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Jun 07 2016

Protocol

Protocol

I asked some tasteful and civilized friends and colleagues what an updated manual for 2014 would look like. Here are (some) rules to help you, whether at an office lunch, the company gym or the birthday party of your child’s schoolmate.

You’ll notice a common denominator in all of them: Think about other people’s feelings first, because it’s not all about maximizing your personal convenience.

1. Texting “Hey, I’m running 20 minutes late” is not as acceptable as making the effort to be on time.

2. If you can’t attend an event that you’re formally invited to, don’t think that not RSVPing is the same as declining. And don’t RSVP at the last minute for an event that involves real planning by the host.

3. Don’t bellow on your cell phone. Just because you can’t hear the other person well doesn’t mean the other person can’t hear you well.

4. Turn off the phone at a dinner party, and be in the moment. You’re annoying at least one person who thinks you have no social skills. At bare minimum, turn off the ringer so you can text and conspire in relative stealth.

5. Remember that if you feel a need to respond immediately to every incoming text, you’ll lose more in the eyes of the person who’s in front of you than you’ll gain from the unseen people who are benefiting from your efficiency.

6. When you get to the front of the line at Starbucks SBUX +0.28%, don’t tell the barista to wait while you wrap up your phone discussion. The barista hates you, and so does everyone behind you.

7. If you come late to an exercise class, don’t think you’re entitled to barge your way to your favorite spot in the front. And don’t block others from weight racks – just step back three feet and make everyone happy.

8. Keep personal conversations and arguments off social networking sites.

9. Moderate your use of cameras and video at events. Enjoy your time with colleagues, friends and family in the present and preserve only a memento for the future, rather than recording the entire thing to “relive” later in some “free” time that you’ll never actually have.

10. Remember how easily e-gossip can be forwarded along to the wrong person.

11. Just because you’re wearing headphones doesn’t mean you can tune out from social courtesies. For example, if you accidentally cross someone’s personal space, apologize graciously.

12. Don’t RSVP for an event, then not show. Now you’re not just being rude, but you’re costing the host money, and you’ve probably kept a lonely soul from being invited as a backup.

13. Don’t be the first or second person to talk on your cell phone in a public space (like a bus or train). If everyone’s doing it, you’re allowed some slack here.

14. Don’t show up at a party empty-handed, unless you’ve been instructed to — and sometimes not even then. Bring wine or dessert or a plant.

15. Use your turn signal at least 50% more than you use your middle finger.

16. If your children are invited to a friend’s house to play, they (and you) should also help with the cleanup.

17. Don’t break up with someone by text. And don’t announce a death in the family by text. There are still times when phones or face-to-face are the best way to go.

18. Don’t discuss sensitive personal issues on Facebook, especially if you’ve friended coworkers.

19. Don’t say, “I’m having a party. Bring your own food and drink.” That’s not a party.

20. If you’ve been invited to an event, be reluctant to ask for an upper ceiling on how many friends you can bring.

21. And finally, all the classics still apply. One working mother offers a quick review here:
Chew with your mouth closed; don’t talk with food in your mouth; keep your elbows off of the table while eating; wash your hands after going to the restroom. My children know better—so why do I see adults exhibiting such poor behavior?

If you bump into someone, say excuse me. Don’t reach across someone’s face. Don’t board a plane when they’re loading group A and you are in group D. Don’t stay behind the crosswalk when you are making a left turn and thus prevent anyone else behind you from turning. Don’t let your kids act like wild monkeys in a restaurant. Don’t touch someone’s belly when she’s pregnant–or even when she isn’t. Don’t leave cupboard doors and drawers open—someone can get hurt. And don’t pull up to the exit gate in a parking lot without your ticket handy.”

That may seem like a lot, and to some it may seem like an uptight way to live. But just remember the basic success principle underlying all manners: Think about other people’s feelings first because it’s still not all about you.

Submitted by:
PDG Tony Stefanowicz
District Protocol Chair

Excerpts from Rob Asghar, Contributor