Etiquette varies widely from place to place and time to time, even from social group to social group. I know that various people will try to claim that “Southern etiquette is what you should go by” or “English etiquette is the standard”, but etiquette is a living and breathing thing that isn’t right or wrong but continually evolving. Today’s post is a highlight of simple, easy, and thoughtful things you can do that transcend any region or time period- graceful and elegant is the way to be!
Always, always, always acknowledge people– if someone greets you when you walk into a store, if you are passing someone on a neighbourhood stroll, if someone walks past your desk at work, acknowledge them! Obviously if it is unsafe to speak to people you don’t know wherever you happen to be, don’t, but most places we go, a brief head nod or quick hello goes a long way. Being acknowledged is something that a lot of us take for granted. There are a lot of people that are “seen through” on a daily basis, and it is cruel and unnecessary. Acknowledge your fellow humans and remind them that humanity is not lost!
Be On Time
There are two groups of people: people who are on time, and people who are always late. The people who are always late always have a reason as to why they are late, but realistically 9 times out of 10 it comes down to a lack of planning. And what does that lack of planning tell me? That I was not worth getting yourself organised for. That probably isn’t the message that you were trying to send, but that’s the message that I am receiving. No one wants to feel that they are worth less than somebody else, so make being on time a priority!
Whether it is for picking up something that you have dropped, for coming over early to help, or for grabbing something for dinner, thank the people around you! It doesn’t have to be grovelling on hands and knees, but a simple “thank you so much for X” goes a very long way. People generally don’t offer to help with things if they can’t or don’t want to, but it can start to feel frustrating and one sided after a while. If nothing else, remember that a “thank you” doesn’t cost you anything, and in the long run could make a difference in your relationships!
Some people are better at this than others, but do your utmost best to remember people’s names. Say it back to them a few times, repeat it over and over to yourself on the way home, whatever you have to do to remember their name. Remembering someone’s name sends an important message to them, and tells them that a) they are a memorable person (which most people like to know), and b) you were present during your previous interaction(s). A second or third meeting will go far more smoothly if you remember their name, and sets a strong foundation for any kind of relationship!
Allow People to Speak
This can be very difficult to do for some people, because a lot of people don’t even realise that they are doing it- allow people to finish when they are speaking. No matter how fabulous you think your story is or if you think that you have something that is cooler/ grosser/ worse/ better/ whatever, let them finish speaking. It can be difficult for some people to speak up in the first place, so if they are continually spoken over, they will just give up altogether and stop trying. Everyone deserves to have a voice and for that voice to be heard, don’t speak over people!
Give the Benefit of the Doubt
To paraphrase from the Emily Post guide, no one wakes up wanting to be miserable and mean; something has happened (or not happened) to make them that way- we have all had terrible, awful, no good, very bad days and we would all hope that people won’t hold them against us. Give people the benefit of the doubt and show them kindness! Yes, we all know those people who are miserable about everything no matter what, but showing them 2 seconds of kindness and a smile won’t kill you, and may go a long way to helping that person. Go above and beyond and show a little kindness!
No matter your age, gender, religion, ethnicity, or otherwise, being a kind, thoughtful, and gracious person will only reflect well upon you!
What random acts of kindness do you like to do ?
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