It's not every day that you hear something you're not supposed to hear. Though, one of the guaranteed times you'll stumble upon a private conversation or situation is when you're pretending to be asleep. Here, we look at some stories from people who heard something they weren't supposed to while pretending to be asleep.
Thank you to everyone who shared your story. Comments have been edited for clarity.
Truly Being Valued
“Back in high school, I went through something that changed my life.
When I was in high school, I was practically a loner. I moved from big a city in central Florida to a small town in redwoods California. I moved when I was in eighth 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 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 pretend I wasn’t sad. Since I wasn’t good at socializing I realized one of the easiest ways to be in a good mood was to hold my classroom’s door open. I knew 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.
So every morning I would always hold open my first-period door open. I would get the occasional thank you and I would just nod my head. After a while, I would think ‘it’s working no one will know that I’m feeling sad.’ So I started doing more nice things to appear happy. 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 beside them and I would say good morning to everyone in my first period. In my mind, it was full proof no one would know I was sad and oddly enough I didn’t get bullied.
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 did not want people to know I was sad.
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. Then I overheard someone defending me. Someone was saying that I was a nice kid and stuff. But it wasn’t just one person, it was multiple people. They were talking about how dedicated I was to being nice to people: holding the door open, picking up trash, picking up dropped pencils, sitting next to the lonely kids, etc.
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, two kids shoved the bully off of me and told the bully off and not to mess with me. They were telling me how they had my back.
Soon the days after I started noticing practically every clique was defending me. On my bus ride, a couple of kids told their friend to apologize to me for always making fun of me being Asian. Some goth looking kids were wondering if I was alright and told me that I should smile some more since I had a great smile. I later came to find out that it was a bunch of football players that one morning when I was pretending to be asleep who defended me.
Not long after I started smiling more, saying hello to everyone I knew the name of in the hallway (which was a lot apparently), and joined community involving clubs. 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. 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. Looking back it was that moment that I realized for the first time that I truly mattered to people, and I haven’t thought as many sad thoughts since.
“I was spending the night at a friend’s house once and did something I have no regrets about.
I’m a guy, she’s a girl. She brought my friend over because we were out partying we all slept in the same room. I was laying on the floor near my friend when I heard my friend call my name. Wanting to sleep, I ignored her and wasn’t moving. She then responded, ‘Okay, Andy. I think he’s asleep, come here.” About five minutes later I hear the bed squeaking. One of them sneezed about 15 minutes into it, to which I responded, ‘Bless you.’ They immediately stopped.
10/10 would do again.”
A Mother’s Love
“When I was about six or seven I remember staying up late without the babysitter realizing while my parents were out. I remember when they came back home I was so worried about getting into trouble for still being awake that I pretended to be asleep. My mum came into the room asking whether or not I was awake (I stayed quiet) and then she just sat down on my bed. She was quiet for what felt like forever but was probably only a couple of minutes before she bent over, stroked my hair, and kissed the top of my head while telling me how much she loved me and how much I meant to her. She then she tucked the covers around me tighter and left. To this day it’s my favorite memory of her.”
A Cruel Sense Of Humor
“My mom to her friend, when I was around eight years old, ‘I don’t actually even like her. She’s so annoying, I want to get rid of her.’
Naturally, I burst into tears. She said she was sorry, she knew I was awake, and it was just a joke.
She’s got a cruel sense of humor.”
Late Night Argument
“When I was about five, I woke late at night to the sounds of a heated conversation between my mother and her parents.
Intrigued, I carefully crept to the hall to listen.
I didn’t understand everything I heard that night until much later, however, the tone of that conversation scared me and forever colored my relationship with my grandparents.
My mom was telling them how she had suffered mistreatment as a child at the hands of a close relative. My grandparents were victim blaming, rug sweeping and generally creating a ruckus. Shortly after I chickened it back to my bed they were kicked out for shouting at her. I pretended to be asleep when mom came to check on me and my sibling just after. She stood there a long time.
I’ve never discussed this with mom, although she has told me about that night from her perspective once I was a teenager.”
When I attempted to end my life at 13, I pretended to be asleep in my hospital bed.
My parents actually believed I was asleep and I heard my mom say to my dad, ‘First [my brother], now her. What am I doing wrong?’ It broke my heart because she is a wonderful mother and always had been. We just have bad genetics when it comes to mental illness in my family. I’ll never forget those words and I’m constantly trying to prove to her the wonderful job she’s done.”
Sorry, Officer, We’re Both Asleep
“My friend and I once pretended to be asleep to dodge a ticket.
One night during high school, my friend and I got invited to a party. I didn’t drive back then so my friend picked me up. All went well on our way to the party. On the way back, however, he got pulled over. As we were pulling to the side of the road, I told him that I was gonna pretend to be sleeping (since I was the passenger). Anyway, I heard the cop get out of his cop car, walk towards our car, and stop at the window. He didn’t say anything.
I could feel the brightness of his flashlight but I didn’t hear him or my friend say anything. After about what seemed like an eternity, I decide to open my eyes to see what’s going on. That’s when I see my friend, the guy who is driving, is pretending like he is sleeping too.
After my initial internal fear, the cop, who was obviously messing with us, apologized for waking us up and asked us to step out of the car. He never said but I’m sure he suspected us of being under the influence, which we weren’t. We fully cooperated and since we weren’t out past curfew, we were soon on our way.
The reason the cops pulled us over? My friend’s car had a busted tail light. I asked him what did he hope to accomplish by pretending to be sleep-driving, to which he replied that he thought I had a smart idea and he should do what I did.”
“When I was seven years old I was laying in my bed four days before Christmas after my dad dropped me off at my mom’s from a visit. My dad came in to talk to my mom and stepdad about how I would spend time with each of them on Christmas.
I remember laying awake staring at the ceiling hearing my stepfather talk about how he would kill my dad if it wasn’t for me, and to get out of his house and all this other stuff. I love my dad more than anything in the world, and I knew from a young age I was his primary source of happiness. Hearing him just walk out and the door close broke my heart.”
Sleep With One Eye Open
“A French girl I met in a hostel came into where I was sleeping and just sat there. I had just cut it off with her so I didn’t want to deal with her. I pretended to be asleep for a few minutes. She just mumbled random things given that she was pretty hammered.
Finally what got me up was when, in the cutest French accent, she told me she was going to set me on fire in my sleep.”
Puppy For Christmas
“I remember way back I couldn’t sleep on Christmas Eve, you know, being a little kid and all. So during this sleepless night where I guess my parents thought I was asleep, I heard my dad say, ‘Where do you think we should hide the new puppy?’ That was pretty much at the top of my list, so naturally, I was excited that I was getting a puppy. They talked for a good 20 minutes about the puppy, saying things like, ‘How should we keep it from barking before he finds him?’ before I dozed off.
Next morning, I discovered that my parents knew I was awake and just decided to mess with me. There was no puppy. I got a Gameboy though, so it wasn’t too bad.”
“When I was about 13 or 14, I overheard my parents talk about my dog, Chowder.
I was in the living room half passed out from exhaustion while they were in the dining area. Chowder was in the vet for a couple of days because of something called distemper. I just thought that after a few days, he’d get better and go back home and be the normal dog he would be. I was wrong.
I lay motionless on the sofa because I was lazy to get up. I accidentally heard mom crying. I heard words like, ‘What will we tell her?’ and ‘She can’t know this before her exams… she might not do well.’ By this time, I got really curious so I tried my best to stay awake while staying in the uncomfortable position that I was in.
A few other medical terms passed and I hear the word ‘euthanize.’ I knew what that meant and it took me a few seconds to put the pieces together. I cried the whole night and they found out in the morning.”
I’m Gonna Marry This Girl
“I had been asleep for about 30 minutes while my boyfriend and his buddy were talking.
I’m not really sure what woke me up but I kind of became conscious for a few moments but didn’t really move or anything so I was just trying to go back to sleep. Anyway, my boyfriend, who had been rubbing my back as I slept, turned to his buddy and said, ‘Hey man, you see this girl right here? I’m gonna marry her one day. She’s gonna be my wife,’ and his buddy just said, ‘Yeah, dude, I know. And I’ll be standing right there with you when it happens.’
It was so sweet and it was so hard to not just tear up or smile or anything. But when things are tough I sure do think of that night.”
The Good Kind Of Gossip
“I had been sleeping on the couch in my CCA room in school and I heard my name just as I woke up so I stayed put to eavesdrop. A couple of mates were talking about me in a positive light and saying nice things about me without knowing I was awake. It was really nice to hear it especially since I was a relatively low point at that time. Every time I think about this I feel good, even though it’s been a half dozen years or so, and it always reminds me to uphold those good characteristics.”
Overhearing The Confession
“I heard my ex-husband once openly admit that he didn’t want to be married to me.
I was in this messed up relationship with my ex-husband when I was pregnant with my second kid. We had a female roommate and we were all pretty close to one another.
Anyway, I pretended to be asleep one night and I heard my ex-husband and the roommate talking in the next room (the bedroom door was open so I could hear them pretty clearly). She asked him why he married me. His response:
‘I just didn’t know what else to do at that point. Seemed like the next logical step and I took it. I honestly wish I hadn’t done it and I wish I was single right now living life, but now I have this family and I’m not sure how I’m gonna get out.’
That hit me really hard.”
Do You Regret Your Life?
“My ex-boyfriend used to work graveyard at the casino, so we had very different sleep schedules. But, I once heard him say something really great about our relationship.
One night I was sleeping over as he was playing video games. I had been trying to fall asleep for about two hours, but couldn’t seem to. As I lay there he got on his headset with a new friend who he was helping through a dungeon. Not knowing I was awake he started telling this dude about his life for hours. At one point the guy asked if he regretted leaving the Marines and going back to civilian life instead of extending his work.
He said, ‘You know, man, for a while I did. But now I don’t. I have a decent life and more than anything an absolutely amazing girlfriend. I love her and If I stayed I would have never met her. Honestly, I’m so much happier now.’
I never told him I was awake and heard it. Definitely warmed the heart.”
Early To Bed, Early To Rise
“Over the summer I went on a camping trip with a class and heard something I shouldn’t have.
One night at our third campsite in Colorado, four members of our group had hiked up a mountain to see a frozen lake while everyone else, including myself, stayed at camp. We had a great time and the other members of our group didn’t return until much much later that night. Shortly after they began to arrive, the wind picked up and it started to rain a little. I helped in what ways I could then crawled into my personal tent (almost everyone else shared tents).
Shortly after climbing into mine and changing, I saw a light come by the small window in my tent, and I knew who it was. It was one of the guys who went hiking. He stood next to my tent for a few moments and I just sat there quietly wondering what he was doing, then he walked away and I heard him say, ‘Well, this guy’s the first one in his tent again,’ to two girls in our group. From then I continued to listen to him talk badly about me and ask other members of our class around camp what their opinions of me were. I sat there kinda stunned. I had been spending tons of time with everyone else on the trip and this guy had just come back from hiking for six hours, where he took a quarter of our food (snacks for everyone) with him. Not to mention most of the other lazy stuff he did around the campsites and how little he helped here and there.
The next morning I was the first to wake up. I got dressed, opened my tent, and began to walk around the campsite, admiring our view of the Colorado valley we were in. A little while later I hear someone else wake up, and it’s him. We talked casually a little bit and he asked how long I had been awake, and I said, ‘You know what they say. Early to bed, early to rise.’
The professor chewed him out later that day when he decided to go take a shower at the clubhouse of the bunks we were staying at while everyone else was trying to unload our stuff and cook at the same time in a blizzard. But after I heard what he said, I made sure I offered everyone help with whatever they were doing because I felt like I needed to help more after hearing that.”
Getting Out Of Trouble
“I’ve pretended to be asleep on multiple occasions.
On my way back from a race in Colorado and my buddy got pulled over for speeding in Iowa. I was on the bench seat sprawled out trying to sleep, when we pulled over I asked what’s going on. My friend told me, ‘We’re getting pulled over.’
I promptly said, ‘You guys deal with that, I’m going to sleep.’ I pretended to be asleep and heard the cop go, ‘What’s up with your buddy? Is he okay?’ and he proceeded to give my friends a ton of trouble for having me asleep in the back. The cop didn’t try and wake me, though.
Now that I think of it that’s not even the first time. I was a freshman in college and a couple friends rented a house in RI and us all being underage idiots proceeded to have a massive party. Well, the cops raided it. I ran upstairs and jumped in a bed and just passed out. The cops barged in looking for whatever they could find. They were shining their flashlights in my face but I still pretend to be asleep. They call over and are like, ‘Hey. This kid’s passed right out.’ They laughed a little, found a substance on the other bed in the room, and proceeded to let me sleep through everything.”
“I was dozing off in my bed with my girlfriend at the time when I heard her confess her love for me. She was pretty hammered, but she went into intricate detail about how she feels respected and sees a serious future with me.
The next morning I got yelled at for not cuddling and that it was a major issue. I don’t think she even knew of her confession.”
We’re In The Clear
“I heard something I shouldn’t have when I was hammered one night.
I was wasted at a party and couldn’t fathom the world so I lay down, closed my eyes in a dark room. I heard two of my friends come in, one came over to me and poked me in the ribs then said, ‘It’s fine, he’s asleep,’ and then proceed to talk about how both of them were cheating on their boyfriends and who at the party they wanted to sleep with.”
“In my freshman year in college, I woke up at 3:00 a.m. to my roommate and her friend whispering about me in the kitchen area when they were totally hammered.
I heard stuff like, ‘She gets up too early,’ ‘I hate how she doesn’t go out on Fridays, so annoying, etc.
If you had a problem with me as a roommate, tell it to me straight. Preferably do this early in the semester, not the week before the term ends, so that I can adjust my habits and be a better roommate.”