Don't Be A Jerk: Revisiting Basic Etiquette and Social Graces
The basic rules of proper etiquette some Filipinos forget
Welcome to the 21st century, a time defined by progress, innovation, information at our fingertips and multitudinous sources of knowledge.
Question: does this automatically mean then that we’re at our most evolved state as a society?
In part, what we’ve managed is to do is more things—just faster. We’ve also never been more distracted as a society, stuck in a cycle of rushing, making use of online tools and social media to keep up with real life itself: the setting in which we often forget the significance of common decency.
“Thank you,” employee A types in her email, for example, expressing gratitude to a client she honors…as she simultaneously jets past the person who held the door open for her while she was glued to her phone.
Perhaps we should grant our folks and our grandparents their “in my day” sermons and “during my time” speeches. We might just learn a thing or two. True enough, the idea of charm school may rub people the wrong way. Extreme feminists AKA “feminazis” might argue that several elements in etiquette courses are sexist or suggest that women are weak or inferior. But this isn’t about reverting to an old way of thinking. This is about good manners you cannot put a date stamp on. This is about behavior tied to your values, reflect your character and exhibit good breeding and education—or lack thereof.
So, when was the last time you sent a handwritten thank-you card? Or let the person on his or her way out of a room walk through the door before you make your way inside?
At the end of the day it boils down to being considerate of other people’s feelings. Here, we revisit basic etiquette and social graces with some handy infographics in between:
First impressions first: When being introduced to somebody, offer your right hand for a handshake.
If you are being introduced someone while you are seated, DO stand up first and then offer your hand.
Two pumps should you be in a business setting.
Three in informal settings.
Eye contact always.
If you have someone with you when you bump into an old friend or acquaintance—anyone else actually for that matter—greet him or her quickly and then direct your attention to the person you are with. Introduce the two to one another. Use first and last names when making the introduction in formal or business settings.
Don’t just go rambling on and catching up with your old buddy while the person you’re with is just standing there. *Cue cricket sounds*
The Lowdown on the Perfect Handshake:
via Snag A Job
Don’t show up to a friend or relative’s house unannounced.
Call first (with a one to two-day allowance before your visit).
How you behave in an elevator says a lot about you, so mind your elevator etiquette.
Has a term for the fear of getting off the wrong floor from the elevator been coined yet?
It seems some people do have a legitimate phobia given their refusal to give way to others who need to get off on their floor. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s best we begin with the rude behavior at the push of the elevator button.
Here, illustrator Nathan W. Pyle provides a visual guide:
Rule of thumb: People on the elevator get to leave first.
Don’t be the uncivilized person who stands right in front of the elevator doors, leaving those on it no choice but to navigate around you in order for them to leave. This not only makes you a jerk, this makes you a walking, breathing obstruction.
Bringing a backpack along? DO take it off first and simply hold it on front of you while you’re in the elevator.
People usually spend the waiting time in the elevator scrolling through their mobile phones, but this should never be an excuse for being unaware of the surroundings:
Folks by the elevator buttons: be thoughtful ladies and gentlemen and hold the door open for those leaving.
As for those in the middle of the lift, get this: if someone needs to leave, it’s polite to step off first to give way and then come back inside the elevator.
(Amazing, right? Who knew this was a possibility?)
It’s best to keep your phone off the dinner table.
This one is a toss-up: some say it’s socially acceptable to place your phone at the table while you have your meal. Some still say it’s a no-no.
What matters at this point is being present: that you don’t allow yourself to be distracted by your phone while you have company. So put your phone on silent or better yet, keep it in your purse or pocket and definitely don’t use it in the middle of your meal with someone.
If you need to take a call during a sit-down meal, excuse yourself, get up and step outside.
There’s nothing worse than an insufferable loudmouth who takes their private calls out in the open for everyone to hear. And there’s a special place in hell for those who take their private calls in a quiet place…on speakerphone.
Clean as you go.
The Pinoy’s “yaya mentality” has to go. There may be people in maintenance assigned to wipe down tables and clean the general area, but you should take it upon yourself to bus out as a form of respect for other diners.
The CLAYGO rule applies in public restrooms as well.
To the ladies and gentlemen who brush their teeth at work: DO wash down the sink thoroughly once you are through using it. No one should have to clean up your toothpaste glob or any other leftovers on the sink for you.
Respect your shared space.
The Lowdown on Restroom Etiquette:
Source The Walk in Bath Trading Company
Always fall in line: Find the end of the queue and line up accordingly.
It’s amazing to think that in this day and age, the concept of lining up still escapes some people. But, here we are: Don’t be afraid to ask about where the end of the line is if people look rather scattered. Fall in line to show respect to those that were already waiting before you arrived.
Never, ever cut in line and then act like nothing happened. If we weren’t so civilized, that’d be one easy way to lose some teeth.
When someone opens the door for you, say thank you.
They’re not obliged to do that for you, your highness. So take two seconds to get off your phone and invest in a little human interaction; look up and say thank you. In-person conversations and relationships, to this day, matter more than virtual ones.
Write thank-you notes.
Be it for a potential boss after you interview with him or her, for an opportunity given to you by a former mentor or for a client referred to you by a former colleague. It isn’t a must, but it is a sign of thoughtfulness and good breeding (and since it isn’t common practice, this will instantly set you apart).
The Lowdown on Formal Thank-You Notes: