11 things you’re doing in public that people secretly judge you for

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Everyone judges. It’s a fundamental part of being human.

You’ve probably been doing it yourself, especially if you’re a fan of people-watching. I know that I’ve whiled away plenty of hours sitting in pubs and in coffee shops, just watching people as they went by and taking mental notes to use in my books. 

But what you might not realize is that when you’re watching people, you’re subconsciously judging them – and when people are watching you, they’re doing exactly the same. But what are they judging you for? 

Well, I’m glad you asked. Let’s take a look at 11 things you’re doing in public that people secretly judge you for.

1) Being rude to service workers

The way that you talk to service workers, like bartenders and waiters, says more about your personality than you realize.

This is especially true if the person that’s looking at you is a service worker themselves, because they’ll know exactly what it’s like to be on the receiving end of abuse from a customer. That means that if you’re rude to service workers, not only will people notice, but also they’ll judge you for it.

The thing to remember about service workers is that they’re normally being paid minimum wage (or close to it), and they’re doing the best they can. If you have a problem with the service you receive, take that up with the manager and not with the person who’s not being paid enough.

In fact, you should try to be kind to people in general, whether they’re a service worker or not.

2) Not covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing

This one has always been considered rude, but it’s become even more of a hot topic thanks to COVID-19.

Now, if people catch you coughing or sneezing without covering your mouth and nose, they’ll think of you as a reckless germ-spreader who doesn’t care about other people’s wellbeing. And perhaps they’d be right to think so.

The thing with this particular point is that it’s super easy to cover your nose and mouth, and its impact is far greater than any cost to you in terms of effort. And given that it’s so easy to do, why wouldn’t you?

In other words, stop being gross and cover your mouth!

3) Chewing with your mouth open

Speaking of mouths, chewing with your mouth open is also a big no-no.

There’s an obvious reason for this. It’s gross. Nobody wants to hear the sounds of you chewing or to see the half-chewed food in your mouth. And if you’re opening your mouth because you want to speak, that’s even worse.

Instead, keep your mouth closed while you’re chewing and you won’t end up with people staring at you when you’re trying to eat your dinner at the restaurant. I’m the kind of person who hates people looking at me when I’m eating, so chewing with my mouth open is a big no-no.

Like covering your mouth when you cough, it’s super easy to chew with your mouth closed.

4) Talking loudly on the phone

This is one that everyone hates, and it’s another one that we can easily avoid just by keeping an eye on our behavior.

You could also couple this point up with playing music out loud, especially on public transport where other people are stuck with you. You might think you have awesome taste in music, but other people might not agree.

Both of these behaviors are super obnoxious, and if people see you doing it in public then you can hardly blame them for judging you. In fact, you can consider yourself lucky if they only judge you. I’ve seen fights break out over less.

Personally, I try not to speak on the phone in public at all. And if I have to, I keep my voice down.

5) Displaying excessive levels of affection

This one’s a bit of a mixed bag, because some people don’t mind public displays of affection, while others hate it.

I fall on the “I don’t care” side of things, and if two people are in love and want to display their affection in a public place, that’s fine by me. But at the same time, I know that I’ve been on the receiving end of some judgmental looks when displaying affection for my partner.

I find that the best approach is to go for the middle ground. In other words, a certain amount of affection is fine, as long as you don’t overdo it. So that begs the question of how you’ll know if you’re overdoing it.

The good news is that if your friends are any good, they’ll tell you. The bad news is that if they’re not, they won’t.

6) Being drunk

This is one that I’ve only realized recently, since going alcohol-free a year or so ago.

Back in the day, I enjoyed a drink as much as anyone else, and while I wasn’t exactly an obnoxious drunk, I’m sure I was still annoying. Different people react in different ways to alcohol, with some becoming super talkative while others get aggressive and try to start fights.

The thing with being drunk is that other drunk people won’t judge you. It’s the sober people who will judge you, and they’ll judge you hard. That includes the people who are the designated drivers, as well as the bar staff who are serving you.

As with the public displays of affection, I’m not saying you should never do it. I’m just saying that you should drink in moderation and be aware that it can affect the way people perceive you.

7) Not being considerate of other drivers

No one likes angry drivers or those who don’t signal when they’re overtaking or changing lanes.

People will absolutely judge you on your driving skills, whether that’s fair or not. The problem is that most of us have developed bad habits behind the wheel, and then there’s the fact that there are certain rules and regulations that are open to interpretation.

It’s pretty much impossible to drive in such a way that you don’t annoy anyone, and so you shouldn’t even try. Instead, it’s all about your intent. Your goal should be to be considerate, which isn’t too difficult. Give people space and be patient with them.

The crazy thing is that most people already do this when they’re walking. They just seem to forget all about it as soon as they get behind the wheel. Weird.

8) Littering

No one likes a litterbug.

In part, it’s because it costs us money. If someone litters in your city, it’s your tax money that goes towards the cleanup. If they litter at an amusement park, a mall or some other business, the cleanup cost is passed on to you via the price tags for the goods you buy.

On top of that, it’s just arrogant. It sends out the message that you think you’re so important that people should clean up after you. It also shows that you don’t give a damn about your surroundings, and you’ll be judged by the people who are in those same surroundings.

Take your trash home with you. That’s what everyone else does.

9) Arguing or being angry in public

If you really need to argue with someone, try to do it behind doors.

There are very few people who actually like arguing, but it still seems to happen quite often. When it does, you should make sure that you’re saving it for home instead of arguing in public where everyone can hear you and where you’ll make people feel uncomfortable.

For example, I have some neighbors that seem to argue in the streets every night. I’ve never understood why they choose to shout at each other outside instead of just going indoors. It also means that my other neighbors keep calling the police on them.

The same is true for anger. If you have to argue or show anger, do it in private.

10) Taking lots of selfies or checking yourself out in mirrors

This is one of my biggest pet peeves because people do this in the dumbest of places.

For example, I once had to have a word with someone in the gents’ toilets because he was taking selfies in a mirror that was literally opposite the urinals. You’d think it was self-evident that you shouldn’t take photos that catch people mid-flow.

As for people checking themselves out, it doesn’t only happen in mirrors. People do it in shop windows, people’s sunglasses and any other reflective surface they can find. I wouldn’t mind, but they tend to get in the way when they’re doing it.

The TL: DR here is that you look fine. There’s no need to keep checking yourself out.

11) Cutting in line

I’m British, and so cutting in line is a hot topic for us. Half the population thinks it deserves the death penalty.

In all seriousness, cutting in line is perceived as rude for a good reason. They say that time is money, except you can always make more money, while our time starts running out from the moment we’re born.

Cutting in line steals time from people, but it’s rude because of so much more than that. It also suggests that you think you’re better than everyone else who’s obediently waiting in line. If you act like that, you shouldn’t be surprised if people judge you to decide for themselves whether you’re right or not.

Wait your damn turn. It’s the only reason why queues work in the first place.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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