A Short Rant on Social Etiquette

I hope you don’t mind if I go on a short rant about social etiquette.

Okay people, now I must confess, I have never been very confident in my social skills. I say stupid things, I mess up my words, I tend to sometimes sound racist when I don’t mean to, and I get pretty insecure when it looks like relationships with people aren’t panning out the way I wanted.

But alas, being ever so critical of my own social behaviour really puts me in an irritated mood when I see others not following the basics of social etiquette.

1. Don’t be late – or call if you are.

It happens, we get stuck in traffic or we can’t figure out what to wear. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget there are other people out there depending and waiting on you. Sometimes being late is unavoidable, but a lot of the time you can do something about it. Don’t be that girl who was late because she had to straighten her hair. Just don’t.

2. Respond when sometime texts/emails/calls you.

If someone shouted your name from down the street, and you heard them, would you just keep walking and ignore it? Probably not. So what’s the difference if someone is trying to get a hold of you through technology? It’s called courtesy, people. Maybe you hate the person, maybe you can’t stand them, maybe it’s the 13th text message they’ve sent you in 10 minutes, but they still deserve a response. Why? Because they put out the effort to reach out to you. They obviously want something, need something, or hell, are just being friendly! Is it really SO HARD to spend 5 seconds and write them back? Stop being self-centered and think about others.

3. Don’t be condescending.

It can be hard if you’re facing a situation that is completely foreign to you – such as teaching your Nana how to use her remote – to not sound condescending. So here’s a general rule: What you know does not make you better. Your age does not make you better. Your socioeconomic status does not make you better. Where you live does not make you better. What faculty you’re in does not make you better. Get the gist? YOU ARE NO BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE. So don’t make people think you are.

4. If you have a problem with someone, sort it out with them.

Don’t ignore them or pretend it doesn’t exist – you have a problem, and it shows. There is a very, very good chance that whoever you’re mad at can tell by your behaviour towards them. In fact, it probably makes them feel pretty lousy. We all wish we could be that bad ass that shrugs off every negative remark or every cold shoulder, but most of us can’t. So do the world a favor, and please sort out your issues with the person. There is too much negative energy out there already.

I could go on folks, as there is a lot I have to say on this issue, but I’ll end it with a gentle reminder that is really at the foundation of being a generally good person: think about others. It’s easy to forget your words and actions have great impact on the people around you, even if you don’t intend them to. So, when dealing with a social situation, do it the Canadian way and be courteous, polite, friendly, and always say you’re sorry.



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