History in the Making

Timeless Etiquette

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!
Timeless Etiquette

Acknowledge People

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!

Thank People

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!

Remember Names 

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!
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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!
Westie puppy running
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 ? 
Until tomorrow,
The Historian
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21 thoughts on “Timeless Etiquette”

  • Great post. We all could use a refresher course on these points. It is especially important when visiting another country, as you are then a guest in someone else’s hometown. I hope all parents pass these points on to their children and their children take them to heart!

    • Yes!! Etiquette is ESPECIALLY important when you travel- you are a guest and chances are you will need help at some point (even if it’s just directions), and politeness and etiquette will serve you well!

  • Oh! I wish I could remember peoples names better…. At work I can remember their customer numbers, which I think they appreciate, lol. I try to always smile and say hello to people and make eye contact. And at work especially, I try to help when I can, even if it’s not “my department”

    • I can guarantee that your customers appreciate that- that is certainly going above and beyond!! And I think if you can’t remember a name but at least the situation, that goes a long way (ie. I’m so sorry I’ve forgotten your name but I remember meeting you early last week in the meeting [or whatever it is])!

  • Names are the bane of my existence. Your face I will remember, always. Names, not so much unless i see you a lot in a row and then I will have it. If I see you once and then not for ages, I will remember your face (and possibly how/ when I met you) but not your name, especially if it was only for a 5min chat. Something I am trying very hard to work on, so any tips (the repeating the name hasn’t worked for me) is appreciated.

    • I would repeat their name back to them 3-5 times in the first conversation to solidify it. If you absolutely cannot remember someone’s name, I would say, “I am so sorry I can’t remember your name but I do recall we met each other at the mall when I was with Melissa” or whatever the situation was to at least show that you remember meeting them!

    • I think a lot of it comes down to how introverted/extroverted you are- people who lean towards being extroverted will often think out loud. I don’t think most people do it on purpose but I think we all can help with it 🙂 (As someone who falls nearly squarely in the middle and will speak up or just listen depending on the day haha)

  • Great post, great points. I always try, if I make eye contact with someone, to smile. Even a small smirk will do. It’s better than just continuing to walk as if ignoring that the person was even there.

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