This conduct or deportment has specific expectations in the intricate web of social behaviour. These, in turn, are according to contemporary conventional norms within a specific social status or group in society. Different societies tend to practice manners and social graces slightly differently from each other. In many cases, the difference can be quite dramatic, especially those from countries on different continents.
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On the American continent, and specifically in North America (Mexico, Canada, and the United States), etiquette tends to be similar, though, of course, with some few and slight exceptions. In today’s day and age, the average person has sadly forgotten to be diligent with their etiquette or wrongly, don’t think it’s important. Some important etiquette is starting to fade away, though we need to make an effort to retain it within our daily comportment. For some of the basic etiquette in North America, I have found many people are letting it slide or they were never taught to practice are often the following (though not limited to):
- Not to talk on your cell phone in public, and if you are forced to do it, lower your tone of voice and look for a more private place.
- If somebody lends you his or her car, return it with a full tank and clean.
- Be punctual to every appointment. It is well known that if you are early, it means that you are on time, arriving on time means that you are late, and arriving late is simply not acceptable and considered rude.
- If you want to listen to a video or a song in public, use headphones and respect people’s air space. It is not yours to interrupt and invade their air space. Noise can be annoying or even harmful to others. It is like smoking or wearing strong cologne. It invades people’s space and it can even affect the health or well-being of others. Respect for others’ space and privacy brings reciprocal consideration and long-lasting peace along with it.
- Try to reduce social encounters through facebook, and bring them to a face-to-face social connection.
- Do not place your cell phone on the table when having a meal, and much less dare touch it unless you are alone. But definitely, do not disrespect others if you have a company by paying attention to your cell.
- Use a signature with contact details at all times in every e-mail message you send. Always use a proper salutation and descriptive subjects.
- Do not make fun of or talk behind people’s backs, especially those with different sexual orientation or people with disadvantages.
- Avoid looking at your cell phone when crossing the street or biking.
- During dinner, make an effort not to speak with the mouth full and keep your napkin on your lap, not on the table.
- Never go to a party without a small gift. Bringing a small gift denotes your respect and appreciation. It does not need to be costly, as long as you do not show up empty-handed. Bringing something is just a symbol of gratitude and politeness.
- For specific or special occasions, get into the habit of thanking with a written note. It makes it more personal than doing it digitally, or verbally, or not at all.
- Regardless of how you slept the night before, how your day has evolved, or how you feel that day (up or down), be kind and helpful with others. This will only enlighten somebody else’s day and might even have a quite positive impact on your day as well.
- Follow a dress code wherever you go. T-shirts, shorts, old jeans, or sandals do not belong on every occasion. If you are limited in your knowledge of proper dress code, ask someone else. Every occasion deserves proper attire as a symbol of respect to others and you.
- Never visit someone without calling first. But, if an acquaintance stops by uninvited, try being gracious. If possible, invite them in and offer them something to drink.
- Always remove your shoes when invited to come into someone’s house, unless they specifically tell you not to.
- Avoid using text messages for almost everything and promote real person-to-person communication.
- When a friend or even a stranger says hello or asks you how you are, you do the same. It is simply common courtesy to also ask how they are doing, and not just say “Hi” back.
- In business meetings (and even some social gatherings), turn your cell off or at least, leave it in vibration mode, but do not look at it and much less proceed to answer it.
- Grooming and combing your hair is always a good idea. Among others, it shows personal hygiene or not.
- Stop using the F word. It is not cool. It is plain rude, disrespectful and denotes low class.
- Remove your sunglasses and earbuds when addressing someone. Direct eye contact denotes sincerity and courtesy. It also helps to place everyone at a level playing field.
- Source: rd.com
I can go on forever, but to me, the above list is etiquette everyone might want to start incorporating into their daily lives. Honestly, the more people who practice proper etiquette, the more respect and consideration among people, which helps to make a happier society. Remember that life is a two-way street. If you want to be respected and considered by others during their daily behaviour, comport yourself properly and in a decent fashion first.
Goethe once said: “A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.”
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