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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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A beer, a gender reveal party and a child's birthday party.

Recently, there was a great conversation on Reddit that falls under the category of “things people think but never say out loud.” The question, posed by a user named Truth-andLogic was: "What’s an activity you are sure that most people only pretend they like? The prompt inspired people to share and discuss the social engagements we are forced to attend to get ahead in our careers, keep our families happy, or be polite, but we don’t really enjoy.

For many, the thread was cathartic by creating an honest and funny discussion about the moments when we often suffer in silence.

The conversation also delved into activities that many of us engage in to present a certain image, such as posting on social media, networking, or publicly embracing hustle culture. These activities, often driven by pressure form others, can feel cringey because they give off a “look at me” vibe.


Here are 15 activities that, according to people in the AskReddit forum, people only “pretend to like.”

1. LinkedIn

"I'm thrilled to announce that im better than you!" — Cardwizard88

"It’s a humble bragging contest." — Freesgova

2. Hanging out with the parents of your child's friend

"Correct. Did it a lot. Kids all grown up now. Do I still see these people? Heck no." — DustyMartinsdad

3. Happy birthday song at a restaurant

"Happy birthday song ever. It’s always the worst part to me, sitting there awkwardly waiting while people sing off-key at me." — Safetypinss22

4. Networking

"Can I just get a job based off experience and not who I know?" — Delightful_Drantini

"Some people absolutely do enjoy networking. It is a shame because these people are often the ones that tend to be just ok (or worse) at their jobs while those who are great at their jobs tend to be the ones who dislike networking." — Emu1981

5. Hustle culture

"Hustle culture was just a way for mid-range CEOs of mid-range firms to bleed every ounce of work out of each worker so the VC money sees profit sooner." — DahJay

6. Commuting

"So many of my coworkers talked about missing their commute during lockdown, and I wanted to tell them NO you miss having alone time!" — Chaosm0de

7. Kids' birthday parties

"Go to some germ-filled place and give them a gift they may not even thank you for, and it’s always loud and chaotic, and I fucking hate them. And you have to make the same small talk again and again." — LittleHungryGiraffe

"You stay because it's too short to reasonably get any errands done or go home, and you want to make sure your kid is safe. So you sit and make small talk with the one other parent you know for an hour and consider whether or not it would be in poor taste to grab a slice of pizza or cake depending on how much is left over after the kids are served." — Maxpower

8. Work parties

"My upcoming IT team activity is on a Friday afternoon. We're doing lunch and bowling. The company-wide corporate summer party is on Thursday after work hours, so I can spend an entire day with work people, go home, immediately sleep, and deal with work people the next day. I get it's definitely cheaper on a Thursday, but I really lose motivation to go beyond making an appearance to keep my boss happy." — Racthoh

"I don't like ya'll M-F 9 to 5, so why in the hell would I want to see ya'll outside of those hours!?" — DuperDayley

"Right? Like I wonder who these people are. Do they just crave socialization so hard? Or do they like their co-workers and are completely ignorant of the fact that not everyone wants to hang out with them? Even if you do have a closer relationship with some co-workers, not everyone will always get a long, why force it? Those who want to meet up, will. And those who are forced to will only like each other less." — Doodleanda

9. Wine tasting

"Those people that claim to be able to taste things in wine like sea air and a hint of lemons from a specific tree. Piss off with that sh***." — ZeeZeeNei

"They've pretty well debunked this. Can't remember where I saw it but someone ran an experiment on some pretty highly regarded wine connoisseurs and some regular joes as a control to judge wines, some cheap, some expensive. Turns out most of the highly regarded connoisseurs couldn't really tell which was the expensive and which were cheap/bad. Wine just comes down to preference." — come_ere_duck

10. Gender reveal parties

"Thank goodness my friends aren't into gender reveal parties. I have, however, been to my fair share of baby showers and had to play the boring games. Too many times have I played the "identify the melted candy bar in a diaper" game. Funny thing is that, since baby showers have traditionally been attended by only women, at the co-ed ones I've been to the guys get really into the games. It makes everything way better." — Slytherpuffy

11. Hearing about people's kids

"I try to tell kid stories quite sparingly. And 99% of the time, it’s a short anecdote about something genuinely funny. Not like aww they drew an avocado lol, but like a funny joke they told me. Again, quite sparingly." — Afoz345

12. Social media

"Having a huge social media presence. It just doesn't seem worth all the work and effort to keep with it. I'd much rather just enjoy my concert/vacation/whatever than constantly take pictures/videos of it in order to brag about it on social media. And unless you're some big celebrity or influencer, nobody actually cares about your Instagram." — TheSnowqueen17

13. Cruises

"It’s like being trapped in a Vegas hotel and only being able to leave for short periods…and only with everyone else trapped in the same hotel. Plus, limited supplies and extra cooties. No thank you. I think the only cruise I could enjoy would be one of those small luxury ones that I could never afford." — Roopie1023

14. Twitter

"Twitter. The site is full of bots and rageaholics. The UI is frustrating at best. Having a 'discussion' in tweet form is tedious as hell. How many hot takes do you really need to satisfy yourself before it's overkill?" — Soingee

"I’m thankful the place went to hell because I barely click the app now and then vs all the time I spent believing I needed to know everything immediately." — Frequent_Secretary25

15. Drinking IPAs

"Agreed, they taste like soap." — Heavy_Following_114

"Why have they taken over so many taps in so many places?!" — Beaspoke

Thinking outside the box pays off.

Times seem grim for employees. Every day seems to bring a new series of layoffs, pay cuts, strikes and…you know, the whole threat of being replaced by robots thing

Chris Serrano, a creative director who “does all his own stunts,” found himself in one of these abysmal situations after getting laid off.

However, Serrano quickly turned his luck around by thinking outside the box and leaning into his daredevil personality. On his LinkedIn, he posted a video of himself jumping out of a plane with a cardboard sign that read, “Open4Work.”


“I got laid off last week. So I’ll be freefalling until I find a new gig—literally. If you’re looking for an award-winning creative that works hard, takes risks, and knows how to pack a parachute, reach out. Don’t let your brand plunge to its death. Hire me instead,” he added in the caption.

Can’t say this guy isn’t clever. Or brave.

It wasn’t long before Serrano’s post caught the attention of Jack Peagam, UK- based entrepreneur and co-founder/CEO of the social app Linkup, which aims to authentically connect people based on similar hobbies and interests. Fitting that these two connected over a shared passion for extreme sports.

Peagam seemingly one-upped Serrano’s stunt—videoing himself skydiving with a cardboard sign that read. “Hey Chris, sorry 2 see you got laid off. We’ve got work 4 U. Let’s Link Up”.

In his own caption, Peagam matched Serrano’s knack for wordplay, writing, “Can't guarantee you a parachute payment, but we're ready to catch you and launch you into new heights of success. 🪂 ✈️ I'm sure you'll free-fall in love with what we're doing. I believe this is the ultimate way to extend the offer."

Because clearly these two are a match made in workplace heaven, Serrano then shared a subsequent video showing both thrill-seekers signing a new employment contract while jumping out of a plane together.

“When I lost my job, I was a bit nervous as to what could be next, but taking a leap of faith from a plane is sometimes all you can do,” Serrano shared, according to Good News Network.

That leap of faith certainly paid off. Peagam loved Serrano’s “bold” and “daring” ad, telling Good News Network it “featured everything I love about creative talent.” Serrano was also "blown away" by the support he received after posting, from folks sending positive comments to sharing the video across the platform.

While maybe not all of us can jump out of a plane to secure the job of our dreams, there is something to be said for the magic that happens when we use our imaginations and show up as our most authentic selves. Losing a job isn't fun, but it doesn't take away the special, unique qualities that we bring to the table. And when we can harness that, often opportunities seem to fall from the sky—quite literally, in this case. Bottom line: even in less-than-ideal circumstances, or perhaps especially then, a dose of optimism and ingenuity goes a long way.

Potential employers offering potential employees their professional references should be a regular thing.

Usually when people apply for a new job, they hyperfocus on making sure the potential employer knows they're an ideal candidate. They research the heck out of the company, tailor their resume for the position and practice answering tough interview questions they anticipate the hiring manager might ask.

But a hiring process is a two-way street, up to and including when an offer is made. That's perhaps never been more true than it is now, when unemployment is at a historic low and people can be choosier about the jobs they take. But even in a tough job market, a job interview means you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you.

One woman shared a story that took that idea to the next level with a hiring practice that really should be standard everywhere.


Allison Peck shared in a LinkedIn post last year that she'd had a manager offer her three professional references—women who had worked for him in the past—so she could get some outside perspective on what he was like as an employer.

"Why don't hiring managers give 3 of THEIR references to job candidates?" Peck wrote. "This happened to me once and I'll never forget it. I was in the final round of interviews at a company years ago, and the hiring manager asked me for 3 references. Naturally, I provided him their contact info. And he said this:

'Thanks, here are 3 women who have reported directly to me previously and they've agreed to speak with you if you're curious what it's like working on my team.'

When I called those three women, they all had great things to say and that man was one of the best managers I've ever had.

Any hiring managers out there confident enough in their leadership abilities that they'd offer this in the future?"

The fact that the manager recognized that she might want feedback from other women shows an understanding of the dynamics that women can face in the workplace, which is a good sign in and of itself. And that he offered the references without even being asked was also a definite plus.

Ironically, the kind of employer who would offer such a thing the way he did is probably the kind of employer you'd want to work for, without even having to contact their references. But talking with people who have worked for your potential boss before could definitely offer some peace of mind and give you added information you may need to make a decision about a job. It also makes it more likely that you'll both be a good fit for one another, which again is the whole point of the hiring process.

Commenters agreed.

"I love this. When I hire into my team it's something I offer too. I'm still in touch with people who were reporting to me 8-10yrs ago, most of whom have gone on to do some wonderful things and I now consider friends." – Karen Hutchison

"I am with you on that. At my stage of my career, I will max out on salary and the benefits are usually decent. So what I care about is the team and leadership. So when I was unexpectedly let go 9 months ago and started looking all over again, I made it a point to ask about the team leader/manager and any other dynamics if I got to be interviewed by a peer panel. I ended up going with the job where the peers spoke highly of their manager both privately and in group interviews. I just wanted to work where boss actually cares about people more than they cared about managing her/his boss." – John Waldbaum

"Ok, I'm impressed. It would be great if this was normalized, and honestly, it would benefit both prospective hires as well as organizations. Many people get a job and start off excited just to find out that the manager they ended up working with is not exactly a good manager for them. This can translate into poor performance or even turnover. You can only find out so much during an interview that is timed and has set unwritten norms/ expected "etiquette". Normalize reverse references!!!" 😁 – Stanley Molton

"Wow I wish this were done everywhere! Speaking to other women candidates during the interview has never given me the sense they can speak openly (especially if it's recorded), because at the end of the day, they still report to that manager. Now, a manager that does this is demonstrating that there's recognition and sensitivity to what women are faced with in the workplace, and they have confidence in their reputation even behind closed doors." –Larissa Morrell

Resources like Glassdoor have helped provide an avenue for former employees to share their experiences, but there's an extra layer of impressiveness when a potential employer offers you their references themselves.

Reverse references. Let's make it a thing.