I decided that I would like to dedicate today’s post to etiquette.
I’m not just talking at the table.
I’m talking about polite life etiquette.
You know, our everyday behavior that we would like to think is decent or proper or just plain well-mannered —but probably really isn’t.
I’m referring to a whole bunch of things that we don’t even think of anymore because everyone seems to be so caught up in their own lives.
Here’s my very own list of everyday instances that call for politeness, events that seem so common sense but yet are often not acknowledged or followed.
Saying bless you to someone who sneezes.
Not hovering too close in the grocery line.
Not promoting yourself on someone else’s social media platform without consent.Not burning bridges with a current or potential customer in your community when you’re in business.
Parking your car in the same direction as the car next to you—not in that weird 69 position so that your door hits the other car’s door in the wrong spot.
Not stealing a parking spot when someone has been waiting.
Not talking about someone when they leave the table.
Not going behind someone’s back to befriend one of their friends for your own social agenda.
Not being two-faced.
Showing gratitude for those you love.
Displaying gratitude in general.
Honoring your word
Being cognizant of other people’s limitations or life positions.
Lowering your expectations.
Saying please, thank you and I’m sorry. (And meaning it)
Treating others with dignity and respect.
Holding the door for someone behind you.
Stepping outside to take a phone call.
Letting someone go in front of you in line (and in a traffic lane).
Waving thanks to those who do so.
Coughing or sneezing with your mouth covered.
Putting your phone away during meals.
Being on time. (OK, I’m an epic fail at that one, but still trying.)
Always RSVPing. Don’t be the person someone has to hunt down because you “forgot.” Believe me, they have 100 other things to do and chasing you for a response shouldn’t be one of them.
Shaking hands firmly.
Cleaning up after yourself.
Taking a screaming child out of a restaurant.
Waiting a day before reacting to a snarky email or text.
Knocking before you enter.
Reaching out to people who are grieving.
Helping someone who is clearly struggling.
Returning calls or texts.
Never showing up empty-handed.
Staying neutral in arguments that are none of your business.
And last, but not least: Forgiving and making peace with those who have wronged us (one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself. Life is short but regret can last a lifetime.)
The truth is that we all drop the ball sometimes. Nobody is perfect and that certainly includes me.
But as life goes on, I have witnessed so many things that I now see that I didn’t see before.
Life has this freaky little thing called clarity. And clarity can take a few hours up to a lifetime to achieve. But whoever said “hindsight is 20/20,” must of sure had one hell of a pair of glasses.
I feel like the big picture is often missed by people in lieu of a short-term fix or instantaneous gratification.
There is a collateral effect (or damage) to everything we do. It might not happen the minute we do it, but it always catches up with us in some form in some way at some point in our lives.
When we do good, good catches up. When we do bad, well … you get the drift.
That’s one of the many lessons I learned from my wonderful and wise father, Sam. He used to say to me all the time, “Be careful whose toes you step on today, because they could be connected to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.”
In other words, I guess that means we should all wear soft shoes and pretty lipstick.
Until next time,
Born and raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Karin has a BA in sociology, with a minor in psychology earning honors at Michigan State University. Along with certification in relationship coaching, Karin is an international blogger and past columnist. She is currently accepting clients and advertisers and can be reached @firstname.lastname@example.org.