Do Manners Matter? Part 2: Social Etiquette

Social etiquette, including social media, is fun to talk about. It is so vitally important to our professionalism and our influence, but it’s the one thing that is being ignored and cast aside more and more as time passes. Today we’ll look at the top 5 etiquette rules for both in person, and online, interactions.

Personal Social Interaction

1.) When you are introduced to someone, shake their hand, smile, and let them know you’re pleased to meet them. You need that professional and kind first impression to keep their interest and cultivate a relationship.


2.) Try not to be more than 15 minutes late to a party, no more than 10 minutes late to a dinner, and no more than 5 minutes late to a ceremony/service. (The exception to this rule is an open house party or BBQ.) This shows respect for your host and hostess, ensures that the foods they’ve worked hard to prepare isn’t ruined by your tardiness, and prevents others from being distracted by you walking in late.

3.) Put real clothes on. As wonderful as it would be to parade around everywhere in your pajamas, please don’t be that person. If you’re going to the salon, a doctor’s visit, or just going to grab something from Target, get up and get dressed. In her book “Whiskey in a Teacup” Reese Witherspoon passes on wisdom that her grandmother gave her as a girl. Always put real clothes on before 10am. This means no loitering about in pajamas, sweat pants, or yoga pants all day.

4.) Be kind to everyone. Don’t catch yourself getting snippy with the waiter, it’s not his fault that your steak is overcooked. Don’t yell at the customer service attendant, she didn’t write the policies. Don’t snub the janitor, he cleans your office. Don’t shoot dirty looks at the teenager sitting across from you, she needs a friendly face. Don’t be that person. As Mister Fred Rogers once said “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”

5.) Avoid swearing. Swear words are majorly overused today. It does not make you sound cool or grown up. It makes you sound like you lack the intelligence needed to use a proper vocabulary to describe your feelings. It loses you respect.

Online Social Interaction

We are constantly surround by technology. We can be instantly connected at all times. However, like any interaction, there are still rules of etiquette to follow.

1.) Always spell out complete words, capitalize when appropriate, and use correct punctuation. no1 wants 2 try n read ur lazy txt msg u r betr than dis pleez dont ruin ur credibility by txtng lik did TY


2.) Do not post anything while you are mad, and do not post anything you wouldn’t say to a room full of people. Social media has created too many brave keyboard warriors who rant about anything and everything, but those same people would never say these things out loud. Remember, once it’s out there, it’s out there forever. It just takes a seconds of being online for someone to screenshot what you say.

3.) Do your best about responding to emails and text messages, especially from family and close friends. This is something I have to really be mindful about because I’m bad about mentally responding and forgetting to actually respond. But if someone takes time to reach our to us, we should be diligent about responding. Even if it’s a quick message to let them know you’re busy but that you aren’t ignoring them and you will get back with them as soon as you’re able.

4.) If you wouldn’t want your baby sister, your father, your sweet grandmother, or your pastor to see it, don’t post it. This includes photos, mems, posts, and comments. If you’re hoping a certain group of people won’t see it, don’t put it out there.

5.) Use emojis sparingly in personal conversations, and never in professional conversations. Your boss doesn’t need or want 10 yellow faces, a crying cat, a flower, a cup of coffee, or a pile of waste strung in with your email. It doesn’t matter how close you are, keep it professional. With your personal family and friends, use your best judgement, just try to keep it tasteful. With your spouse however, pile on those heart eyes and kissy faces!

“Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

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