Why are unwritten rules unwritten?

I feel like if they were written down, they would be easier to identify, follow, and modify if needed.

because unwritten rules aren’t real rules, and people like to pretend to have moral superiority over each other by claiming they are expected to be followed.



Wait… Wait… I know this. Because if they were written down they would no longer be unwritten rules.


What sorts of rules are you referring to OP? It may help if you write down a couple examples


To answer the OP’s question:

  1. The unwritten words are stupid, so having them written down subjects them to derision.
  2. It’s more about power. The people who know the unwritten rules think they can control those who don’t know the rules.

Good question. Reddit keeps bringing this topic up so I thought I would make a thread about it.

Also, want to celebrate Bastille Day with me?

I think you’d find unwritten rules are very real rules in many situations. I bet there are loads you follow, and you don’t realize them. They’re social rules. If you break them, there are all sorts of bad consequences to you.

Yes, I know many actuaries are on the autism spectrum, but given we are able to function well enough to pass exams, we aren’t as disabled as some. We probably have learned the rules “take a shower” and “wear deodorant/antiperspirant” and “don’t take off all your clothes in the middle of the classroom when you don’t get your way” (a rule my son has explicitly learned.)

The book I linked above goes through some of these unwritten social rules, and they’re not written because most of us learn them through normal social learning. If you read books written for autistic adults or their teachers/parents, you will find all sorts of rules you are following in regular society and if you do not follow those rules, there are repercussions.

Oh, and even if you’re not autistic nor have any autistic relatives, you might find that book interesting. Again, it touches on “rules” that most neurotypical people never think about. It’s like when you read anthropological studies… but it’s on your own culture.

From the Table of Contents:


:grimacing: i’m not great with rule #5. rule #3 is also iffy for me.

#3 is something my dad doesn’t understand at all. I’m in total agreement with #3. Mistakes happen, it’s how kids learn. In fact, kids need to fuck up because that’s how they learn, and the best time to do that is in childhood when the stakes aren’t high.