Top 10 Rules and More of Courtesy for 2024.

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( As children, we were consistently taught various etiquette and courtesy rules of behavior to grow up and become well-mannered creatures. With time, we may forget or overlook some of these societal norms. As such, a quick refresher course on them is always helpful. If the elementary school children in my afterschool mentoring program can grasp these concepts with no problem; I’m sure the adults in the university courses I’ve taught can do so, as well as you! Let’s get started:

Remember that in adulthood, the most important objective is to remain gracious, kind, and effective when communicating.  Once you master common courtesy, you can build better relationships with those in your life. Let us look at some common norms that you must adhere to as responsible adults.

Top 10 Rules and More of Courtesy for 2024.

An invite for you does not come with a puppy plus one


Kindness toward dogs and animals in general has certainly seen an uptick in recent times. However, never assume that an invite extended to you equals an invite to your fur baby. Even if it is your best friend who is hosting the party, make sure that you ask in advance if your pup can come. Not every person or every home is dog-friendly. So it is best not to presume that every person in your life loves dogs as much as you do. Even if the family who invited you over loves dogs and has a few of their own, it is still important to ask, since they may not want your pup’s paw prints all over their flooring on a rainy day.

Tagging people in a considerate manner


Social media has been pushing our boundaries in terms of privacy and with this challenge comes a new set of etiquette-based concerns. You really do not have to tell the world about what you ate for dinner, or the effects of your last hospital visit. After a fun party where you click loads of pictures, remember to ask those involved for permission before posting their images. Always ask before you post or tag them on your social media accounts. This is a crucial rule to remember when kids are involved. In today’s world, parents are increasingly making the choice to not post their kids online and that must be respected. No exceptions.

Workplace gossip is a big NO!


A workplace must be conducive to being productive. While it may seem tempting to gossip in a light-hearted manner with your colleagues as you eat lunch at the cafeteria or in the teachers’ lounge; it is very important not to indulge in such behavior. When you speak about others in a kind manner, it is typically perceived as a reflection of your character. Remember that you are in no way establishing your authority by engaging in gossip, as it adds nothing to your life. While you are working, also make sure that you do not complain and rant excessively about management or the school administration etc.

Dress appropriately


This is something that we have been consistently taught in life and yet, as we approached adulthood, we somehow began to view it as an optional norm. Whether you are going to a party, attending a lecture, or visiting a friend’s house, remember that you must try to look and feel your best before you leave the comfort of your own home. While the world today has become more accepting of casual clothes, the psychological implications of dressing up for an occasion are always positive. When you dress appropriately, you feel more confident and calmer.  This writer rarely participates in dress down work events because that is the nature of my personal upbringing, however, everyone will not agree with my “shirt and tie style.” Better to overdo it than dress inappropriately; especially when serving in the capacity of role model by default.

Never break the rules of an event


Themed parties have become extremely common today. Whether it is a space-themed New Year’s Eve party or a baby shower with a tea party, make sure that you adhere to the rules of the event. In other words, if your host is expecting you to dress in a certain way, make sure that you do. Additionally, always be punctual and confirm whether the invite includes a plus-one before inviting someone else to tag along.

Keep your phone away in public 


Ever looked around frantically for your phone only to realize that you are still holding it? We have all done that at some point. The fact is that we now treat our phones as though they are an extension of us. However, when in public, it is important not to be immersed in your hand-held devices. Fostering good relationships offline is crucial for good mental health. This includes spending time with your loved ones and interacting with your colleagues. In case you are with a group and a crucial phone call flashes on your phone, remember to excuse yourself before answering the call. At restaurants and stores or when ordering something or engaging with an employee at a business whose service you are rendering, remember to keep your phone out of sight. It is rude to be talking on your phone while the cashier scans your items, or the restaurant personnel are taking your order.   In this context, it is also important to be mindful of the volume at which your phone operates. Refrain from using open speakers on your phone when on calls and never play your music or your podcast or watch a video without using your headphones. Believe it or not; regardless of your personal music taste, not everyone loves the music of Beyonce’ or Taylor Swift. Always keep those earbuds in. It is all about being self-aware, mindful, and conscious of your surroundings; The Golden Rule absolutely applies here!

Clean up after yourself 


Wherever you go – a hotel, an Airbnb, or a store – as an adult, it is your responsibility to ensure that you leave the place behind without causing any damage. As we navigate through public places, it is our duty to maintain a reasonable standard of cleanliness.  For instance, at fine dining restaurants, your spilled drink is immediately addressed by an employee. But at fast food outlets and other casual diners, there may not be dedicated staff members who can quickly address such mishaps. Thus, it is always advisable to dispose of your garbage cautiously and try to take care of any small spills you may have caused. Obviously, you are not expected to mop up the entire place. Just make sure that the person who is supposed to clean up after you is not staring at an enormous task. This applies to hotels too, which are unfortunately left dirty and wrecked like a roadside public washroom; after a long trip. While housekeeping is certainly there to attend to you, it is still unacceptable to leave a mess.

Cough politely


All of us are aware of the impact of COVID on our lives within the last 4 or 5 years. We were even cautioned against shaking hands for a few years. Thankfully, we are back to almost leading our regular lives without many drastic changes. However, there are certain behaviors from the pandemic that must ideally persist even now. When you are in public, it is still a common courtesy to cover your mouth or your toddler’s mouth when coughing. This is a must while in public.

Travel etiquette is critical


As soon as you step out of your house, it is time to pay attention to your manners. It is a good idea to prioritize grace as you enter and exit buildings and commute via public transport. While a few of these sound obvious, we have unfortunately encountered behavior that is frowned upon even in recent times.

I always tell the young men in my mentoring program to always remember to hold the door open for the person walking behind you, especially women. This is certainly a norm that applies when they are standing close to you. Otherwise, you are merely pressuring them to pick up the pace, which can be unnecessarily stressful. Think about it like this: If you hold the door for the person behind you; more than likely they will return the favor down the hall.

If you are waiting to board a train or an elevator, wait until people deboard before you get in. If you are traveling via public transport, always give up your seat for someone who may need it more – pregnant women, parents with toddlers, or elderly people. I think you get the picture!

Alcohol-free options are a must


Alcohol-free life is slowly becoming the mainstream again, with mocktails taking center stage in recent times. My brother once told me that he was ditching soda pop at the behest of his doctor, for health reasons. I then gave him a little brotherly advice. Remember when you entertain guest; they do not have to abide by your doctor’s guidance. Thus, if you are hosting a party, never assume that every guest is comfortable consuming alcohol. In fact, you must stock up on beverages; carbonated and non-carbonated; even some that are non-alcoholic in nature, that way no individual feels out of place. Likewise, do not question the choices of your guests if they reveal that they are abstaining from consuming carbonated beverages; just remember to stock up with alternatives.  Most importantly, a person may choose not to drink on an occasion for various reasons. Once more, our guest shouldn’t be put in a position where they must come up with excuses or reasons. Instead, just make sure your beverage selection is inclusive in nature. Especially when the guest list includes minors. Avoid using foul language, particularly in public places or around children. Always use kind and respectful language. Politeness doesn’t have to be complicated.

Good protocol is all about making people feel comfortable and helping you to navigate any situation smoothly. My high school coach Howard Pool would say: “Alright team: let’s go out there in the new year with a challenge to be the best we can be! When we win everybody feels better about themselves!”

Associate Editor; Stanley G. Buford

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