Things You Didn’t Realize Were So Rude Until Now

Things You Didn’t Realize Were So Rude Until Now

We all want to be the kind of person others genuinely enjoy being around, but sometimes our best intentions land flat, leaving us feeling a bit bewildered as to why someone seems silently offended. Social rules are WEIRD, and some aren’t taught outright. However, there are certain faux pas that can sabotage friendships or make you that guest no one wants to invite back.

1. Talking over people

Enthusiasm is great, but interrupting someone mid-sentence makes it seem like you don’t value what they have to say. Impatience makes you seem rude, even if you don’t mean it that way. Wait for a natural pause, THEN chime in. They’ll feel heard, and your contribution will be better received.

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2. Using “just being honest” as an excuse for hurtful comments

Bluntness isn’t always a virtue. There’s a way to deliver constructive feedback without nuking someone’s self-esteem. Consider whether your “honesty” is genuinely helpful, or just an excuse to say something mean. Filter those thoughts – would YOU want to hear it that way?

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3. Saying “maybe” to invites when you really mean “no”

Hosts need a headcount to make plans – your wishy-washy response throws a wrench in the works. If you have major factors in play, be upfront: “I’d LOVE to come, but won’t know my work schedule until X date – is it okay if I let you know for sure by then?” It’s far better than leaving them hanging. As Forbes points out, RSVPs are important!

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4. Giving unsolicited and unwelcome advice

couple on a date but not going well

Our first instinct is to resolve problems for those we care about. But sometimes, they just need to vent, to process emotions out loud. Jumping in with solutions can feel dismissive, like you’re not truly listening to their struggle. Offer support first: “That sounds rough, want to talk about it?”

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5. Being glued to your phone during social situations

two friends arguing on couch

A quick text check is fine, but getting lost in your phone while someone’s trying to have a real-world interaction with you sends a clear message: they’re boring, and whatever’s on that screen is WAY more important. Unless it’s an emergency, give the person in front of you the gift of your attention.

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6. Not reciprocating favors or acts of kindness

Friendships are two-way streets! If someone went out of their way to do something nice for you, find a way to return the favor. It doesn’t have to be tit-for-tat, but a pattern of taking without giving back makes you seem like a user. Showing you appreciate their help keeps friendships strong.

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7. Ghosting, even if it’s a casual date or new friend

Disappearing into thin air is disrespectful of the other person’s time and feelings. Even if you’re not interested, a brief, polite closure message takes seconds to send and shows basic human decency. “Had a nice time, but not feeling a spark – wishing you the best!” is infinitely better than leaving them wondering what they did wrong.

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8. Bringing up overly personal topics with casual acquaintances

It’s tempting to try to accelerate intimacy with deep questions, but nosiness is a turn-off. Small talk has its place! Let the friendship develop naturally; they’ll share the heavier stuff as the trust builds. Asking intensely personal questions of someone you barely know is an invasion of boundaries.

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9. “It’s no big deal!” when minimizing someone else’s feelings

When someone’s upset, the last thing they need is to be told their feelings are wrong or overblown. Even if the situation seems minor to you, respect that it’s upsetting to them. Saying something like, “That sounds really frustrating, I’m sorry you’re dealing with that” validates their experience without minimizing it.

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10. Oversharing with the wrong audience

We all need to vent sometimes, but your new coworker doesn’t need the graphic details of your last breakup saga. Read the room! Oversharing creates awkwardness, and some things are best kept within your close friend circle, not broadcast to the office at large.

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11. One-upping every story with your own epic tale

Someone shares a fun vacation anecdote, and you counter with how YOUR vacation was even MORE amazing. It turns conversations into competitions. Be happy for others’ experiences without feeling the need to always go one better.

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12. “Borrowing” without permission (aka subtle theft)

A close-up portrait of a young and attractive Caucasian woman in casual clothes while walking around the city. The concept of fashion, style, youth and lifestyle.

That cute top in your roommate’s closet, the fancy pen on your boss’s desk… “borrowing” without asking is still taking what isn’t yours. Respect boundaries around other people’s stuff. If you admire it, COMPLIMENT it and ask if you can borrow it sometime.

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13. Ignoring basic hygiene, especially in shared spaces

We all have off days, but chronic issues like not showering after the gym, or leaving your dirty dishes piled in the office kitchen sink, impact those forced to share space with you. Basic consideration means not making your grossness someone else’s problem.

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14. Commenting on people’s bodies – even with good intentions

“You look amazing, have you lost weight?” seems like a compliment, but can be a minefield. They might be struggling with health issues, self-esteem, or any number of other things. Either way, it puts the focus on their appearance in a way that can feel intrusive. Compliment their outfit, or their work instead.

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15. Giving backhanded compliments

“Wow, that dress is… a bold choice” or “You’re really brave to wear that hairstyle” are clearly not genuine. The subtle undertone of disapproval thinly veiled as a compliment isn’t fooling anyone. If you don’t genuinely like something, just keep it to yourself.

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16. Chronic lateness with no apology, as if your time is more valuable

Things happen and traffic sucks sometimes, but a quick text to say “running late” is basic courtesy, Reader’s Digest notes. But habitually being the one who strolls in 15 minutes after everyone else has been waiting? It sends an unspoken message that you don’t value their time as much as yours.

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Harper Stanley graduated from Eugene Lang College at The New School in NYC in 2006 with a degree in Media Studies and Literature and Critical Analysis. After graduating, she worked as an editorial assistant at The Atlantic before moving to the UK to work for the London Review of Books.

When she's not waxing poetic about literature, she's writing articles about dating, relationships, and other women's lifestyle topics to help make their lives better. While shocking, she really has somehow managed to avoid joining any social media apps — a fact she's slightly smug about.