Proper etiquette essential in public life

Lisa Goudy
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Proper etiquette seems to be slipping away.

I have no doubt there are still some people with good etiquette. However proper etiquette seems to fading in my generation, at least in my experience. Whether it’s the common use of offensive language or the slamming people through social media, it’s clear proper etiquette is becoming an old-fashioned tradition.

Coming from the opinion of someone who doesn’t do either of those aforementioned things, I am sad to see proper etiquette disappearing into thin air. I’m not suggesting that everyone stop using offensive language or slamming people in-person or through social media. That is simply inconceivable and an unreasonable request. I think it is, however, not unreasonable for people to remember that there is a time and a place for proper etiquette out of respect for others and yourself.

For instance, it would be frowned upon for a leader of a country to yell offensive language and trash neighbouring countries at a public conference. That same etiquette is something we should apply to our lives.

When you’re doing something professional in a public persona or at a public event, it is not proper etiquette to yell offensive language because you dropped your phone or because someone said something that upset you. Not only is that rude and improper, but it takes away some respect other people might have for you.

Maybe you’re a person who doesn’t care about being respected by other people. There is nothing wrong with that. But it’s important to realize that how you portray yourself to others does affect the people you work with or are related to.

Plus you could really hurt someone’s feelings in ways that cannot be undone. That’s not a very friendly or comfortable way to live for anyone.

The line between personal and professional is becoming increasingly blurry. I think we should maintain a stronger boundary between the two. In private you can lose your temper and vent out at someone you know who is getting on your nerves.

In public, you should try to keep up appearances and remain courteous and professional as much as you can. It’s the best way to maintain professional networks and relationships. I said “as much as you can” because of course there would be times when you’re going to crack in public. I’m not asking anyone to be perfect. Just as long as you remember that what you do in public affects not only you, but also the people around you in ways you might not realize until it’s too late.

Besides, you should respect yourself. If you don’t respect yourself, you are more likely not to live up to your full potential and make the most out of life. Using proper etiquette goes a long way to living up to expectations you should have on yourself.

Respect is a big word that lies at the heart of proper etiquette. It’s not about necessarily changing who you are. It’s about respecting others such as your family, friends, colleagues and peers. Proper etiquette goes a long way in making many people co-exist in a friendly and warm environment.

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