With so many brilliant ideas and words of wisdom constantly being shared in the world, one can only hope to hear as much of it as possible. Hence, the popularity of eavesdropping. Love it or hate it, let’s be real—everyone does it from time to time. But not all eavesdropping is created equal—some of the things that get overheard are far crazier, weirder, and more surprising than your average everyday gossip. In other words, there are some things that just can’t be unheard. Here are 42 cases of some of the most unforgettable comments and conversations that people have ever eavesdropped upon.
At work, I heard one of my colleagues say the following into his phone: "You promised that we would get a divorce after you got your green card!"
I once overheard a family talking in the Christmas decorations aisle. The kid asked, “Dad, can we get a white man for Christmas?” The shocked dad said, “What?!” Then the kid pointed at the shelf, directly at a snowman. The dad burst out laughing.
I was once standing in line waiting for a Tim Horton’s coffee. The girl in front of me was talking with her friend. I overheard the following: "Yeah, so I just caught HIV from this dude. It’s okay though, it's not like I'm going to die right away!" I want some of her positivity…
I once heard someone casually say, “Oh yeah, that reminds me! I had to go get an exorcism this weekend!” in the middle of a conversation.
I overheard a few kids debating what happens to poop after you flush it on a train. One believed that it explodes on impact with the rails, another debated the possibility of it being shot out of the side like a cannon, and another was certain that it was used to fuel the train.
I once overheard my ex having a “business” call in his office that sounded an awful lot like cheating…
I was once home alone as a 12-year-old and my dad’s friend called the house. I let it go to voicemail. I then overheard him leaving a bizarre message about my dad being the best friend he’d ever had. My dad came home about 10 minutes later and I told him about the voicemail immediately. Dad tried to call him and he didn’t pick up.
It turned out he had shot himself immediately after leaving the message—which was a pretty disturbing thing for someone my age to discover.
I met my boyfriend's family, then walked into the other room. I overheard his mother say "She's nice and all, but I really liked your ex better. Whatever happened to her?"
One time, I was sitting behind two old ladies in church. I overheard the first lady quietly whisper out of the side of her mouth, “I have a very unladylike itch right now!” The second lady whispered back “That’s ok, I just farted!”
I once overheard a gentleman in a wheelchair telling someone that he could, "pop a wheelie in this bad boy." Yes, he was referring to doing a bicycle stunt with his wheelchair. I had to introduce myself because that is the type of person that I need in my life.
I once overheard a woman on the train yelling into her phone that she wouldn’t be able to make it to her dentist’s appointment—because she had left her teeth at home.
Didn't hear the full conversation, but I once walked in on two employees at a convenience store as they ended a conversation with the phrase "...and that's when we hid the clams."
I once eavesdropped on a story that a woman was telling her friend while sitting next to me in a café. She became suspicious that her husband was cheating on her when she was helping him unpack from a business trip and noticed a weird stain on his shirt. She told the whole story of her googling how to figure out what the stain was, and she even used specific lighting and stuff like that.
I never actually got to hear the end of the story though, unfortunately.
Once, at 2 in the morning, I sat on my balcony (third floor) and listened to a guy (ground level) who had just discovered that his girlfriend (fourth floor) had been cheating on him. He had apparently climbed a tree outside of the building and saw her topless with a guy in her room. I opened a beer and took a seat. “You said you were studying. You don’t study with your shirt off!!”
"I want out of this marriage." Didn't enjoy hearing my parents split up in the next room when I was a kid…
My downstairs neighbors were having a very loud fight one evening. I couldn’t resist listening in when I heard a woman yelling, "Did you sleep with her?! Did you sleep with her?!" over and over again. That was a fun night.
I was sitting in the food court of a mall, eating and minding my own business. A couple passed by my table and all I heard was her say to him: "... because my head went numb when you were laying on it last night..." I will never, ever get any context for what I heard that day.
At a Chinese restaurant, I overheard an old man saying to his friend, “I’m telling you, my nuts swelled up like this!” He then held his hands apart as if he was holding a grapefruit.
I overheard two guys on the subway in New York City discussing what the perfect handgun caliber would be for whacking someone. There was a small dude who was adamant that the best gun would be a 9mm because that's what cops use. Then, the big dude starts shaking his head negatively and goes on to give a small speech about anatomy & ballistics.
He then proceeds to state that a competent assassin would use a mere .22 handgun, since it's hard to track, the ammo is cheap, and you could easily get someone in the head without anyone knowing that it was gunfire. I think those guys must have been on their way to some kind of hitman convention.
I once saw a couple sitting on a park bench, talking low key to each other. The guy said something to which the girl giggled and said "No." He repeated it again and she laughed a bit louder, saying "No," again. After he leaned in for the third time, she snapped and loudly said: "NO! I will not pee on you!"
I once overheard my neighbors negotiating a fee with a prostitute. They wanted to pay the standard price for a one-hour session, but she was demanding double the pay because there were two guys involved.
I once overheard the following conversation. The first guy says, “Ah man, I smell today. You know those days where you jump in the shower but just forget to wash?” The second guy replies, “No, I don't. What the hell?!”
In the 90s, when people used to use cordless phones, you could sometimes pick up other people’s phone calls on a scanner. This was how I found out that our downstairs neighbor was cooking and selling large quantities of meth out of his apartment.
Not exactly a conversation, but there's a very loud guy who lives in the dorm below me. He doesn't know this, but I can constantly hear him through the vent in my floor. He has a young sibling and he sings to her over the phone every night. I fall asleep to it sometimes.
At my best friend’s graduation party, I overheard a student having a phone call in the other room. The last thing I heard him say before he hung up was "I'm a freakin’ grown man, mom! I'll skateboard home myself!" We still use that line to this day.
Some coworkers and I were eating lunch outside on a patio one afternoon when, all of a sudden, two guys walked by. We overheard one of them say, “I was licking her body last night and forgot that she had just eaten peanuts. I’m allergic to peanuts...so, I had to spend the night in a hospital.” We started cracking up. The guy noticed, got annoyed, and said “What? It happens!!”
I was walking past a bar one night and there was a man standing outside talking on the phone. All I caught was, "Look fella, we need to start talking about the monkey!"
I was working behind the bar in Birmingham, England. I walked back up to the other end at one point and overheard the following conversation. The woman said, “Yeah, me and John had a great 20 years of marriage. I can’t complain.” The person she was talking to said, “Oh that’s lovely. But you eventually had to part ways, then?”
The woman replied, “I had to divorce him in the end, yeah. I found out that he was sexually abusing children.” Absolutely horrifying.
I once overheard two girls on the bus sitting in front of me talking about a date that one of them had recently been on. While describing the date, one of them says, "and then he stuck his hand up my skirt!" Her friend responded, "Oh, you mean the one with the pretty stripes on it?" Pretty sure that wasn’t the point…
I was eating beside two older gentlemen at a bar, and I heard one of them say something like: "That stupid cat follows me everywhere. I've told my granddaughter to keep it away from me, but everyone thinks its funny! I can't get away from it!" There were then several moments of silence between the two before the second older man laughed and said: "You secretly love that little hairball, don't you?"
The first guy let out a giant, irritated sigh and sullenly admitted "Yes."
At the library, I once overheard a girl say the following quote into her phone: "Baby, just come over! I want to make love to you, and make spaghetti! I know I can’t change the past, but I can change your future."
In high school, I was in the school cafeteria line one day when I overheard a couple of students talking about war. One guy was confidently explaining how he was sure that Sweden was going to invade Finland soon and that he was planning on going back there to defend it with his dad and uncle. This was in 2007. I guess the invasion never happened…
Years ago, my mom caught my dad having an affair. I overheard her as she was yelling at the top of her lungs while my dad was sobbing and begging her to take him back. I never looked at my dad the same way after that.
I once overheard two guys talking on a plane while flying to a wedding. It sounded like they were involved in the wedding party. They were going back and forth about how the bride had dated at least half of the groomsmen and even one of the bridesmaids. They were trying to figure out whether the groom knew. They decided that he probably didn't.
They then debated the merits of telling him versus keeping their mouths shut. They never came to a conclusion on the plane. She sounds like one interesting woman!
I was at Costco and they had giant crab for sale. I overheard a little girl ask her dad, “What do those animals eat?” He replied: “Little girls like you!”
I once overheard a young boy asking his sister if she remembers how their mom used to beat them when they were kids. They were no older than nine. It was obviously weird, because that's typically not the kind of thing you would want to talk about with a couple of dozen people standing around...
My freshman roommate in college would talk on the phone 24/7, to anyone and everyone: his girlfriend, the girl he was cheating on his girlfriend with, and—my personal favorite—some random conversation that I was barely paying attention to when suddenly I heard "Oh, I forgot to tell you! Your daughter broke up with me yesterday!" To this day, I kick myself for not having been paying attention from the beginning to get the full story.
Listening from the next room to my parents arguing about my father's internet history having dirty websites in it, followed by a full-on argument about their declining sex life, was pretty rough on me when I was 12 years old.
My family and I were at a restaurant and there was a father and his daughter (whom we'll call D, for daughter) sitting in the booth right across the aisle from us. D looked to be no more than about 20 years old. She talked the whole time about her ex-boyfriend, Chris. Apparently, Chris had been married to someone else and D could not have cared less.
She said that it was all his wife's fault for not being good enough to keep her husband faithful. Welp, it turns out Chris was still sleeping with his wife through all of this because she got pregnant. When D found out that Chris’ wife was pregnant, she was furious. She told Chris that he had to choose between her and his wife.
At first, Chris chose D. Then, he found out that his unborn child had congenital heart defects. So, he called off the divorce, broke up with D, and moved back in with his wife to help out. D sits there in silence looking slightly bewildered before saying, "I don't know why he chose her and that (insert inappropriate slur here) baby. So what if it dies? They can always make another one!"
But that's not even the worst part. Her dad breaks his silence and asks, "So, your mom and Chris aren't getting divorced?" “YOUR MOM and Chris”?! YOUR MOM?! This crazy lady was having a blatant affair with her much older stepfather, made him choose between her and her pregnant mother, and then made sociopathic comments about her unborn brother!!
I was pulling up to an intersection with a bus stop just as the light turned green. I crept by this stop and all I heard was an old dude say, "And that's how the son of a gun took my leg!" I look out my passenger window to see him holding a prosthetic in his hand, sitting in a wheelchair, facing the other people at the bus stop. I don’t know what story they heard, but I’m pretty sure it was a darn good one!
Two of my students were talking about this guy who had been texting one of the girls in my class. I chalked it up to middle school drama, and the day went on. Later, I overheard the girl who the others had been talking about say, "I think I'm scared." Something about that just didn't sit right with me. I circled back and was like, "Hey kid, need to talk to me about anything?"
She mulled over it for a bit and then asked if we could have a private convo. Turns out that this guy had sent the girl an inappropriate picture of himself—and oh yeah, he's not a guy their age. It's their teacher from an extracurricular activity. That was not a fun day.
After speaking with my grandpa on the phone, I realized that he hadn’t properly hung up. I overheard him comment to my uncle about how ungrateful I was. I had at that point visited him every week for a year and cleaned his entire bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, hallway, and living room each time—usually also bringing some food or dessert with me, too.
I moved out of town shortly after this incident.
My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
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