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Is Etiquette a Thing of the Past?

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By Dr. Gwen Smith

Hey there friends! Have you ever wondered about what behaviors are appropriate and which ones are not? What do you teach your children so that they are socially accepted by their peers? Not knowing the rules can truly isolate your kids, and yet it seems as though people these days are oblivious to them. Well, if you want to see an entire list of these, you'll just have to wait for the parenting skills book and seminars that are currently being written. But for now, I’ll share a few that may help you in your day-to-day mingling in public places and in your general interactions:

First, when two people are talking, never interrupt. As a former school administrator, I used to notice how often the kids would walk up and start talking without saying: “Excuse me.” It is considered rude. Never interrupt a conversation between two people except if it is for emergency purposes only. If you say excuse me, wait to be acknowledged before speaking.

Have you ever noticed how discourteous we are to one another? If you are going through a door and someone is right behind you, hold the door for them to enter. Don’t walk in and cause the door to hit them. Geez people let’s get this one right!

Well, what about when you are sitting between two people who obviously know each other, or not, but they begin to interact with you caught in the middle? There are all kinds of sins to be committed in this case: reaching across the person in the middle to take or give something, instead of saying excuse me and asking them to pass it, or speaking across the face of the other person, sometimes emitting particles in the process! Ewwh! Please don’t do that.

And a final one that I have for you, one that we are probably guilty of, is talking on our cell phones in public places so that our conversations are heard by others. Excuse yourself if you need to continue a conversation. Most people consider it rude. Also, when dining, don’t sit at the table and speak or text on your cell phone, and especially not when you are spending a social evening with company. If you have to take a call, excuse yourself, conduct your conversation and return promptly! Children, or others, when you visit a loved one on a special or not so special occasion, get off the darn cell phone. Don’t sit there in their presence ignoring them while texting continuously with someone who is far away.  Stop it please! It is rude to your host or hostess.

 I hope this has opened your eyes a bit so you can be more aware of others when you are out and about. After all, your success in getting a grip on these may make a difference for someone else in the way they feel respected by you.

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