20 Examples of Social Facts

Social facts are phenomena or patterns of behavior that exist within a society and shape its culture, norms, and customs. Social facts are the laws, morals, values, religious beliefs, customs, fashions, rituals, and all of the cultural rules that govern social life. These constructs of society may seem like second nature to us, but they are in fact.

In this blog, we will delve into various examples of social facts, both material and non-material, and how they shape our behavior and interaction within society. Social facts are omnipresent, influencing our lives in ways we may not even be aware of.

social fact examples

Social Facts between two persons

In this article, we will explore 20 intriguing examples of social facts that are prevalent in various societies around the world.

Social FactExplanation
Greeting with a HandshakeIn many cultures, a handshake is a common form of greeting, indicating respect and friendliness between individuals.
Giving Gifts on Special OccasionsCelebrating birthdays, weddings, and festivals with gift-giving is a social fact that fosters connections and strengthens bonds among family and friends.
Bowing as a Sign of RespectIn certain Asian cultures, bowing is a gesture of showing respect, used in various social settings, such as greeting elders or expressing gratitude.
Tipping in Restaurants and ServicesTipping is a social norm in many countries, where customers show appreciation to waitstaff and service providers for their assistance.
Saying “Bless You” After a SneezeA widespread social fact where people say “bless you” when someone sneezes, believed to protect the sneezer from evil spirits or illness.
Wearing Wedding RingsWearing wedding rings on the left ring finger is a social fact that symbolizes marriage commitment and is recognized globally.
Using Polite Language and HonorificsThe use of honorifics and polite language to address elders or authority figures is a social fact that reflects respect and societal norms.
Standing in LinesQueuing in lines is a social fact observed in various places like stores, banks, and public gatherings, promoting orderliness and fairness.
Celebrating National HolidaysObserving national holidays is a social fact that unites citizens in commemorating historical events and fostering a sense of patriotism.
Gifting Flowers for Various OccasionsPresenting flowers on occasions like anniversaries or to express sympathy is a social fact that conveys emotions and sentiments without words.
Respect for EldersRespecting elders is a prevalent social fact found in many societies, emphasizing the importance of honoring wisdom and experience.
Mourning and Funeral RitualsFuneral rites and mourning practices are social facts that differ across cultures but serve to commemorate the deceased and support grieving families.
Using Different Forms of Address for FamilySome cultures have specific terms of address for different family members, reflecting social roles and reinforcing family bonds.
Table Manners and EtiquetteTable manners are social facts that vary across cultures, guiding appropriate behavior during meals and demonstrating civility.
Dressing Modestly in Religious SettingsWearing modest clothing in places of worship is a social fact followed by many religious communities, reflecting reverence and humility.
The weekend as Rest DaysCelebrating Coming-of-Age Ceremonies
Use of Gestures for CommunicationNon-verbal communication through gestures, like nodding or pointing, is a social fact that helps convey messages and emotions.
Valentine’s Day CelebrationsValentine’s Day, celebrated in various regions, is a social fact where people express love and affection to their romantic partners.
The weekend as Rest
The concept of weekends as rest days is a social fact that grants individuals time for leisure, family, and personal pursuits.
Education as a Path to SuccessThe belief in education as a means to achieve personal and societal success is a social fact that drives academic pursuits and career ambitions.

Types of Social Facts

There are two types of social facts:

Material Social Facts

Material social facts are the tangible and institutionalized norms and laws that govern a society. These concrete elements form the backbone of social order.

Legal Systems

At the core of material social facts lies the legal system, a structured framework of laws and regulations that guide and govern behavior within a society. These laws serve as a blueprint for justice, order, and societal cohesion.

Institutionalized Religion

Religious institutions, with their doctrines, rituals, and moral codes, represent another manifestation of material social facts. They provide a moral compass and a shared belief system that unites communities.

The Nation-State

The concept of the nation-state, complete with borders, governance structures, and citizenship, exemplifies a material social fact. It encapsulates the organized political entity that defines the identity and structure of a society.


The monetary system, represented by a country’s currency, is a material social fact that facilitates economic transactions and trade, underpinning the financial stability of a society.

Non-Material Social Facts

While material social facts are visible and codified, non-material social facts encompass unwritten codes of conduct, traditions, and cultural norms that guide societal interactions.

The Applause After a Performance

Consider the act of applauding after a performance. This non-material social fact transcends cultures and signifies appreciation and approval. It illustrates the collective response of a group to a shared experience.

The Crossing of Catholics

A non-material social fact can be observed in the traditions of specific religious communities. The act of Catholics making the sign of the cross is a non-verbal, symbolic expression of faith, representing a shared belief system.


Nationalistic sentiments, often intangible yet powerful, serve as a non-material social fact. They shape identities, influence political landscapes, and foster a sense of belonging among citizens.

Social Facts among family

The Influence of Social Facts

The examples provided showcase the profound influence of social facts on both individuals and society as a whole. These phenomena serve as the invisible architects shaping our thoughts, actions, and interactions.

Understanding social facts allows sociologists and individuals alike to comprehend the intricacies of societal structures, norms, and behaviors. It provides a lens through which we can analyze the forces that bind us together and the mechanisms that drive social order.

These examples highlight the diversity and complexity of social facts that influence our daily lives and interactions. Understanding these social facts is essential to appreciate the intricacies of various cultures and societies, fostering empathy and cross-cultural understanding. As societies evolve, social facts may change or adapt, reflecting shifts in values and beliefs, but they continue to play a crucial role in shaping the fabric of human society.

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