"Please" and "thank you" are simple words, and yet it seems that most people don't use them enough. Basic etiquette is often missing in society, in both our personal lives as well as our professional ones. You can make yourself stand out in a rude society by remembering your manners, treating people as respected individuals, and doing what others are unwilling to do.
At my house in the summer we all get a little wild. We stay up too late, we don't always brush our hair, and sometimes we even go barefoot. But in a few short days the school bells will ring and it will be back to civilization, which means it is also time that we are all back to being on our best behaviour.
Recently, I was in the grocery store spending what I considered to be a large amount of money. I am friendly, chatty and polite. My cashier wasn't interested at all. When I paid her and said, "Thank you," all I got back was an "Un-huh." For the next seven days, make a point to be polite and use manners that would make your grandmother smile.
While using a phone in the bathroom isn't technically dangerous, it is of course extremely unhygienic... and more than a little off-putting. Texting and driving is extremely dangerous, and doing it in front of your teenager doubles the danger, as they see our behaviour as normal and potentially mimic it when they start driving.
The survey showed that respondents overwhelmingly admit to using their smartphone to tune someone out, or to avoid conversation. Fully 75 per cent of people said they purposefully use their smartphone to tune people out and nearly a third (30 per cent) even admitted to doing so on the day they were surveyed.
My girls have never wanted to answer the phone when it rings or make calls or be the voice on our recorded message. When I pass them the phone to chat with their grandmothers, they look at me like I handed them a grenade. I've reviewed some rules of phone etiquette with them (with obviously not enough emphasis on the consequences of prank calls!), but they need practise to feel confident.
Don't talk about people behind their backs. Well, maybe just with your mom or dad or your best friend, but not with the crowd. It's very uncool and it will come back to bite you. It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said, "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."
The subject of wedding gifts, from the lead up events, to the expectations on guests, to the cost of all the rigmarole, is a loaded one. To set the record straight, it's nice to bring a gift to a wedding, it's a norm some might say, but couples are never to expect or demand a gift. That reeks of entitlement.
So many people are hiding these days behind their devices, using efficiency and speed as just one of the many excuses to avoid direct communication. I don't purport to be the Emily Post of digital etiquette, but the following are times when some form of more intimate and potentially interactive communication may be preferable to their smart phone or tablet equivalent.
I remember meeting an executive at a corporate reception a couple of years ago who was bemoaning the fact that he's just too busy to deal with what he called "the niceties" of peer-to-peer communication. According to him, there just aren't enough hours in the day to swap insignificant comments of courtesy. When he said, "I wish people would just get to the point" it struck such a chord in me that I Tweeted about it, suggesting that maybe he's missing the point:
A daunting shopping list, annoying music at full volume, crowds of people walking with their heads down texting...welcome to the fresh hell that is holiday shopping. The stress of shopping can make even the most festive, patient person want to start throwing elbows, but some of the trauma can be curbed with these five tips.