Unwritten rules of Bro Code

Do they still apply in today’s society? Let’s find out!


Robbie Doctor

Whole squad is out! Seldom do the fellas get a chance to take a group pic but we roll deep like an NBA roster.

This one is for the boys!

Some of us have forgotten to maintain and uphold the unwritten rules of Bro Code. It can be hard remembering all of the rules, but I got you!

The purpose of the Bro Code is to gain horizontal solidarity from other Bros.

Bro Code gives fellow guys, dudes, homies and ride-or-dies a proper idea on how to maintain friendships with the boys. There are certain lines you can and cannot cross. In our unspoken way, this is the bros’ definition of setting firm boundaries.

Whether owing someone money or honoring a bet, men abide by this unspoken creed to observe all the rules. Your ability to maintain friendships for the rest of eternity relies on upholding and abiding by these Bro Code rules.

You better believe, if a rule is broken, the boys will ostracize the offender, never to be forgiven for such an infraction. 

We spoke to over 200 male students, ages 18-43, on campus and on social media to find out just how many Bro Code amendments there are and if any old ones still apply. In order to have made the unofficial Bro Code, a minimum of 5 guys must approve the rule, no pun intended. In all honesty, I knew there are a lot of unwritten rules but not this many. 

Much like “Fight Club,” the most important rule of Bro Code is…

Via Robbie Doctor/ Fox.


Unless there is a violation of Bro Code or a rule is under review, at no point in time is it appropriate to discuss Bro Code.

This is the exception. Consider this the Bro Code Constitution.

Because of the sheer volume of rules, for simplification, I categorized Bro Code into five categories based on a common theme: general and oddly specific rules, communication, around others or group settings, toilet/bathroom etiquette and hygiene and regarding women/dating. 

There are several rules to Bro Code included but are not limited to…

General and Oddly Specific Rules

Don’t get caught ‘lacking around the bros. They will clown you. (Robbie Doctor)

1. You must always have a bro’s back.

Even if they are in the wrong, you support them publicly and handle it behind the scenes. NEVER SNITCH ON A BRO.Snitches get stitches. This applies to making excuses to bail a bro out and occasionally having to back a Bro up in a fistfight. DO NOT AIR OUT PRIVATE INFORMATION, especially if it was told in confidence.

2. You are a Bro till the wheels fall off.

The old adage, “once a bro, always a bro,” only applies if you exhibit loyalty, trust and respect to your fellow bros. Bros can be snakes sometimes. Be careful who you bestow the title of Bro. You carry the title to the afterlife should you follow the Bro Code till the day you die.

3. If you tell a bro you will do something, you must honor your word.

Like Scarface said, “All I have is my word and my balls. And I don’t break them for no one.” You never go back on your word. Your word in a sense is like currency for your reputation. Bros know who to trust and who not to. Word travels. If you say you will pay a bro back, you must honor the IOU. Booze, weed and/or pizza is an acceptable form of paying back a buddy. If you say I’ll be there, you better move heaven and earth to be there. Uber, Lyft, taxi, bus, train, ask for a ride if you have to. 

A handshake, dap or Bro-hug is considered your unspoken signature to ensure you follow through on your word.

4. There are four things about your bro that you must respect in all conditions.

All are pretty self-explanatory and should be respected especially if you don’t have one yourself: his house, his parents, his girlfriend/significant other and most important of all, his car.

5. Dress appropriately for the occasion. 

Remember, dress to impress!

The first thing people notice after your facial composition is your shoes! Wear leather shoes in the office. Keep your all-white AF1s clean at all times. And if you’re going toes out and wear sandals, make sure your toenails are trimmed and your feet are lotioned.

Don’t wear sweats and a hoodie all the time. They’ll assume you don’t care about your appearance or you’re a bum. Wearing this combo is acceptable when working out or going through a breakup/are depressed.

Iron your shirts. Don’t look raggedy. 

Pro tip: if you don’t want to iron your shirt, switch your drying machine to “Air Dry” or “Air Fluff Cycle” and throw whatever garments or shirts you want to wear in for 20-30 minutes and your laundry will come out pressed and pristine for the occasion. Also immediately hanging your clothes from a regular drying cycle simulates ironing your clothes if you don’t mix linens together.

Accessories are okay. It’s not a girly thing. Having a watch, chain, Tiger eye bracelets, fedora or scarf set you apart. Don’t be afraid to show off.

6. Do not hit another man between the legs!

That old adage “below the belt” holds true. Anywhere else is fair game: the face, the shins, the throat, as long as it’s not between the legs, it doesn’t matter. If you see a fellow man get hit in the balls, you must empathize with the pain and react. Come to aid if necessary.

7. Don’t adjust your junk in public.

Never use your hand to handle your situation. That makes you look like a pervert if you use your hand. Use the leg shake to handle your business or go to a restroom to fix any discomfort.

8. Nicknames are sacred.

Must be given by someone else. Seldom can someone give themselves a nickname. Only if it fits and others around you validate it by calling you by a self-appointed nickname.

Can be earned through reputation, actions you constantly do, or a one-time incident that will never leave you.

Clear skies and clearer waters always make for a good time. (Robbie Doctor)

9. Whether or not a bro is into sports, a bro picks a team and supports said team until his dying breath.

Devout loyalty and commitment to any sports team is vital. Sports, aside from video games and partying, is the ultimate way to make Bros for life. 

Even if said team is trash, you must support them.

Gambling on sports also helps to keep a strong connection to a team or specific players. Fantasy Sports are an excellent way to keep in touch with other bros.

It is a legal way of releasing pent-up competitive, sometimes violent, energy out without hurting someone.

10. Have these essentials on you at all times:

  • Save yourself the embarrassment of not having these on you when you need it most:
  • Always have cash on you! Having cash on you nowadays sets you apart.
  • A pen is always useful to keep on hand too! You won’t always have your phone on you.
  • A reliable wristwatch sets you apart from your peers.
  • A pocket knife/Swiss Army Knife is an excellent utility. You never know.
  • Gum/mint/Listerine Strips. You don’t want stank breath — ever. The last thing you want is someone walking away from you mid-conversation because your breath was foul.

11. Don’t be picky when it comes to beer!

Your favorite beer is free. Your second favorite beer is cold. If your Bro offers a beer don’t bitch it isn’t your brand.

12. Don’t use the last piece of something if you didn’t buy it.

Don’t be an ass and assume you can have the last piece. You shouldn’t even ask because it’s out of respect for the host/provider. You can have a beer from a buddy’s fridge, just not the last one.

If you are still inclined to use the last piece/bit, at least ask politely and be genuine about it. Don’t be a kissass to get the answer you want.

Thanks for buying us beers Jo Koy! (Robbie Doctor)

13. Don’t belittle a man’s career/occupation.

You can’t knock a man’s hustle. It’s bad enough that some women do it to us because we work at McDonald’s or Walmart. Why make it harder on your fellow Bros.

If it’s an honest living, your bros will respect you working your butt off.

14. Refrain from eye contact when eating penis-shaped food.

Includes but not limited to: bananas, hot dogs, corn dogs, popsicles, sausages, etc.

15. If someone asks you to throw something at them, throw it.

If they drop it, you’re allowed to make fun of them without retaliation and vice versa.

16. Your car, your rules!

Don’t touch his aux/radio.

Feet off the dashboard.

Don’t yack in the whip. If you do, the culprit must clean it. This applies to spilled food/drinks.

Don’t talk shit about someone’s whip if you don’t own one.

17. Know how to fight.

I’m not saying you have to be Mike Tyson or Jon Jones, but you have to be able to protect yourself at all times and defend your lady’s honor. 

“Violence is never the answer, but sometimes it is” – Matt Barnes

Be disciplined and do not start a fight. If someone starts it with you, then you have Bro Code’s permission to end it.

18. Be proficient enough in some general housework/repairs.

You don’t have to be a licensed contractor, but knowing how to do these basic repairs/fixes around the house is necessary and will save you time and money down the road:

  • Changing a lightbulb/knowing what type of lightbulb your appliances use.
  • Fixing a running toilet.
  • Unclogging a drain.
  • Set your thermostat properly.
  • Caulking cracks and gaps. 
  • Understanding how to operate a smoke alarm. Including changing the batteries and turning it on and off.
  • Knowing where the main water shutoff valve is.
  • Cleaning your refrigerator coils. One of the more slept-on repairs and maintenance checks that will save you thousands. 
  • Changing your HVAC filters.

Pro tip: if you’re not sure what size your filter is, take in your sample to a hardware store for sizing. 

Pro tip: Keep the plastic on the filter if you don’t bring in your old one. If you open the filter package and it’s the wrong size, they won’t accept the return/exchange. 

Cleaning your washer and dryer properly.

Changing your lawn mower oil.

19. It is mandatory to touch the top of the doorway/pole.

Hoopers and athletes can relate, slapping the top of the doorway simulates. dunking and overall locker room vibes.

Can be a superstition to follow or implement.

20. BBQ tongs must always be clicked a few times before using.

This applies to most tools. Tap twice in your hands or on a surface.

21. When assembling furniture/appliances, read the instruction manuals.

It’s probably the only time dudes will read the instructions. We don’t even look at the manual for video games. We just play till we figure it out on the fly.

22. Keep an empty water bottle and a trash bag in your car at all times.

You just never know when you have to go No. 1 or No.2. Nature calls and you don’t want to have to go in a bush or out in front of someone’s house.


Via Carter Henderson.

1. A nod/grunt is an acceptable form of communication.

Up nod: What’s up/how you doing?

Down nod: I respect you, sir. Typically used for someone older than you.

Right nod: We need to talk. Now.

Left nod: Check this shit out!

All four can be substituted with eyebrow-raising. The same direction key applies.

2. If a bro’s girlfriend asks you about where he is, you know nothing – nothing at all. 

Keep his whereabouts to yourself, hang up and warn him.

Counts as snitching on the boys.

3. Do not leak anything from the boys’ group chat.

Counts as snitching on the boys.

What is said in the chat, stays in the chat.

4. Don’t undress a man in front of their: 

Kid/kid sibling, coworkers and girlfriend/wife/significant other/crush.

Any other time is acceptable/expected. If you have some shit to air out, do so behind closed doors respectfully.

5. If a stranger at a bar raises his glass and makes eye contact with you, you must cheers back.

6. Compliments are like gold to us.

A lot of bros remember compliments from years ago.

Getting a compliment from the bros is validation that we seldom get from the rest of the world.

Pose for the camera! Hopefully, your photo doesn’t get washed away. (Robbie Doctor)

7. Different daps for different bros.

Never shake someone’s hand while sitting down.

Regardless of gender, be courteous enough to stand up and shake their hand. Offer to shake hands with a woman. To some, it may seem strange. Do not be offended if they do not shake your hand. When shaking a woman’s hand, shake it like you’d shake a bro’s hand. Be firm but do not squeeze. Kind of a universal rule of courtesy unless you are one trying to establish dominance or you have a vice grip of a handshake.  

Some of the homies aren’t for hand contact so maybe a regular fistbump is the best method for a bro like this.

A dap followed by a bro-hug is a classic. Can be followed by a snap of the fingers depending on who it is.

A regular handshake is used primarily for someone who is in a position of authority, you respect or in a formal setting. Seldom used but gives the allure of professionality and you respect those around you.

Signature handshakes are always encouraged. Like a nickname, it must be earned.

8. Don’t tell your friend he has already told you this story before.

It’s already hard enough to share shit with your buddies so don’t be a dick.

Be patient with your bros. Sometimes, it’s all they have to look for.

If you are going to point out a story that has been told before, use one of these politer ways: that’s a classic right there, sounds better the second time around, or if they realize they’ve told this story already, I wasn’t going to point it out/I was going to let you finish.

9. Do not start laughing at someone during a roast session if you are not ready to get roasted next!

Don’t dish it if you can’t take it.

The boys will automatically respond, “I know you ain’t talking [insert roast/punchline]!”

Some insults, no matter how degrading or offensive, come from a place of love and are meant as a sign of endearment.

10. It’s ok to be vulnerable in front of the bros.

Seldom do we express or show emotions, more specifically sad emotions, but there are times the only person to lean on are the boys. Crying is ok. Try not to do it in front of the fellas as a group. Some of the bros aren’t emotionally mature enough to handle that intense of an emotion.

11. Throwing the shakas up means:

Your intentions are friendly, I’m ok, or don’t worry about it.

It’s become a universal sign across all walks of life.

12. Always let a bro finish sharing news

Including but not limited to: an accomplishment he recently had, something he is proud of, or anything he is passionate about.

It’s not a pissing contest. Be happy for your bro!

There is a fine line of bragging to show off and sharing news. Don’t be a dick and hog the spotlight. We can tell and you will be humbled immediately.

13. Celebrate your bro-mances!

Don’t let your girlfriend or others get jealous or in between the bros!

Tailgating is always a fun time with the bros. (Robbie Doctor)

In a Group Setting/Around Others

Hennything is possible! (Robbie Doctor)

1. If a friend buys you a drink, you don’t pay it back. You buy the next round.

Similar to “If you say you will pay a bro back, you must honor the IOU,” buying the next round must be honored.

Can be carried over to next time you’re out with the boys. Does not always need to be paid back the same night.

2. If your bro is hard up on funds, hook ’em up!

No bro shall go hungry or homeless ever!

3. If you are a guest, do not insult the chef’s cooking.

They took the time to make your food from scratch. Don’t be disrespectful.

4. You have to stand next to your bro if they are the one on the grill/prepping anything.

Give your bro some company and a helping hand in case they need it.

It is an effective way of avoiding any socially awkward situations, especially if you don’t know many people at the gathering you are attending.

5. Never eat off another man’s plate.

We already hate it when our significant other does this to us. Don’t be disrespectful. If you are going to eat off another man’s plate, ask first and make sure he responds with a clear answer. If he has food in his mouth while he’s giving you an answer, wait till the response is clear, yes or no.

6. No moving-related favors shall go unrewarded.

Some bros will help you move for free, but you have to offer it to him at least twice. Once when you ask them to help you and once after they are done helping you move. 

Offering beer/weed/food during break times when moving are highly encouraged but not mandatory.

Karaoke is always lit in a group. Via Brenden Estes

7. Don’t be the first to ask to go home if you didn’t drive to the event.

Unless you are sick or someone’s dying.

8. If a bro invites you to an event, you must support the bro and show up if you can.

Lyft, Uber, train, bus, taxi or fly if you have to. Unless you are: actually sick, someone’s dying, a significant other is pregnant, or you’ve made it clear prior to inviting you to said event that you had plans scheduled that day.

9. Honor the song request.

Add it to the queue to play next.

The only time you don’t honor a bro’s song request is if it is going to completely change the vibe of the environment or if a fellow bro hates the song being requested.

10. A bro is never allowed to drive home in a drunken state.

You have to do what is in the best interest of your bro.

Take his keys if you have to.

Arrange an Uber/Lyft or other form of transportation to make sure he gets home safely.

11. Anything a bro does in a drunken/high state is forgiven.

All can and will be forgiven. Even if the bro in question is apologetic, the bros will look to justify it.

The only exception to where forgiveness WILL NOT be given is sleeping with a bro’s significant other. Automatic fade on site and ex-communication from the bros.

Toilet/Bathroom Etiquette and Hygiene

That’s one way to stand out during St. Patrick’s Day – matching Care Bear onesies. (Robbie Doctor)

1. Never pee in a urinal next to another one in use.

Unless you are at a ballpark/stadium because everyone is trying to be in and out of there.

2. When you’re peeing in a urinal, do not make eye contact with a fellow bro.

That just makes things awkward. Don’t be that guy.

3. You can piss standing up or sitting down.

Probably the most divisive amongst the bros, we’re going to amend the old adage of “Men only piss standing up” to “Do what you want to do.” So piss as you please gents.

Sometimes you have explosive diarrhea, your morning wood is extra up, your legs are completely shot from leg day, a physical disability or feel a king always sits on his throne. But our default is standing up, hence the creation of urinals.

You do what you gotta do when nature calls.

4. If there is a poop stain in the toilet, you must piss it off till it’s gone/out of urine.

Allow the inner little kid who wanted to be a firefighter to live on by performing this public service. 

It helps maintain a clean-looking toilet.

5. Always buy toilet paper.

Some of the fellas might not know what to buy when shopping, but when in doubt, always buy toilet paper. 

We probably use up the most toilet paper anyway.

6. Never start a conversation in a public restroom.

That just makes things awkward. Don’t be that guy.

Unless you know it is only the two of you in that restroom, make the conversation brief. About the same time it takes to wash and dry your hands. No longer than that or waiting for them to finish their business.

7. Routine manscaping is mando!

No bro wants a thick bush. Trim that! This isn’t a plug for any company, but manscaping benefits not only you but your partner as well.

8. Cut your damn nails!

It’s a telltale of your personal hygiene overall. It benefits not only you but your partner as well. IYKYK.

9. Fresh fades are mando!

We don’t have makeup like the ladies do, but the wonders a fresh fade will do for a bro is night and day! 

Don’t look like crap. It’s one of the first things

10. Constantly maintain and trim your facial hair.

See “Fresh fades are mando!” 

You don’t always have to be clean-shaven, but make sure you trim it to maintain the look you are going for.

11. If you are running late, it is acceptable to only wash your face, put on deodorant and brush your teeth.

While it isn’t encouraged, this is the most efficient way to do the minimum hygiene.

12. Don’t use too much cologne.

Don’t be that guy who sprays half the can of Old Spice in one setting. It’s overpowering and often unnecessary.

Regarding Females/Dating

“Such a poser” – Yelena Belova. (Robbie Doctor)

1. Bros before hoes.

This includes any girlfriends, baby mommas, wives and female friends of any kind.

Protect a bro’s sister like she’s your own and don’t (expletive) a bro’s sister.

2. Bro Code allows entry of a girl as a new bro if she proves to be worthy of the honor.

Must be a unanimous decision amongst the bros in the group.

Ways to prove her worthy of acceptance include but are not limited to: beating up a rival bro, buying the bros beers/drinks when they go out and covering a bro’s ass in a dire situation. This includes: picking up a shift, lying to avoid any trouble/consequences, paying for a bro, or letting a bro crash at her place/couch.

She knows the time and place to talk about things like tea spilling/gossiping and asking for dating advice. Bros give the best advice for what dudes think. For obvious reasons.

Cannot catch feelings for her! And vice versa. She is now a bro. One of the homies. Basically a sister. Do not complicate it.

Never reveal to her the Bro Code! She could be undercover for all we know. Always is on a need-to-know basis with the bros.

3. If she’s dated a bro regardless of how long it lasted, you better steer clear.

Most bros would pretend it’s ok if you hook up/date an ex, but deep down they’re pissed off to an extent. It is grounds for ex-communication from the bros if you date a bro’s ex and do not tell him from the jump.

Respect your fellow bro. If you can’t help yourself or feel a real connection with a bro’s ex, have a heart-to-heart conversation with your bro. Man-to-man in private. No one else.

4. Don’t ever try to outshine your friend if he is trying to impress a woman.

The bros become wingmen by committee if he is around his crush.

I.e. Your homie is the funniest of the group if he is around her.

5. Always inspect the stairs when walking behind a woman.

We do not want to come off as a pervert, so keep your eyes on the pavement fellas.

6. Moms are off-limits.

Do not talk disrespectfully about a mom! Most bros are mommas’ boys and don’t admit it, but we protect and respect our women, especially the ones who birthed us. It’s an automatic fade on sight if you disrespect mom.

Do not (expletive) another bro’s mom! You don’t stick your (expletive) in where I came out. It’s an automatic fade on sight.

7. If you know a bro is interested in someone, he has dibs.

Find another woman to cuff. 

If she rejects your bro and is only interested in you, staying away from her is the right thing to do.

Even if your bro says he doesn’t care, in reality if he saw you dating his old flame, he’d be mad and wouldn’t vocalize it. Just do right and avoid trouble at all costs.

8. If your bro assigns you as his wingman at a party, make him proud by doing your job well. 

He’s hooking up with the girl he is eyeing. It is your responsibility to handle any best friends, even if you gotta take one for the team or talk up your bro if the girl he’s interested in talks to you.

Get on it right away.

You must absorb and detect and landmines a bro may or may not see.

9. You must do all you can to save your bro from dating an ugly girl. 

Chances are that he is too drunk to even make out if that person is a girl or a guy. 

If you’re sure he’s sober, then that means you can shrug off all responsibility and try your own luck with hotter women around.

10. If your bro asks you about your opinion of his new date, you are supposed to give an honest answer. 

If you don’t like her, tell him. Just make sure to do so respectfully.

If a bro wants you to get closer with his significant other, do him a solid and at least genuinely try to have a good time. If by then you still don’t like her, you can say you tried.

11. Never allow a bro to get a tattoo of a girl’s name.

Enough said, honestly.

How is it enforced?

One of the original bro moments in Hollywood came from Predator (1987). Via Fox.

First and foremost, we need to call each other out and hold each other accountable. Whether a stranger or a familiar face, Bro Code must always be enforced. It is our code of honor and how we build solidarity amongst our fellow bros. 

Second, if you are a bro, you must hold yourself to a higher standard. Bro Code is bigger than you. All guys, and especially bros, are subject to following Bro Code. You are not above reproach. Respect the code.

Lastly, have the courage to break with the Bro Code when you have the opportunity to do the right thing, to do the ethical and moral thing, and to help out someone else, especially if it is a fellow bro.