Thursday, November 1, 2012

Etiquette, Try it Sometime

Oh, where to start. Even I, who can go on and on about the lack of etiquette in todays society, am having a bit of writer's block. I think because basic etiquette is so broad - I can speak about dining, wedding, RSVP, how to behave in public, driving, texting, emails, being a guest in someone's home, and well, the list could literally go on and on.

For me, it's hard sometimes to distinguish between what are my pet peeves and basic rules of etiquette. The line between the two can be a bit hazy. I decided to let the two be one and I will list what I, the Pretend Goddess, find to be basic "slap you across the face" for not knowing such obvious rules. Call in Miss Manners because some people need a serious refresher course in what should be obvious to all.
Pet peeves and etiquette, to me, all the same.

Some Do's and Don'ts From the Desk of Yours Truly:
Let me note, that I have been guilty of violating such common laws of decency and basic rules of etiquette. I yes, sometimes call an unnamed friend at 9 am during the week. Though, during the week I don't particularly consider that completely unacceptable but a big no no on a weekend. I think exceptions can be made. You know some people well enough to know when is too late to call/text and when is too early to call/text. If you are ever in doubt:

Calls, Texts, and Emails:
* Never call anyone after 8:30-9pm. If you know them well enough to know that calling after a certain time is perfectly acceptable then by all means dial away. 
*Same goes with cell phones because most people today don't use a landline. I don't. I only use a cell phone. When I don't feel like answering, which admittedly is most of the time, I have my phone on silent. You cannot assume that everyone puts their phone on silent when they go to bed for the night. So the same rules above apply to this as well. 
*Texting. Same rules apply. If I didn't keep my phone on silent I would hear the text message alert at all hours of the night. I have friends and family in different time zones and am shocked by how many texts I already have on my phone when I wake up. It should be mentioned that I go to bed late and wake very early. I think when calling and texting someone in a different part of the country, one really should be mindful of the time difference. As the Pretend Goddess, I have to say when I wake at 6:30 and already have a text or two, it's annoying. It's early. Everything at that hour is annoying. 
*Emails. The "reply-all," urgh. I see the usefulness of it. However, I simply hit the "reply to sender" to answer the email. I'm sorry, dear readers, but looking at ones inbox and seeing that all of the emails are from the recipients of the original message responding to what is the simplest of questions makes me want to bang my head against the wall.
*Texting and the reply-all. Oh, this one bothers me. It just does. I get it, I do. I have, in my eyes, an adorable baby and super spastic dog and I want to share the occasional pic to family. But please when deciding to reply-all to a mass forward ask yourself: are you talking to the group or one individual from the group? It can become quite the newsfeed. For example: If someone sends a pic and there are more than a few recipients perhaps just start a new text to one of them with your response. Think of how many people will be reaching for their phones to read, "cute," or comments that turn into completely different conversations. Also, keep in mind that not everyone has the best phone plan and may very well be subjected to different charges than you. 
*Talking on the phone in a waiting room, unless an emergency, is a no no. I don't want to hear your conversation nor does anyone else.
*Answering a call during dinner should go without a saying a HUGE no no. Whether or not dining at home or at a restaurant. You're telling the person you're dining with that they are not as important as the person who is calling or texting. Now, they probably are not as important, but let's not be rude. It's also disrespectful to those dining around you. 
*Call waiting. If you're on the phone and someone beeps in. Ignore the call. They can wait. Give the person you are talking to your attention. Exceptions can be made, of course. But if it's just another friend calling to chat, she/he can wait. When I'm put on hold I hang up. I don't do it because I'm mad but I'm not going to be put on hold. When you put one friend on hold to accept what may not be an important call, you're telling the person who is on hold that their time isn't as valuable as yours. When you finish the call, then you can return the other call and give that person your full attention as well. 

*Don't be cheap! If you find a good babysitter and you want to keep her, you better pony up the cash. I won't tell you how much I pay my babysitter, but I'm generous. Also, be the house that has the snacks and drinks for who is watching your child or children. Seriously, they hold all the cards. When I was a teenager, I wouldn't babysit at the boring houses where the pay was pitiful. Think about it. Parents need time away from their kids and for a teenager to give up part of her weekend, you need to make it worth her while. My baby loves her babysitter so I will shell out the cash to keep her. 
*If your baby cries while dining at a restaurant that isn't a fast food place, excuse yourself and the baby until the crying stops. Think of the other diners. You should actually excuse yourself wherever you are.
Rule of thumb: white table cloth, no kids menu= don't bring your kids. 
*Those kid shopping carts at grocery stores need to go. Unless your child is exceptional (and I assure you they're not), no kid should have that much control. Why? Because I'm at the store to shop. To get in and out and I find myself annoyed with most adult shoppers who hog the aisle and who don't understand the simplicity of the self checkout line. I don't have the patience for little kids running up and down the aisle with those carts. I felt this way long before that child rammed a cart into my calves the other day. Her mother apologized but I feel I must refrain from divulging with how curt I was with my reply. Let me remind you, I am a mother and have never felt for one moment that the rules of common decency should change because I became a mom. 
*Those stick figure family stickers that I see on the back of suburbans and minivans, don't. Just don't. Same goes with the advertisement of your child's name and what sport they play. That's not unsafe at all. Really. It's not.* Insert sarcasm. Do I need to put a link from John Walsh on here to explain why such "exploitative" stickers are unbelievably unsafe? Perhaps another time. 

To be continued.....

Preview: driving, RSVP, dress Code, thank you notes...


  1. I love that you're addressing these! Some people need to get a clue.

  2. You are reading my mind! Keep up the awesome work!

  3. adding to the babies crying... please dont bring them to the movies until they are old enough to be quiet... that works my nerves to hear them cry and fuss when i paid to see the movie have waited to see. just saying...

    and i love reading your blog... :)

    1. Beverly,
      Thank you! I will definitely add the babies crying and being at the movies (till appropriate age) to the ever growing list. I'm actually working on part II now. There will be a section devoted to movie theater, airplane, grocery store and so much restaurant etiquette as well.