Does anyone ever question why we do some of the things that we do? It seems that we as a society become accustomed to the weirdest sh*t. Luckily, these Redditors were thinking the same thing. Here are the social norms that they just don't understand.

u/ngdingyao asked: Which social norms absolutely baffle you?

Asking the real questions.

Requiring employees that sit in an office all day to dress up in business attire. Who are we trying to impress?


This is why I'm glad my office is basically of the opinion, "don't wear anything that's inappropriate". I wear shorts and Red Sox shirts in the summer and jeans and long sleeves in the winter. Some people wear hats. The only ones who have to dress nice are the actual customer facing people.


Why can't we be honest?


Co-worker: "Hey, how are you?"

Me (dying inside, pounding migraine): "Great. how are you?"

Co-worker (reeling from the sudden death of his mom): "Good thanks."


An unfair expectation.

People expect you to smile and talk all the time. When you don't, you are either seen as angry, depressed or something else negative.


That really bugs me. Whenever my aunt and my cousin/her daughter are around, my aunt is always telling us to chat with each other anytime there's a second of silence. What's wrong with just chilling in silence??

My aunt drove me to a doctor's appointment before and on the car ride there, she told us to talk, at the doctor's she told us to talk, eating lunch she told us to talk, on the car ride back told us to talk. Like Jesus calm down.


That makes zero sense.

I was told that it's not acceptable to send a Christmas card to someone who's experienced a death in their family within the last year.

Can't believe I was reprimanded for not knowing this "rule" and for having offended the recipient by doing what I believed was a thoughtful gesture of goodwill.


Please ignore that advice, and correct the person who told it to you.

Yeah, Christmas can be really hard when missing someone, but that fact that you're thinking about them can only help.


Hanging out with people is overrated.


Spending time by yourself is considered "doing nothing" but if you have plans with others it's not.


I hate that too, I used to always feel like a hermit when coworkers asked what I was up to at the weekend cos I like doing nothing. But then another coworker taught me 2 things: 1) Nobody cares what you're doing as long as it sounds positive and doesn't protract the interaction and 2) Chilling out is an activity. Now my go-to answer is "relaxing, been a busy week. You?"



I have autism so all of them.


Oh man, everyday Ok eye contact, nod, ok too much eye contact, look away, shoot at what? Ok look at them again, nod, break eye contact, not too fierce now, nod "Umm sorry what were you saying?" REPEAT


A silly one.

When people get angry when people don't say 'bless you' after they sneeze. Really, I hope a medieval demon didn't enter your body during that sneeze, but do I really have to say something?


"I acknowledge your sneeze."


Messed up.


Talking about salary being so taboo.


Places do that so they won't have to pay workers what they are worth. I worked the line in a restaurant and my buddy who was way more experienced told me how much he was making and it was 2 dollars less than me. After I quit I told him what I made and that I felt bad about not telling him sooner. Thankfully he wasn't pissed at me and told the manager the next day that either he gets a 2 dollar raise or he's quitting then and there.


Gender norms are stupid.

How "tomboys"/straight women who like traditionally masculine things are considered cool, hip and attractive, but straight men who like things that are traditionally feminine are apparently in the closet and are laughed at. Someone, please explain to me why that is.


A "no" is free.

Okay so I think it's weird that saying a simple "no" is rude.

Like I was invited to a Christmas party, I do not want to go. I made up a big excuse as to why I can't come so I don't come off as rude.

I wish I could simply say "no I don't want to go, but thank you for inviting me".


"Trophy hunters..."

Little kid hurts or kills animals for fun: is labeled as a troubled and needs help

Trophy hunters hurts and kills animals for fun: is labeled as a sport/hobby


"Also when you say you aren't hungry..."

Refusing tea at least once before accepting a cup.

Also when you say you aren't hungry but then your granny/aunt/mothers friend presents you with a full tray of biscuits, chocolate, scones etc anyway and you're considered a rude bastard if you refuse (despite the aforementioned "not hungry" happening 15 minutes ago).


"I don't know..."

Bringing people a glass of water when they're in distress.

I work at a hospital and whenever we have to give a person bad news about a relative, more often than not someone offers them a glass of water as if it could somehow help.

I don't know if the tactic here is to distract them or what, but it just never made much sense to me.


"I was raised on recycled clothing..."

People paying the price they do for clothing. I was raised on recycled clothing and almost only buy very clearance clothing. I have paid for 2 dresses full price that I liked but it took my husband badgering that it was okay to buy something expensive to get it. I actually can afford full price but I feel shame if I do.


"Never made sense..."

People who have served time in jail/prison not being given the opportunity to find employment which in turn leads them to commit more crime while society says "it's your own fault that you ended up in jail/prison in the first place so you don't get a second chance." Never made sense as to why they can't return to a life without crime without constantly being judged or discriminated against (if they indeed are trying to change their ways).


"There is no reason..."

Arguing with people on social media. Just shut up and ignore the comment. There is no reason to antagonize them.


"What you give..."

I hate Christmas cards. In the past they made sense. An easy way to wish someone well on Christmas Day when you could otherwise not see them. I get that. But now we have phones, and emails.

What you give, for the sometimes inane prices for a piece of card, is a brief moment of obligatory thanks, followed by the knowledge that they will eventually throw said card out, possibly feeling guilty about it.


"The unwillingness of most people..."

The unwillingness of most people to condemn, ridicule, dehumanize, and ostracize others for their opinions.


"I understand the use..."

Corporate and political doublespeak. I understand the use but I'm sick of hearing people using words to mask what they really mean.



The expectations to shake someone's hand.

I was at my great-grandmother's funeral five years ago and it still irks me how every relative attending the wake just casually entered my personal space to grab my hand. No. Don't touch me. I don't know you, I don't know anyone here. I want to go home.


"More accurately..."

Social drinking. More accurately, the attitude that social drinking means it's all good. Doesn't matter how much or little, social drinking is okay. Doesn't matter if you spent the weekend covered in puke from Friday to Sunday, if it was social drinking, you don't have a problem you just like to party. I tend to drink at home by myself. The sheer number of people who off that info alone who have treated me like an incurable compulsive alcoholic is too damn high. Keep in mind these are the same people who black out, rack up charges, get into legal trouble, get sick, and blow all their paychecks at bars. But I am the alcoholic because I fill up a small glass of whiskey at home!


"When yawning..."

When yawning is seen as rude or a sign that you're bored. I can't control when I yawn, and I do it even when I'm not bored or tired.


"Having to say..."

Having to say "bless you" after a cough or sneeze.


"The idea..."

The idea of "don't care what other people think" being pushed onto kids by the same people who tell them to not do a myriad of things so people don't think negatively about them.


"People say it's because..."

Showing up late to parties. People say it's because the party hasn't started yet at the time advertised, but that's cause everyone is late. Don't tell me something you've invited me to starts at 7 if you don't want me to be there at 7. You can't change my mind.


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Waiter? 10-15%.

Hairdresser? At least 15%.

Taxi Driver? 10% max.



"I would often get lectured..."

I would often get lectured because I would ask someone "How old are you" (particularly when they say it's their birthday) and "How much do you make / How much does ______ cost?"


"It became normal for beautiful people..."

It became normal for beautiful people to say that they look ugly just to be showered with compliments and reassuring that can go to people that actually need it.


"That couples sleep in the same bed."

That couples sleep in the same bed. Nah, I like what I like and they like what they like. So let's get it on, cuddle, and just before we fall asleep I crawl into my own dream boat.


How meta.

Putting asterisks in swear words.

If you type, "Jimmy called me an a**hole," there are two possible outcomes for the reader:

  1. They know that the asterisks are replacing letter S and know that the words is "a**hole" so you might as well have just written "a**hole".
  2. They don't know what letters the asterisks are replacing and are unable to determine what word its supposed to be, and you therefore failed at communicating.


Nowadays people equate not having multiple jobs or side hustles as laziness. It's OKAY to relax after your full time job(s). It's OKAY to not want to have a side hustle. No one has the right to judge.


"I feel we shouldn't ask..."

I feel we shouldn't ask if we aren't totally ready to commit to truly hear the answer.

This "How are you?" norm thing is BS.


"Asking when I'm gonna marry."

Asking when I'm gonna marry. Every year during gathering, relatives keep asking the same damn question. I mean, what's the big deal? I'll marry when I want to geez...


Tipping 2.0

Tipping based on a percentage of your meal cost. Since waiter/waitress pay is directly related to how many fresh tables they serve, shouldn't tipping be related to how long you stay at the restaurant?


"Why is it that..."

Why is it that when someone misunderstands me the fault of communication is with me, the sender, but when I'm offended/confused about something the fault lays on me, the recipient?


"Being required to say..."

Being required to say, "Good morning!" to every person I encounter at my job regardless of if they ever initiate or reply to my greeting. (This is because a co-worker told our boss that I didn't greet her every morning, even though I did and she didn't pay attention enough to acknowledge it.)


"This look is often paired..."

In my country (Scotland) the overwhelming use of fake tan and make up in general. Oh and smoking. People smoke A LOT here. It's disgusting. Stop it.

The fake tan thing really baffles me. Tans are considered "healthy" here for some reason but it looks terrible when it's from a spray booth or a bottle. They end up orange and most of them don't wear gloves when putting on the bottled stuff so their hands get especially patchy, brown, orange etc.

This look is often paired with bottle dyed black hair and thick makeup. The foundation of which never matches the newly applied fake tan so their face looks paler than it should which defies the point of it.

And you can bet when the tan fades, the face looks darker and orange because they're always trying to look "tanned".

It looks like crap and you look trashy.


"Think about it."


Think about it. They serve no purpose at all. It's a silly fashion trend that so needs to die. Just a part of the male (mostly) working uniform.


"But to get people you don't care about..."

I can't stand holidays that require gift giving. I'll get you something anytime of the year if I want to. But to get people you don't care about gifts because Coca Cola says to is insanity.


"Can you imagine..."

Wearing perfume or colognes––especially if you work in an office environment. You are basically forcing your preferred smell onto someone else's sense of smell. Can you imagine carrying a small speaker around and playing music wherever you went? We wouldn't accept forcing your own taste in music onto others, but we accept it with smells?



Fancy silverware and dishes. Like, buying foodstuffs with the explicit purpose of not using it.


Mowing your lawn. What practical purpose it there? Why is your lawn considered bad-looking if it isn't mowed? Why not leave it natural? Doesn't make any sense to me.


"I live here."

Your house has to be squeaky clean for others. I live here. I won't work for hours only because of your presence.


"It's crazy."


Imagine if the chances of success for any other seriously life-impacting things were around 50% on a good day. No one would think its a good idea! Yet people have no problem jumping into marriages still, even though we all know that around 50% of them end in divorce, and a good portion of the other 50% are unhappy and just stuck in a bad marriage. It's crazy.


"Lying to make people feel better."

Lying to make people feel better. For example, someone told me I wasn't fat after I said I weighed 240 pounds.


"They serve zero purpose."

Ties. I have never understood them or liked them and think they are one of the silliest things men are forced to wear. And businesses forcing guys to wear them? What a load of crap that is. They serve zero purpose.


"Why do people feel more complete..."

Dog ownership.

Well animal ownership really. Why do people feel more complete by claiming lordship over a living thing with a smaller scope of understanding than you?


"I fail to see..."

The stigma against body modifications, particularly in professional settings. It's gotten better in recent years, but there are still plenty of employers who won't even give you the time of day if you have piercings or tattoos or unnatural hair colours. I fail to see how my purple hair automatically makes me a bad employee, or invalidates all of my qualifications and achievements up to this point.


Mental Health

How suicides are considered tragedies but depression is considered as a weakness or attention seeking behaviour.


"It's understandable..."

How people hide their issues. It's understandable to be honest, sometimes they are not listened to or not taken seriously and it's not worth the fuss.


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