As we navigate raising children and grandchildren, one of the most important lessons we impart on younger generations is simple — always be kind. Being polite in a world that isn’t always sunshine and rainbows can go a long way. But sometimes, we as adults fall short.
It’s important to be polite to cultivate meaningful relationships and to grow as individuals. And though our lives and friendships might change as we get older, the desire to be the best versions of ourselves should not. Read on to see easy things to do if you’re aiming to be more polite.
Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’
One of the best life lessons we learn from our parents at an early age is to always say “please” and “thank you.” This is a rule that stands the test of time. Thanking someone for an act of kindness or for simply doing their job can brighten their day and yours in return.
Hold the door for strangers
Should you still hold the door for someone? The answer to this modern etiquette question is yes. Holding the door open for the person behind you is a simple, yet kind, act.
We all have places to be, but if you see someone behind you, especially someone with a stroller or limited mobility, taking a few extra seconds to hold the door open is common courtesy.
Tip when dining
There are plenty of things customers can do that servers might hate. But refusing to leave a tip after sitting and dining at a restaurant goes beyond being impolite – it’s just rude.
If a server does their best to guarantee each dish is top-notch and everyone is satisfied, the least a customer can do is leave behind a tip to thank them.
A neighbor can be someone who lives next door or a co-worker who sits nearby. Either way, saying “hello” is a great way to be polite and potentially make a new friend.
Making small talk like a pro is a gift for some and an acquired skill for others, but asking someone about their day is a great place to start.
Participate in conversations
Some people prefer to keep to themselves, and that’s fine. If brainstorming the perfect thing to say at a social gathering makes you anxious, there’s no need to stress yourself out.
But if you’re included in a discussion or someone asks for your opinion on a matter, you should try your best to add a few thoughts to the conversation.
Put your phone away
We get it. It’s the 21st century, and it’s harder than ever to put the phone down. But scrolling through your phone while at the dinner table or on a date is one of the most common etiquette mistakes you can make.
If you absolutely have to take a phone call, excuse yourself and step into another room to avoid disrupting others.
It doesn’t matter if your playlist includes every chart-topping song, no one wants to hear it played aloud on the elevator or on public transportation.
The same goes for phone calls. Plug in a pair of headphones and enjoy your personal matters privately to avoid being rude.
Be on time
William Shakespeare said it best: “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” Three hours early may be a bit overkill, but the message is clear — be on time. And if you’re running late, give the people you’re meeting a heads up so they know your whereabouts.