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As you grow up, you start to notice that there are little things one can do to make everyone’s life easier. More often than not, these aren’t exactly laws and regulations, just emotional intelligence and life experience all rolled into one. 

Someone asked “What's an 'unwritten rule' of life that everyone should know about?” and netizens shared their best examples. So get comfortable as you read through, upvote your favorites, and share your own examples in the comments below. And if you want to see some other examples, check out our other article on unwritten rules of life. 

#1

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” When your roommate, partner, spouse, child, etc. just got home and is still taking off their shoes, putting their keys away, etc....do NOT greet them with a "to-do" request or some sort of reminder. It's a universally s****y feeling to be greeted by that.

believe0101 , Allan Mas / pexels (not the actual photo) Report

#2

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” If you want to listen to something in public, use f*****g headphones.

sheepbridges , Mark Rohan / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

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jett_mcm1
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Agree so much. Everyone has different music tastes, and this should apply for every audio, not just music

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“Read the room” is probably one of the best bits of advice for anyone anywhere. It applies to everything from creative work to managing one’s relationships. Because knowing things is just half the battle, people need to know when and where to actually vocalize them. 

Interestingly, the entire concept of “read the room” originated not with life advice, but with robbery. A good thief needed to identify marks, risks, and opportunities, so they would “read” the room they were in. It’s only relatively recently that people have switched over to using this idea in the context of emotional intelligence. Perhaps it’s for the best. 

#4

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” If you're walking in a group, don't take up the whole goddamn sidewalk/hallway/tunnel/railroad tracks/trail/path.

marianormann , Stanley Morales / pexels (not the actual photo) Report

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#5

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” Saying thank you, please or sorry when needed. There is nothing wrong in being polite.

Moon_Jewel90 , Brett Jordan / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

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Bell-icose
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Showing kindness is a sign of strength. Especially in those who don't 'have' to.

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#6

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” Let people get off the elevator/bus/whatever before you shove your way on. 

cubs_070816 , bruce mars / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

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Tams21
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

People that don't do this aren't just inconveniencing others but also themselves. You can't get in while people are still trying to get out

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This is just as true in the workplace as well. After all, unless you are pretty close with your coworkers, most folks don’t want to hear about your baby or your family drama on a Monday morning. Indeed, given the amount of time we spend at work, it might be a better place to really internalize “read the room” and pay attention to these unwritten rules

#7

Your lack of preparation does not equal someone else’s emergency.

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Tracy Bower
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My dad's favorite Navy quote was similar..."A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine"

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#8

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” I don’t remember who said this or where I heard it, but I always liked the quote, “if someone tells you that you made them feel a certain way, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”

CockroachBorn8903 , Baptista Ime James / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

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Amelia Jade
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This one is huge. Don't get defensive. Apologize. Even if your intention was not to make someone feel bad or whatever--apologize anyway and then figure out how to do better. I appreciate being called out because it is how I learn to be a better person. But you have to take ego out of it, and that isn't always easy to do.

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#9

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” You having a bad day doesn't mean that you have to ruin other people's day.

Cutegirl-4 , - - / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

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Bell-icose
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

All you can control is your reactions to the world around you.

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Despite the fact that these are “unwritten” rules, the good people of the internet have put a lot of work into assembling these ideas, tips, tricks, and life lessons. So if you are interested in reading more, Bored Panda has got you covered, check out our other article on things that everyone should know

#10

Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean it's not true.

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Mingey
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This !!!! Also just because you can't remember it or weren't there doesn't mean it didn't happen.!!!!! At times it's hard not to "argue" with stupid !!!

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#11

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” Don’t post what you wouldn’t say in person.

Herstorical_Rule6 , Thomas Lefebvre / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

#12

Always leave a place a little better than you found it 🌱✨. Whether it's cleaning up after yourself at a friend's place, picking up litter during a walk, or just offering a kind word to someone in need, these small acts of kindness and respect make a huge difference. It's about adding value to the world in tiny, manageable ways. 🌍❤️

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Daniela Lavanza
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I do so, especially in shops. Retail worker’s work should be respected. :-)

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#13

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” You can't argue with stupid.

heckydog , Liza Summer / pexels (not the actual photo) Report

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David Paterson
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

One of my favourite sayings is "Never argue with an idiot. People may not know the difference."

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#14

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." George Carlin

CrazyMarlee , Heather Mount / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

#15

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” Secure your own oxygen mask before helping others.

Seriously. Take this bit of advice and carry it whatever you go through. You can be the most empathetic, helpful, caring person, but even if that's your one goal, by neglecting yourself you won't be the best you can be for others. Sort out mess in your own life, don't carry loads you can't, and everything else will be so much simpler.

Naturage , Alejandro Quiñonez / pexels (not the actual photo) Report

#16

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” You'll never be thanked the way you want to be thanked. Your reward is the good you do, not the praise you get from it.

5amteetimeguy , Lesly Juarez / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

#17

Putting the grocery cart back costs you nothing.

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TotallyNOTAFox
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In fact in most european countries you get the coin back that you have to insert first

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#18

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” Treat others how you want to be treated. It's simple, universal, and fosters respect and empathy in all interactions.

AngelicAriaXXX , 周 康 / pexels (not the actual photo) Report

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UndertaleLover (She/Her)
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Except if you're a masochist. Then treat others the opposite of the way you want to be treated.

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#20

If someone takes the time and goes to the expense of sending you a gift for your graduation, wedding, baby shower, etc., have the common decency to acknowledge it and send a thank you note, email, text, or phone call.

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Xenon
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Happened to me too many times. I no longer send gifts or money.

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#21

You can do everything right and still not win, sometimes that's just life.

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#22

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” If a toddler gives you a toy phone, you reply. If a little girl gives you an empty toy cup of tea, you pretend to drink. If a little boy shoots you with a toy gun, you pretend to be hurt.

OldPyjama , Ann H / pexels (not the actual photo) Report

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Amelia Jade
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What if a little boy gives you a cup of tea, and a little girl shoots you with a toy gun?

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#23

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” If you wouldn’t take advice from someone, don’t take criticism from them either.

classless_classic , Jessica Da Rosa / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

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Another Panda
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would take this advice with a grain of salt. Anyone can have an insight about our behavior that can actually be helpful. If we are behaving/responding/treating someone poorly, or our behavior is in some way destructive, and it is suggested by someone that we consider this - well, consider it. They may be right. Too many of us get very self-centred and selfish at times without realising it; it may be good to get feedback.

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#24

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” You remember far more embarrassing moments about yourself than your environment remembers about you.

Do_Not_Touch_BOOOOOM , Ivan Aleksic / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

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Mike F
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's not always true, say/do one stupid thing at a family gathering and they'll bring that $hit up at your funeral.

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#26

If someone tells you something that

- is private

- isn't illegal, immoral, or otherwise putting anyone's life or finances or property at risk

then keep it the f**k to yourself unless prompted otherwise by that person.

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NutsnB0lts
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm very good at keeping secrets because I always forget them a few days after they are told to me...

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#27

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” Character is what you do/who you are when no one is watching.

WaterEnvironmental80 , Philip Martin / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

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Surenu
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

So apparently, for me at least, character means not wearing pants

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#28

Don’t waste time trying to convince people to care about you. They will or they won’t.

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#29

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” Not every bad person is going to suffer or have some karma happen to them.

Wolfeking69 , Gianfranco Grenar / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

#30

As a dog owner I would like to see more people ask if its okay to pet the dog, not just go for it. Children are usually good at asking first, but way to many adults just go for it. My dog is not yours to just pet. Ask first. And deal with the answer sometimes will be no.

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LaserBrain
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Definitely. I always ask an owner first if it's ok to approach their dog. Otherwise you also run the risk of getting tooth holes in your hand, and it would be your fault.

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#31

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” If you open something, close it.

RiseinAshes , Maria Lupan / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

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Pernille.
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Especially fences, got chased by a herd of black Camargue bulls last week because some stupid hiker forgot to close the fence, luckily I was on horseback and the hikers were much slower.

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#32

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” Think of your future self not as your current state/mindset but as someone else you have to protect and provide for because that's who they are.

You don't know what they want differently than you do now, what has happened to them, their health, their tragedies, their triumphs, the lessons you haven't had yet, the changes you don't know you have to make, what feelings you have now that they don't... So make sure you're setting them up with the best intentions at heart. They are relying on you for stability & safety, and are watching you thru the memories you're creating now.

Tokijlo , Giulia Bertelli / unsplash (not the actual) Report

#33

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” Never screw with someone’s lunch break. Most people hate their jobs, and that half hour to an hour they get to be on their own and enjoy their food and/or just time alone is sometimes the only peace and enjoyment they get for 8+ hours.

If you see someone eating in their car, park or walk somewhere else away from them so you don’t disturb them, if they’re in the office by themself, wait until they’re done to talk to them, if it’s close to the normal lunch hours (between 12-2PM), anything you need from that person can wait until after they get back from their lunch. Never. F**k. With. Lunch.

arvo_sydow , Malte Helmhold / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

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Kesam
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's not universally true that most people hate their job. It might be true in some countries, but here in Norway, about 90% say they enjoy their job. https://www.ssb.no/arbeid-og-lonn/artikler-og-publikasjoner/bonder-og-leger-blant-de-mest-tilfredse-med-jobben

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#34

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” Your actions speak louder than your words.

BigMoney5594 , Markus Spiske / unsplash (not the actual photo) Report

#35

Learning to 'read the room' is one of the most important, and probably underrated, social skills to have in your locker.

If you're leading a conversation and the other person/people start to look away, act slightly distracted, or interject with different topics, take the hint and change the subject.

Not everyone is as interested as you are in your favourite topics. It doesn't mean you're boring (necessarily), but this isn't the right audience for whatever you're talking about right now.

I'm consistently blown away by the number of grown adults, even in their 30s or 40s, who haven't learned this yet and just yammer on obliviously.

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#36

Kindness will be the most valuable item you can use as currency. Without it, you lose long term value with everything we touch.

Examples of a person who invested with kindness?

Mister Rogers

He earned the respect and dignity of the world.

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Ms.GB
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Don't forget Bob Ross. I just want to sit down and have lunch with Mr. Rogers and Bob Ross....and Keanu.

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#37

Think before you speak.

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General Anaesthesia
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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#39

Ive always put this rule directly under the golden one. 


NEVER OVERSTAY YOUR WELCOME.

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#40

Self-awareness is a superpower, to be able to pat your own back and call yourself on your c**p is priceless.

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Javelina Poppers
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Self deprecating humor is also a priceless quality. Being able to acknowledge and laugh at your own faults and foibles breaks down many barriers.

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#41

Chew t with your mouth closed. And don't talk with food in your mouth.

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Tabitha
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If you MUST speak with food in your mouth, at least put your hand in front of it first and try not to spit on your own hand.

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#42

Your mental map of how things work is wrong in many ways.

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#43

Respect the atmosphere of the room you walk into. If it's quiet, you will be quiet. If it's louder, you can be loud.

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Amelia Jade
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1 month ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I love this one! As a doula I lived by this. I would follow my client's lead. Sometimes I had laboring clients that would want a quiet room, they would whisper or barely talk. So, I was quiet, would whisper and only talk when necessary. Occasionally I'd have loud clients--like the one who wanted to play Friend's Trivia while she was in labor. It was a pretty boisterous room. But one time, I was with a client where it was a very subdued labor. Quiet music, hushed voices, room really dark except for a few battery operated candles. And their L&D nurse kept walking into the room practically shouting, telling jokes, and trying to be cute about everything. I'm like, "read the room!" My clients hated her.

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#45

Life isn't fair. 

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Bo'owowo'uh
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

But that doesn't mean we should make it less fair, or use apathy when it comes to improving fairness

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#46

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” If your wife says she doesn't need presents you still buy her presents.

ImFrenchSoWhatever , Any Lane / pexels (not the actual photo) Report

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LaserBrain
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Or you could just take her at her word and not act like you know better than her what she wants.

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#47

You are not the main character. Your actions affect everyone around you as well.

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Nina
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1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You're the main character in YOUR life, just don't expect to be that in the lives of others. And yes, ofcourse your actions affect others around you.

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#48

Mood and feelings are like the weather. "I've found that it's of some help to think of one's moods and feelings about the world as being similar to weather. Here are some obvious things about the weather: It’s real. You can't change it by wishing it away. If it's dark and rainy it really is dark and rainy and you can't alter it. It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row. But. It will be sunny one day. In the same way that one has to accept the weather, so one has to accept how one feels about life sometimes. "Today's a c**p day," is a perfectly realistic approach. It's all about finding a kind of mental umbrella. "Hey-ho, it's raining inside: it isn’t my fault and there's nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow and when it does, I shall take full advantage."

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#49

“Take The Hint”: 50 Things People Should Do That Are Basically “Unwritten Rules” Not all rules are blindly meant to be followed.

pementomento , Joshua Miranda / pexels (not the actual photo) Report

#50

Relationships (romantic, familial, friendly, work) are compromise. If you're not willing to help the world around you, don't be surprised when the world doesn't help you in return.

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UndertaleLover (She/Her)
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well, this isn't true. Many extremely UNhelpful people still get lots of help, unfortunately.

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