17 Stupid Rules That People Still Follow Today

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By Darryl Henderson

Rules can be extremely useful for maintaining a well-functioning society, but some rules are just plain stupid. Whether they come from tradition, misconception, or bureaucracy, we still follow many rules that seem to defy logic. Here are 17 stupid rules that people still follow today.

No Elbows On The Table

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The strange rule of not putting elbows on the table persists to this day, as it can be seen as rude. However, its relevance in contemporary society is questionable; according to Southern Living, this rule came from earlier civilizations to prevent violence at the table, which really isn’t a problem anymore. 

Don’t Crack Your Knuckles

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Despite widespread belief, cracking knuckles does not lead to arthritis; the sound results from the release of gas bubbles in the synovial fluid – not from bone friction. However, this odd misconception has endured through generations, partly because people simply find it gross.

Never Wake A Sleeping Baby

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While prioritizing a baby’s sleep is crucial, this rule can be taken to extremes. Occasionally, waking a sleeping baby may be necessary for feeding, changing, and maintaining a proper sleep schedule. Adhering too strictly to this rule may result in unnecessary stress for new parents.

Avoid Going Outside With Wet Hair

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Contrary to popular belief, going outside with wet hair does not directly cause colds. Colds are caused by viruses, not by wet hair or cold weather. While wet hair in cold temperatures may cause discomfort, it does not increase susceptibility to illness; that’s just an old wive’s tale!

Don’t Swallow Gum

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The idea that swallowed gum remains in the digestive system for seven years is a myth. While gum is not easily digested, it passes through the digestive tract within a few days, much like other indigestible materials. We probably wouldn’t advise swallowing it intentionally, though.

Match Your Belt With Your Shoes

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Is this an essential style rule? Matching belts with shoes is a guideline often followed in fashion circles. While it can create a more polished look, this rule can also limit creativity and personal expression, so feel free to go wild!

After Eating, Wait An Hour Before Swimming

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Generations have been cautioned against swimming too soon after eating, fearing cramps or drowning. Scientific evidence from UAMS Health debunks this myth, explaining that there is no real medical evidence to support it. So, feel free to swim to your heart’s content before or after a meal, but maybe not during

Don’t Wear White After Labor Day

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This rule dictates that white clothes are off-limits after Labor Day, but fashion norms have evolved, and wearing white year-round is not only acceptable but also fashionable. Embracing white after Labor Day challenges antiquated conventions and celebrates personal style, so go for it!

Never Go To Bed Angry

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The advice to never go to bed angry is well-intentioned because it encourages communication and conflict resolution. However, sometimes, a night’s rest provides clarity and perspective so you can be ready for more productive discussions the next day. You and your spouse should decide on this for yourself! 

Don’t Wear Socks With Sandals

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The taboo of wearing socks with sandals has long been ingrained in the fashion world. However, fashion-forward individuals and designers are increasingly challenging this rule, embracing the combination of socks and sandals for both style and comfort. We’re not sure we like it, though.

Never Wear White To A Wedding

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The tradition of not wearing white at weddings is upheld to avoid others upstaging the bride. However, modern wedding etiquette allows for far more flexibility. Respect for the couple’s wishes and cultural norms should guide clothing choices – not outdated restrictions!

Don’t Eat Late At Night

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Some people claim that eating late at night leads to weight gain, but in reality, consuming excessive calories is the cause of weight gain. Integrated Eating says that the body stores any unused calories as fat irrespective of the time, so why not treat yourself to a midnight snack?

Don’t Wear Black To A Wedding

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Similar to the taboo about wearing white to a wedding, the rule against wearing black to weddings reflects outdated norms. While black was historically associated with mourning, it has since become a staple of chic, versatile attire. However, some people still hold this rule, causing great confusion for guests.

If You’re Overweight, Don’t Wear Horizontal Stripes

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The myth that horizontal stripes widen the appearance of the body persists in fashion advice, particularly for individuals with fuller figures. However, the impact of stripes on perceived body size is minimal, with fit and fabric playing far more significant roles. 

Don’t Wear White To An Interview

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The idea that white is inappropriate for job interviews reflects outdated perceptions of professionalism. There are no real rules; the main thing is to dress appropriately for the industry and company culture, with an emphasis on neatness and confidence rather than strange color restrictions.

Avoid Sleeping With Wet Hair

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Like the rule about going outside with wet hair, the belief that sleeping with wet hair leads to illness is completely untrue. Sleep Foundation refers to this rule as an urban legend rather than a scientific fact. While damp hair may feel uncomfortable, it does not increase susceptibility to illnesses. 

Never Wear Denim To Formal Events

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Last, on our list, denim is traditionally considered casual wear and is seen as unsuitable for formal occasions. However, modern fashion finds denim incredibly versatile, with tailored pieces suitable for a range of events. As long as you don’t sport double-denim, you’ll be just fine.