Andrew Parker

25 Behaviors Once Acceptable 25 Years Ago That Would Raise Eyebrows Today

Back in the days when people were jamming to the Spice Girls and rocking those baggy jeans, things were pretty different. It was the ’90s, and you’d be surprised at how many everyday things from back then are nothing like today. We’ve got 25 things that were fine 25 years ago but aren’t so great now.

Lighting Up in Restaurants

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It’s weird to think that lighting up a cigarette between bites of your burger used to be completely normal, and back in the ’90s, it was. Smoking in restaurants was just part of the dining experience. You even had a “smoking section” just for it. Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find a smoker indoors because laws have changed to protect us from secondhand smoke.

All in One Bin

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In the ’90s, recycling wasn’t really on anybody’s radar. We just chucked plastic bottles and newspapers in the same bin as everything else. Today, recycling is a big deal, and most of us feel pretty guilty if we don’t separate our recyclables from our trash. We know the importance of keeping the planet green and clean.

Joking at Work

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Remember those harmless jokes that we used to make around the water cooler? They might’ve just been some risque officer humor, but now, those same jokes are an HR issue. People would rather be respectful and make sure everyone feels included, which includes avoiding those more sensitive subjects.

Free-Roaming Kids

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Once upon a time, parents would just tell their kids to be home by dinner, no questions asked. Those were the days of ultimate street tag and bike adventures within the neighborhood, even though we didn’t have access to a cell phone. Today, it’s a very different story, with more structured playdates and a lot closer eye on the little ones for safety.

Traditional Roles

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Back in the ’90s, it wasn’t unusual to hear about “men’s work” or “women’s duties” because we accepted them as facts. Thankfully, in today’s world, we’ve mostly knocked down those outdated ideas because we understand anyone can do anything. Gender labels don’t need to hold anyone back.

Gender Exclusion

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Similarly, there were clear differences in the sports and activities world because football was for boys and ballet was for girls. These days, we’ve thrown that rulebook out the window because we’d rather allow kids to follow their passions, whatever they might be. It doesn’t matter if a girl wants to try football or a boy wants to dance because the doors are open for everyone.

Skipping the Seatbelt

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Not buckling up in the car used to be more common than you might think, especially in the backseat. But strict laws and a whole lot of public safety ads have changed our view on things. We understand that wearing a seatbelt isn’t something annoying but something we have to do to keep safe.

Spanking Kids

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Corporal punishment was completely normal 25 years ago, even in our homes. If you misbehaved, most parents would give you a quick slap to correct your behavior. Today, people have a greater understanding of parenting, and we know that we should guide our kids instead of just physically punishing them.

Being Casual About Drunk Driving

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While it’s always been against the law, drunk driving didn’t always have the stigma that it does today. People understood it was bad, but a lot of people just didn’t care. Fast-forward to today, and campaigns like “Designated Driver” have become pretty common, and we know how to enjoy a night out without risking other people’s lives.

Work-Life Separation

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There used to be a time when work stayed at work, and home was your escape, mostly because we didn’t have the technology to keep us constantly connected. Since remote work has become more popular, our living rooms have become our offices. Many of our bosses just don’t understand the work-life balance anymore.

Using Tanning Beds

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If you wanted to get that perfect golden tan, it was the norm to lie down in a tanning bed. After all, it was much cheaper than going on holiday. But as we’ve learned more about the risks of UV exposure, our attitudes have changed, and we enjoy our natural skin tones more. You’re far more likely to see people using safer alternatives like spray tans.

Not Using Sunscreen

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And for the people who did go out in the sun in the ’90s, not using sunscreen was normal, even on the brightest days. In today’s world, most people understand the dangers of sun cancer, and sunscreen has become a must-have for most people. Even just on a regular day at the park, lots of know we’ve got to lather up to be safe.

Faxing Documents

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Fax machines used to be the quickest way to send documents across long distances. But today, they’ve pretty much vanished from the office. They might not exactly be something that people hate, but you’ll get some strange looks if you suggest faxing something instead of email or even using the cloud.

Doing Things Manually

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Everything we used to do was manual, whether it was filling out bank slips or mailing in bills, and it used to take up a lot of our time. These days, automation has completely changed how we do things and made them a lot easier. But sadly, that does mean people might look at you weirdly if you decide to do something like banking in person instead of using an app.

Checking Voicemail

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There was a time when getting a voicemail meant something urgent was up, and you’d rush to play it back, but not so much anymore. Texting and instant messaging mean we’ll usually get the message before we even see the missed call. If you’re checking your voicemail in public, don’t be surprised if people think it’s strange.

Leaving Kids in the Car

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It wasn’t that strange to see a kid waiting in a parked car while their parents ran into the store, and people didn’t think twice about it. Today, we understand the risks of overheating and other safety issues. Even a quick stop could land you in hot water with passersby or even with the law.

Wearing Fur

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In the ’90s, wearing a fur coat was a sign of luxury, and while some people didn’t like them, there wasn’t a lot of backlash. Nowadays, most people see wearing fur as a huge mistake, thanks to animal rights activism and people preferring more sustainable fashion. Fake fur is much more normalized.

Ignoring Food Allergies

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Years ago, if you talked about a food allergy in a restaurant, you didn’t get much of a response because a lot of people didn’t see allergies as a big deal. But things are completely different now, as restaurants are far more careful with letting us know what’s in their food. We care a lot more about food safety than ever before.

Asking Personal Questions

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Asking someone pretty personal questions like “When are you getting married?” or “Why don’t you have kids?” was normal, even if it was annoying. Thankfully, a lot of people recognize that these questions are rude nowadays. Most of us understand that it’s not polite to poke around in someone else’s life choices, although you’ll still get some nosy family members who do it.

Discussing Salaries

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On the other hand, talking about how much money you make was pretty much a taboo subject in the ’90s. We thought it was too invasive and not appropriate for a conversation. But today, people understand that talking about what you earn is a good idea in the workplace. After all, knowing what other people earn means we can close any gaps so we’re all paid fairly.


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Back in the day, you’d see people throwing trash out of their car windows or leaving their picnic mess behind in the park without a second thought. Now, we want to keep our parks and streets clean because littering can actually cost you a pretty penny in fines. Lots of communities are stepping up to make sure everyone does their part for the environment.

Driving Large, Inefficient Vehicles

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There was a time when owning a massive SUV was the cool thing to do, and nobody would even bother to ask about the effect on Mother Earth. How times have changed. Nowadays, if you’re rolling around in one of those gas guzzlers, don’t be surprised if people give you some unfriendly looks because they know how damaging these vehicles are to the environment.

Overusing Water Use

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Remember the days when nobody cared if you left the faucet running when you brushed your teeth? Those days are long gone. Saving water is on most people’s minds, especially with all the worries about climate change and saving the planet. People are getting pretty smart about cutting down on their water use so that every drop counts.

Casual Piracy

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Burning a mix CD or downloading was the norm in the ’90s, as everyone was doing it, and it didn’t seem like a big deal. Today, thanks to all those piracy adverts, we’ve got a whole new level of respect for the creative people behind our favorite songs and films. As piracy laws have become stricter and streaming has become easier, lots of people would rather support artists by actually paying for their work.

Body Shaming

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Making snarky jokes about someone’s looks used to be okay in casual conversations, but not anymore. The body-positive movement has really taken off, and lots of people would rather celebrate each other for the way they are. Judging someone for their appearance? That’s a big red flag today.

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