20 Bad Habits You Need to Break

Does your spouse glare at you as you when you knock things off the table with your elbows? Have you noticed people backing away when you get close to them? You might need to take stock of some of the reasons this may be happening and start working on changing your habits to good ones that will attract people rather than repel them.

Once a habit is established, it can be extremely difficult to break. Here are some of the most difficult bad etiquette habits to change. Keep in mind that it can take...MORE a while to change your behavior, so you might need a reminder every now and then. Let others know you are working on it so they can give you a gentle nudge when you fall into old habits.

Don't fall into a habit of defending bad behavior. No one will buy your excuses, and it makes you appear unwilling to change.

  • 01 of 20
    Young woman talking to friend
    PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    Although looking someone in the eye while talking to him or her is considered good manners, staring at someone is not. When you catch your gaze fixed on a stranger or making someone uncomfortable by staring, make a concerted effort to blink and look away.

  • 02 of 20
    Woman arguing with a man in the bedroom
    Get out of the habit of talking too loud. Glow Images, Inc / Getty Images

    As someone who is married to a man who wears hearing aids, I can certainly sympathize with anyone who has the bad habit of talking too loud. Just remember that most people can hear just fine, so practice talking in a lower volume unless the other person asks you to speak up.

  • 03 of 20
    Steve Debenport/ E+/ Getty Images

    Granted, there are many times when the only way you can get a word in edgewise is to interrupt the nonstop chatterer, doing so is generally bad form. Wait until the other person stops talking before you open your mouth.

  • 04 of 20
    Server holding a hamburger platter
    Tip generously. Rubberball/Erik Isakson/Getty Images

    Remember that many people who rely on tips make below minimum wage, and they often have families to support. Tip according to the type and quality of service rendered.

    Continue to 5 of 20 below.
  • 05 of 20
    Women in restaurant looking at man laughing with food in mouth
    Don't talk with food in your mouth. Greg Ceo / Getty Images

    Talking with a mouthful of food is just plain rude and a sign that you need to learn some table manners. Chew, swallow, and then talk. If you are asked a question, indicate with a gesture that you'll answer after you swallow. Don't rush. If the other person really wants to hear what you have to say, he or she can wait.

  • 06 of 20
    A woman waiting for a meal
    Your elbows might rock the table or knock things off. hazelog / Getty Images
    Elbows on the table might seem harmless…until you knock over a pedestal table. It's best to sit back and keep your elbows to yourself.
  • 07 of 20
    Drunk woman putting shaving cream on a man's face at a party
    Being drunk is no excuse for childish behavior. Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images

    I'm not talking about coffee, tea, water, or soda. When you are in a social situation that involves drinking alcohol, avoid overindulgence. Maybe it helps you feel more social, but it can also cause you to say or do things you'll later regret. Most of the time, you won't get a do-over, so stop before you feel the buzz.

  • 08 of 20
    Girl Blowing Bubble
    Don't make a spectacle of yourself with gum. Jaime Brandel / Getty Images
    Bubble gum is supposed to be blown into bubbles, right? And when gum forms air pockets when you chew, it pops. Maybe so, but chomping, popping, and cracking your gum is annoying to those around you. If you can't chew gum without popping it, don't chew it in public.
    Continue to 9 of 20 below.
  • 09 of 20
    Woman being rude to her coworker
    Always think before you speak. LWA/Sharie Kennedy/Blend Images/Getty Images

    Have you ever noticed that some people seem to have no speech filters, and they say the most inappropriate things? If you are one of them, stop and think before you open your mouth, even if someone is wearing shoes that clash with her dress. You don't want to embarrass yourself or anyone else by constantly making rude comments.

  • 10 of 20
    Woman texting on her cellphone in a coffee shop
    Don't be rude with your cell phone in public. Marianna Massey/Getty Images

    Cell phones are wonderful, until they replace personal contact. If you are one of those people constantly tethered to your electronic device, don't be upset if all your friends start to walk a wide berth around you.

  • 11 of 20
    Two friends standing close and sharing earbuds
    Your relationship determines how much personal space you need. Cavan Images/Stone/Getty Images

    No matter how close you are to someone, give him or her some personal space. No one likes having someone underfoot all the time.

  • 12 of 20
    Young couple kissing.
    Don't embarrass others with public displays of affection. Maria Teijeiro / Getty Images

    You might have a constant burning desire to make out with your main squeeze, but do it in private. You don't need to inflict your constant desire to be in a lip-lock on innocent bystanders. Many people are embarrassed by public displays of affection, so keep things cool until you are behind closed doors.

    Continue to 13 of 20 below.
  • 13 of 20
    One woman being rude to her coworker
    Don't make rude or sarcastic comments. Kris Ubach and Quim Roser/Getty Images
    Sarcasm is funny—to everyone but the subject, that is. When you feel a bout of sarcasm coming on, bite your tongue until the urge diminishes. Remember that if you can't say something nice, either don't say it at all or wait until you have a chance to think about whether or not you want to keep that person for a friend.
  • 14 of 20
    Close-up of woman filing her nails
    Never file your nails in public. Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

    Most personal hygiene needs to be conducted in private. If you need to brush your hair, never do it at the table. Get up and find a restroom. If you are consistently doing gross things, stop. No one wants to be around someone who constantly spits, picks his nose, or scratches private areas.

  • 15 of 20
    Asian couple eating rice
    Don't take other people's food. Hill Street Studios / Getty Images
    Are you guilty of seeing something on another person's plate and stabbing it with your fork? This is rude and may cause you to get your hand slapped. Never take food off anyone else's plate unless it is offered.
  • 16 of 20
    Standing in line at a grocery store
    Don't cut in line. Rubberball/Mike Kemp/Getty Images

    Remember what you learned in kindergarten: Get in the back of the line and wait your turn. Doing otherwise can get you into all kinds of trouble and is extremely ill-mannered behavior.

    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • 17 of 20
    Woman throwing bottle out car window
    Don't throw trash out of the window. Chev Wilkinson / Getty Images
    After you finish your food or drink, look for a receptacle for the wrapper or can. Dropping your garbage on the ground is boorish and leaves a mess for someone else to have to clean up.
  • 18 of 20
    Woman wearing short red dress and high-heeled sandals
    Dress appropriately for the occasion. Roberto Casmirri/Getty Images

    Every place has a dress code, either written or assumed. This includes work, school, church, sporting events, and all other places where you'll find groups of people. Before going to an unfamiliar place, find out how you should dress.

  • 19 of 20
    Studio Shot Of Fist On White Background
    Keep your gestures appropriate for the occasion. Tudor Catalin Gheorghe / EyeEm / Getty Images
    We've all seen people who are quick to gesture inappropriately. If you are one of those folks, think about what your mother would say if she saw you. If it's an act that would have you sent to your room, don't do it.
  • 20 of 20
    Young woman laughing
    Laughing is fine as long as it's not at someone else's expense. Michael Rowe/Getty Images
    As funny as it may seem, when something bad happens to someone else, avoid the urge to laugh. If the urge to chuckle is too strong, try biting the insides of your cheeks. Remember that if it's not funny to the person who experiences the misfortune, it's rude to laugh at him or her.