There are still some basic good manners that should prevail no matter our generation, station, or affiliation. Here’s what it might mean to be classy, kind, and considerate whenever you are able (and we are almost always able):
Big Moments deserve a call. When someone texts to tell you they are pregnant, not pregnant, breaking up, getting engaged, got the job, lost the job, saw aliens in the sky… CALL THEM—even if you know they’re going to let it go to voicemail.
Bring something when you show up. A small bar of dark chocolate. A few sticks of incense rolled in a piece of paper with a message written on it. A book you read that you’re willing to loan or give. A postcard you had pinned up forever. Small beauty is a big gift.
Re: Customer service. It’s often well-meaning, but saying “No problem” when the customer thanks you is not a terrific response. Because it shouldn’t ever be a problem, you’re in the position of service. Powerful replies: You’re very welcome. My pleasure. I’m happy I could help.
I’ve heard that spitting on the sidewalk is illegal in the Netherlands. They’re on to something.
If you REALLY want to meet up with someone, don’t just say, “Let’s get together soon” and pause, waiting for them to bite or blow you off. If you REALLY want to get together (in person or on the phone) then just make it happen: Suggest a date, commit to calling them in a few weeks to arrange, make it happen. Otherwise… you probably don’t REALLY want to get together.
How can I say this lovingly? Please shut the fuck up on your cell phone. We can hear your conversation. And we don’t want to, and you probably don’t want us to either. You may think it’s OK because you think you’re talking at the same volume as you would be if you had your conversation person sitting right there with you. But you’re louder and it’s weird. Take the call when you’re not surrounded by other people, hide under your coat, find a corner, or just… don’t.
On a related note: Your earbuds. We can hear your really loud music and podcasts. And we don’t want to. (Also, ear cells that get fried by excessively loud noise do not regenerate. You could go deaf. Might be karma.)
If you’re meeting someone at their house or office, especially if it’s one-on-one, do not be early.
Don’t film people without their permission to be filmed.
Pregnant women don’t want to have their bellies touched, unless they say so. Also, most moms of babies don’t want you to touch their baby. They act nice about it, but they’re cringing inside re: your germs and vibes.
When someone is getting divorced and has children, they very likely do not need to be reminded that, “the children are what’s most important”. They are aware. It’s probably why they stayed longer than they should in the marriage. It’s probably one of the most heartbreaking factors of the divorce. They know. No need to mention it.
Push your chair back in when you leave.
Leave your phone off the restaurant table. I’m really over people who check their phone in between every micro pause. Like, the forty five seconds that I’m “distracted” by giving the waiter my order should not be treated as my absence and your text time. I’m with you. Right there. You asked me for dinner. Because we adore each other. So let’s be adoring.
Thank people for the great service. Love on them. I’m so grateful. Thank you for your good care. Thanks for making this easy. Thanks for understanding.
Always help people with small kids. They are superheroes.
Never be too busy to bring food to a sick friend.