Do you follow a set of unspoken rules? Are you shocked when someone violates a rule? Everyone follows certain societal norms, and when these rules are broken, there can be consequences ranging from mild frustration to social disaster.
1. Cover Your Mouth When Coughing or Sneezing
Please cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, then wash your hands. Thank you.
2. Read the Energy During a Conversation
If you have been talking for two minutes straight, pause and breathe, which allows others a chance. This is an important life skill that a few people are surprisingly oblivious to.
3. Take the Conversation off Your Speaker
Lately, some people must not have gotten the memo regarding private conversations. No one wants to hear what you are talking about. Take your convo off speakerphone when in a public area with others. Show some respect!
4. No Loud Music Hiking
I was hiking one of the local trails recently, and a group of teenagers came by blasting their music. Hello, people – some of us go into the woods for peace. Noise pollution is a thing. Please leave no trace and hike quietly.
5. Elevator Etiquette
Let the people in the elevator out of the elevator before moving in, and stand to the side. When piling into a full elevator or a less packed one, the worst thing to do is stand before the doors. This makes it more difficult for others to get out and in and may cause someone to miss their stop. Unless you're the only person entering the elevator, join toward the edge rather than the middle of the doors.
6. Don't Show Up Empty-Handed
Unless otherwise instructed, never show up to a social gathering empty-handed. Bring some gifts or food or drink. That way, your hosts know you don't only show up to eat their food and drink their drinks.
7. Friendly Faces Save
A few weeks ago, I waited for an Uber with my friend downtown. Within the ten minutes we waited, two men approached us. The first man joked and conversed with us, then left to find his phone. The other man stayed with us as the first one left. He inched closer and closer to my friend, asking her uncomfortable questions.
Soon, a couple walked past and made eye contact with us. We waved to them, and they said, “Hey! Haven't seen you all in a minute!” We didn't know them, but as soon as they talked to us, the man fled away like a cockroach, and we waited with the couple until our Uber arrived. Please be sure to trust your gut and look for friendly faces.
8. Always Keep Socks and Shoes On
Keep your socks on whether you travel on a plane, train, or automobile. Nothing is worse than a stranger taking their socks and shoes off in an enclosed space because the smell lingers even if they put them back on.
9. Don't Mark up a Borrowed Book
To dog-ear or not to dog-ear? That rule splits up the book-reading community, with half of it equating dog-earing to sinister behavior and others treating the folding as an innocuous mannerism. However, bibliophiles agree on one universal rule: don't dog-ear, write, or mark up anything in a borrowed book. The property does not belong to you, and dog-earing, writing, and marking up someone else's book is rude and uncalled for. This goes for library books, also.
10. Don't Point Out Physical Features
I have a brown eye freckle on the left side of my left iris. I noticed the freckle in high school; since then, I've had strangers, friends, and family make multiple comments about it. One person asked what was wrong with my eye, another told me I had something in my eye, and another asked if my eye always looked like that and if I knew I had an eye spot. Yes. I know I have a freckle in my eye, and yes, it's been there for a while.
11. Don't Talk About or Look at Service Animals
Please don't go up to someone with a service animal and ask them why they have one. That is personal information, and no one owes you an explanation. You aren't supposed to look at service animals while they're working, either. Your attention can distract them from doing their job and upset their owner. If a service animal approaches you and tries to get your attention, it may be trying to help its owner. In that case, follow the animal and assess the situation.
12. If Someone Has Headphones On, Leave Them Be
Have you ever traveled in a public space with headphones on while someone tries to get your attention? Maybe it's your neighbor on a plane who has to tell you about their 18-hour layover in Las Vegas or a random person in a train station who must tell you it's their nephew's birthday. Either way, if someone has headphones in, they do not want to interact with others at that time. They will take their headphones out and approach you if they want to interact.
13. Put The Cart Back
Most shoppers say the most disobeyed unspoken rule is returning a cart to its proper place. Since grocery store parking lots have multiple cart racks throughout the lanes, walking a few steps and returning the cart is easy.
14. Be Quiet and Don't Use Your Phone in the Theater
If you want to talk and text during a movie, stay home. It's that simple. Chatter and bright lights ruin the experience for others and affect their viewing. Streaming services have great options to watch at home if you don't want to experience the film to its intended effect.