Reddit Speaks: These Social Norms Are Literally the Worst

We all have that one thing. That one “social norm” polite society dictates that just grinds our gears. Reddit users sounded off about what they hate most about society. These are a few of our (least) favorite things, in order of least-awful to worst.

First: Do any drivers actually know how stop signs work?

15. That awkward stop sign tango

a reddit about stopping at stop signs

Just go, already. | u/Chipper_most_days via Reddit

“You go.” “No, you go.” “No, you.” Most of us have fallen victim to stop sign politeness.
According to, the car on the right goes first. As the old (but counter-intuitive) saying goes, “A selfish driver is a safe driver.” Follow the rules of the road. Being polite isn’t worth getting into a crash.

Next: Most of us feel this way, but a lot of us don’t want to admit it. 

14. Going out is the actual worst

reddit about having no plans

When will people get that having no plans is the plan? | u/LordCider via Reddit

In the age of Netflix and chill, why bother putting on pants? According to The New York Post, not going out is the new going out. Heineken conducted a 2016 survey which found that when millennials do make plans, 75% drink in moderation. A study by Child Trends Data Bank also found that binge drinking among teens is at an all-time low: Only 19% of high school seniors admitted to binge drinking in 2014, compared with a record high 41.4% in 1980. Go ahead, stay in. It’s better for you and your wallet.

Next: Lots of people hate this common ritual. 

13. Wedding rituals. See: all

reddit post about bridal showers

Who needs six bridal showers? I mean, really. | u/beejay_86 via Reddit

The Market Watch found that the average wedding cost in 2016 stood at $35,329. That marks an all-time high for the survey conducted by The Knot. The $35,329 price tag — which doesn’t include honeymoons — is up 8% from the national average in 2015. To put that number in perspective, it accounts for 63% of the median annual U.S. household income (which in 2015 was $55,775). Wedding rituals have spiraled out of control, but the public has said enough. Save the cash and keep it simple.

Next: Whatever happened to The Golden Rule?

12. Treating people with disabilities differently

reddit post about disabled people

People are people are people, for better or for worse. | u/duckmeister13 via Reddit

People with disabilities are just that: People. That makes them no different from anyone else, and that applies to both good and bad qualities. The Center for Persons With Disabilities provides extensive guidelines for how to interact politely with people with disabilities. Bottom line? Treat all people like unique, complex humans. End of story.

Next: No means no. 

11. Just say no. And listen when others do, too

reddit post about saying no

Let’s all get used to saying no, and hearing it. | u/Shurdus via Reddit

S’well founder and CEO declared 2016 the year of “no,” as she wrote in Fortune Magazine. She dedicated herself to making “no” a positive word and encouraged others to do the same. You don’t owe anyone your time or energy, much less an explanation.

Next: Social media makes this next one especially prevalent. 

10. Do you even lift, bro? We’ve seen your Instagram

reddit post about going to the gym

If you didn’t post about it, did it even happen? | u/skkjsnds via Reddit

Psychology Professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne weighed in on the reason so many people post incessantly about their gym habit. “When you feel you need to out-do others with how great your life is, it could mean you’re trying to cover up feelings of inadequacy,” she said. Feel free to work out and tell no one. It still counts. We promise.

Next: We should all just abolish the next question from our vocabulary. 

9.  Don’t ask when someone is having kids. Just don’t

reddit post about having kids

Really, though. Just don’t do it. | u/toki-lala via Reddit

Journalist Emily Bingham explained it perfectly in her viral social media post. “You don’t know who is struggling with infertility or grieving a miscarriage or dealing with health issues … who is having relationship problems or is under a lot of stress or the timing just isn’t right … You don’t know how your seemingly innocent question might cause someone grief, pain, stress or frustration.

Next: The next question falls under a similar category. 

8. Yes, you can be happily single

reddit post about being single

Not everyone needs a partner for fulfillment. | u/AnlisOriville via Reddit

The holidays are coming up, and single people everywhere are bracing for the age-old question. First: It’s nobody’s business. Second: It’s rude. But if Uncle Chuck does get nosy, The Washington Post gathered a list of handy and witty responses.

 Next: This has become more prevalent now that we all have tiny computers in our pockets.

7.  Put your phone down and enjoy your life

reddit post about phones at shows

Does anyone even watch those recordings? | u/Brillburrito via Reddit

Anais Nin wrote a quote in 1946 we could all use today. “[Ours is a] dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.” Cell phone etiquette rules abound but this one just makes sense. Not only does recording the show disturb fellow attendees, but you’re never going to watch that again. Put down the phone and watch with your eyes.

Next: Everyone hates this moment at parties. 

 6. Can we all just agree to ghost from now on?

reddit post about saying goodbye

Whatever you call it, there’s something to be said for just leaving. | whowantstoadventure via Reddit

Slate makes a convincing argument for ghosting, or leaving without saying goodbye. Goodbyes are awkward. They bring home the truth that the night is ending, and make almost everyone uncomfortable. If it feels rude, send a heartfelt email or a card the next morning. Problem solved.

Next: Why do these things cost so much? 

5.  Does a wedding ring have to cost an arm and a leg?

reddit post about wedding rings

Nothing says ‘love’ like a big ol’ rock. | u/guacaswole via Reddit

According to a survey by EBates, almost half of American men and women expect to spend between $1,000-$5,000 on an engagement ring. That’s about the national average. “The average cost of an engagement ring is $5,000, but you should spend what you can afford to spend,” Anne Chertoff of WeddingWire told Forbes. The fact is, you can’t put a price on love. Whatever you spend.

Next: Women can do what they want, especially concerning this next area. 

4. Do men like women who wear makeup? Who cares?

reddit post about makeup

Newsflash: Most women wear makeup to please themselves, not a man. | u/PowerWordCoffee via Reddit

After Google posted a Twitter poll about whether men prefer women with or without makeup, the clap-backs came on strong. Buzzfeed gathered some of the best ones. Most people don’t wear makeup (or anything, for that matter) to make others feel better, and it’s not OK to judge them for that choice.

Next: Even Hillary Clinton didn’t have immunity against this social issue. 

3. Smile (or don’t) if you want to

reddit post about telling women to smile

It may seem innocent, but here’s why it isn’t. | u/SheaRVA via Reddit

During the 2016 presidential campaign, men repeatedly told Clinton to smile. This is not news to women. Brooklyn-based artist Tatyana Falalizadeh started an art project titled “Stop Telling Women to Smile,” which shows telling a woman to smile can be seen as harassment. And biological anthropologist Helen Fischer told USA Today it’s sexist and can be threatening. She explained that high-testosterone men do not smile much, and overall use less facial expression. So, telling a woman to smile might be pushing her back into a traditional stereotype.

Next: Maybe your parents told you about this rule. 

2. Undeserved R-E-S-P-E-C-T

reddit post about respecting age

We should all respect each other, period. | u/-LifeOnHardMode- via Reddit

We’ve all heard the phrase “respect your elders,” but what about respecting people, period? The Washington Post’s Career Coach recommends extending respect indiscriminately, especially in the workplace. He quoted the Dalai Lama’s maxim, “Everyone is born into the world as a person, and everyone leaves the world as a person.” He suggests putting aside “secondary differences” like age, rank, status, and ethnicity and applying the Golden Rule — all the time.

Next: This pet peeve tops the list, especially for one group of people.

1. We all hate small talk

reddit post about small talk

Deep talks for the win. | u/poker_girl via Reddit

Introverts know small talk can be challenging, and there’s a good reason. Psychologist Laurie Helgoe, author of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength, says small talk actually blocks honest interaction. “Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people,” she writes in her book. “We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.” For people with limited social energy, small talk feels like torture.

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