November 15, 2019 | Eul Basa

People Share The Unspoken Rules Of Life That Are Universally Accepted

There are some rules that all humans just know and accept, despite never having officially been told of them. Some of these have evolved out of good manners and basic decency, while others are based on simple logic and reasoning. When you interact with other people on a daily basis, you start to easily pick up on these rules, but so many of them exist that you may slip up and forget one or two. To give you a refresher course, here's a list of unspoken rules of life that are universally-accepted:


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#1 Bad Timing

NEVER propose at someone else's wedding, ever. It's a lot more prevalent on Twitter, there are videos of when the bride throws her bouquet and then the crowd of women run away to see one girl catch it. She then turns around and she's her significant other behind her on one knee. In my opinion, it's weird to propose at someone's wedding.

#2 Guilty Feeling

If you work in childcare and see a baby walk for the first time, you don’t say anything to the parent. I watched a mother throw her handbag across a room and break down in tears while saying she was a bad mother for not spending enough time with her child. She had been back at work for three months, three days a week. Single parent, no support. It breaks their hearts.


#3 Chromosome Man

Ignore anyone who addresses a bus full of people to spread a message. Just look at your phone and let it go. Except for Chromosome Man. There’s this guy on the 310 bus called “Chromosome Man," and every day when school is out, he asks the kids: “Hey kiddos, who wants to learn about chromosomes?” And if the whole bus is into it, he teaches them a new thing about chromosomes and how they work. You MUST listen to Chromosome Man because if even ONE person isn’t into it, he sits down. He has a big old chart and everything.

150814-F-HS813-021Air Force Medical Service

#4 That's My Spot

There is no seating arrangement in a university class, but no one should sit in my seat. Man, my seat preference is so entrenched at this point that I came in a few minutes late on the first day of class this quarter and people had saved the seat for me. They knew.

5th_Floor_Lecture_HallWikimedia Commons

#5 Just Be Mindful

If you're watching garbage Facebook videos in the break room and other people are trying to enjoy their hour of peace, wear some freaking headphones, Alana. This is why I always bring earbuds with me. Even if I wasn't going to listen to something, if someone starts playing their shit through their phone speaker, I can just put my earbuds in and turn on music or a podcast. Boom, now I'm not annoyed with the other person, and I'm entertained as a bonus.

Music Headphones Girl Listening Head Woman LadyMax Pixel

#6 Elevator Etiquette

When you enter an elevator, you face the door. On my daily commute, there is an elevator with different exits on different levels. So, I always go in and face the exit door for the street level. All the tourists look at me as if I'm a maniac. And when the door opens they all have to turn around with a look of mild distress on their face, while I exit first.


#7 Never Say No To Grandma

You don't reject your grandma's offer of food. My dad was pretty religious, and his mother wasn’t. My dad stopped over at my grandparents’ house when my grandmother had just made a cake, and she offered him a slice. It was a religious holiday that day, and my dad explained to her that he couldn’t oblige because he was fasting due to the holiday.

My grandmother was furious at my dad for not eating that cake... so much so, that she threw her cake cutting knife in disgust, and it ended up sticking vertically up from the floor. My dad was always super mild-mannered but ended up marrying my mom, who also had a fiery personality. I guess he was used to that personality type.


#8 Do Not Disturb

You do not initiate small talks with someone with their headphones on. I had a girl do this to me and my dumb self took it as a sign she was into me... because you must really want to chat with someone if you do something like that.

160322-F-PF761-039Air Force Reserve Command

#9 Forced Communication

I once worked at a place with an open floor plan and so everyone was always wearing headphones to drown out ambient noise. Also, that place had a culture of no one ever responding to email or returning calls. The only way to communicate was to walk over to their desk and bother them. Everyone would get all upset because duh, they had their headphones in, but if you make yourself unavailable and unaccountable by every other method of communication, I sort of have to bother you if you are the choke point of a large project. It's probably not a coincidence that the same people that were always the ones holding up projects were the ones who hated being bothered by any means of attempted communication. I hated that place, and whoever came up with open office plans needs to be banned from the human race.

#10 Leave Me Alone

Back in high school, I used to ride the bus freshman and sophomore year. My stop was always the first, so I’d be one of the first people to find a seat. There used to be this annoying guy who’d always sit next to me rather than sit on the other 30 seats. He always smelled bad from morning to afternoon. I’d either listen to music or take a quick nap on the bus, yet he would always touch my shoulder, talk to me, or sit close enough to me to the point of his body rubbing against me. He was too ignorant to understand that the last thing I wanted was to talk to him. Wow. Pretty much venting about something that happened years ago.


#11 Just Be Nice

Don't mess with the people who make your food. I wish my family obeyed this rule. I went for lunch with my sister once who works in a cafe and knows everything. We ordered, paid at the counter and they told us to sit down as they'd bring the food out to us. Perfectly normal interaction as I remember it. My sister sat down and started talking about how that was an unacceptable service. At her work, they always smile and say thank you with eye contact. Two minutes later, the woman who served us came out, put her food on the table, bent down to my sister's eye level, smiled and said the most sarcastic, "Thank You!" I've ever heard in my life. As embarrassed as I was, it was a beautiful moment and I'm glad I got to witness it.

Two_women_eating_sushiWikimedia Commons

#12 Well Then...

If you have two friends over at your place who don't know each other, you don't leave them alone. The exception to this rule is if you are trying to set them up. My friend Pete once left the room to do something and left me alone with one of his other friends. I looked him straight in the eyes and asked "Which version of William Shatner would you prefer to sleep with, 60's or Wrath of Kahn?" By the time Pete came back out, the other guy had left for some reason.


#13 Play Conversations

When a child hands you a toy phone, you pretend to have a conversation.  My 5-year-old orders pizza on the play phone and hands it to me: "They need your credit card, daddy. I typically just say they can use the one on file... That is some A-level strategy right there. My 5-year-old's social engineering tactics have failed. But I'm cautious, he may try new strategies.


#14 Rules For Chivalry

You only hold the door open for someone if they are within a 2-meter radius. That's the rule in an ideal world. The actual rule seems to be: only hold the door open for someone if they're within a 2-meter radius or you've made eye contact with them, no matter how far away they are. I've started looking down at my feet or my phone when I'm still really far from a door that someone is going in. Because if they turn around and look me in the eye, they aren't moving from holding that door even if it takes me a full 30 seconds to get there. I also never run to get to doors that people are holding open for me from too far away.


#15 That Was Uncalled For

“In the house of a hanged man, don’t talk about rope.” Old proverb. Meaning, don’t dig up old, nasty stuff with people you know will be uncomfortable or offended. My girlfriend's mother is terrible at this. She said "If you listened and were around more" to her stepson, while standing over his father who passed away less than one hour ago, in front of us. And she kept going on about it too throughout the week, straight to his face.


#16 Don't Be Snoopy

DO NOT! I repeat, DO NOT go through someone’s nightstand drawers. Someone once went through my drawers while tipsy, found my stash of personal items and then decided to display them in a nice organized fashion from most interesting to least. He then had a full-on photoshoot with them and sent them to me. I was not home to stop him—it was funny I’ll admit, but again, PEOPLE SHOULD NOT GO THROUGH NIGHTSTANDS!


#17 "The Water Is Cold Today"

When choosing a urinal, if you possibly can, leave at least one between you and the next guy. No peeking, no talking. Unless you go up to the short one on the end, unzip, and a few seconds later go: "Oh, the water is cold today..." I always hear about the "unwritten unspoken" rule of leaving a buffer urinal. I think that is the most spoken and written rule ever. How many memes are there for this? If I have to hear one of my brothers talk about leaving a urinal buffer I'm going to lose it. And women do this with stalls too, you know.


#18 Two Is Better

If you invite a Baptist to go fishing and you don't want to share your drink, invite two Baptists. I've always heard this joke with Mormons. If you don't want the Mormon to drink all of your beverage, invite two Mormons.


#19 Grabbing The Bill

If you offer something, you offer twice only. If they say no both times, you don't push it. I thought this was the rule. We helped a friend move house one day, then all went out for pizza. The check came, and the friend's parents went to grab the bill. I politely said, "Oh, we can get our share!" expecting them to insist, as we'd just spent the day helping their daughter move. The dad shrugged and said, "Okay," and threw out just enough cash to cover himself, his wife, and daughter. I was flabbergasted.


#20 Just Tell Them

If you notice something on someone that can be fixed within five minutes, tell them. A lot of people don't do this because they feel they'll embarrass the other person while it's more embarrassing for them to have the problem longer.  My husband is this way. Once, we went to go play in the snow at a tourist-packed resort and I kept asking him if my nose was running. My nose was numb and it kept giving a weird tickle itch line it was, but he assured me I looked fine. Since it wasn't running I'd just absentmindedly swipe at my face with my jacket sleeve any time it felt tingly.

Hours later, we go to a cafe to eat dinner and I catch my reflection in the window on the way in. He lied, by God did he lie. I had thick layers of dried snot smeared ALL OVER my face, and he thought he was being nice by letting me walk around happily oblivious.

#21 Letting It Rip

Don’t giggle at the awesome farts that you hear someone ripping in a public bathroom. Also, don’t talk to strangers at a urinal.... Please. I was taking a leak at work. There was a person using the stall who was clearly having a significant excretory event. I'd been in a meeting and had been holding in a fart, which had grown to alarming proportions. I let it rip. There was a brief moment of silence, then the guy in the stall sighed audibly and said with a wistful tone, "Yours was better."

Canva - Two Bearded Man Giving Each Other Fist BumpCanva

#22 The Internet Is Forever

The internet is forever, so be freaking careful what you put on it—especially if your real name, face, and details are attached. People will find them and bring them up at the worst possible times. A few seconds of thinking about if it's really a good idea to post that comment or whatever can do a lot of good.


#23 Nod Etiquette

When making eye contact with someone from a distance, you nod down if you don't know them, and "nod" up if you do. This is something I didn’t realize I did subconsciously. I just did both nods, and realize I do them only in those situations. Also, the "nod" up can also be used as a "What the heck you lookin' at" for strangers.

London Road City Street People Winter Urban SpaceMax Pixel

#24 Anyone's Your Best Friend

If someone you don't know suddenly strikes up a desperate conversation and seems to be wary of their surroundings while on a night out—they are your best friend. Best friend.... because they're probably being harassed by another tipsy patron and need some backup. I don't care if it's your mortal enemy, you act as if you love them because they've got problems. You do not ignore someone like that.


#25 Protect Each Other

My wife, son and I were at Target doing some shopping and a young girl came over and looked scared, but started talking to my wife. My wife picked up what was going on immediately and gave her a big hug, pretending she was family she hadn't seen in a long time. The girl's mom was at the store next door so she was there alone. She said that a creepy older dude was following her around the store. She was shaking she was so scared. I went to scope him out but he was gone. We hung out with her until her mom showed up. It was scary.


#26 Collapse On Demand

If a child shoots you with a toy, you act hurt or pretend to collapse for them. No questions asked. I learned this when I became an aunt. With my niece, I drop dead and her giggles fade. She looks around and I can tell she was feeling uncomfortable, so I got up and acted like everything was okay. She screamed her head off while running away crying, but she laughed about it later.

170413-F-OP138-027Air Education and Training Command

#27 The Zipper Rule

Zipper Rule: when driving and two lanes become one, drivers merge from alternate lanes one at a time—right, then left, then right, then left ... like a zipper. One thing I hate about living in the south is that people think they’re being polite by letting multiple cars merge in front of them, but they’re actually causing their lane to stop and back up even further! Many times on my drive home, I yell out of exasperation, “That’s not a zipper! That’s not what a zipper looks like!”


#28 Dibs Not Required

You don't flirt with your friend's girlfriend or the girl he's trying to get with. Or if he asks her to dance and she says no, you don't run right up to her and ask her. Especially if you're a lot better looking than he is. Yeah, that's right. Screw you, Dave. I hope that dance was worth it.

Canva - Man Standing in the Center of CrowdCanva

#29 "Brotocol"

Funny story. My friend came across a girl on Tinder and sent me her profile because he thought she might be my type. I did not hit her up because it turned out to be a girl our other friend was trying to get with and is dating now. I’ve never met this girl for some reason, but if I ever do, I’m not ever telling her this story.


#30 Manners, Please

Close your mouth when you chew. I had an Uber driver once and he insisted I sit in the front seat. I normally sit in the back because I’m trying to get somewhere, not have a conversation, but I went to the front anyway. He then proceeded to eat constantly, and chew and slash talk with his mouth full, while making gross smacking noises. Biggest regret ever.


#31 Microwave Law

If you are done using the microwave and there is time left, you must clear off the remaining time. Don't be a savage. My wife has does this. More than a decade with her, and it still infuriates me because it is the easiest clock to see while walking through the house. It only takes a single press to cancel it but no. She doesn't even leave it with a few seconds. She'll leave minutes. I've watched full TV shows only to walk past and wonder how it is still only 1:17 in the afternoon. Just run. Run now unless there is something so redeeming about this person that you can overlook this.


#32 Don't Be A Creep

You don’t take pictures of kids that aren’t yours. Some guy from a company union came to my house and was talking with my husband. I was playing with my daughter and I noticed him taking pictures. It was a super awkward conversation asking him to leave and delete the pictures. He was saying it was because my daughter has so much hair and he wanted to show his wife. I just let him know if he wanted a picture of her hair he should've asked. She was born with a full head of pretty thick hair so I can see the interest but the way he executed it wasn't appropriate.

#33 Tong Taps

When using tongs, you must always click them together a couple of times. This scares the living heck out of my dog. I've never pinched her with them, but she seems to be under the impression that I'm going to attack her with them. It's unfortunate because she also wants to be around me at all times.


#34 Rules Of IT

Don't ask the IT department for help with your personal device unless you are somehow able to compensate them. I was surprised when I was compensated for helping them. I was just going to do it because I was unbelievably ticked off that Geek Squad wanted $400 to switch their laptop out of tablet mode.


#35 Make Sure Your Boys Eat

IF YOUR FRIEND LACKS MONEY AND YOU GO OUT WITH THEM AND THEY REFUSE TO EAT, PAY FOR IT. This may be biased but I always make sure my boys eat. That's actually a rule my parents raised me with. If you're the one paying, order whatever you want. If you're the guest, order something equal or lesser cost than the person footing the bill.


#36 While They're Still Young

If a two-year-old speaks gibberish to you, you reply with either "You think so?" or "Thank you for telling me." You've got to enjoy them while they're still young. Though this does remind me of that wholesome meme where this dude was introduced to Jeff Goldblum at a party, and the guy was like, "Hey, this is Chris," and Jeff was like, "MY GOD, OF COURSE!"

Boy Man Son Dad Father Son Father And Son FatherMax Pixel

#37 Kick The Can

If you're the first one to see that the trash can is full, you are obligated to empty it. Now, if you're sharing an apartment in college and you are the first one to see it and no one else is around, you push the trash down so the trash no longer looks full. Maybe that will give your roommates the wake-up call they need.

190824-F-ID959-1196Keesler Air Force Base

#38 Keep The Fantasy Going

Don't ruin Santa Claus for little kids. One time, my friends and I were at lunch and we started talking about that Christmas. The conversation eventually got to Santa Claus. Someone mentioned that it's funny how little kids believe that Santa exists... then, all of a sudden, this one guy who was with us at lunch was overcome with shock. He cried and ran away. He was in 9th grade, 14 years old.


#39 Keep It Fresh

Don't eat smelly food on public transport. Eating on public transit in Hong Kong gets you a bunch of evil stares and a fat fine if anyone with authority sees you. And please no loud food either. Listening to someone's crunching, smacking and slurping is torture to me.


#40 Man Vs. Crowd

You wait for everyone to get off the train before you try to get on. I was getting off the rail in Atlanta at a particularly busy spot just this weekend. I could see the jerks piling up where the door stops and knew they were going to try and push through the people coming off the train. So I made eye contact with the people stepping forward and said very loudly, "LET PEOPLE OFF THE TRAIN FIRST!" They'd stop and look away like they weren't doing anything, but they had finally been called out for their bad behavior and that's all it took for them to stop that time.

People_entering_a_rapid_transit_trainWikimedia Commons

#41 Solution: Give It A Thwack

If something isn’t working right, hitting it is the correct response. "My kidney isn't working... Ah, I'll just give it a good thwack."

Canva - Man Wearing Black SuitCanva

#42 Just Do It Yourself

Rinse your ketchup-caked plate before leaving it in the sink for your roommate to wash. Or, just wash it yourself. It's really not that hard.


#43 Passenger Manners

If you’re in a car that is not yours, always ask before rolling down windows, changing A/C, plugging in the phone, etc. But it's fair game to roll down a window if they have their window down, or if you rip one, or if you just smell bad for whatever reason. Also if you are in my old-ass car without automatic windows, and you roll down the window, ROLL IT BACK UP WHEN YOU LEAVE.


#44 Give Up Your Seat

In public transportation, you let the person in most need have your seat. Being 25, I recently let my seat to an older lady. Not an old lady. An older. She was probably 60, so not unable to stand at all. I offered my seat. Or if they're young and injured like I was two years ago when I tore my Achilles and was on crutches. How many people gave me their seat on the bus over those three weeks? TWO. And when I lost my balance and fell in a woman's lap she had the audacity to cuss me out.

1280px-People_in_the_Bus_for_Public_TransportationWikimedia Commons

#45 That's Simple Enough

Office door closed = I’m busy.

Office door open = I’m available if you want to talk to me.

And in the case of my one and only office job, office door partially open = only if literally no one else can do what you're going to ask me to do.

Workroom Door Glimpse Office Open Study ThroughMax Pixel



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