We hope that good manners will never go out of fashion. These 11 old-school etiquette rules are part of a necessary code of conduct that, we believe, makes our world a nicer place to live in. They are the types of rules our grandparents learned in their childhood. And, as the world moves swiftly from one trend to another, these elegant etiquette tips remain a universally recognised standard of behaviour. Old-school etiquette rules maintain a common courtesy that should never be lost and, we believe, they go a long way towards keeping out interactions kind.
1. Saying ‘Excuse me’
When you accidentally bump into someone on the street or in the supermarket acknowledging the other person and quickly apologising for walking into them is the politest thing to do. In return, if someone knocks into you and apologises with an ‘excuse me’ it is polite to acknowledge this without a fuss. Do not be tempted to respond with anger or by accusing them of not looking where they are going.
2. Please and Thank You.
These two tiny little phrases are essential words in your vocabulary when interacting with others. They show kindness and respect to the other person and soften what could otherwise be interpreted to be a command.
3. Smile, often and to everyone you meet and interact with.
Some people seem to forget that this expression is free and it is better shared. Smile when you order your coffee, smile as you say hello to someone you pass in the street, smile as you open the door to the postal delivery. Smile and the whole world smiles with you – try it out and see if it is true.
4. Hold the door open for the person behind you.
It doesn’t matter who is behind you; the common courtesy is to hold the door and ensure it does not close just before they get to it. If someone does the same for you, be sure to thank them for showing the courtesy.
5. Look at the person speaking to you.
Don’t look at your phone to see who just messaged you. This is so extraordinarily important when at the counter in a shop. There is a real person in front of you who is helping you, either to make your coffee or to help you purchase a new item. Give them the respect of looking at them, smile and interact, put that phone away until you are finished.
6. Let someone go ahead of you in line.
This is one of the sweetest random acts of kindness. We all know what it is like to be stuck in a long line at the check-out when you only want to buy one thing. It feels so fantastic when someone ahead of you suggests you go ahead of them in the queue. Do the same for others and see how good it feels to be randomly kind.
7. Be on time
Being at a place at the time you promised is a sign of respect for the other person. It is not ok to leave someone waiting for you and it is not ok to send a message at the arranged meeting time saying you will be late.
8. Cut the cussing.
There is no need to sprinkle swear words through our conversations. If you feel you need to swear for impact, please learn a more extensive vocabulary and find a new way to express yourself without using a commonly overused swearword as an adjective.
9. Wait a day or two to respond to a mean or nasty email or message.
Give yourself time to cool down after receiving an unpleasant message and avoid replying in a way that would not be appropriate. Better yet, don’t respond. Often a non-response sends a far louder message to nastiness than a reply would.
10. Let people off the train, elevator, bus, or tram before trying to get on.
Give passengers room to walk out by politely standing to one side of the door.
11. Welcome a new neighbour.
A small gift of chocolates or cookies is the perfect gift to give a new neighbour when you knock on the door to introduce yourself and welcome them to the neighbourhood. Start this important neighbour relationship with kindness.
By remembering these old-school etiquette rules and practising them daily, we are showing respect and kindness to others, which is essential in a world where we see division sown by words of contempt and disdainful actions. These rules of conduct help us keep kindness as the standard in our world. And we are all for that!