We are all socially challenged in a way, but as humans, we all have a need to find belonging and to have daily human interactions, whether that be at school, work, grocery shopping, or even texting or calling a close friend. But there is a certain etiquette that social interactions require in a public setting.
I have seen people verbally assaulted by others while going about their day-to-day lives. People have forgotten these unspoken principles for how to behave outdoors and around strangers, so here is a list of things to do in public.
7 main points:
- Be patient. Everybody is just trying to do their best. There is no need to call someone who is holding up the line or walking slowly lazy or a waste of space, both of those examples I have witnessed personally.
- When you are walking, and you pass someone, look up and smile. Do not just look straight forward; that just makes you look smug.
- Hold the door for people. If you see someone walking behind you with the intent to use the same door as you, wait for them; hold the door, and again, smile.
- Watch out for other people. There is nothing worse than walking on a busy sidewalk and bumping into someone, especially if they are on their phone. Keep your head up, smile, and watch your shoulders. Another time to watch for others is in a store; you are not the only one shopping so pay attention to make sure you are not blocking the way for someone or spending too much time reading the ingredients.
- Move out of the way. When you are somewhere busy, and you need to stop to tie your shoe, check directions, or wait for someone, do not stand in the middle of the sidewalk or path. Instead, move to the side or somewhere there is limited traffic; step off into the grass or beside a bench.
- Use your manners. If you absolutely must ask someone to move, say your excuse me, please, and thank you’s.
- Offer your help. If someone looks like they might need assistance or are having a bad day, ask if you could help them in any way. Psychologically, humans tend to not offer help because we associate ourselves too much with those around us, so we think “I do not need to help because there are others around who could help instead, so if something were to happen, it is not my fault”. But there is no need. Just simply offer. Most of the time the response will be a ‘no’, but it tells that person that people do care.
This list seems like just a bunch of common courtesy rules that we learn as children, but they are becoming rarer and rarer with the generational changes. As a university student, I feel like we, as a society, need to relearn how to people instead of just being humans.
Remember, be the best you!