Don’t Slam the Door in Someone’s Face and Other Lost Acts of Common Courtesy
The Service Tip for December at my place of business was Hold the Door Open. It’s a hospital, no less, and the e-mail was sent out to the employees.
Scary. But the message was clear.
Don’t slam the door in someone’s face.
Why would I do that? Who does that?
Evidently, enough people do so that it had to be brought to everyone’s attention. It blew my mind. It’s common sense, after all. You could hurt someone by letting a door fly.
But phones, lack of attention, and connection to social media have made us disconnected on a face-to-face level. It’s made some of us socially retarded.
Common courtesy is no longer intuitive. Or maybe we’re just not taking the time to honor it. We react swiftly with rudeness instead of mindfully with kindness.
Proper etiquette can help us make an excellent first impression, where a lack of it can ruin a relationship before it gets off the ground. It is our best way to co-exist peacefully and lighten one another’s load. Life is hard, but dumping our crap on other people only makes it harder for everyone, including ourselves.
It’s like spitting into the wind.
Courtesy can calm a tense situation and bring an unexpected smile to someone’s face. It can take the fight right out of someone. And it costs us nothing! All it takes is a moment to be present and aware.
My mother was a Miss Manners, so I was well versed in proper public behavior from the time I could speak.
We heard it, and saw it, day in and day out. She had a sharp Scorpian tongue but never missed the chance to “take the wind out of someone’s sail” and deflating a tense situation.
And she did it with manners and kindness.
Here are a few simple courtesies we can incorporate into our everyday lives.
Holding the Door
Say “thank you” when someone holds a door for you and look behind you for the next person. It’s one of those “do unto others” habits.
Nothing is worse than holding the door for someone who immediately scootches through without thanking you or holding it for the next person. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a doorman/woman/person, and I won’t hold it for you a second time.
Lack of acknowledgment is just rude.
Cell Phone Conversations in Public
You don’t care about my good or bad fortune, my relationships, or any of the drama in my life. And I don’t care about yours.
Be aware of where you are when you talk on the phone. There are some things you shouldn’t repeat in public, and there’s always that thing called social eavesdropping.
Keep your voice down or better yet; keep the news to yourself until you get home.
Standing in front of an elevator or train doors
You’re trying to get out and make room for people who will be getting on.
So stand in front of the doors and guess what? No one is going anywhere. I can’t get out, and you can’t get on. How about moving your butt to the side? Or should I shove you out of the way?
In general, people coming out have the right of way, whether it’s from a train, elevator, or just exiting a room.
Please stand aside.
Phone use in movie theaters or live performances
Why don’t you shine a flashlight in my face?
A bright phone in a dark theater is distracting, and I didn’t pay to watch you text or search the internet. It’s a waste of your money as well.
Turn off your phone. Put it away.
Wait your turn
Ever heard the expression, “the line forms at the rear?’ That’s where you stand when you arrive and other people were there first.
Don’t try to slide in front of someone who arrived before you. Play nice and don’t cut in line.
This also applies to people who have to “just ask a question” or will “only take a second.” You can have your second when it’s your turn; only emergencies are exempt.
Say please, thank you and excuse me
Please and thank you are the two magic words and need no explanation.
If you accidentally bump into someone, apologize.
Lower your voice
No one is impressed or cares about your hot girlfriend, boyfriend, or anything else that makes your life so fabulous.
Keep it down.
Eat with your mouth closed
Unless you’re in the high school cafeteria, lookies are not cool.
Put food in your mouth, stop talking, chew, swallow.
There. Now you can talk again.
These are just a few of the basics we encounter every day.
If you want to know more, check out:
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum.
The Plaza Etiquette School has a slew for those more formal situations.
The best way to mind your manners and create a peaceful atmosphere is to remember the true meaning of etiquette: respect and consideration for the people around you.
In short, follow the golden rule.
Start a new trend in 2020.
Begin by being polite.
And don’t forget to smile.
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