Sometimes we make mistakes. We say the wrong word, or call someone the wrong name, or forget about a promise we made. While these things aren’t disasters in their own right, if they become habitual things can go south quick. Bad habits are hard to break, especially for the more socially unaware of us. And the more we give into a bad habit here and there, the more other bad habits will breed. We’ve compiled a list of 10 of the worst social habits can have. If you think you’re guilty of any of these, don’t worry: as a safeguard we’ve added how to break the habits as well!
1. Being too loud.
Yes, it sounds ridiculous. But one of the most common bad happens is lack of volume control. While it’s great that you can shout across the mall hallway to your friend, it doesn’t mean you should! Some people get scared by loud noises, and shouting especially can be a trigger for people. How do you break this habit? When you’re out in the world be aware of the space you’re in. On the soccer field you can be as loud as you want. But walking through a shopping centre? Try to match the volume of your friends, and be aware when your volume starts to rise.
2. Bad breath.
Maybe this isn’t a habit so much as a condition. Either way, it’s something that people hate, and might be affecting your relationships with people. You might not be aware that you have bad breath! It’s always okay to do a quick smell test into your hand. While it might be hard to find a way to fix the problem, it’s easy to cope with. Break the habit by carrying gum or mints with you and try to pop some after each meal, or before meeting up with people.
3. Talking about yourself.
Yes, conversations are a give and take thing. You can’t just spend the whole coffee date talking about your latest triumph or failure, or else people will stop wanting to talk to you. Be aware that this is just a bad habit though, and not anything deeper or more sinister. Learn to ask more questions, and listen just as much as you talk. That’s the way to build a real conversation!
4. Getting out of control.
Nobody wants to be “that person” at parties. You know the one: so drunk they can’t stand up, shouting at people across the room, spilling their drink on people they’re trying to dance with, and maybe puking in the rose bushes outside. If you know that you are though, we have good news… You don’t have to be! Getting out of control is just another habit, and something totally in your power to change. The next time you go to a party, don’t drink yourself blind. Keep your substances in moderation, and check in with yourself; are you walking straight? Are you talking at an appropriate volume? Soon these check-ins will become your new habit, and all of a sudden your party times are going to be way more fun.
5. Inappropriate dress.
Slovenly Christmas sweaters at your best friend’s wedding or bikini tops at the club are only appropriate if those are the themes. Part of being social means looking to be a part of society. If you’re stuck in your own bubble, there’s no way you’re ever going to join the ranks of acceptability. Breaking this habit is simple: dress for the situation, not just for your mood. You can also try checking in with your friends to see what they’re wearing, which will help you figure out what to wear.
6. Asking the wrong questions.
If your friend’s grandma was sick, asking whether or not she’s dead yet in the middle of a club dance floor is not the best choice. While it’s great that you’re showing concern for the woman, it’s not a great context to bring it up in. Break this habit by knowing when and where is appropriate for asking certain questions. A good rule of thumb is to match moods: if the place is happy, ask happy questions. If the place is more sombre or low-key, then approach the deep topics.
7. Uncalled for comments.
If someone wants advice, they’ll ask. Oftentimes people don’t want to know what your opinion is. They want their own thoughts justified, and sometimes to be comforted. All we ever want is an open ear! A good way to break this habit is to listen more. If the person you’re talking to has asked for advice, go ahead and give your opinion. BUT if they just want to rant and rant, hold your tongue. It really will make a difference.
8. Messy eating.
Okay, maybe this one is a little petty. We don’t want to judge, but messy eaters really have to change. It’s gross trying to sit down and have a nice meal with someone while they’ve got food all over their hands, clothes, and chin. While we know you can’t see what you look like, we suspect you can feel all the food particles flying. Break this habit by slowing down your meals, and mindfully eating what it is you’ve chosen to grace your body with. A little effort goes a long way in this case!
9. Talking with your mouth full.
More date-oriented, but still crucial to mention. If you’re a messy eater, you might be guilty of this bad habit too. Luckily it’s easy enough to control this, especially if you’re already following our messy eating tips. Slowing down and listening during conversations will help, as well as putting your fork, spoon, or chopsticks down in between bites. You’ll have to make more of a conscious effort to continue eating, which means you’ll also start to ween yourself off of talking with your mouth full.
10. Spatial awareness (or lack thereof).
Do you knock things over, or hit people on the bus with your backpack? If you do, you might be guilty of having a lack of spatial awareness. Sometimes this comes from age. The younger we are the faster we’re growing, which means the easier we lose control of where our bodies are in space and time. If this is the case, you’ll grow out of it in time. If you’ve already had your growth spurt though, you should check to see why this habit has stuck around. Make sure you’re not closing your eyes to the world around you. Staying aware is the first step in fitting yourself into the world, and the only way to get better is to practice.