Short, sweet, meaningful rules to live by are a delight.
Last year I shared my own, inspired by the book, and it became a talking point among friends and family for much of the year. I love hearing anyone’s rules; even if I don’t agree with them, they’re telling of that person and a worldview. They make me think.
So, without naming any names, below I share a few sets of rules I heard from others because I just think these are so much fun. I’d love to hear yours too.
In conversations, I got lots of one-off ideas I found clever, like “Never sit next to the person you came with to the dinner party.” Another from a friend I’ve thought of often is a question that he uses as an abiding philosophy: “do I want to win the argument or do I want to win?”
These are a few full sets I thought were memorable.
- Always go to the thrift store first.
- Always have something other than small talk to start a conversation with.
- Tell them you love them.
- You’ll never regret wearing pants but you will shorts.
- TMI is better than WTF.
- String white lights always make outdoors look better.
- Always add the song to a playlist.
- Don’t cheat a sleep.
- Always start with the obvious tourist stop first.
- Everything’s best quality is also its worst.
- Fall asleep thinking why you’re better today than yesterday.
- Never own a swimming pool but always have a friend with one.
- Always do the dishes before you eat.
- Only buy shoes you can bicycle in.
- Never own a dog.
- Always offer to cleanup at the party.
- Put timers on everything.
- Never buy store brand cleaning products.
- Always pet the street cat.
- Never be an early adopter on a health or beauty trend.
- Always wear layers.
- Never swim in natural bodies of waters.
- Never buy a new car.
- Never name something after someone until they’re dead.
- Never pay retail.
- Never pass up a bathroom.
- There is always a second deer (while driving in rural places).
- Remember that half the people are better off than you and the other half are worse off.
- Never walk barefoot.
- A garage sale is never worth it.
- Make friends with the secretary.
- Always have cash.
- Never leave the lights on when you leave the room.
- Know what you want before you open the fridge
- Always write a caption on the back of the photograph.
- Never buy next to an empty property.
- Never hang something heavy over your bed
- Never keep a balance on a credit card if you can help it.
- Always keep a reusable bag in your purse/work bag/car; always have a reusable set of silverware, plate and cup at your desk if you work in an office without those
- Always have a pet that makes you happy.
- Never let your car’s gas gauge get to the near-empty mark.
- Always live within an hour of an ocean or another very large body of water and within walking distance of at least one good bar and restaurant
- Always vote in every election (after doing your own research!)
- Always donate whatever you can to organizations important to you
- Never get on a plane without at least half a book to read
- Always take the time to remember preferences of your friends and family – favorite drink, favorite snack, hated ingredient
- Always check your work calendar the night before; Always check you can open the attachment/can login to the system/have a phone number to call or a link to click in an invite when you receive a message…even if you’re not going to do the work or have the meeting now.
- Always send a thank you message as soon as you receive a package/gift
(Stop light by Tom Gouw)