Things people on the internet in the last year regret and don’t regret

Katie Haegele mentioned my last statistical post to me, and I thought I’d do another one.

This was more tricky, because it turns out most online references to regretting or not regretting are quotes from celebrities, and I’m looking for mundanity. There are also some sites specifically about posting things you regret, and I wanted to exclude these, only looking for places where people had said unprompted that they regretted something. There are also sites specifically about regretting abortion, and I wanted to keep these out too, as the framework of sites like this could lead to people using the phrase “I regret that” when they wouldn’t have used that form of words naturally.

So … 55 things people regretted on the internet in the last year:

buying an iPhone
reading Twilight
telling you that
my Hannah Montana tattoo
making wrong choices in life
that I wasn’t with him when he died
moving to Minnesota for a guy that I fell in love with
a lot
not giving us a chance to see if we can work things out
sending that last message
getting married
that I am in the education field and have a low income (NYC standards)
being far more interested in playing guitar and smoking dope in college instead of concentrating on running
every second of it
the way that moment affected me at the time
I’m simply a blogger, a political activist and I do not have a feather boa
Playing Hardcore
the day I entered Kasturba
letting my boyfriend eat me out
his cowardly ass represented this country for 8 years
to inform you of the passing of Cupy and his entire family
ever saying “Cold is better than heat, because at least you can escape it”.
to find myself classed amongst the ever-increasing number of those who have misunderstood Humanism
to inform each and everyone of you that our beloved super moderator Akaruz is no longer with us
choosing this uni
listening to them
I wasnt here
getting a car in school
nothing whatsoever
my marriage
My Madden 10 Purchase
teaching my child sign language
I was unable to offer guidance on improving the accuracy of the registers
having asked for those chips
painting my neighbors outside deck yellow
that my advice was not taken by Mayor Fletcher when it was first given to him
that I lived so much of my life away from God
starting with a mage
that I waited for his second invitation
not seeing this while I was in SXSW
never writing a cover on Santa Fe gang violence
buying the HMX-H106
not being a Maths student
going to
I showed her I was angry instead of how much I loved her
having the Lobotomy
not marrying my ex girlfriend
only not buying all the frozen orbs until they were 6g
Not Taking Gcse DT
getting my tattoos
the times I have been unkind
adding my aunt on facebook
I couldn’t have stayed in and served my time

I categorised that as:

Career – 6
Culture – 2
Death – 2
Family – 2
Feelings – 1
Food – 1
Gaming – 3
General – 3
Health – 1
Missed opportunities – 5
Nothing – 2
Opinions – 2
Politics – 4
Purchases – 4
Relationships – 8
Speaking out – 2
Specific events – 4
Taking advice – 1
Tattoos – 2


55 things people did not regret on the internet in the last year:

leaving my job
buying the N97 (despite the rumours of upcoming devices that on paper upstage it)
buying L4D2
getting arrested
being with them
choosing to attend an all African-American school in the ’60s
my sins
buying a cockatiel
behaving that way because, despite it all, I’ve come a long way
the 10 hours I spent hunting pigeons in GTA
not spanking my children
leaving Facebook
nursing my wee ones on demand
my mastectomy
taking those classes
drinking underage in college
the time away
my education
my love of loneliness
any of it
a damned thing
that my children are alive on this planet
being a homebody during all those early years
not going to the 8th grade dance
the German lit degrees*
my Sony purchase
my kids one bit
a moment of my breastfeeding experience
getting married
not trying to make it work
liking what I like
not having any friends and devoting all of my time to this blog
anything about coming out
a bit all the times I’ve made fun of her with everyone
working for that very large company
my decisions and experiences
going to graduate school for writing
buying our home
any of my tattoos
my abortion at all
that I choose to do other things
trying smoking at all
losing my virginity to him
being a nerd
my decision not to be friends anymore
no stylus
sending my child to a Chinese School
any of my tattoo’s
being financially responsible
getting to know him
either divorce

*I like this one. “I’ve got two of the damned things and by God I don’t regret either!”

By categories:

Anything – 5
Career – 8
Family – 7
Gaming – 2
General – 2
Health – 3
Life choices – 3
Personality – 5
Purchases – 7
Relationships – 9
Specific events – 2
Tattoos – 2

On the basis of this small sample:

– people think a lot about what they regret / don’t regret in their career choices
– people don’t regret more things to do with their family than they do regret
– the things that people do regret need a larger list of categories than things they don’t regret (they are more various)
– people don’t regret the way their personality is
– they admit to regretting fewer purchases (4) than those they say they don’t regret (7)
– gamers think a lot about what they do and don’t regret in gaming
– a lot of people say they don’t regret anything
– people often think about relationships in terms of regret (8 times) or not regretting (9 times)
– much regret is about missed opportunities (5 incidences)
– the jury is out on tattoos (2 regrets, 2 no regrets)

And, not obvious from the data, but when searching for these I found that people tended to talk about things they didn’t regret in the context of those they did (“I don’t regret knowing him, but I do regret marrying him”).



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