Nothing’s worse than a person thinking they’re having a private conversation only to realize that they have an audience. Not realizing they’re on speaker phone is the easiest way for this kind of embarrassing moment to happen. It can be either be funny or heartbreaking, but these moments tend to be very memorable.
We looked throughout Reddit and found the most entertaining "I didn't know I was on speaker phone" moments, and here they are. This content was edited for clarity.
"In high school, I was babysitting my two younger brothers and several of their friends while all the parents went out for dinner. There was this absolute brat of a kid. He would back talk, refused to share anything, cussed, and would kick me in the shin if I tried to get near him. I called my mom to ask what to do and apparently, she thought it would be fun to put me on speaker so everyone could hear how it was going.
First words out of my mouth were, 'MOM, I'm going to KILL this STUPID LITTLE BRAT! [Insert kid's name here] is NEVER coming over here again!'
All I hear is a faint, 'Oh my god' from the kid's mom and I immediately realized I was on speaker and hung up. Thankfully I didn't get in trouble because I wasn't told I was on speaker, but it did ruin our family's relationship with them. I haven't seen that kid in years."
"A friend of mine, who is a girl, and I were driving in my car to another friend's house. I called one of my best friends to see what he was up to and to let him know that me and her are going out for the night.
He responded with, 'Oh no way dude, that's awesome! She has cans!'
My heart stopped and she just looked at me. I said, 'Bro, she's in the car with me and you're on speakerphone...'
She just said, 'Heyyyy...'
He then simply ended the conversation with, 'Yeah, I'm not going out anymore.'"
"A co-worker and I were on a conference call. Basically, it was the entire multinational IT team discussing some project coming up with some corporate bigwigs. So we we're told what we needed to do, and one of the guys from Holland (I'll call him Bjorn) went off on a rant complaining about the workload. He went on for a solid 20 minutes complaining and just talking in circles...but the thing was, this project wasn't optional, we had to do it no matter what, everyone was in the same boat and he actually had one of the lightest workloads having the fewest users to support.
After his tirade is over, the focus switches to the UK team and we're told what we need to do. We basically just said, 'Okay, understood.'
I muted the phone, turn to my co-worker and said: 'You see how much freaking easier it is to just agree to something instead of wasting everyone's time complaining? It's not like we've got a freaking choice. Just get the heck on with it. Is it just me or is every conference call like 10 minutes of useful info, followed by 45 minutes of Bjorn complaining?'
Then my co-worker chimes in, 'Yeah, all he does is freaking whine..."I'm Bjorn, I've got to do some freaking work for once. It's less than everyone else, but I'm going to whine about it for freaking hours." Every time.'
Me: 'Guy's a loser. I've seen how many tickets he does a week. What he calls a busy week, I call an average Monday morning... but it's the way he'll keep whining about something that we can't change. Doesn't matter that it affects everyone, doesn't matter that we've no choice but to suck it up and get on with it, he just talks in circles.'
Coworker: 'Yeah, and why moan about it? It's not like the company's going to say, "Okay, we'll cancel a multi-million-pound project because freaking Bjorn wants to spin in his chair all day."'
Then we noticed the call had gone completely silent. I looked at the phone and saw the mute button wasn't lit up. I about pooped my pants and, for some reason, mute the phone like it will erase the last minute of conversation. There was dead air for what felt like an eternity, then we heard:
'Ummm...UK, did you say something?'
My co-worker and I just stared at each other in horror. The company CEO was on the call, as was the main head of IT.
At that moment, the UK IT Head, whose office was just down the hall, booted the door open, barged into the room making cutthroat motions and mouthed, 'YOU'RE NOT ON MUTE! YOU'RE NOT ON MUTE!'
We just stared back in horror and said: 'We know!'
Then the call went, 'Errr....okay, let's carry on.'
At that point, we saw that the UK IT Head was actually trying not to laugh and we figured we couldn't be in that deep of trouble... then the call went on as if nothing happened. Bjorn, uncharacteristically, stayed silent.
We didn't get in the in trouble for it. No one complained and our boss wasn't angry at us because we were basically saying, 'This is our job, we have to do it so there's no point in complaining,' and Bjorn never complained again probably because he knew we were right.
Now, we laugh about it...but when we realized the phone wasn't muted and the call went silent, we nearly soiled ourselves.
Yeah, lessons were learned that day.
It's standard practice on conference calls to mute your phone when you're not talking to cut down on background noise. So unmute, speak, mute is something I'd done about a million times before...and this time I pushed the mute button and heard it beep. No reason to suspect it wasn't muted.
What I'd actually done was 'double clicked' it. The contact on the button was a bit dodgy, so I muted then immediately unmuted."
'Mom, I think I just got my period again but it's baaaaaaaad!! There's blood everywhere and there are CHUNKS and I don't know what to do!! I think I'm dying, please come home! I think I'm ready to try tampons now.'
Her whole office heard. I was MORTIFIED."
"I got called by a coworker from a different location, whom I never dealt with before. This is paraphrased from 10 years ago:
Coworker: 'Hi, this is Jerry just calling you for the startup meeting for project X.'
Me: 'Who are you?'
Coworker: 'Jerry from the San Diego office, you're the lead engineer on Project X that's been going on since last year.'
There were some other talks about the software being used. I told him I've never used that software before for development.
Me: 'I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't know why I'm assigned to this project as I've never heard of it before and I've never done work for the San Diego office. If you're trying to schedule installation and startup and expecting me to do it, you've got a problem. I've been working on Y for the last year.'
Coworker: 'Well, we're meeting with the customer (I sensed uneasiness) what am I supposed to tell them?'
It was then that I realized I was on speaker.
Me: 'Well, you'll have to figure that out on your own as I've never been involved in the project and if it's been going on for a year like you said, you've got other issues. I would also hope that you wouldn't have me on speaker and I sincerely hope the customer isn't there now.' (I realized the customer was in the room).
Coworker: 'Okay looks like we'll have to get back to you.'
Turned out they wanted me as a scapegoat because they had already spent the customer's money on a different project to cover cost overruns. We closed that office a month later.
Once I figured out what was going on, there was no way I was going down for it. I could tell he got really uncomfortable when I said something along the line of, 'I hope you don't have the customer there.' I really wanted to say, 'You are in trouble,' but that would've been unprofessional.
I didn't do anything wrong. I wasn't on the project. If I was it would've shown up on my timesheet as active.
I talked to my manager about it which is probably what led them to shutting down that office."
"I had my mother's ring resized for my lady as I was planning on popping the question. My lady had no clue.
Fast forward a bit, I was laying on my bed playing around on my phone with my babe right next to me and I got a call from a local number. I answered and heard, 'Hey, is this Roger?'
The guy on the phone: 'Hey it's Chris from [Jewelry store name], just wanted to let you know that the ring is ready.'
I couldn't hang up the phone fast enough. I took a quick glance at my girl and saw she was smiling from ear to ear. It didn't ruin the moment when I asked her and we just tied the knot little over a month ago.
I learned my lesson that day about answering the phone on speaker phone."
"This isn't the happiest story. My dad was supposed to pick up my younger sister and me from school one evening, there was a mandatory club meeting. He never showed up. The school was on the other side of town and the wrong side of the highway so we couldn't walk home. This was also before it was common for kids to have cell phones. My mom had gotten worried and came to find us at the school an hour after we were supposed to be home. She called my dad and put him on speaker since she's against using phones while driving.
His excuse for not getting us was that he never wanted kids. We were her (mom's) problem. Forget the kids, he hated them. He went on a long rant about how much he hates us. My mom was too startled to hang up and my sister and I heard everything.
That was probably the worst speakerphone moment I've ever had.
It took a few years but eventually, they separated.
If you live with abuse long enough, it seemed normal. Some advice after living through this, just live your best life and be nice to those you meet because you never know what someone is going through.
Oh, and also don't assume that everyone had great parents. If someone is estranged from their parents there's probably a reason. A lot of people are offended by me not talking to my parents and think I'm an awful person without knowing my reasoning first.
I had to explain to some of my friends that abusive parents aren't the same as nonabusive parents and that not talking to them is better for my mental health. In a way, I'm glad it's such a foreign concept to them because it means they have a good relationship with their parents. Man is it hard for them to understand though.
I was an accidental child but I was wanted. My dad is the one that named me. I do have two younger siblings that were mostly planned, more than I was at least. My dad was pretty normal throughout most of my younger years but got deep into dope and drinking and that flipped a switch. We have a video of him saying how much he wants/loves the kids from when we were very young. He could be lying for either statement (video or speakerphone one) but that's what we have. After the divorce, he also fought fiercely for visitation rights."
"Back in high school, I was with my friend and our girls' basketball team coach. It definitely was not the best team and the coach was a wonderful person but not a great coach. We had a practice that day and she was telling us how she couldn't make it but someone else from the boys' senior team would step in for the day if enough of us wanted to still have it.
My coach asked me to call around and see if people still wanted to come. I call my friend (MVP) and put her on a speaker (not sure why I guess so the coach could hear her answer ASAP) and I told her the situation. She said, 'Yeah, we might as well still have the practice, our coach isn't really that good and doesn't help us at all, we basically coach ourselves anyway.'
I thought I was able to turn off the speaker before the last few words but the damage was already done. Coach looked a bit upset initially but then said, 'Wait, what did she say? I couldn't hear her.' But the phone was right in between us.
I just said that she said she would enjoy having it and then ran outside the classroom to tell her that she was on speaker phone. This was six years ago and I haven't really used speaker phone since.
The team started improving a little bit when they followed the lead of the senior boys' basketball assistant. Not sure if it was them trying to improve or because he was around more often. They were a much better soccer coach though."
"My friend called to tell me she was pregnant. First thing I said was something along the lines of, 'Oh. Well how do you feel about that?' What followed was an awkward silence where she told me I was on speaker phone and the father was there.
Oops, I guess I should have just said congrats."
"My hands were busy cooking dinner and I was home alone so when I got a call from my doctor, I put her on speaker phone. She was calling about how being intimate can be painful for me because testing came back and xyz reasons. That's when my mom walked into the house and heard a strange woman on the phone telling her daughter what she can do in bed next time to, 'feel pleasure again.'
Thankfully my mom is super chill and she just laughed really hard at the misunderstanding and timing of it all."
"I called my dad. We were chatting and he asked me about an assignment; I proceeded to tell him that the teacher really didn't 'freaking care' what I do as long as I get it in on time.
My family is very liberal with our expletives, he doesn't usually care.
Except for this time he was panicked and informed me that my very Catholic, very mortified grandparents were listening in on speaker.
They didn't live with us. He gave me no warning, not a single heads up. I had no reason to know they were listening. But I guess now they know their granddaughter cusses like a sailor."
"My phone was broken and I could only hear whoever was on the other end on speakerphone. Last week, I was walking out of a university class when I got a FaceTime from my sister. I answered quickly (on speaker) to say I would call her back when I got home but before I got a chance, my 3-year-old niece screamed, 'Auntie, I did a pooooo on the toilet!' Cue lots of strange looks from everyone else in the room also packing up to leave.
I called back later and told her how amazing she was!
Under circumstances such as at the cinema, during class or anything like that, I would of course not answer my phone. This was right after class had finished, half the people had already left, others packing away and it was going to be literally two seconds of the phone call with me saying, 'Sorry, I'll call you back in 20.'"
"I used to work security at a casino. I showed up to a shift one night to be told that my easy typical task of riding around the car parks to make sure there aren't any babies /pets locked in cars was canceled and I'd be hauling my butt around on the main gaming floor all night.
I was annoyed, and after the meeting, I went to the staff cafe to get a coffee and change. Down there, I plop down onto a couch and start complaining to one of my co-workers about my boss, the job, and specific colleagues. I was extremely insubordinate and critical of my own team, but it was ok. This was a private conversation.
Or so I thought until the floor supervisor found me and told me I was sitting on my radio's PTT button. Every security officer, not to mention every surveillance operator (all up, some 140 individuals) on shift had just been treated to ten minutes of me blocking communication lines with my complaining. I wish I could have died right there. I still had 11.5 hours left on my shift.
I didn't stay at that job long. A few weeks. Strictly speaking, nothing about that incident was sackable, but they built a case on minor infractions and stitched me up for it. I was way out of line. It was a shame, I actually really liked my boss.
I lived with that embarrassment for a few weeks. Most of my fellow security guys just felt bad for me. It was an embarrassing situation that could have happened to anyone. My direct boss was obviously very disappointed, and that crushed me because he was a good guy. One guy was happy to see me go, but that was a whole other story."
"I had the girl I like call me to vent about her parents, I put her on speaker because I was writing an essay. She started venting and then my mom walked in and froze when my friend went, 'I WANT TO FREAKING KILL MY MOM AND THEN MYSELF OH MY GOD!'
And I went, 'So, my mom just heard that.'
She likes my mom, so she said hi and went back to venting."
"Not me, but a VP I worked for.
Bluetooth headsets had just come out for the Blackberry phone. VP got one to be cool. (IT VP)
I asked for one but they were limited to upper management.
VP gets on a call with other VPs, CIO, and CTO. He's in Vancouver, they are in San Francisco in a conference room with mics and speakers in the ceiling.
VP needs to pee really badly, so he mutes the headset and goes to the john.
People in San Francisco suddenly stop talking as their eyes turn up towards the ceiling. Someone asks 'Why does it sound like it's raining all of a sudden?'.
VP storms past my desk and throws the headset at me. 'It's yours now!'.
Early Jabra headsets had a bug that would randomly unmute without warning.
And that's how I got my first company paid Bluetooth headset."
"So it wasn't me- but back when I worked at Radio Shack, there used to be a morning conference call from the District Manager (who, I should note, was a colossally pompous, arrogant, petty, vindictive and generally incompetent prick). The general procedure was the store manager or manager-in-training (asst. Manager) to take the call.
It was a well known thing that most people would just freaking mute the DM because it wasn't really a MEETING, more of a chance for him to yammer inane pomposity at a captive audience. However, he would ask the occasional question, so people did have to pay attention.
So one morning I'm in there at stupid-o-clock and miserably groggy when our MIT calls me to the back room, excited as heck. I'm wondering what the heck is going on and then he points to the phone. Low-level, barely audible, I hear what sounds like someone mumbling under our DM's blather. It's profanity, it's there, and it's quiet.
Apparently, it wasn't uncommon for multiple store managers/MITs to swear at/mock the DM while on mute because it was just that fat of a target. This guy hadn't noticed he wasn't muted and because the DM wasn't listening, he seemed to think he was fine.
And then the guy mumbling shouted a quick load of profanity ending with, 'And your freaking nose is half your head, you look like a stupid muppet!'
The conference call goes FREAKING DEAD. The DM sorta stumbled to a stop like a failing engine, and then a few seconds later screams, 'WHO THE HECK WAS THAT? YOU'RE FREAKING FIRED!' into his phone.
Yeah...our MIT and I were nearly on the floor laughing out butts off. It was just too surreal to pass up. The guy did end up being fired."
"I'm a medic. We had a patient pinned behind a tractor and was found the next morning. He was still alive, but not doing well. I knew he was going to die as soon as we moved the tractor, but I called the emergency department physician for any advice. This was on a radio, so no expectation of privacy or anything.
'Doctor we're here with a 45-year-old male, pinned behind a tractor for the last 10-12 hours. Massive trauma noted. Patient is conscious but very weak. Vitals are...we have two IOs going and have administered two liters of fluid and sodium bicarbonate. We have family here as well. Do you have any orders or request further information?'
Just spelling it out.
The stupid doctor responds, 'Oh he's freaking dead.'
Yeah, he's going to be, we're going through the motions. And you just made it so much worse to comfort the family."
"I work as an accountant, and the day before, had been talking with co-worker about a newish (2nd year) client of ours, who shall be Mr. Smith. He had just received his tax return, and wanted us to redo it with some expenses he'd missed. Nothing too unusual, but he'd done the same thing the year before, and coworker and I felt a little odd about it.
So the next day, I get a phone call.
Coworker: 'Hey, I was just talking to Mr. Smith...'
Me: 'Oh man, what does that crook want THIS time?'
Coworker: 'Uh, well, he's on speaker with me here, and it turns out that the expenses were just in different categories than he's used to, and we don't have to change anything after all.'
Needless to say, Mr. Smith was NOT a 3rd year client with us after that."