Never put your elbows on the table. Always cover a yawn. Never interrupt. Always say “please,” “thank you,” “sorry,” and “excuse me.” Your mom had dozens of “always” and “never” etiquette rules to help you seem less rude when you were outside the house, and it’s likely some of them stuck.
Unfortunately, many mom-taught manners no longer apply now that you are an adult with peers rather than a child amongst grown-ups. Worse, the changing cultural norms and technologies of the 21st century have created a bevy of brand-new situations that your mom never taught you about.
Even amidst the whirlwind of terrifying hate in the media these days, it is possible to behave politely around friends and strangers. Here’s how to handle some of the most confusing modern social situations with propriety.
Mobile Device Decorum
An entire tome could be written about the dos and don’ts of using mobile devices around other people, but most mobile manners boil down to one simple statement: The people around you have priority. Whether you are enjoying a family dinner or standing in line for coffee, the comfort of those physically present trump your need to use your mobile device.
Unless you respect those around you by giving them the attention they are due, your friends and family will stop inviting you over, and strangers will begin to treat you with equal levels of disrespect ― perhaps cutting you in line or knocking your coffee all over your tablet, disrupting your public FaceTime conversation. The next time you find yourself sharing space with someone else, you should try to put the device down ― or at least, try to keep it quiet.
Social Media Manners
Everyone has at least one social media friend who is much too active to bear, and if you don’t have that friend, it is probably you. No matter the site, there are a few types of online activity that are simply unforgivable:
- Posting too frequently. Marketers found that most than one post per day for Facebook, per hour for Twitter, and per week for LinkedIn is the maximum frequency to stay relevant without overwhelming followers. This goes for personal accounts, as well.
- Posting too personally. Don’t get me wrong: You friends are dying to get some gossip about your relationship. However, if you don’t want your personal drama discussed behind your back, you shouldn’t post it online.
- Posting too controversially. You have opinions ― everyone does. Social media is not the place to convince other people your opinions are correct; in fact, it is hardly the place to mention your opinions, at all.
Though these posting rules are largely unspoken, breaking them will result in mass unfriending, unfollowing, and unpinning from your social media accounts.
It makes sense why vaping and e-cigarettes have become so popular: It tastes better than tobacco and it costs less than tobacco. Yet, as smokers transition from smoking to vaping, most seem to lose their sense of etiquette. Decades of social pressure has caused cigarette smokers to adhere to strict rules, such as asking before indulging and moving away from non-smoking groups before lighting up.
As a vaper, you should follow all of the old rules of smoking, as well as some new ones that are specific to the hobby. The most pressing manners are as follows:
- Always ask before vaping around someone
- Never vape in an enclosed public space
- Never try to stealth vape
- Never vape into someone’s face
- Never cloud chase around others (unless at a cloud chasing event)
- Always ask before trying someone’s vape or e-cig
As fitness becomes less of a fad and more of a lifestyle, you might be tempted to use your gym membership for the first time in your life. Unfortunately, most gym newbies commit more than a handful of cardinal gym sins.
While it might seem like manners don’t exist in a place where grunting and sweating is normal, the fact is that this highly charged environment remains under control only through strict social etiquette. One wrong move, and you might unleash the wrath of a 350-pound bodybuilder.
For the most part, gym rules require the proper use and maintenance of equipment. Some gyms only have a couple of certain machines, which means it is polite to get in and get out so others can have their chance. Any moveable equipment should always go back where you found it ― or, better yet, its proper place on racks or in stacks.
Finally, you and the equipment you use should be as sweat-free as possible, which means you should carry a towel and wipe droplets away as you go.