Etiquette Lessons We All Need to Learn

This is the end of National Etiquette Week. Did everyone use the right fork when they were at dinner last night? Glad to hear it. But there are still a few matters that we need to clear up.

There is never an excuse for bad manners, and I'm doing my part to put an end to them. Well, at least the things that really get my goat. Ultimately—at least for me—it usually boils down to the fact that people need to realize that they don't live alone in this world. Obviously, it's way too much to ask people to stop being selfish pricks, so you can continue to think mostly about yourself, but have a bit of consideration for other people every once in a while, will ya? Here are a few things that have been annoying me recently.

Get Out of the Way

If you stop at the top of a set of stairs to talk on the phone, if you are in the flow of traffic at a crowded bar or club, if you are chatting it up in a large group on a sidewalk, then you are in the damn way. Don't do that. There are other people who want to go down the stairs, get to the other side of the club, or get to the Starbucks that is just across the street from you, and you and your annoying gaggle of people are in the way. It's called a sidewalk, not a side-stand-around-and-hug-Katrina-who-you-used-to-work-with-at-the-Gap. When you run into Katrina, give her a hug and then move yourselves over to the side to let everyone else pass. It's people like you who make moving around so damn difficult. If everyone just got out of the way, I'd have an extra hour of free time every day.

No Singing

This should be a no brainer, but I see it all the time: people singing along—or even worse, rapping—to the music they're listening to on their headphones. That is so annoying. First of all, we don't want to listen to you, period. Secondly, you're not as good of a singer as you think you are. Thirdly, this is even worse than karaoke because we can't even hear the damn music. So, yes, we're very impressed that you have memorized all of Jay-Z's lyrics, but we do not want you to serenade us with them a cappella. Save your self-symphonies for the shower.

Turn the Music Down

While we're talking about headphones, here's something else that drives me crazy. The reason headphones exist is so that you can listen to your music without anyone else hearing it. Please keep the music to a level so that it doesn't seep out into the world and we all have to listen to it when sitting next to you on the bus or train or plane, or even walking down the street. Yes, I, too, mourn the loss of Tito Puente, but that doesn't mean I want to listen to you listen to him all the way from Washington, D.C to New York. And if you insist on destroying your hearing, then get some noise canceling headphones and spare the world your questionable musical taste. Remember, secondhand sound kills!

Say Goodbye

We've all had to deal with the "Irish goodbye," when someone gets so drunk that he stumbles out of the bar without telling anyone where he's going. That's not cool. Your Irish goodbye makes my Irish guilt get all worked up and then I can't have fun anymore because I'm sitting around worrying that you are either a) dead in a ditch; b) asleep on the subway and getting your wallet stolen; or c) being sexually assaulted in prison after you pissed in the back of the taxi and the driver had to call the cops on your drunk ass. Just come say you're leaving. It's not that hard. Or send a text that you left. That's all I need. I just need to know you're not dead. But remember: "Irish pajamas" (passing out in your clothes) is perfectly acceptable, since it happens in your own home.

Facebook Invites Don't Count

Yes, I did this for my birthday party last year, but since then I have decided that Facebook invites are totally over. Why? Because for too long now people have abused them. You get dozens of invites that aren't really for events at all. It's for your friend's fundraising project, or a website launch, or something that's totally stupid and random. They have become so overdone that people don't even check them, so even after you send out a Facebook invite, the majority of people don't respond, so then you have to go and email everyone to make sure they got the Facebook invite and then they still don't respond, so the whole thing is just a mess. Then there are those people that always reply "Yes" or "Maybe" even though they have no intention of coming and the throw your count all off. You can't send an Evite (doing that is worse than having an AOL email address, which, well, I also have), so maybe just emails are the way to go. Make it a copy and paste job but add a personal introduction or closing for each person if you want to give it an extra special touch.

Can It with Concert Pictures

Now that everyone has a phone with a camera attached, it's ruining the concert experience. You can't even see the stage because everyone is holding their phones aloft trying to get a picture of the band. I might be OK with this, but shitty iPhone pictures of the band never look good. And you're putting your screen in everyone's faces. You don't need to look at the pictures, you need to watch the damn show. Memories are always better, because you only really remember the good parts. If you look at that grainy, blurry picture of a jumble of green lights in a few years, you're going to think the concert sucked! So, here's the rule: If you really must take a picture, use the same rules that bands usually give to professional photographers: first three songs, no flash. After that, put the phone in your pocket and let yourself—and everyone else—enjoy the show.

[Image via Shutterstock]