People Share Unwritten Rules That Everybody Should Know And Follow
There are certain laws that everyone in society is obligated to follow—stopping at a red light, pulling over for emergency vehicles, etc. But there are some things in life that, while not rules legally, should still be followed by everyone. Some of these are lessons we learn through the advice of other people, others are ones we learn from our own hardships.
If everyone shared the same moral code, manners, and thought patterns, life would probably go a lot smoother for a lot of people. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and often times the miscommunication about these unwritten rules can lead to some pretty odd situations. Just take it from these people who recently shared the unwritten rules that everybody should know and follow.
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#1 Permitted Sections
This one is a niche, but relevant to my life. Do not vape when in a space where you are not permitted to. No, they aren’t comparable, but the very same people who don’t want to breathe your air pollution probably don’t want to breathe your vape either. Common courtesy.
#2 Flipping About Phone
If the cashier checking you out doesn’t seem to want to talk or they are moving fast, don’t think they’re rude for not being chatty. Chances are, they’re just one of those people who are quiet when they’re just in the zone. Forcing small talk on them will break that. Also, if you walk up to an employee on a phone or doing whatever, give them at least a few seconds to put their phone down before flipping out and ranting about their lack of professionalism because you never know what might be going on in that person’s life outside of work. Just because they’re on the clock, doesn’t mean you have the right to demand what they were texting about.
#3 Foot Traffic
Foot traffic should be similar to road traffic. Walk on the right side of the walkway, go through the right door of buildings with multiple doors, allow faster people to pass on the left. Don’t “park” in congested areas.
#4 Assume Aggression In Animals
Always ask if a dog is friendly. You never know what kind of weird behaviors a dog has, even if they appear friendly at first. I had a dog who would be fine until someone bent down to pet him. He was very protective and nearly bit a few people. If they had asked first, we could have told them that he doesn’t like being pet by strangers. I would hate to have to put my dog down because you are an idiot around animals.
#5 Courtesy On The Commute
Let people leave the train or bus before you get on. I know you want to get home, we all do. Pregnant and elderly people should get a seat before you, even if have elbowed past everyone to get one. If you want to listen to music, use headphones and not your phone speaker. Don’t vape within three feet of the platform or while in the vehicle. If you are pregnant and I’m staring at my phone with my headphones in and therefore didn’t notice, tell me as opposed to standing close by sighing loudly or making a passive-aggressive comment as I leave. All of this will help my commute.
#6 Lower The Bass
Turn down your bass! Be more considerate of your neighbors in apartment complexes. I’m tired of people sitting outside my window in their car with their bass on full blast… at 3 a.m! (That’s why I’m awake right now.) I’m also greatly annoyed at my neighbors turning up their music to the point where it’s rattling things on my walls. After getting multiple complaints, you should know it’s a problem. Also, they have a lot of small children who should definitely be asleep, but of course they aren’t.
#7 Showing Up Unannounced
Announce your visits. You can’t be offended that nobody is home when you decide to drop by at random. Plus, it’s super unfair to the host since it gives no time to prepare anything and they might have to drop everything they were just doing just to entertain you.
#8 Flung On A Flight
Don’t pull on the seat in front of you when you’re getting up on an airplane. I’ve virtually almost flung into the seat in front of me because someone has grabbed the back of my seat so aggressively.
#9 Only One Child
Don’t ever say, ‘”Oh, you’ve only got one child. That must be so lonely for them.” Because maybe that person tried for years to have that one child, or maybe they chose to have only one for good reasons, or maybe they had another child that passed away and you don’t know about it. Or, maybe it’s none of your business how many children people have. Actually, it’s definitely not your business. So, shhh.
#10 Self Awareness
Be aware of the space you occupy, your movements, and where you are. Don’t zig-zag on sidewalks and don’t fill its entire width either. Be aware of your kid moving their arms like a helicopter. DON’T STOP IN YOUR TRACKS TO CHECK YOUR PHONE. Just be aware of your body and don’t be a dummy. This applies to whole families too, and people in cars, supermarket lanes, etc.
#11 Live And Let Live
I live by this rule I made after thinking about things late at night. If someone does something that makes them happy and confident, and it doesn’t hurt them or anyone else, animals included, then leave them alone. Let them do that thing. Let them be happy.
#12 Raise With Respect
Raise your children in a loving environment, but always make sure you respect them as individuals as well. One day, they’ll be living their own lives and might have to decide whether or not they personally want to take care of you when you’re old.
#13 Leave The Laugh Alone
Never make fun of someone else’s laugh. Laughing is the most natural expression of joy and happiness and for someone to feel self-conscious about that because of someone else’s comments is so brutal.
#14 It’s Okay To Be Wrong
You can be wrong. It isn’t a bad thing, either. And when you are wrong, acknowledge it, and learn from it. You don’t need to dig down in your beliefs to try and comfort yourself because you can’t handle not being right all the time.
#15 Discovering A Scent
Dear Abby says: “A fragrance is meant to be discovered, not announced.” Seriously, just because you’ve gone nose blind to it does not mean everyone else can’t smell it. You’re sittin’ there spraying more on, thinking the company is watering down your perfume or cologne, meanwhile we’re drowning in a cloud of it and we cannot escape.
#16 Included In Group Activities
Try not to leave people out of group activities. Like, if we are ordering take out, ask around. If you’re thinking of a group activity, choose something that everyone can join in on. Even if it’s not possible, letting the person who might be left out know they have been considered, is much nicer than telling them there aren’t enough available spots after you made the decision.
#17 Merge Responsibly
If we are coming from two distinct lines merging into one, I will always let a person from the other line go before me, and then the next person from that line is supposed to let me go before them. This is supposed to repeat until we have formed one orderly line. If you are doing it, you should be saying one “please” and one “thank you.” Any other way of dealing with the line issue is wrong, period.
#18 Learning From Mistakes
Most people learn by making mistakes. Yes, there are some people who can think ahead and foresee the consequences, but I’d say that for any given endeavor, you’re looking at maybe 95% of people who do not. It is human to make mistakes, and then to learn from them. Do not punish people for making mistakes. Treat them as an important part of the learning process. This goes double for children. And also, retrospectively, for yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes, especially the ones that hurt you the most. Those are the ones you learn from the quickest.
#19 Lingering Goodbyes
When someone is leaving and you’ve said your goodbyes, that should mean the conversation’s over. It should not be acceptable to begin a new topic of discussion when someone is on their way out through the door. Especially in extreme temperatures. I know only a handful of people that do this, but man… they are oblivious as to why it would be a bad idea to stand there with the door half-open in the middle of winter to have a five-minute discussion about anything. JUST COME BACK IN OR LEAVE.
When you open the door to leave, walk out. The most you should say is a salutation. Standing there and continuing to talk with the door open is infuriating. We already said goodbye, and goodbyes are awkward when you have to do it a second time. Open the door, walk out, then close the door. Also, saying, “Oh hey wait!” when you forgot to mention something is fine, but deciding to begin a new topic of discussion when someone is halfway out the door is just bananas.
#20 Conversation Flows
If you’re having a conversation, wait two to three seconds after the other person stops talking before starting yourself. Many times they’re just catching their breath or their train of thought and want to continue. Conversations flow 10 times easier, and people are able to fully express their thoughts without talking over each other if you exercise this tiny bit of patience.
#21 Interrupting Excitement
If someone tells you how excited they are about an experience they are about to have, but you did not enjoy the experience yourself, it is not your job to tell them how much you hated it. Especially if they have already spent money on it. For example:
Them: “I’ve been waiting so long for Captain Marvel to come out and we got tickets tonight!”
You: “Dude, I saw it, it’s so boring, skip it.”
Don’t be a killjoy.
#22 What Would Everyone Do
If you are contemplating on doing something, apply that to all people in the world. Think to yourself: what would happen if everybody did that? If the result leads to chaos, don’t do that. Subconsciously, people don’t usually think of themselves as one of many, but as “me and the others.”
#23 Consider The Optics Of Cheating
In relationships, it’s not just about your intentions. Optics matter. Few people who cheat plan to cheat; it’s always “it just happened!” Yeah, it just happened after months of inappropriate texting and messaging that your spouse noticed and asked you to limit. “I won’t cheat!” Isn’t adequate. If you aren’t respecting the fact that it is bad optics to carry on constant, hidden communication with someone who doesn’t respect boundaries, you’re disrespecting your partner.
#24 Prioritizing Phone Over Presence
I don’t use any social media, so my phone is only for calling and texting when necessary. It’s weird to hang out with people when they spend so much of their time on their phones—they’re prioritizing their distractions over your company. Well, as it happens, many people use phones just because they don’t want to experience the discomfort of silence and lack of conversation. They might not be prioritizing their phones over your presence directly, they just might be a bit uncomfortable without the constant distraction. They can’t start conversations properly unless it’s some funny meme or some interesting article they came across. Try to be more mindful of your phone usage in social situations and what it might signal to others.
#25 Leaving Shy Alone
It is not your job to “break someone out of their shell.” By all means, make them feel welcome and appreciated, but if they are more comfortable in silence, then let them be. Some people (myself included) simply aren’t big talkers and don’t want attention. Don’t feel it’s your duty to “open them up.”
#26 Don’t Judge A Book
As the old saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Everyone you interact with friends, family, and strangers alike, keep in mind that they all have different things going on in their lives. A person could seem angry, or distant, or lazy, but could have something else tearing them apart inside that you can’t see and might make you act the same way if you were in the same situation.
Someone could have just lost a job or a good friend. Maybe they didn’t sleep all night, or have some disorder that you don’t know about nor understand. Your first thoughts shouldn’t be that they’re a bad person, they should be, “I wonder if they have something going on in their lives.” Give people some leeway and, if it seems appropriate, ask if they’re okay. A few sentences can help resolve arguments before they happen or relieve an unspoken tension between you.
#27 Polite Parking
Don’t park in other people’s driveways. I came home the other day and my neighbor’s car was parked in my driveway without asking us. We live in a medium-sized city and the street parking was filled. My neighbor’s roommate said he “hadn’t learned the rules of city parking yet.”
#28 Put The Cart Back
Don’t leave grocery carts in the parking lot. Put your grocery cart in the cart return after you put up your groceries. If some jerk left theirs out near you, grab theirs as well.
#28 Job Judgement
Don’t ask people why they aren’t in a “better” or more “prestigious” job. If someone tells you they’re a nurse, don’t ask them why they aren’t a doctor. This is for a number of reasons. First, there are a lot of people who initially tried being doctors but couldn’t make it through pre-med. Asking them is just like sticking a knife through their heart.
Second, there are a lot of people who just don’t have the time or money. Some have kids. Some need a job in two years, not 10. Some people just don’t simply have the means or the ways. Third, and most importantly, some of us don’t want to be DOCTORS, we want to be NURSES. When people ask questions like that, it makes it sound like our job is less important or less prestigious. Frankly, it makes us sound less intelligent. Some people want to be in the jobs that they have.
#30 Overly Chatty In Group Chats
Some people in group chats are very annoying. When someone asks a question, please do not write “^” or “I was wondering that too.” It is just as useless as someone answering by saying, “I don’t know.” The person should just wait until someone can give the information. They do not need to blow up the group chat without providing good information.
#31 Varying View Points
Breaking through personal bias. If you have to work with others, chances are their world perspective is very different from yours. When someone says something you don’t agree with, especially in a work-related meeting, don’t let your disagreeing viewpoint be the first thing out of your mouth. You’ll put the other person in defense mode and the value of the collaboration could be instantly destroyed.
Depending on how committed they are to their viewpoint or how idealistic they are, you will stay ahead of the meeting if you ask the person meaningful questions to elaborate on their point. Then, reclarify what they said so that they feel understood. Once they feel that you understand their viewpoint, they will be more receptive to your opinion. Everyone has an ego. Some are bigger than others and those who have big egos often need their ego stroked before considering an idea that isn’t theirs.
#32 Judging On The Job
Don’t gossip about people you have to see on a daily basis! For example… “Did you see her hair? It looks crazy,” or “Did you hear about what Josh did when he was 14? He acts like he’s a good person but I knew he was trash.” It’s not your place to judge other people’s character or personality traits! You’re only going to create a tenser, more unbearable work environment for everyone.
#33 The Rules Of The Road
I can’t narrow it down to one rule, so here’s a couple that would change the world: Turn off your high beams when there is oncoming traffic, or if you’re behind someone. If you have the right-of-way on the road, GO. You’re not being polite by waving someone on. You’re causing an interruption to the normal flow of traffic and endangering others. The people EXITING the elevator, subway, store, etc., have the right-of-way. Don’t try to get on before others get out. Don’t park your car in the fire zone in front of a gas station, convenience store, etc. Yes, I know you’re just “running in real quick for coffee.” It’s 7-11… We are ALL just running in real quick for coffee.
#34 The Importance Of Being Punctual
Punctuality. If the boomers’ famous lamenting of the younger generations holds any water at all, it’s with our respect for the time of others. Nearly everybody my age considers 15 minutes late to be on time because it’s close. When I tell people I’ll be there at 5 pm and I’m five or 10 minutes late, I’ll apologize. Agreeing on a certain time and showing up 30 plus minutes late is rude without an excuse.
#35 Holding Back On Harsh Truths
Think about who you’re talking to and what can be accomplished before you decide to rain on someone’s parade or set someone straight with your truth. You don’t need to tell some well-meaning, old auntie that there is no God, a two-year-old that there is no Santa, or a climate change denier that, yes, humans are causing the problem. Sometimes, a battle isn’t worth winning and internet points aren’t worth racking up.
#36 Tired Jokes
If you have a joke, question, comment, etc., that you think of immediately when encountering a stranger or interacting with someone you barely know…STOP. They hear it all the time. All you’re doing is annoying them. I’m not saying you can’t say “cool shirt” or whatever but lots of things are either annoying or rude or both. When something doesn’t ring up, don’t ask the cashier if it’s free. Don’t make jokes about names. Don’t ask why someone is using a wheelchair. Don’t tell random women to smile. Closest to my personal heart: I know my service dog is cute, but no you can’t pet him.
#37 Pool Table Politics
Pool table etiquette. One pool table in the bar? No, you and your friends don’t own it. If someone puts quarters on the side rail, that means they play the winner next. Also, if I have the table, no I’m not moving to let you and your tipsy pal play a few. You beat me, you take the table. Unless it’s a play-by-the-hour pool hall or bar, this unwritten rule always applies. I don’t go to bars or drink anymore but this always irritated me when I was younger.
#38 Exiting The Escalator
When you get off an escalator, don’t just stop and stand there. I often see this at shopping centers and malls. Sometimes, people just don’t know where they want to go. And sometimes people meet acquaintances going up or down the escalator and then they form groups of people that gather right in front of the escalator where people are trying to get off. Move further and out of the way, please. It’s horrible trying to get off an escalator and bumping right into other people.
#39 Phone Privacy Invasion
If someone hands you their phone to show you a picture, please, for the love of God, do NOT start swiping through their gallery!! Or if someone gives you their phone to talk to someone, after you hang up, DO NOT start going through their call logs or message history. Basically, if someone gives you their phone for something, do exactly that and nothing else.
#40 Actions Not People
Judge actions, not people. Whenever we see someone do something bad or hear about it from others, we have this internal urge to put that person in a bucket in our head and reduce them to that single act. This is an easy instinct to follow, but we should resist it. If we judge actions instead, we become more forgiving, tolerant, and open-minded. For example, say you have a friend you enjoy spending time with, but they never pay back the money they owe you. After you’ve loaned them a large amount and they come back to you for another handout, you’ll be tempted to label them a “bad person” and kick them completely out of your life.
Instead, just think of it as “This is a person who won’t return the money I loan them.” You can still invite them to dinner, enjoy spending time with them, take their advice; you just can’t loan them money. And maybe avoid leaving them alone with your valuables… As another example, consider people that cheat on their significant others. Just that phrase brings to mind a carefully curated persona in your head: Someone who’s a liar, manipulator, gas-lighter, probably selfish, makes excuses for their actions, blames everyone else for their own failings… This is the kind of thing our culture that cheating marks someone as unforgivable and forever a horrible person.
#41 Proper Parking Lot Etiquette
If you’re driving in a parking lot, drive like you are on the road. I was in a parking lot awhile back, and the car in front of me was looking for a parking space. I was leaving and they passed an empty spot. For some reason, after I was halfway past the spot, they decided to slam on their brakes, throw the car into reverse and back up. The only reason they didn’t hit me was that I was quick enough to look behind my car to see if it was clear while throwing it into reverse. If I hadn’t been paying attention and been as quick as I was, they’d have done some damage to the front end of my car.
#42 Wait For The Wedding Invitation
Do not assume that you are invited to a wedding. Wait for the couple to be the one to offer the invitation. Guest-listing is already hard. Assuming that you are invited and being turned down is super awkward not just for you, but also for us.
#43 Keep It Closed
Eat with your mouth closed. You would think this is common courtesy, but apparently not.
#44 Pregnancy Comments
Do not touch a pregnant woman’s belly, especially if you don’t know them. Do not comment on a pregnant woman’s size either, small or large. Also, do not ask a woman that you don’t know is pregnant when they are due; they may not be pregnant or have just had the baby.
#45 Baby Boundaries
Don’t touch stranger’s kids or babies in public. It is rude to touch a kid just because he or she can’t say “no” to you. Parents also should never let their children to be touched by some strangers.