30 for 30/30, #1 – Lessons in Etiquette
- the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.
Usage: “the rules of etiquette are changing”
No f*cking kidding
From our current political landscape where facts are few and alternative facts often prevail, to our office environments with open designs and their inherent distractions, etiquette has, along with the baby, been thrown out with the dirty bath water.
It’s tough at times to pinpoint the accuracy of such lapses in etiquette such as not holding the door open for the person behind you, not saying thank you to the staff as you exit a restaurant, or be completely oblivious to the annoying sounds your laptop makes each time you receive an email.
Case in point: We have a visiting IT engineer in the office this week as we are preparing for a move to another building nearby. The volume levels on both his laptop and his phone are turned up full blast. The audio alerts ricochet around my office like a sound bullet and have me instinctively dodging out of the way. It’s even worse for cubicle-dwelling members of the staff that don’t have any walls or a door to help decrease the impact of these periodic pings and zings.
The individual in question seems oblivious to these sounds and a few of us have discussed how best to deal with the situation. This morning I sent him an email, knowing that I’d be contributing to the zingers bouncing around the office, informing him of the bothersome issue and requesting that he simply turn down the volume. He then left the office for the other building and took his laptop with him. We’ll see if he responds with some level of awareness…and opts for a kinder office etiquette in response.
Kindness and etiquette
Etiquette, in my opinion, is the extension of whatever level of kindness you cultivate on the inside. In my book, The Practical Buddhist, I wrote about how compassion and kindness are inextricably linked.
Compassionate-kindness is a two-fold expression. Compassion is a general attitude one adopts toward all sentient beings, toward nature, even toward one’s surroundings. It is largely dependent on an internal commitment to kindness.
Kindness is the external expression of compassion. It’s a decision to extend one’s highest sense of self as we interact with those around us.”
Kindness is what etiquette is all about
It doesn’t take much effort to be kind or display a healthy amount of etiquette.
- I could play my Led Zeppelin playlist full blast in my office, but it’s kinder not to so I don’t.
- I could ride a Harley and pollute my neighbors’ peace of mind each morning with unadulterated and needless exhaust noise, but it’s kinder not to so I don’t.
- I could open the car door for myself first, even in the rain (to which Karen can attest), but it’s kinder not to so I don’t.
- I could leave my office desk in a shambles at the end of the day, but then that would drive me absolutely nuts the next day, but it’s kinder (to myself) not to so I don’t.
Whether it’s demonstrated at work, on the street, in an airplane, or with our families, we can all strive to be more aware of the impact we have on others.
It’s just good etiquette. 😎