May 9-13 is National Etiquette Week!
Etiquette is a code of behavior, based upon contemporary acceptable norms within our society or group. It may change over time and differ between countries but all cultures have some form of expectations for etiquette. It is the conduct you exhibit, your social behavior on which you will be judged.
Recently, you may have been in a doctor’s office or cafe and seen people sitting together but heads bowed in attention to their cell phones – not prayer. Don’t text or take calls during meals – you are really NOT that important! Also, keep your phone in your purse or pocket during social get-togethers or family conversations. If you are expecting an important call (like an airport arrival who needs picked up) the vibrate mode will work. Use a speakerphone or blue tooth in private settings or alert the caller it is on.
In a restaurant or at the family table, wait for everyone to be served before starting to eat yourself. Then, don’t forget ‘Grace’. Keep your private things (cell phone or purse) off the table as they may have set in a car or on the floor previously. Do not clip nails, brush/floss your teeth, comb hair or put on makeup anywhere but in the bathroom. If you don’t want a beverage, don’t turn your cup or glass upside down. Get the server’s attention and say, “No, thank you.”
- You may love sardines, but don’t eat stinky foods around others.
- Ladies, we have equal rights now. Holding the door open is done by the first person there for others who follow (regardless man or woman).
- When boarding public transportation, don’t tie up the aisle. Stow away packages promptly and sit down.
- E-mail typed in capital letters represents yelling. Do you really mean to yell at this person?
- Don’t forget how to write! This applies to RSVP (which means reply, yes or no, and how many) to an invitation. Also, you can never say ‘thank you’ too much. So, say it – then, write it, with just a short note.
- Please remember to acknowledge a death. You may not know what to say but, saying anything at all helps the persons grieving.
- You don’t drive down the double yellow line on the highway. Therefore, don’t choose the middle of the supermarket aisle.
- Please park within the lines in a parking lot. Please remember the handicapped area is designed for handicapped people.
When standing and talking with another, keep an arms length between you. Try not to interrupt the person speaking, even if you think your point is more important. If you have something to share that needs to remain private, go to where it can be spoken in private. Give each person equal attention.
These are all common sense judgments – and, of course, there are many more, like not talking when your mouth is full. Today’s rules are far more relaxed then in years gone by but, it’s still nice to have rules. If you want something, always ask. It shows respect for those around you and gratitude for what you have been given. After all, you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings any more than you want your feelings hurt by someone else.
This brings up the subject of “church etiquette.” The people you see in church are your brothers and sisters in Christ. Your church family deserves the same respect you give your family at home. The same cell phone rules apply in church as I stated previously. Don’t arrive late and leave early, it might give St. Peter a clue as to how you expect to be treated. Dress appropriately and conservatively for entering God’s house. Your church is a place of total acceptance. Don’t choose a certain few you want as friends and not work with others. Likewise, don’t complain about, gossip, stare or confront others. Look to your leadership or our Lord for the best example. Be considerate of people with small children – you were once a child yourself! Be encouraging to all you meet.
Keep the Golden Rule in action: Do unto others as you would like done to you. Respect God, his brothers and sisters, and show them all the gratitude you feel for being alive and well
Guest Post by Betty Canavan