dining dollars would run out, he’d sort of panic and whine that he couldn’t afford anything. But he’d also get really defensive when people wanted to talk to him about this.
Eventually when he moved off campus, it was the same thing. For the first two months he’d feast. He’d get delivery constantly, ordering just way too much food, and of course he’d never share it. But then once he’d nearly run out of cash, he’d buy like an emergency 50 pack of hot dogs and only eat that for the rest of the semester. He would tell everyone else that they were lucky they had money to spend, and how not everyone had it so easy when it comes to money. He’d never directly say it, but there were always a lot of implied insults.”
Sounds Like Someone Is Getting Fired
“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 wasn’t a huge deal. We 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 didn’t know how to take 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 freaking shook. The oxygen mask isn’t inflated (meaning she isn’t getting oxygen), she’s pale as a ghost, 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 freaking idiot didn’t 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 freaking find it and told him to talk to the daughter.
When it’s all said and done, I check to see what’s broken. He didn’t turn on the tank.”
A Quick Lesson
“I worked at a luxury hotel in Scotland, and a group of Texan ladies come through, Real housewives of Texas types. I showed one to the room and she asked if we could bring her coffee in the morning. I said no as it was too early and no one would be working yet, but there’s a kettle and coffee in your room.
When I told her it was French press she asked how that worked, so I explained and she still looked confused. So, I ran through it with her again step by step. I told her to boil the kettle, add the coffee, add the water, pushed the filter down and it’s done.
Then, she asked me something along the lines of ‘So, how do I use the kettle?’
I was a little dumbfounded because how have you gone 45 years without switching on a kettle? Anyway I went through that step by step fill it with water, close the lid, press the button, and wait. Then she hits me with, ‘How will I know the waters boiled?’
So I tell it switches itself off and makes a loud click. She was quite impressed by that.
Tipped big, lovely lady, might be a sim that breached the gap into the real world.”
How Did They Not Know This?
“I was making dinner with my ex and her mom. They were talking about how they forgot to put on a can of corn to go with the meal, but that’s ok, they can just microwave it right? First, it took two of them to use the can opener, as in they took turns because ‘the cans are so strong.’
I look over, and they have the can cut almost all the way around…but not around the lid. It’s this weird, wavy, up and down the side of the can way, basically took the last fifth of the can right off. I stare at them, but don’t say anything because, hey, not my house, they’ve gotten this far why point it out now? So, I go back to what I’m doing. Moments later, they congratulate themselves and move on to the next step…which apparently to both of them was just sticking the can straight in the microwave.
Seconds later, lots of bright flashes, and both of them leap away the microwave. So, I have to come around the table and do the oh so heroic task of hitting the open button and stop the potential meltdown. The rest of the dinner was them so shocked that metal reacts like that in a microwave, yes, even forks or spoons would do that and how amazed they were its never happened before.
Flash forward a year and they’re buying a new microwave. Turns out, they’ve bought ALL their microwaves from this one store and the owner was surprised it’s been so long. Turns out, he’s a great guy, always helps them find the best deals and even jokes about how the extended warranty is for suckers.”
She Doesn’t Have These Basic Life Skills
“My cousin and his girlfriend set me up with a girl. At first, things were actually alright, we connected via similar hobbies and interest. Then about threeish weeks after we met, I ran over to her place for reasons.
I made a joke about how her laundry basket looked like it was about to explode, to which she responds ‘oh my mom comes by on Tuesdays and does my laundry.’
Fast-forward a bit, and I learned that, she at 25, didn’t know how to do laundry, cook, clean (beyond moving stuff) take out trash, how the dishwasher in her apartment worked, or actually pay her own bills. It was all taken care of by her parents; they would come by every couple of days and do some laundry, dishes, and she would just occupy space in the area I guess.
I did try to teach her some basic things, but it was a constant battle of ‘but my parents will do it for me,’ or ‘That’s what’s Uber eats is for.’
I eventually had enough of it, and told her I’m done unless she can learn to do well everything her parents do for herself.
My cousin and his girlfriend had no idea the girl was like that (she was work friend of his girlfriend). They didn’t believe me for a while, until the girlfriend went to this girls place to drop something off, and there was the girl’s mom doing laundry and making breakfast.
And I did have a few run in with her parents, seemingly glad I was there to help look after and take care of her.”
A Much-Needed Influence
“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 affect 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 my stepdad, she was sleeping at the hospital five nights a week because her schedule was so insane. I don’t even want to think about whom I would be if I hadn’t had him to teach me. 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.”
Mally Was A Little Too Sheltered
“In college, I had a friend named Mally. She was a couple of years younger than the rest of the people in our group, and still lived at home with her parents due to their very strict culture and beliefs about how an unmarried woman should not live away from home. But her dad was a doctor and also had family money, so they were quite wealthy for our area. The sort of wealthy where for her 16th birthday, they bought her a Porsche. When they didn’t think she thanked them adequately for it, they returned it.
Anyway, I remember when the group of us were at some guys’ on-campus apartment, their toilet clogged. Mally, without really blinking, said we should call our plumber to get it fixed.
Of course the guys were like ‘Uh, no? It’s just clogged. Why would we call a plumber?’
To which Mally, who was very confused replied, ‘Because that’s what plumbers do? Why would you do it yourself?’
So we then explained first, how expensive plumbers are, and second, how the average person does not call a plumber for a slightly clogged toilet.
Mally was confused and then asked, ‘Well, what do you do when a light bulb burns out? Change it yourself?’
Obviously, we were all nodding and saying ‘Yeah, absolutely.’
So that was when we discovered just how sheltered and out of touch Mally was with how normal people do things. We specifically learned that she didn’t know how to do laundry, change a light bulb, plunge a toilet, cook literally anything, put gas in her car all because either their maids did it for her (also worth noting: having maids is extremely rare in our area) or her dad did. It blew her mind when we explained that those are very normal things to know how to do, and ended up showing her how to do all those things. She really hated it, but it did a lot to make her a more self-reliant adult. Her parents really sheltered her so much so it wasn’t totally her fault.”
Her Co-Workers Knew The Issue
“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 butt 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 minutes). 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 what the heck did I do wrong? 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 thing 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 way 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.”
He Wasn’t Cut Out For This Type Of Work
“I was working in a bar. We had this kid who got hired as a barback, and he apparently just couldn’t keep up. It was a pretty busy place, especially on the weekends, and barbacks had to be on top of things constantly. After about three weeks, management decides he isn’t going to cut it as a barback and pushes him into the kitchen with me. I was glad to have help because we always had issues with keeping cooks on for some reason.
Holy heck. This kid could not do anything. He lacked basic common sense for practically everything. We started him on fry station but he would mess up the most basic of tasks; he didn’t even know how to make fries. I told him how to do our catfish (three planks tossed in corn mill and flour). He tossed the first two, but then dropped the third in completely bare. I asked him why he did that and he had no answer. Then we tried putting him on grill – he couldn’t make toast or toast buns; he would always burn them!
Last we tried having him run center and call out tickets but it seemed like he could barely read. There were multiple times I had to kick him out of the kitchen because he was so slow or just completely zone out.
One of the servers was his cousin, and she told me that both his dad and brother had to fire him from separate jobs because he wouldn’t do anything or wouldn’t show up. Then of course one night, he was still out back after he clocked out and was talking to someone at length about doing mushrooms and acid; guess we know why he can’t hold down a job.
Told him to do something one night while I ran to the restroom; came back and he was gone. Good riddance.”
Not A Good Roommate
“One of my roommates in college was basically helpless when it came to basic life skills. She declared herself a feminist, and didn’t want to do housework. But, part of being independent is learning how to be self-sufficient. Anyways, she came to me one day our junior year and asked me how to do laundry. Literally had never done it herself before. She also came to me and our other roommates once because she clogged her toilet, and wanted us to come fix it because she didn’t know how. She asked if she should call maintenance and we told her not to, but to go buy a plunger and deal with that issue herself. She still had one of my other roommates come help her plunge the toilet but thank god it wasn’t me.
She had no idea how to cook, and ordered delivery like every night. She never learned to drive, didn’t know how to swim, she was incapable of picking up after herself and would drop her stuff in the middle of the floor where the rest of us were constantly tripping over it, and she never took out the trash unless repeatedly asked.
She moved out over the summer finally but didn’t clean her stuff out of the fridge when she left. I was gone home for the summer, and when I came back it was full of rotten food and had to be completely cleaned. She had also left food or something in her room, and I had to call the pest control folks because there were ants and roaches coming in.
The thing is, she was extremely nice and sweet. I don’t think any of it was out of malice or bad intent. She was just completely freaking clueless. I just don’t understand how a person can be so helpless when they’re practically an adult and how their parents can let them get that bad.”
Get This Guy Out Of There!
“Worked in the woods doing conservation and land surveying work on a three man crew. All of us, 19-23, living in the woods for six months; doing general camping tasks on top of our 8-10 hour work days. One of the guys on my crew just baffled me with the things he didn’t know how to do. Everything that I’d known and said and done since I was five-years-old was brand new to him, I don’t know how he’s made it this far in life. Normal kid, no developmental issues or home life issues. Just hadn’t done anything with himself except play basketball (badly) and watch history documentaries that he’d quote at random times. He did awful in school because he couldn’t retain information longer than his 30-second attention span.
Couldn’t use a twist can opener/had never even seen one, was amazed that a stick that had just been in the fire burned him, would cut towards himself or over his fingers with knives, couldn’t figure out multiple card games rated 8yo-up.
He would also swing heavy metal trail working tools around without any regard for people’s heads regardless of how many times we’d tell him to watch himself, swore he’d gone camping his whole life but couldn’t set up a 1 man tent even after being shown and lead through the process a good dozen times.
He didn’t know how to cook anything (I’m talking couldn’t warm up rice and beans without messing it up), he would ask questions akin to those that a curious three-year-old would ask.
Then when you’d tell him something was wrong or not possible, he’d give you an answer like ‘Well I think it could work, it would work like that because I thought about it really hard.’
He would harass people and ‘flirt’ with women to the point that I’d have to intervene and walk him away, while the person he was talking to asked if there was something wrong with him
It got to the point where myself and my crew manager had to request that he was taken off of our team because we were having to hold his hand and babysit him through even the simplest of tasks.”