20 Unwritten Rules People Think Everyone Should Know and Follow

Do you ever notice how there are these unspoken, unwritten rules that everyone just seems to magically know and follow? Like there’s a secret code of conduct that we’re all born with or something.

One Redditor asked, “What is one “unwritten rule,” you think everyone should know and follow?” This thread received thousands of comments as users jumped in to share their views, and we have compiled the top 20 rules people posted.

1. Gallery Privacy

Excited men watching football in streaming on smartphone.
Image Credit: Ground Picture/Shutterstock.

You wouldn’t just flip through their family photo album without asking, right? Well, same deal here!

Someone commented, “Do not swipe left or right if someone shows you a photo on their phone.”

Another added, “Yes like wtf. I show you one photo and suddenly you’re scrolling through my life.”

2. Taking Calls for Others

Head shot close up young shocked woman looking at mobile phone screen, received bank debt notification.
Image Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “Don’t just answer someone’s phone. I have some friends and family who do this. I hate it. Why would you answer my phone??? Just leave it. I usually do.

Another responded, “Used to be a big thing before cellphones showed you that you were called and by whom. Either you take the call and then tell the person what they missed or they had to guess. Today it might just be habit or being raised that way, my mother always asked me to answer the phone or cellphone and tell her who called when I was a child, even tho it was unnecessary as she could see who had called.”

So, why is this even a thing? Well, for starters, it’s a matter of respect and boundaries.

3. Shopping Carts

Supermarket shopping cart full of groceries, sale and retail concept.
Image Credit: Stokkete/Shutterstock.

One said, “Don’t leave your shopping cart in the middle of the grocery aisle!”

Another person pitched in to say, “Please don’t leave your cart on the right and grab stuff on the left. You are blocking the whole aisle.”

When you abandon your cart in the middle of an aisle, you’re basically disrupting the grocery store’s version of a traffic system.

4. Family Reunion at Grocery Stores

Woman picking out some vegetables
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A user shared, “Don’t have your whole family reunion in the middle of a supermarket”

Another person shared similar thoughts and mentioned, “This should be upvoted a million times, my friend! And, don’t take them and your visiting family for a horizontal stroll through the aisles of Costco, Walmart, or any other place that most of us just want to get in and out of!”

Then there’s the noise factor. Do you really want to share the intimate details of your cousin’s latest breakup with the entire store?

5. Pointing Flaws in Physique

Photo of young girl disgusted dislike bad smell negative
Image Credit: deagreez1 via DepositPhotos.com.

One Redditor stated, “Not pointing out flaws in someone’s physical appearance.”

Another added, “I like the 30-second rule. If they can’t fix it in 30 seconds, don’t mention it. Something stuck in their teeth? Tell them. Do they have a cold sore? Don’t say anything. Their fly is unzipped? Tell them. Are they fat? Shut your mouth. They’ve bled through their jeans but have a sweatshirt they could tie around their waist? Tell them! Does their shirt have a small hole or an old stain? Don’t mention it/.”

Everyone’s version of beauty is different, and we should celebrate that.

6. Proposing at a Wedding

Cheerful young couple in love having fun outdoors
Image Credit: Satura_ via DepositPhotos.com.

The whole shindig is about celebrating the love between the couple who decided to tie the knot. It’s their moment to shine, not yours.

Someone commented, “Don’t propose at someone else’s wedding.”

Another responded, “Omfg my girlfriend asked me if we were getting married at the last wedding we were at. Most awkward, poorly timed question of my entire life.”

7. Laughing

happy woman
Image Credit: olly18 via DepositPhotos.com.

Laughter is one of the most genuine expressions of joy and happiness. When you make fun of someone’s laugh, you’re basically poking fun at their happiness.

A Reddit user wrote, “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’s comments is so brutal.”

Another person pitched in to say, “I used to get made fun of in middle school because my “laugh” sounded like a machine gun. It’s been years since I’ve thought about it – but, yeah it made me self-conscious for a while.”

8. Being Wrong

Portrait of a young angry man gesticulating with his hands, looking at the camera.
Image Credit: dabyki.nadya/Shutterstock.

One Redditor stated, “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.”

Another added, “Argh! It’s so frustrating having to deal with people who have to be right ALL the time.”

Here’s a pro tip: instead of seeing being wrong as a loss, see it as a win. You’ve just gained new knowledge, a fresh perspective, or a chance to make things right.

9. Music in Public

Face enraged infuriated woman screaming emotion
Image Credit: golubovy via DepositPhotos.com.

One said, “Don’t put your music on speakers when in a public space. It’s not like everyone wants the same genre or is in the mood for music. Get your headphones.”

Another responded, “People are assigning themselves DJ status at ski places with their blue tooth speaker. It’s always the most obnoxious rap or bad edm.”

Not everyone wants to hear your favorite jam, especially when they’re trying to relax, read a book, or have a picnic.

10. Driving

An irritated young man driving a vehicle is expressing his road rage..
Image Credit: ARENA Creative/Shutterstock.

We’ve got rules, signs, and signals for a reason. They help us navigate the asphalt jungle without chaos breaking loose. When you decide to play traffic cop and let people go when it’s not their turn, you’re just adding confusion to the mix.

Someone commented, “When driving a car, don’t be nice, be predictable. People being nice leads to loads of accidents.”

Another person pitched in to say, “I drive an ambulance people will sit at stop signs and wave me on to go before them. it’s also not kind; it’s annoying. just follow the rules of the road.”

11. Rescheduling a Meetup

portrait of shocked upset woman isolated on pastel blue colored background.
Image Credit: deagreez1 via DepositPhotos.com.

Sometimes, life gets in the way, and cancellations are unavoidable. But the key here is to be proactive about rescheduling.

A Reddit user wrote, “If you have to cancel on a friend, it should be your responsibility to reschedule.”

Another person shared similar thoughts and mentioned, “I’ve checked out of a number of long-term friendships due to this…I get you’re busy, but make some effort.”

12. Being Kind

Skeptical brunette woman looking at camera
Image Credit: HayDmitriy via DepositPhotos.com.

One shared, “Be kind to people that are working. Food staff, medical staff, etc. Don’t take your bad day out on someone else.”

Another added, “I worked retail for 3 months. Now I go out of my way to be extra chipper/’sunshin-y’ (as my mom calls it) to anyone on the clock. They’re going through things, it takes zero effort from me, and it makes me feel good to make people smile.”

Who knows, your smile might be the highlight of their shift!

13. Pay Your Loans

Hands of an unidentified woman with red manicure hold in their hands a banknote. $1,000.
Image Credit: Paul Biryukov/Shutterstock.

Loans, whether big or small, come with a responsibility to repay them.

One Redditor stated, “If you are short on money and you ask someone to help you out, please pay it back without having to be asked about it, no matter the amount.”

Another responded, “Tbh, the people who would pay back are usually the ones that won’t ask for money; they will just work on their spending habits. I feel like most people who ask for money are bad and immature with their spending, and they won’t be able to acquire the funds to pay back.
I know there are rare occasions when someone is really in need, but unless you are a sister/brother/parent, if they are that ballsy to ask for money, they are also ballsy enough to keep it lol.”

14. Buy a Plunger

Man with roll of toilet paper in WC, closeup
Image Credit: serezniy via DepositPhotos.com.

Life is unpredictable, and plumbing issues have a sneaky way of popping up when you least expect them.

Someone commented, “Buy a plunger before you need a plunger.”

Another added, “Had to rescue a couple earlier this year in this regard. Supposedly, flushable wipes were the culprit. All four of us desperately needed to pee/probably also needed to poop, and then we were running out to a store to get a plunger. My boyfriend needed to go the worst, so as soon as we got to the store, he jetted off to the bathroom… which turned out to be closed for cleaning/maintenance. He ended up sprinting about a football field away in a Wendy’s.”

15. Borrowing a Car

beautiful blonde smiling behind the wheel of a grey car.
Image Credit: Vitaliy Karimov/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “If you borrow someone’s car… fill up the tank before you return it.”

Another responded, “Yes! My sister graciously lent me her car not too long ago, and I washed it, wiped it down inside, and filled it; seeing how happy she was for it being returned that way was amazing. I didn’t want her to feel any hardship for lending me her vehicle, and I also want to show that I truly appreciated this and any future help.”

Your friend has done you a solid by letting you borrow their wheels. The least you can do is make sure they don’t have to rush to the gas station as soon as you return it.

16. Don’t Litter

Team of young volunteers picking up litter in the park.
Image Credit: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.

One Redditor stated, “Throw your garbage out and don’t litter.”

Another person pitched in to say, “I’ll add: don’t throw trash in any non-public bin. My bin in my garden is not an invitation to throw food in, especially if you see it’s filled with CLOSED plastic bags. Sorry but after having ants in my wheelie bin because of this, it bothers me so much. Why are people like this? Edit: I have to add bike baskets to this! Used to find half-eaten hamburgers in my bike basket, wtf.”

This one should be etched onto every planet-saving superhero’s cape in a world filled with unwritten rules.

17. Treating Workers Nicely

Stressed Fast Food Employee Feeling Desperate
Image Credit: nicoletaionescu via DepositPhotos.com.

We all have bad days, and sometimes we’re not our chipper, best selves. But even on those days, it’s not that hard to muster a little kindness, right?

One said, “99% of the time, the person you are dealing with in customer service/register DOES NOT make the rules. They can only recite them to you or push you higher. Being mad at them does literally nothing but make an innocent person’s day worse.”

Another added, “And managers shouldn’t get mad for their workers using appropriate chains when they cannot help a customer.”

18. Cinema Rules

A young joyful couple is with their daughter in the cinema, watching an exciting movie.
Image Credit: bbernard/Shutterstock.

Someone commented, “In the cinema: shut up, leave your cell phone off/mute in your pocket, don’t kick the seat in front of you, leave your shoes on and watch the movie.”

Another responded, “Yes! And also take your rubbish (from popcorn, drinks, etc.) to the bin; don’t just leave it for the staff to clean up.”

Remember: Keep those shoes on, people! Nobody wants to see your socks or smell your feet. It’s a public space, after all.

19. Airplane Armrests

Happy tourist taking selfie inside airplane - Cheerful couple on summer vacation.
Image Credit: DavideAngelini/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “Airplane: Window seat gets window armrest. Center seat gets both armrests, aisle seat gets aisle armrest.”

Another person pitched in to say, “I always take the center seat for this very reason. The window seat is too overrated, and the aisle seat is just trash.”

What airplane seat do you prefer to sit in?

20. Car Headlights

Modern luxury car close-up
Image Credit: Photocreo via DepositPhotos.com.

One Redditor stated, “Turn on your headlights when it’s snowing.”

Another added, “Always turn on your lights, period. It’s handy to see white or red lights, so you know if someone ahead of you is passing or oncoming. Additionally, if someone is coming the other direction, TURN OFF YOUR HIGHBEAMS FFS. Even in the daytime, those things hurt.”

When you turn on your headlights, you’re not just helping yourself see the road; you’re also helping others see you coming.

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