There are rules, stupid rules, and rules that nobody argues about. Like, the one where you don’t answer out loud if someone whispers to you. Call it common sense, human behavior at its best, or an unwritten rule, that doesn’t change it—you just whisper if someone whispers at you.
So what are these unspoken rules that never get written down and are considered logical arguments or actions? Are they that different when it comes to various people?
A person on r/AskReddit dared to find out as they posted the seemingly simple, yet very illuminating question “What is one 'unwritten rule' you think everyone should know and follow?” 44.7k upvotes and 18.3k comments later, we’ve got some of the most interesting replies. They show some rules worth respecting don’t need to be carved into stone and can perfectly live in the part of the brain where “it’s just like this” is enough to explain why.
Never make fun of someone else's laugh — be it how they sound or how they look. Laughing is the most natural expression of joy and happiness, and for someone to feel self-conscious about that because of other people's comments is so brutal.
Don’t put your music on speakers when in a public space. It’s not like everyone wants the same genre or was in the mood for music. Get your headphones.
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, maybe they chose one for good reasons, maybe that had another child that died that you don’t know about.
Or, maybe it’s none of your business how many children people have. Actually, it’s definitely not your business. So, shhhhh.
Bored Panda reached out to Dr. Daniel Wendler, a therapist and author of “Improve Your Social Skills.” According to Daniel, the unwritten rules are really just an expression of the golden rule, “which is to treat others as you would want to be treated (or even better, to treat others as they would want to be treated).”
Dr. Wendler continued: “Many of society's unwritten rules are simple expressions of empathy and courtesy, a way to put yourself in someone else's shoes and realize what you can do to be kind to them.”
However, if you’re worrying about whether you or someone else lacks common sense, the therapist suggests not worrying about something “so vague that it could mean any number of things.” “Instead,” he suggests, “it's better to focus on the things we have control over—like trying to be a little more kind today than we were yesterday.”
Be kind to people who are working: food staff, medical staff, etc. Don’t take your bad day out on someone else.
For buses/trains/any other public transportation, let people exit first before you get on.
Don't say s**t about someone's appearance if it can't be fixed in less than 30 seconds. Spinach in someone's teeth? Let a homie know. Body type? Bad haircut? Worn-out clothes? Don't need to mention it.
Dr. Wendler also said that there are many people who struggle to pick up on the unwritten social rules. “Sometimes, this is because they didn't have a lot of opportunity to socialize with others growing up, so they never got experience in putting themselves in someone else's shoes and learning what was expected.”
Other times, “it's because they have a condition such as autism or social anxiety that makes it more difficult to read other people and learn how to interact socially.”
Dr. Wendler claims that the good news is that whether it's easy for you to pick up on social rules or difficult, everyone can get better at it. “Just try to challenge yourself to get 1% better each day—maybe learn one unwritten rule, or practice one social action—and before you know it, you'll see dramatic improvement,” he concluded.
Do not swipe left or right if someone shows you a photo on their phone.
I live by this rule I made after thinking about things late at night.
If someone does something that makes them happy and confident. If it doesn't hurt them or anyone else, animals included. Then leave them alone, let them do that thing. Let them be happy.
Meanwhile, Lynn How, a life coach and author of “Positive Young Mind” who specializes in supporting educators, parents, and children with improving and prevention of mental health issues, told Bored Panda that unwritten rules are important to establish a certain culture, whether it is in a sports, company, or societal context.
“They are needed to ensure at least a basic level of expected behavior. For example, your boss has never said to you that you can't drink alcohol at work, but you know this already without needing it written down or having verbal clarification,” the author explained.
While most people do share a common understanding of unspoken rules, some have more difficulty picking them up. “We need to take time for a more detailed explanation of something we feel doesn't need to be said where required,” Lynn suggests.
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.
Always say please and thank you. Just because your an adult doesn't give you the right to stop practicing manners. Drives me crazy.
Chew with your mouth closed. Shocks me how many adults i see chewing with their mouth open.
“Perhaps the person has a particular additional need that would require a more detailed explanation or it may be that the person in question did not have good role models growing up, which means they may find that many things that were acceptable in their family are not acceptable to the wider world.”
Alternatively, there may be a solid reason why one unspoken rule or another has not established itself among groups of people. Lynn suggests various causes may be at play, like “maybe your company’s unspoken rules are quite strict or perhaps there is an unwritten dress code?” In that case, Lynn recommends turning this sort of unwritten rule into a written one.
There was only 1 rule in my house growing up...do not wake anyone up. My parents worked shift work. Its amaZing to me now how many people don't respect sleep.
There are 2 people in your life you NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES LIE TO. Your doctor and your lawyer.
If you're borrowing it for a third time, you need one of your own.
FFS be self-aware. I mean, be aware of the space you occupy, of your movements, of where you are. Don't zig-zag on sidewalks, don't fill the entire width of the sidewalk. Be aware of your kid moving their arms like a helicopter. DON'T STOP IN YOUR TRACKS TO CHECK THE F**KING PHONE, walk slower, or step aside but don't be that kind of person.
Just be aware of your body and don't be a dummy. This applies to whole families too, and people in cars, in supermarket lanes, wherever.
Don’t leave your shopping cart in the middle of the grocery aisle!
Wash your hands after the toilet. Walkouts are shocking.
If you borrow someone's car, fill up the tank before you return it.
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 or cancel their plans.
Don't let friends drive drunk. Maybe offer to get an uber or something for strangers, too, if you can
Always ask if a dog is friendly. You never know what kind of weird behavior things a dog can have, even when 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. I'd they has 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.
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 2-3am! ((That's why I'm awake right now.)) I'm also greatly annoyed at my neighbors turning up their music (bass) to the point where it's rattling things on my walls. After getting multiple complaints you know it's a problem thus are choosing to be bad neighbors. *Also they have a lot of small children who should definitely be asleep but of course arent.
When driving a car, dont be nice, be predictable. People being nice leads to a s**tload of accidents.
When out to dinner with a group, only the person who ordered the least expensive meal/combo of things can offer to split the check evenly.
I have two:
1. do not wear perfume or cologne if you’re getting on an airplane.
2. do not use speaker phone or play videos on your phone without headphones in public places. Especially in public transit.
If someone asks you a question, finish what you’re saying with, “what about you?”
Enjoy noticing how many people actually don’t do this.
DON’T USE THE URINAL IN YOUR DREAM! You’ll thank me later.
If you have to cancel on a friend, it should be your responsibility to reschedule.
If your going out to dinner with other people, and theyre paying, dont order the most expensive thing on the menu, go cheap
If you're going to listen to music, videos, or anything else on your phone that requires sound and isnt a phone call, either wait until you get home or invest in some headphones.