Who Should Have Kissed Whom

RegretsI recently updated my collection of my favorite xkcd webcomics.

Today I would like to discuss the comic entitled “Regrets”. When I saw this comic, the first thing I did was go to Google to check the numbers. All my numbers were taken on September 9, 2008 at around 3:00 p.m.

Here are the Google hit counts:

  • “I should have kissed her” — 10,600
  • “I shouldn’t have kissed her” — 3,220

The numbers are slightly different than those in the cartoon, but the idea is the same; we regret we didn’t kiss. Does it mean that if you want to kiss someone you should go ahead, or otherwise you would contribute to this pile of regrets? The answer is coming later, but first, let’s see what happens if we change gender:

  • “I should have kissed him” — 3,170
  • “I shouldn’t have kissed him” — 1,240

The same story overall, but for some reason, there are fewer reports by people who either tried or didn’t try to kiss HIM. Is kissing him less interesting or important? Most probably we still expect men to take the initiative in kissing her.

Then I checked the genderless case:

  • “I should have kissed you” — 15,700
  • “I shouldn’t have kissed you” — 1,800

Wow. Looks like we really should start kissing each other. Right? But wait. Let’s check the point of view of a kissee, rather than a kisser:

  • “You should have kissed me” — 494
  • “You shouldn’t have kissed me” — 1,020

We see a completely different picture. It is easy to explain why the numbers are smaller: passive people would be less likely to discuss their feelings. But, even so, they claim that they preferred not to be kissed. Maybe it is OK that people mostly regret that they didn’t kiss. After all, if they had tried to kiss, they might not have been greeted with enthusiasm. This leaves you with a choice between your own regrets that you should have kissed and his/her regrets after you did.

I did regret that I hadn’t kissed you, but I so much prefer that I regret not kissing you than you regret being kissed by me. This small research made me feel better. I will not continue regretting any more.



  1. Brian:

    Really? The regret goes one way for a little while. The regret goes the other way forever.

  2. Clover:

    I put the numbers in, for the last option, and got a rather different result – the “shouldn’t” group were only 10 results more common, and there is a song with the title ‘You Shouldn’t Have Kissed Me The First Time’ and a couple of other similar songs. So it seems that more individuals are in the “should” group, at the end of the day…go out and get kissing ^__^

  3. The Unkisser:

    She asked me, “why don’t you kiss me?” and I didn’t for complicated reasons I couldn’t explain then and it’s tmi now.

    so, it’s more of a question, which I googled and got:

    “Should I have kissed her?” 886
    “Why didn’t he kiss me?” 605

    I did regret not kissing, but didn’t want to deal with the post-kiss. So I got to deal with the post-unkiss and it’s not fun, 22 years later–really pathetic.

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