Even in our laid-back culture, social etiquette still matters. Using proper manners shows others you consider their feelings and needs. What’s more, it (quietly) shouts, “My mama raised me right!” to everyone you encounter. Therefore, consider implementing these seven social etiquette rules into your everyday life.
1. Stay out of online flame wars.
The Internet is forever, whether we like it or not. Flip on the news any day, and you’ll see stories of public figures whose past social media posts come back to haunt them. While you may feel safe behind the anonymity of a screen, employers investigate how you behave online.
As tempting as it may seem, swipe left on online flame wars. If you do say something online that you regret later, make sure that your apology is as public as your original statement. Better yet, approach the person you offended in person and offer to make amends.
2. Hold the door for others.
If someone is more than 10 paces behind you, you don’t need to stand there like a white knight and in turn, make them hustle. But if someone is right behind you, hold the door for them. Also, if another person plays Hodor from Game of Thrones for you, graciously thank them.
Exercise judgment about holding the elevator door if you’re in a crowded carriage. If you’re alone though, press the open button. Your fellow passengers will thank you.
3. Lend a hand to those in need.
When someone invites you over for dinner, ask if you can help clean up at the end of the meal. Dining out? Unless it’s your birthday meal, always offer to pick up your portion of the tab. Your date may demur, but you’ve shown that you don’t take their efforts for granted. Likewise, if you finish your work and see a coworker struggling to finish theirs, ask how you can assist them instead of surfing social media on your break. They’ll surely appreciate it.
4. Communicate if you’re running late.
Hey, life happens. You can’t help if a semi overturns on the freeway. However, text the people who are waiting for you to let them know why you’re running late. Don’t dream up elaborate excuses that few people will believe. Admit your tardiness, then move on. Your friends will see you as considerate and respectful.
5. Watch the space around you.
When you go shopping and run into your tribe, don’t throw a family reunion in the middle of the main aisle. Your well-intentioned lovefest will aggravate the other shoppers, especially those who may need to quickly grab one item and go. The same rule applies on a crowded subway. Let the woman laden with groceries have your seat, or at least move over so that you can share.
6. Chew with your mouth closed.
Trust me, nobody wants to inspect the saliva flowing around your half-eaten moo goo gai pan. Additionally, for people with misophonia, the sound of you chomping on your cud sounds like a thousand nails on a chalkboard. Practice good table manners, even if you’re simply noshing a bag of crisps at your work desk. Chew with your mouth closed and wait until you swallow before you speak.
7. Send thank you notes.
When your great-aunt Edna sends you a hand-knitted sweater, reciprocate with a small card or note. Packs of thank you cards cost next to nothing at dollar stores, but they mean so much more. Plus, they raise your positive vibrations, so sprinkle them everywhere! Send one to the police officer who let you off with a warning or the neighbor who picked up your mail when you went on holiday.
Thank you notes make people feel good. Plus, when people know that you appreciate their assistance, they’re more likely to lend you a hand in the future.
Social etiquette isn’t the sole province of fusty codgers complaining about “kids these days.” Good manners smooth out social interactions and reduce others’ negative feelings. Create a positive persona today by following the Golden Rule and treating others as you’d like to be treated!