In reference to New York Time's trending article, "You're Not Busy, You're Just Rude," I want to highlight the difficulty of navigating shifting social etiquette in the fast-paced, technology-driven environment we live in today.
Whether you've felt frustrated by distracted drivers on the road, or deeply wronged by close family or friends who appear too busy on their phones, chances are you have felt offended, on some level, by the technology use or "busy-ness" of others.
To become a more informed relationship professional and to help others avoid making etiquette mistakes we have all probably made in the past, I have put together the following advice from today's leading experts on social etiquette.
1. Rather than responding with "I'm busy," to a social invite you are unable to attend, experts suggest providing a little more information as to why you are having to skip. Depending on how close you are with the invitee, you may or may not feel comfortable sharing the details, but even if the truth is that you're feeling swamped or overwhelmed and just want a night in on the couch, honesty can go a long way in keeping you connected with family and friends even when you opt to pass on their invitation.
2. Whether at Starbucks or the grocery store, it is considered polite to wrap up phone conversations prior to reaching the front of the line. Experts say, if you must continue the conversation, it is considered polite to step out of line or put your phone conversation on hold, but avoid telling the barista to wait while you wrap up your phone discussion. Not only is this rude, but it puts the barista in a bad position of trying to satisfy the customers in line behind you.
3. Moderate your use of cameras and video at events. Experts suggest enjoying your time with colleagues, friends and family in the present and using photo/video as a means of preserving a memento for the future, rather than recording the entire thing to "relive" later in some "free" time that you’ll never actually have.
4. Use your turn signal at least 50% more than you use your middle finger, and opt for hands-free, voice activated features on electronic devices while driving. Not only is this considered best etiquette, but it is much safer for yourself and other passengers. Visit the iTunes store for the latest applications to keep you safely connected to family and friends while driving.
5. And lastly, experts encourage, "don't forget what your momma taught ya." All the old-school teachings such as chew with your mouth closed, keep your elbows off the table, and say "excuse me" when squeezing past someone in public all still apply even when you find yourself lost in SMS, snapchat, or facebook on your phone.