List of Humanity’s Most Common Bad Habits

, Staff Writer
Updated November 11, 2020
bad habit talking over people
    bad habit talking over people
    fizkes / iStock / Getty Images Plus
    Used under Getty Images license

There is no shortage of bad habits in human behavior. Whether you’re looking for a list of bad habits to help develop a character in a story or you’re just wondering what some of the most common bad habits are, you might be surprised by some of the items on this list.

10 of the Most Common Bad Habits

While there are many bad habits out there, a few seem to be really common. This is particularly true with habits that impact health negatively. Study habits are another key area.

  • allowing yourself to get distracted from what you should be doing
  • cramming for exams the night before
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • failing to go to the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups
  • failing to protect your skin against harm from the sun
  • following an irregular sleep schedule
  • ignoring physical symptoms of potential health problems
  • regularly carrying a heavy bag on the same shoulder
  • sitting for long periods of time
  • skipping meals in an effort to lose weight
  • smoking cigarettes

Of course, those are just a few common bad habits. There are many others. The more bad habits a person has, the greater the impact on their health. Many bad habits are related to diet.

  • binge eating
  • consuming caffeine during the evening hours
  • consuming too much salt
  • consuming too much sugar
  • dipping a chip or cracker back into communal salsa or dip after taking a bite
  • drinking too many high sugar beverages
  • eating fast food
  • eating food that has been open for too long
  • eating to many carbohydrates
  • eating too much food
  • eating too much red meat
  • eating too quickly
  • eating very large meals in a single sitting
  • eating with your mouth open
  • failing to eat enough fruits and vegetables
  • not eating enough carbohydrates
  • not eating enough food
  • skipping breakfast
  • slurping soup
  • snacking before bed
  • stress eating
  • yo-yo dieting

Bad Hygiene Habits

Hygiene is another key area where bad habits can creep into everyday life.

  • coughing without covering your mouth
  • failing to dry your hands after washing them
  • failing to floss your teeth
  • failing to use soap when washing your hands
  • failing to wash your hands frequently enough
  • not bathing frequently enough
  • not brushing your teeth
  • not properly disinfecting or cleaning contact lenses
  • picking your nose
  • picking your teeth when other people are around
  • preparing food without tying back long hair
  • reusing towels too many times
  • sleeping in contact lenses
  • sleeping in makeup
  • sneezing without turning away from others and covering your nose
  • spending less than 20 seconds washing your hands
  • using a worn out toothbrush
  • wearing the same clothing several days in a row

Personal Habits That Are Problematic

A lot of bad personal habits are examples of vices that are bad for you or problematic for others.

  • being disorganized
  • being too sedentary
  • biting your fingernails
  • cracking your joints
  • drinking and driving
  • driving too fast
  • driving too slow
  • engaging in negative self-talk
  • failing to follow through with things
  • failing to get an appropriate amount of exercise (too little or too much)
  • failing to get a proper amount of sleep (too much or too little)
  • forgetting to take prescribed medication
  • having poor posture
  • having workaholic tendencies
  • having unprotected or otherwise unsafe sex
  • not appreciating all the good things in your life
  • picking the ends of your hair
  • putting things off until the last minute
  • self-medicating when you need medical assistance
  • slacking off at work
  • smacking gum
  • taking on more than you can handle
  • taking too many over-the-counter painkillers (ibuprofen, acetaminophen)
  • throwing temper tantrums

Distracting Entertainment and Technology Habits

Fun activities to enjoy can be great, but too much of a good thing can become a problem.

  • allowing yourself to be catfished
  • assuming memes are true
  • behaving passive aggressively
  • being too competitive
  • believing everything you see on the internet
  • cancelling plans with friends at the last minute
  • considering biased sensationalized stories to be the same as news
  • falling asleep with the television on
  • getting addicted to porn
  • getting obsessed with hobbies
  • getting pulled into destructive activities online
  • giving out too much information to contacts you make online
  • obsessively checking your cell phone
  • paying for entertainment subscriptions that you don’t use
  • paying for too many tv/streaming services
  • picking on people who are different
  • playing video games excessively
  • scheduling all of your outings around food
  • spending too much time on social media
  • spending too much time surfing the internet
  • staying indoors too much
  • substituting online connections for in-person relationships
  • using your cell phone at the dinner table
  • watching sports excessively
  • watching too much television

Poor Communication and Relationship Habits

There are many potential problem areas when it comes to communication and relationships.

  • allowing yourself to be manipulated
  • assuming that people know what you’re thinking rather than telling them
  • being rude or disrespectful of others
  • being unwilling to accept constructive feedback from others
  • believing things a compulsive liar says
  • eavesdropping on other people’s conversations
  • enunciating words poorly
  • failing to honor commitments
  • failing to make eye contact when talking to people
  • interrupting other people when they’re speaking
  • letting people take advantage of you
  • mumbling or muttering under your breath
  • promising things you aren’t sure you can deliver
  • putting up with abusive behaviors from partners, friends or family members
  • putting up with people who bully you or others
  • putting your faith in people who are known to be unreliable
  • speaking at an inappropriate volume (too quiet or too loud)
  • spreading rumors or gossip
  • staying in toxic personal relationships
  • taking what people say out of context intentionally
  • talking over people
  • telling people things other have shared with you in confidence
  • texting or otherwise using your phone while talking to someone in person
  • using slang inappropriately
  • using vocal interferences (um, uh, like, err)

Bad Household and Financial Habits

A lot of people have bad habits relating to basic household and financial responsibilities.

  • being too much of a perfectionist with cleanliness
  • buying things you don’t need
  • carrying credit card debt
  • failing to pay enough attention to cleanliness
  • forgetting to pay bills on time
  • gambling too much
  • gambling with money you can’t afford to lose
  • leaving clean laundry in the washing machine so long that it smells bad
  • leaving sheets on the bed too long without changing them
  • letting clean laundry pile up without putting it away
  • letting clutter pile up
  • letting dirty laundry pile up without washing it
  • letting your insurance lapse
  • living above your means
  • loaning money to people you know will never pay you back
  • missing tax filing deadlines
  • paying full price for everyday items instead of shopping for sales
  • racking up overdraft charges
  • spending too much money eating in restaurants
  • writing checks when you don’t have enough money in the bank to cover the expense

Students from kindergarten through college (and beyond) often develop destructive habits.

  • being disruptive in class
  • being rude to teachers
  • breaking classroom rules
  • cheating on tests
  • copying other people’s homework
  • daydreaming in class
  • failing to take notes
  • leaving homework at home
  • letting other people copy your homework
  • not doing your homework
  • not paying attention
  • not studying
  • not turning in your homework
  • passing notes in class
  • picking on classmates
  • skipping classes/school
  • sleeping through classes
  • talking in class

Many Behaviors Can Become Bad Habits

Behaviors that are fine in moderation can quickly become bad habits if they become too much of a focal area. Most things are fine in moderation, though of course anything illegal or potentially harmful to others should be avoided altogether. While you are reviewing examples of bad habits, dig a little deeper into a related topic and explore some examples of unethical behavior.