The Sidewalk Rule on TikTok Is a Test for How Serious Your Relationship Is

The sidewalk rule is a simple way to test your relationship, but many users on TikTok want to know what exactly the rule actually says.


Mar. 29 2022, Published 9:43 a.m. ET

Source: Getty Images

You probably shouldn't use TikTok as the sole evaluator of the health of your romantic relationships, but the platform's users do occasionally come up with rules that some people find useful. Recently, the sidewalk rule has been trending on the platform, leading some to wonder what the rule is about. As it turns out, it's meant to test the strength of your romantic bonds.

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What is the sidewalk rule on TikTok?

The sidewalk rule is an informal rule that has popped up on TikTok, and it suggests that if you are genuinely in a relationship with your boyfriend, he won't allow you to walk on the side of the sidewalk that's closer to the street. Instead, he will gently move you to the right and walk on the left himself. The theory suggests that, even though you're unlikely to be hit by a car on the sidewalk, the side further from the road is a little bit safer.

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The sidewalk rule is obviously not meant to circumvent other important questions, but some users on TikTok have started using it as a shorthand for qualities that they're looking for in a man. The videos suggest that men who know the sidewalk rule tend to be more caring and considerate in general, and are just a better class of man more generally.

The sidewalk rule is not restricted to female partners, and can be used with any person that you care about deeply, including a spouse or a child. On TikTok, though, most of the videos that feature the sidewalk rule are about heterosexual relationships, and they typically focus on the man in the relationship protecting the woman. It's not a rule that everyone follows, but some are clearly charmed by it.

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Some partners may not be aware of the sidewalk rule.

Although plenty of users on TikTok are charmed by men who know the sidewalk rule, there may be some who are unaware that the rule exists or think that it's outdated to suggest that men always have to function as the protectors in a relationship. There's nothing wrong with being charmed by a man who is willing to be considerate and thoughtful, but there are plenty of ways for partners of every gender to show that kind of care.

Source: TikTok
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If your partner lets you walk on the wrong side of the sidewalk, that doesn't mean that you need to break up with them. If your partner lets you walk on the wrong side of the sidewalk and there are also many other problems, then maybe you should end things. Men should be caring and considerate of their partners' desires about the sidewalk and everything else.

Relationships are complicated, and trying to boil them down to a single rule that must be followed will only lead to disaster. The sidewalk rule is worth considering, but it shouldn't be the only factor you use to evaluate the quality of the relationship you're in.

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