1. Try not to use windows on vehicles as mirrors. There’s almost always someone in there staring right back at you, as you check nostrils and teeth ’til you see pupils through the tint.
2. Provide nearby sneezers with one, firm “bless you” no matter how many times they go ah-choo. It’s always weird when they’re like, five sneezes deep, and you’re repeating a phrase is ineffective allergy medicine.
3. Always have your phone on you. Pretending to be occupied removes you from having any responsibility or involvement in the uncomfortable things happening around you.
4. Normally it’s appropriate to ask someone to repeat what they said up to three times before finally giving up. But, try to be honest and say, “Alright, I seriously can’t hear you at all,” instead of giving a courtesy chuckle or a pleasant little “I know right!” – because those may not be appropriate for their statement at all.
5. If you’re going to watch a movie with your family, be sure in advance that it has no nudity or sex scenes.
6. When going in for a handshake, be aggressive. Matter of fact; refuse to be ignored, even if that means snatching someone’s hand. You don’t want to get caught in greeting limbo, with an extended hand that nobody is acknowledging.
7. Avoid looking directly at the driver next to you when sitting at a red light. Stopped-in-the-car-eye-contact is some of the most awkward eye contact in the world.
8. Running into acquaintances is unavoidable, but when the conversation ends, make sure to pay attention to the direction they’re headed in. You’re going to want to go the opposite way, because saying “bye” and walking the same route makes for an awkward walk and a second, awkward-er goodbye.
9. When a couple starts fighting, exit the room immediately. Or, refer to #3.
10. Don’t sing songs you’re not extremely familiar with at a level higher than the volume it’s being played at. All it takes is one incident in which you confidently singing the wrong lyrics at the incorrect part, in a LOUD voice, for you to understand how embarrassing this can be.
11. When walking down hallways and sidewalks, decide firmly which side is yours and make a beeline down that path to avoid any, awkward-run-in-to-each-other-dance interaction.
12. Give a loud, hearty “I’M HOOOOME!” and knock on doors to double check if you’re alone, before doing things you don’t want to be seen doing. e.g. singing, walking around naked, chicken-choking, DJ-diddling, etc.
13. Lock & Knock! Meaning, if you’re using an individual, public restroom – lock that door. If you’re entering one, knock first. A person walking in on you handling business is only slightly more embarrassing than you walking in on them.
14. Don’t ever, EVER make assumptions about a person being pregnant. This should be obvious, but there are tons of social risk takers who perform the conversational equivalent of an Evel Knievel stunt, inquiring about unconfirmed pregnancies. If it turns out that that woman isn’t with child, you’ll feel as if you aren’t with common sense.
15. Don’t ever, EVER make assumptions about a person’s gender. If you’re unsure, simply avoid gender specific phrases like girl, dude, and bro.
16. When you’ve got to go #2, don’t use your friends’ toilets. So many things can go wrong and when that water quickly fills like it’s about to overflow, you’ll definitely regret your decision. Seriously, you don’t want to have to ask if they have a plunger, or if they can they call a plumber.
17. Even when you’re alone, hold your fart until you get off the elevator. The second you let it go, the elevator will stop, and somebody else will enter. They may not vocalize it, but they silently hate the pain you’re putting their nostrils through.
18. If going on a date, try to have cash on you. Debit cards are assholes sometimes, even if you have the money in your bank account. If that sucker gets declined, it could leave you at the table with your date, in a very uncomfortable predicament. It’s always good to have the physical bills there to prevent complete humiliation.
19. When showing people a picture on your phone, strictly enforce the see-with-your-eyes-not-with-your-hands rule. Why? Because you wouldn’t want Curious George to scroll down and see something NSFW.
20. Don’t put your iPod on random/shuffle when you’ve got people over. There’s something in everyone’s music collection that they aren’t proud of. Just be safe; you don’t want a track from Kidz Bop Vol. 659,304 to unexpectedly start playing. Make a playlist of normal jams so your odd taste stays between you and your headphones.
21. When eating bananas, pickles, hotdogs, etc. — avoid eye contact with people as you go in for a bite.