Say ‘thank you.’” “Wait your turn.” “Please be quiet while we’re here.” These are the lines a mother often says to her kids. It’s only right. We want them to be polite, gracious, and respectful human beings when they grow up. A lot like… us?
Not quite. We have to admit: Somewhere between the fast-paced and gadget-centered lifestyle and the rat race, a little of our gracious side is lost, and frankly, with a screaming toddler and a hungry baby vying for our attention, who has the time to be nice?
The good thing about common courtesy is that it doesn’t take time. It takes only presence of mind to do things right. “The number one rule is to be considerate of the people around you,” says Lia Bernardo, etiquette expert and columnist for Philippine Daily Inquirer. Here, she lists the ways we can make the world a better place simply by not annoying the heck out of people.
Image from dailymail.co.uk
1. In the office Office e-mail is for work-related e-mail. Send private-topic e-mails to a colleague using your personal account.
The computer, supplies, and files that you use may be office property, but personal space must still be observed. If you need to use someone else’s machines or paraphernalia, ask for permission first.
Send work-related text messages to co-workers only during office hours. If you do get one, politely acknowledge receipt of the message and say, “I’ll get back to you first thing in the morning.” If you’re the one sending the message, think again: Is it so important that it couldn’t wait until the next workday?
Conversely, keep private calls short and to a minimum. If you get a non-urgent call, tell the caller that you’re at work and that you’d call him as soon as you can. Use earphones if you want to listen to some music, but do not defeat their purpose by singing aloud. When people are talking, wait your turn to speak. Do not interrupt.
RUDE ‘TUDE TALE: “Some fresh grads in my office hole up in the washroom to chat. Granted, they’re not disturbing the peace in the work areas, but they’re hogging the mirror and sink and the ones who need to use them end up being the ones saying ‘Excuse me.’ Que horror!” - Name withheld upon request
2. On escalators Stay on the right side if you want to stay put. Leave the left side free for those who are in a rush and want to climb past people.
Do not congregate at the bottom or top of the escalator and cause a bottleneck. Move away first if you need to huddle with your companions.
RUDE ‘TUDE TALE: “I didn’t know that the ‘right side, left side’ rule was observed everywhere in the world except the Philippines (it seems). I learned the hard way when a hurried man in a suit in Wall Street in New York City boomed from behind me, a tourist: ‘Mooove!’” - SJB, mom to two kids