By BR Kellie
A fair few moons ago we did a series on etiquette and manners, because we're a big fan of both at BRHQ. There's something wonderful about a person who is considerate of others, who effortlessly makes people feel at ease not because of what they say but because of what they do, how they act. Of course times change and the introduction of technology has seen the way we act, or interact, with each other change as well. But with all the apps and social media and mobile phones and tablets, we believe there's still room for good old fashion etiquette and manners...
You know what's so right about the above picture? You've three women enjoying a meal and there's not a mobile phone to be seen. They're there to talk to each other. Not to wonder if their latest Instagram picture has been liked. If their tweet is going viral. They're engaged, they're enjoying themselves, they're being present. Keep mobile phone's off tables when socialising. The only time it's okay to keep the phone out is if you're waiting for an important phone call. Say your partner is due to go into labour. Or you're waiting for a call to find out about a job. Or someone you love dearly is unwell and you're waiting for important news. But be sure to explain to your dining or coffee partner why the phone's out before you just plunk it on the table.
Another phone no-no? Talking on the phone while you're being served by someone. Doesn't matter if it's at the supermarket or in a retail store. If the conversation is that important hang about in an aisle and finish it before taking your purchases to the counter. Customer service is a tough job at the best of times, the least you can do as a customer is smile, say hello and perhaps even ask after their day.
Your friend has left their mobile on the table. Or their laptop open. Here's how to be a good pal - don't take that as an opportunity to screw round with their social media. ****Side note - if their social media is open and available you didn't hack it. Hacking requires a bit more stealth and sneakiness. If it's open and you posted something all you've done is abuse your friends trust.**** Don't create a 'funny' derogatory post. Don't write a witticism that isn't really. Don't take it as an opportunity to go through their DMs or to send something to someone pretending it's from them.
On that note. If they're on a dating app or site, don't play cupid. Back away from the swiping. Don't go left or right on their behalf. Don't message somone on a dating site that you think they might like pretending to be them. Leave love, or good old fashioned lust, in the hands of the actual Cupid.
While I'm on the love bandwagon - Don't use your friend's phone to text their ex on their behalf. And don't block them on their behalf either. Even if you think it's for the best. It's their life, they need to figure stuff out themselves.
When you meet someone for the first time, whether it's in your social circle or in your line of work, what do you do? Do you greet them, maybe offer a hand to shake or an 'it's nice to meet you', or do you launch into a series of demands about what you require from them? Chances are you'd at least introduce yourself and go about some sort of social nicety. The same should be done when emailing someone for the first time. Whether it's a customer service person via Facebook Messaging, a colleague in another part of the country or the world, or an acquaintance you need to get in touch with regarding a mutal friend's surprise birthday. You don't have to gush and best friend them up, but a simple 'Hi so-and-so, how are you/nice-to-eMeet-you followed by what you need will suffice.
How good is Facetime? Or video calling through Facebook messaging? Or Skype? I remember watching Beyond 2000 when I was a kid and they talked about being able to see people while chatting to them on the phone and I thought it was a) amazing and b) never going to happen for us average folk. Well, colour me wrong. These days we can talk to anyone, anywhere, at any time (as long as our data holds out...), which is a great thing. Except for when it's not. That mother with her three young kids sitting one table over in the cafe does not need to hear you tell the friend you're video-calling about your sexy exploits from the night before, while your friends shrill laugh screeches into the cafe. The people on the bus don't need to hear you rant and rail and use every swear word in the book to your partner about what your horrible boss did to you that day, while your partner wholeheartedly agrees while swearing loudly back.
As always, manners/etiquette, whether old school or modern, are about being aware of your surroundings, and being respectful of those you're sharing space with. A little thoughtfulness can go a long way to making the world a smilier place.