17 Unwritten Laws That We All Follow

Laws protect our society from harm and distress to ensure we can live peaceful lives, but these 17 unwritten rules are also essential for harmony in our communities, be that at home, in our local area, or at work. They might not be the law, but we all follow them every day.

Tip Your Server

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As a gesture of appreciation for service workers, tips recognize their effort beyond the basic level of service. According to Bankrate, 65% of American adults always tip at sit-down restaurants, and “42 percent of U.S. adults say they typically tip at least 20 percent.”

Return a Lost Item to Its Owner

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Taking the time to return a lost item to its owner or hand it over to authorities is an act of honesty that is greatly appreciated by others. Actions such as this can foster a sense of trust and security within communities and encourage others to act similarly.

Let People Exit Before You Enter

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Letting people leave a building, train, or elevator before you enter makes for more efficient movement in busy spaces and prevents bottlenecks in small doorways. It shows you’re considerate of those around you and prevents confusion with others who may be expecting you to wait.

Keep to the Right (or Left) Side on Escalators

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By sticking to the right side, you allow for an orderly flow and let people who are in a rush safely and quickly pass you on the other side. This shows respect to everyone using the escalator and encourages cooperation in public spaces. Just make sure you know which side is correct for the country you’re in.

Lower Your Voice When Talking on the Phone in Public

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According to Psychology Today, “people feel that talking on the cell phone somehow isolates them from the people in their immediate vicinity. The deeper they get into their conversations, the more removed they feel from those who are physically present.” It’s important to try to remember your surroundings and speak quietly to make sure you don’t disrupt others.

Don’t Skip in Line

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Queuing may seem drawn out, but it ensures order and fairness in public spaces or businesses, which prevents chaos. It shows that you value everyone’s time equally and ensure that services are fairly distributed. By skipping in line, you could also cause conflict with others around you.

Always Offer Your Seat to the Elderly or Pregnant on Public Transportation

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Offering someone who needs to sit down your seat is a gesture of respect and care. By acknowledging the physical needs of others, you help foster a sense of community in urban environments and demonstrate that you value kindness and respect.

Knock Before Entering a Room

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As a universal sign of seeking permission to enter, knocking on a door respects everyone’s privacy and autonomy, as well as preventing embarrassing situations for either party. It is also crucial in professional environments to maintain a sense of professionalism and respect others’ boundaries.

Avoid Talking in Elevators

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As elevators are such confined spaces, many people prefer silence, as talking can feel like an invasion of personal space and peace. In some cultures, silence in elevators is a sign of respect for the shared temporary space, but it also minimizes social awkwardness with people you don’t know.

Take Part in Voting

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Participating in voting is essential for shaping the way we want our local areas and country as a whole to be governed. Pew Research Center found that “about two-thirds (66%) of the voting-eligible population turned out for the 2020 presidential election—the highest rate for any national election since 1900.”

Respect Public Space Cleanliness

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While the law states you cannot litter or vandalize public spaces, there are also unwritten rules about taking care of communal spaces to ensure your whole community can enjoy them. This might be shown through picking up litter or reporting maintenance issues quickly so that the space remains safe and looked after.

Noise Control in Residential Areas

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There are laws about noise levels, but it’s important to understand and respect community standards of quietness, for example, by keeping the volume down late at night or early in the morning in order to respect others’ peace. This fosters a considerate living environment and helps build stronger relationships with your neighbors.

Offer Assistance in Public Emergencies

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It is always encouraged to help others when they are in distress, as long as you can remain safe while doing so. This reflects a deep-rooted human instinct to help others and fosters a sense of kindness and respect in your community that will leave others wanting to follow suit.

Preserve Nature in Public Parks

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Public parks are for the use of the whole community; therefore, it is important for everyone who uses the space to respect and look after its natural resources. For example, staying on designated trails or taking your trash home with you to recycle can help minimize your ecological footprint and leave the space nice for others.

Adhere to Recycling Protocols

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Proper sorting and disposal of your waste according to guidelines helps the wider society and environment around you. Research by the EPA found that “the recycling and composting of municipal solid waste (MSW or trash) saved over 193 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2018.” 

Respect Public Monuments and Art

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Public monuments and art are protected by law, but there is an additional unwritten rule to respect and help preserve cultural heritage, which reflects the importance of cultural identity and shared history. By preserving these items, we can help teach younger generations about their importance.

Confidentiality in Professional Relationships

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Confidentiality in some professions like law, medicine, and counseling is protected by the law, but other industries also expect trust and discretion in their communications. For example, employees are expected to protect sensitive information where possible, as well as respect their colleagues by not repeating conversations they’ve had.

Read More: 17 Things Society Can No Longer Do Because Gen Z Said So

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Gen Z, our digital-native, trendsetting generation, is making waves in the cultural sea, steering the ship of societal norms in fresh and unexpected directions. As they charter new territories, there are certain practices they’d rather we say goodbye to. Curious? Let’s take a look at 17 things the rest of us can no longer do because Gen Z said so.

17 Things Society Can No Longer Do Because Gen Z Said So

19 Big Mistakes People Make After Losing a Spouse

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Losing a spouse is one of life’s most tragic experiences, and when we’re overwhelmed by grief, we might make some decisions that we’ll later regret. Here are 19 mistakes people make after losing their spouse.

19 Big Mistakes People Make After Losing a Spouse

20 Time-Honored Practices Our Grandparents Followed That We Should Bring Back

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Our grandparents had a far simpler life. There was no such thing as social media. Instead, there was more walking and meals were always fresh and homemade. With so many things keeping us busy nowadays, sometimes life would seem much easier if we lived the way our grandparents did.

20 Time-Honored Practices Our Grandparents Followed That We Should Bring Back

19 Common Behaviors of Highly Intelligent People

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Intelligent individuals often display a range of behaviors and qualities that set them apart from others. When exploring these characteristics, it’s crucial to comprehend that intelligence is a multifaceted attribute. Here are 19 essential behaviors and qualities frequently observed in highly intelligent people.

19 Common Behaviors of Highly Intelligent People

17 Things We Were Taught in High School That We Now Know Aren’t True

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Well, this one may depend on when you went to high school, but for this millennial, these are the things we were taught in high school that have been proven not to be true. Personally, I still want to go back and correct every teacher who told me I wouldn’t always have a calculator in my pocket; the joke is on them.

17 Things We Were Taught in High School That We Now Know Aren’t True