Public Manners: Making a Good Impression While Out and About

Public Manners: Making a Good Impression While Out and About
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In our busy daily lives, it can be easy to inadvertently let manners slide, so here are a few tips to ensure proper behavior while shopping, traveling, or relaxing.

Space: The Final Frontier

It can be a challenge to not accidentally invade someone’s private space while traveling on the subway, in an elevator, or while exiting an airliner, so whenever possible, sit back and wait for the herd to move along. There will be another elevator or subway along shortly, and by waiting for those folks who insist on rushing off the plane to make their way to the terminal, your exit will be more dignified.

Smiles Are Free Yet Priceless

When out in public, slow down and enjoy the passing scenery, taking a brief moment to smile and acknowledge those around you. This is especially important when you interact with service providers, saying thank you when they are handing you a cup of coffee at a kiosk, bringing your meal to the table, picking up the plates after you’ve finished the meal, or simply being very pleasant as they ring up your order at the hardware store.

Practice Patience

If, while shopping, you notice a display with horrendous spelling or overhear an associate mispronouncing the name of an herb or pasta, let it go. Life is too short to be the grammar or spelling police. The same applies when you are stuck in line behind someone who is finding creative ways to extend what should be a very brief interaction. Take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly, quietly let it out—don't let it get under your skin.

Set a Good Example

When out shopping, dining, or traveling with young children, or even teenagers, pay attention to them and interact without stifling their enthusiasm. It can be fun to see the world through their eyes, and it's a great opportunity to bond with them. Give them kudos for being polite to others they encounter, from servers to passing families with children of similar ages. Other parents may be inspired to share these moments with their kids rather than herding them like sheep.

Leave Only Footsteps

When out in public places, take care not to inadvertently create a mess. After finishing a cup of coffee or a pretzel purchased from a kiosk or the movie theater’s snack bar, don’t leave the empty cup or wrapper anywhere other than in a trash receptacle. While at the beach or park this summer, pick up your empty soda and water bottles when you head home.
Bill Lindsey is an award-winning writer based in South Florida. He covers real estate, automobiles, timepieces, boats, and travel topics.