As a teenager, I worked several years in a clothing store and later in a drug store. I never met so many rude and hateful people, but thankfully most of the customers were kind and polite. I found I liked the customers who looked me in the eye and smiled. That little eye contact said, “Yes, I see you and what you’re doing is important to me.”
So whenever I go into a store or through a drive-thru I make sure to look the person in the eye and smile.
It’s amazing how easy it is to be polite. But I know I mess up sometimes. My excuses can be that I’m tired, rushed, distracted, or just plain ignorant. Whatever the excuse is I try to learn from my mistakes and listen to those who know.
Even in the writing world, we have our own etiquette. No passing manuscripts beneath restroom stalls to visiting editors. No pitching manuscripts without being asked by the agent. No bad mouthing agents or editors at conferences. You never know who can overhear.
With the many ways to communicate with each other, I believe we forget other little ways to be polite to each other, even though we’ve been told many times. Like snipping posts on emails. In effort to condense all of the emails we’re flooded with, we go on digest on our loops and people continue to leave the email their responding to or a whole digest of emails on their answers. It’s so simple to highlight and delete. In fact, YAHOO has it set up under Edit Member where you can choose Full Feature. Then when you respond to an email on a loop, it will automatically clear the other emails. Just remember to retype the same subject. That way the string will stay intact. And people don’t have to read the same emails over and over again to follow the conversation.
A newer form of etiquette is tied in with our blogs. When you send a note on a loop asking for everyone to come to your blog and read your latest post, it’s only polite to include that loop’s blog or/and website on your blog. Hey, you have an opportunity to advertise free, it’s only polite to offer the same to them. I bet you haven’t thought of that.
With Twitter and Facebook, I bet we can think of many more infractions. All new ways of being polite.
What do you see that people need to work on?