These Are the Unwritten Rules That All Men Follow

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Laughing friends in discussion while hanging out at outdoor bar

Thomas BarwickGetty Images

There’s a certain unspoken etiquette that men aren’t taught, but instinctively follow. In a recent Reddit thread, guys shared the “unwritten rules” to which they adhere, and which all men should keep in mind.

First off, and this is an obvious one: when using a public restroom, go to every other urinal if at all possible. On a related and fairly obvious note, it’s also a big no-no to engage other men in conversation or try to make eye contact of any kind when in this environment. Even if the person next to you is someone you know. Just keep your eyes firmly ahead and let everyone get on with their day. As one commenter puts it: “There is nothing that needs to be said that can’t wait 30 seconds until you are both finished.”

In fact, there are all kinds of ways men express courtesy to each other. For instance: “When someone enters the bathroom sniffle or cough to let them know your in there.” Out on the street, meanwhile, if you make eye contact with another dude walking towards you, it’s considered obligatory to nod. This is called the silent ‘sup, and it’s a real phenomenon, used to express respect but also to convey alpha status (albeit often unconsciously).

Other tenets of male etiquette are all about being fair without it being a whole thing: “If a friend buys you a drink you don’t pay it back,” said one guy, “you just buy the next round.” This principle (which also applies to takeout) has roots in real anthropological study: it’s called reciprocal bonding. See also: “If you get up for a beer, you must ask if anyone else needs one.”

A rule which caused some dissent on the thread dictated that men “all have to be tough when sometimes the spider does scare you.” The logic behind this is sound, sure; everyone wants to look brave and strong if it means impressing the object of their affection. But like… arachnophobia is real, you know? “I do not follow this,” one guy said. “My girlfriend kills all the spiders.”

Perhaps the most sacred of all guy rules, though, is the one which has been instilled in us since childhood: when it comes to high fives, never leave a guy hanging. (And for perfect aim every time, just keep your eyes on the elbow).

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