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Social Etiquette
by Marcy Lytle

I wasn’t what you’d call “cultured” by any means when I was growing up, I didn’t attend any sort of manners class, and didn’t even learn proper table setting…and maybe many of us didn’t…or did!  But as I’ve aged I’ve picked up some habits I wish I’d learned earlier, I’m drawn to etiquette posts on Instagram, and I’m still learning (yes, at my age) some social etiquette practices that are good to know!  It seems these graces are missing in lots of settings among all ages of people, so I thought I’d list some I’d include if I were teaching a class on etiquette. 


Some could care less about it, but I find it fascinating and interesting the things we do, and don’t do, when entertaining and visiting with others, or just out and about in the world.

ENCOURAGEMENT - nov 2023 - simple truths - etiquette.jpg
  1. We can look folks in the eye when we’re talking to them, especially those that are cashiers at the stores we frequent, and ask how they’re doing.  I’ve seen many seem so surprised and grateful and then proceed to answer me.  And I don’t mind listening!

  2. We can take a hostess gift if we’re invited over for dinner at someone’s house (if it’s our first time) and it doesn’t have to be expensive.  A seasonal candle is a great idea.

  3. We can leave carts, tables, and other things we use free of our trash and mess.  There’s nothing more non-appetizing than waiting for a table only to see the people leave their mess behind…or to grab a cart that has opened wrappers and used tissues inside. 

  4. We can be the first one to greet, invite, talk, etc. instead of playing the game of “If they say something to me, I’ll speak to them.” Or “I’ve invited them over, now it’s their turn.” I’ve done this.  It’s tacky.

  5. We can treat airbnb’s and other vacation houses as if the homes are ours, and leave them in better condition when we leave than when we arrived.  This helps our portfolio on their site, as we are seen as excellent guests.

  6.  We can answer texts and emails in a timely manner, because all too often they slip into oblivion and we don’t even answer at all.  That person is left wondering why…

  7. We can put our phone away while waiting in line, in the off chance someone around us might need a hand; or we might compliment their shoes, or any kind of interaction at all.  Interaction is good!

  8. We can fold our napkin and place it in our lap at the table and learn a bit of good manners when eating (I’m enjoying mykameier on Instagram – she’s an etiquette teacher!) out, at home with guests, or even when serving others.  All of the eating in front of the television has made us slobs!

  9. We can also grab our cups and bags from the theater seats when we exit, after the credits roll.  It’s just rude to leave it all strewn across the seats and on the floor.  Isn’t it? 

  10. We can look up, wave, and even say, “Have a nice day” on our walks that we all take now often…ever since Covid.  Wearing earbuds and whisking by without a glance at those who pass by? Well, it’s nicer to acknowledge and smile.

  11. We can hang with those not in our “circle” of friends, someone of a different color, another age, or economic status, or just not like us.  This will increase our hearts ten times over.

  12. We can stop griping about the next generation, cursing the cars around us, and complaining about those we attend church or school events with and spread kindness and prayer. 


Do I do all of these? No, way.  And I bet we could all add another dozen to this list.  I do try to notice where I’m lacking and work on a few things at a time…because kindness and consideration still go a long way in loving our neighbors as ourselves. 


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