Evolution is inevitable; it happens to everything. So of course, etiquette has also evolved over the last 20 years. We have more technology and more complex situations to manage today than ever before. Let’s take a look at modern scenarios requiring a healthy dose of proper manners:
1. Stay off cell phones when doing business. No one should ever have to hold up taking care of business because someone has to finish a cell phone call or text message.
* For example, if John is talking on his cell phone in the grocery store line, the cashier should not have to wait for John to retrieve his money while chatting on his phone. That would be rude to the cashier, and also to the other customers in line behind John.
2. Avoid talking on your phone in close public places. Whether you’re seated in a restaurant, standing in a line at the bank or sitting in a waiting room at the doctor’s office, refrain from talking on your cell phone.
* Let’s face it, we’ve all been there—trying to enjoy a lunch or dinner while the person at the next table is talking and giggling about what she did last night. Also, the time you spend on your cell phone is time spent ignoring your dining companion, which is a big “no-no.”
* Place your phone on “silent” when you’re in these situations. If you’re expecting an important call, keep the phone in sight so you can check who’s calling, should it vibrate. Assuming you’re with a companion and you receive the call you’re expecting, excuse yourself and step outside or at least away from the table to talk briefly.
* When dining alone, keep in mind that even though you won’t be interrupting your own meal with your phone conversations, other people in the restaurant are most likely privy to your chat. They may feel interrupted or annoyed by your voice volume.
* To be mannerly, avoid speaking on the cell phone in a restaurant regardless of whether you’re with someone or alone.
3. Be judicious about where and when you text. Texting provides you with another opportunity to display good manners. If you’re with a companion in public but you need to text someone, say something like, “Do you mind if I send a quick text? I’ll be done in seconds.” Then, complete the text.
* Refrain from sending multiple texts when you’re in the company of others. If you’re seated in a restaurant and both you and your companion want to send a text or two, no problem. But for the best manners, avoid texting when you’ve got someone sitting right in front of you who’s willing to socialize in person.
4. Say “no” to road rage. To avoid generating negative feelings about others’ driving skills, just ignore erratic drivers.
* As long as they pass you on the road, you’re safe from them. Continue conversing with your car companion.
* Sharing unsavory comments about unsafe drivers makes for rather unpleasant conversation with those in your vehicle. To show that you have manners, choose to let go of your thoughts and emotions about such drivers. You and your riders will have a much more enjoyable trip.
5. Before entering an elevator or public transport (bus, train or subway), allow current riders to exit first. These days, people seem to be in a big hurry to get where they’re going. Stay aware, patient, and considerate toward others when boarding any type of public transport.
Living in the 21st century brings all kinds of etiquette dilemmas around the use of modern technologies. Keep your manners in mind and consider how your behavioral choices affect others as you make your way through these exciting times.