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The 10 Biggest Life Lessons People Say They Learned From Watching True Crime Documentaries

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woman at crime scene

Many people love a good "murder show" or true crime documentary. They take you through a plethora of emotions from sadness to anger to curiosity, and are even thought-provoking.

But outside of the entertainment value they provide, watching criminals commit heinous acts on television can teach you some very valuable life lessons. 

There are so many reasons people enjoy watching a good true crime show. According to Jean Kim, M.D., the propensity to be drawn to those dark stories can be attributed to a few psychological causes. One is the reassuring narrative, the sense of conflict and resolution.

True crime also reinforces ones own moral clarity, assuring us that we are the "good people." We feel lucky to not be involved in the situation, but get to be part of it vicariously without the associated danger.

RELATED: Psychologist Issues Warning To People Who Relax By Watching True Crime Before Bed

Lastly, we get an education on just how dark and depraved other people can be, and that is what gives us lessons we can apply to our own lives, many of which have been shared by avid "murder TV" watchers on Reddit and Twitter (X) threads.

The first reasons were shared in a Twitter post asking people what they have learned from those podcasts, documentaries, and shows:

Here are 10 of the biggest life lessons viewers say they have learned by watching true crime.

1. Avoid being cremated at all costs. 

One person said that if their death was in any way "mysterious," they should be buried. That way, should suspicions arise, their body could be exhumed and tested, and the person who murdered them brought to justice.

We've all seen stories of a guilty spouse demanding immediate cremation of their husband or wife, after all.

2. Always get an autopsy.

"Autopsy me before the incinerator, please," another user added. Anyone who is an avid watcher of true crime knows that no matter the cause of death, an autopsy should be the very first order of business.

Once you're in the ground, or worse yet, a pile of ashes, getting to the bottom of your demise is tough. 

RELATED: The Reason Women Love True Crime Shows — And Use Them To Relieve Anxiety

3. Be worth more alive than you are dead.

When it comes to life insurance, crime TV watchers say they aren't leaving a nickel behind. Their policy is enough to cover the bare minimum costs needed to lay them to rest — nothing more, nothing less. The notion is that "It's cheaper to keep her... alive."

4. Don't ever be the center of attention.

One woman made a valid point when she said, "You don't want to be the person that 'lights up the room'," as it seems everybody who meets an untimely death is described in that way. Instead, be the Debbie Downer that everyone ignores. 

5. Don't 'start your day like any other day.'

Another common intro to a murder mystery is to explain that the day in question was just like any other regular day, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary or amiss. If you find yourself having a run-of-the-mill start to your day, mix it up.

6. Always make your own drinks.

How many times have you seen a deadly situation start out with the culprit slipping something into a person's drink and the victim ending up dead? Always, always, always "pour your own poison," no pun intended. Or, at the very least, watch carefully as it's prepared. 

RELATED: Why Serial Killers & True Crime Stories Are So Fascinating, According To A Psychologist

Redditors also chimed in on the subject in a post titled: "What has been the ultimate life lesson you have taken away from shows like 'Disappeared' and 'Fear Thy Neighbor'?"

7. Realize that you never truly know a person. 

People turn on their loved ones at the drop of a dime if there is money, illicit affairs, or reputation involved. You never really know what a person is capable of until chaos erupts and they show how far they are willing to go to get what they want. 

8. Stay single.

If you have ever binge-watched, you know that the chances of your romantic partner being behind your murder are pretty high, especially if you're a woman. In 2021, 34% of women killed were slain by a man they thought loved them. 

9. Trust your intuition.

If something just doesn't feel right about someone, go with your gut feeling. Call the police for suspicious circumstances and never give someone who "accidentally" hurt you the benefit of the doubt. It just might have been their first attempt at taking you out. 

10. Keep your comings and goings to yourself unless it's your safety protocol. 

People tend to get killed while going about their regular daily schedule.

According to Redditors, you should never let anyone know where you are, unless it's a parent or someone you really trust. And if you are going somewhere with someone who hasn't earned your trust, be sure to drop that location so several people know who did it if you never return.

RELATED: The Best True Crime Documentaries You Won’t Be Able To Look Away From

NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle, relationships, entertainment, and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.