When it comes to manners, we all know the basics: Say "please," thank people when appropriate, and treat others how you want to be treated. But what are the etiquette rules you didn't know about? You know, the social guidelines and parameters that are worth following, but which maybe weren't drilled into you as a kid? Or, for example, say you've recently relocated to another country where the general population has a very different expectation of what it means to be polite than the area you're from. You might not mean to offend someone, but it's always possible you can mistakenly send the wrong message when meeting a new person.
These kinds of situation have the potential to be recipes for disaster, but they don't have to be: All etiquette and manners are, really, is taking the time to assess the situation around you and treat others with respect and care in the moment. In terms of cultural and societal cues, you can often pick up on that through research — and because we're so lucky, the Reddit community over at AskReddit has a thread absolutely blowing up right now that can help out. If you read through the thread discussing what each Redditor's favorite etiquette rules entail and realize you've made more than one of these faux pas, don't be embarrassed! Just learn from the mistake and move forward. And remember, we've all been there!
1. Wait Until Someone Is Safely Inside To Drive Away
This one might not seem like a big deal, but it's definitely a considerate thing to do: You never know if someone has lost their keys, left their phone in your car, or noticed something "off" about their home, making them not want to enter alone. No matter the reason, it's always a good move to let someone know you'll wait to pull away until they get inside safely.
2. Remember The Importance of Punctuality
This is a tried and true rule: If someone is picking you up, whether it's a date or a family member, always make a point of being ready and waiting for them when they arrive. They're coming to pick you up, not wait in your driveway for half an hour.
3. Always Ask If It's OK Before You Touch Someone's Pet
This one is about manners, but also safety: Even if someone's dog looks friendly, you should always ask the owner if it's OK for you to touch it or not. This is especially important to teach to kids!
And actually, speaking of kids, don't touch people's children without asking, either. Consent is for everyone, from newborns all the way up to the elderly.
4. Remember That You Don't Own The Sidewalk
As someone who lives in a city, I can honestly say this is a huge pet peeve of mine. If you are walking in a group with multiple people on a sidewalk, please remember that other people are also using the sidewalk. Regardless to the speed your group is going at, it's always good manners to pause and step to the side so other people can pass through or around you. This can be especially considerate if you notice someone who has a stroller, a dog, a number of small children, or something else that might be difficult to deal with is trying to navigate around your enormous group.
5. Make Sure People Enter Their Vehicles Safely
If you're dropping someone off at their car, make sure you stay until the person is safely in their car. This allows them time to make sure their battery is working, that they have the right pair of keys, that there's been no damage to their vehicle, and so forth. This is especially good to keep in mind if it's dark out, or if you're in an unfamiliar area.
6. Allow People To Exit Before You Enter
If you ever use public transportation, this is a huge deal: Even if you're in a rush, remember to let people exit before you enter. This is true whether you're on the subway, taking the bus, or heck, even getting in or out of a shared vehicle. People who need to exit do not want to get stuck on the train for additional time because they had no room to get out.
7. Remember, People Are Behind You
Similar to not entering before others exit, it's important to remember that when you enter a space, people are often entering after you. Whether you're entering a mode of transportation, a supermarket or shopping mall, or even a room in someone's house during a party, expect for others to be shuffling in behind you. This means if you need to look down and check your phone or rifle through your bag, it's in good form to step to the side and not block the entrance while you do so.
8. Be Mindful Of Where You Leave Your Shopping Cart
If you've ever shopped in a crowded supermarket, you know first hand how stressful this can be when you're trying to get your shopping done and get home after work. Seriously: Everyone is looking for the things they need, and it's OK if you don't know where things are located. But do not block the entire aisle by leaving your shopping cart on one side of the aisle and positioning yourself across the aisle to look through all different kinds of mustard sauce you can purchase. This makes it impossible for other people to navigate their shopping and can lead to a ton of extra maneuvering for everyone around you.
9. Watch Your Umbrella
As a notably short person, this one is a real fear of mine. Whenever it rains in the city (and here in Washington, DC it's been raining a whole lot lately), people bust out their huge umbrellas. And I get it! No one likes to arrive to wherever they're going soaking wet. However, when people hold their umbrellas right at my eye level, I'm constantly on guard to protect my eyes from the sharp ends. What a nightmare, am I right?
Head on over to AskReddit for more. It's a real eye-opener!
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