Sometimes, people say how they truly feel about you when they don’t think you’ll hear it.
They might let slip to another person that they have a crush on you, or they may write something in their journal about a memory of you they have that really impacted them.
Sometimes, they may talk about you in your presence, believing you won’t hear it because you’re asleep — at least, they think you are.
That’s what happened to Reddit user glich159, who responded to an AskReddit prompt wanting to know if anyone had ever overheard anything juicy while pretending to be asleep.
Glich159 started his story by giving some context. “When I was in high school, I was practically a loner. Before high school I lived in central Florida and didn’t understand friendships and romantic relationships because of constant middle school bullies lying and messing with me and stuff.”
He continued his backstory, talking about how hard it was to move cross-country and how it made him depressed. “Anyways, I moved from big a city in central Florida to a small town in Redwoods, California. I moved when I was in 8th grade, and I just kept to myself knowing that I’ll probably move again because of my dad’s job so I thought there was no point in making friends. I was always keeping to myself and minding my own business, and I had a lot of sad thoughts and I felt that (like in middle school) if someone learned of my sad feelings then they would make fun of me. So I had to act like I’m not sad.”
In order to combat those depressive thoughts, he had an idea — kindness. “Since I wasn’t good at socializing and I realized one of the easiest ways to be in a good mood was to hold my classroom’s door open. I know it was a nice gesture so I just did it, and I thought being nice meant being in a good mood so I held a door open every time.”
Opening the door didn’t seem like much, but he kept at it. “So every morning I would always hold open my first period door open. I literally just stood there and held the door open, sometimes sit but mostly stood there. You get the occasional thank you also and I would just nod my head and not say anything.”
Eventually, his plan seemed to pay off, so he added more nice gestures to it. “After a while in my head I would say ‘it’s working no one will know that I’m feeling sad’ so to make it more that I’m not sad and make it look like I’m happy by doing more nice gestures.
“I started picking up trash if someone littered and threw it away, I picked up a pencil when someone dropped it, if someone was sitting alone I would sit next them (although I wouldn’t say much), and I would say ‘good morning (name)’ to everyone in my first period. In my mind it was fool-proof — no one will know I’m sad and oddly enough I didn’t get bullied.”
Years of these kind gestures helped offset the sadness, but the bullies still remained an issue. “Fast forward to high school. Well surprise, surprise there were bullies. I was made fun of because I was Asian on my bus rides home, I was being pushed around in the hallways, etc. However I kept on doing my gestures, because you know, I do not want people to know I’m sad. Even though I did break down crying once on my bus.”
It wasn’t until one fateful day when he pretended to be asleep that he learned how people truly felt about him. “Another fast forward to sophomore year. Every morning I would always hold open the door to my high school’s zero period. Which was really early in the morning, and I would almost always be the first one there. I was sitting there with my eyes closed to rest a bit, and I overheard some kid was making fun of me and stuff. Typical.”
He was surprised to hear that there was dissent amongst his classmates after this comment. “Then I overheard someone defending me. Saying I’m a nice kid and stuff. But it wasn’t just one person, but multiple people. They were talking about how dedicated I am on being nice to people: holding the door open, picking up trash, picking up dropped pencils, sitting next to the lonely kids, etc.”
It was this comment that made him realize the outcome of his nice gestures. “Soon after I started noticing people’s kindness towards me. One moment was when this one bully held me to the ground when there was no one around. He was telling me to put up a fight and saying ‘show me how Asian people fight’. Of course, knowing about expulsion I refused to fight and let him have his way. Then out of nowhere 2 gangster looking kids shoved the bully off of me and told the bully off and not to mess with me. They were telling me how they got my back and stuff. To myself I thought that was odd.”
It was clear that he had become well-liked due to his kindness. “Soon the days after I started noticing practically every clique was defending me. On my bus ride a couple of country kids who was telling their country friend to apologize to me for always making fun of me being Asian. Some goth looking kids were wondering if I was alright and that I should smile some more since I had a great smile. I even realized that it was a bunch of football players that one morning when I was pretending to be asleep that defended me.”
This encouraged him to come out of his shell even more — and the results were tremendously positive. “Not long after I started smiling more, saying hello to everyone I knew the name of in the hallway (which was a lot apparently), joined community involving clubs. Heck I was even nominated for the Sophomore class homecoming king. I ended up telling people not to because I wasn’t good in front of crowds.”
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. “I ended up moving like predicted by the end of my sophomore year, but when I casually mentioned it in my English class. Everyone stopped talking and looked in disbelief.”
But the lessons he learned from a simple change in behavior made a clear impact — not only on him, but everyone else around him. “Looking back it was that moment that I realized for the first time that I truly mattered to people, and I didn’t think as much sad thoughts since.”
As Margaret Thatcher once said:
“Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become.”