Posts Tagged ‘etiquette’

Ghosts of Etiquette Past

July 6, 2016

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There is a new phenomenon emerging in the business world, and it is a disconcerting one. “Ghosting”, a term associated with someone seemingly disappearing into the night, ignoring calls, emails, and texts has been lurking in relationship-land for quite some time. Many people find it easier to “ghost” someone, than to confront them to end a relationship. While it isn’t exactly Emily Post sanctioned in life, it is beyond rude in business situations.

We’re all a little guilty of ignoring email outreach from strangers, often trying to sell us their products and services, or looking for donations. But what about someone who opens up a dialogue, inquires about your services, and then disappears without the courtesty of “thanks but no thanks” email? Recruiters and HR execs have been pulling this for years, leaving the job seeker hanging waiting for feedback from interviews, or trying to schedule appointments. It seems that this unprofessional behavior has expanded to include clients, media and collaborators as well.

As a very small business owner, this practice is becoming debilitating. Setting aside time for projects that never materialize, sending free samples, and writing detailed proposals are part of being in the game. People not having the courtesy to let you know their plans have changed or that they are taking another direction are not only inconsiderate, they are impacting the bottom line.

One week it is the blogger who is in constant communication about the feature they want to do on your business, and then are never heard from again after their requested goodies arrive. The next week it is someone who books phone meetings and never calls at the specified time. It is the person who recieves the detailed proposal they asked for, and never responds. It is the project that needs to be done yesterday, and days go by without the details being finalized. Or the big corporation that offers social media exposure in exchange for a shout out on the blog and then doesn’t come through. I could go on, and on, but I think you get the point.

When did we become a society that perpetuates the convenience of being rude? When did the business world become so unprofessional? Is it really that much easier to fade into the abyss, than to hit reply, and say thank you, or let others know you are not interested so they don’t invest anymore time and resources on your behalf?

While I have had many, many positive experiences, it is the negative or downright agonizing ones that seem to be most memorable. I worry that I will become so jaded  that I will miss out on a great opportunity, because I have had so many requests backfire that I might choose to sit the next one out.

With all the convenient tools of communication that we have now, and the amount of heads buried in them, it is mind boggling that a quick text to rsvp to an event, follow up on information, or reply to an inquiry is beyond many people’s capacity.

So here is our plea: Next time you feel like saying “pass,” please, just go ahead and say it! Tell me you aren’t interested, tell me you can’t make it, but don’t ghost me. Ghosts can be friendly, and ghosts can be scary. Please, don’t be a ghost.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Why You Gotta Be So Rude?

December 1, 2014

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Etiquette, or “the rules indicating a polite and proper way to behave,” seem to be abandoned lately. Recently, I have encountered more rude behavior than ever. While the intent of said behavior may not be malicious, oblivious rudeness is still defined as rude.

The guy that didn’t notice the 8 long lines in perfect rows at Whole Foods and just blithely pranced up to the next available counter with his groceries.  The people that stand in the middle of the street, the aisle or the subway car when you are trying to get by and don’t respond to “excuse me.” The dirty towels on the locker room bench that someone else has to move to sit down. The list goes on endlessly. The GOP staffer who took to the internet to critique the Obama girl’s attire and call them “bar sluts”,because they don’t approve of their father’s political party put me over the edge, although I’m sure they got a talking to for the teenage “side eye.”

This isn’t about extending your pinkie when sipping tea, or wearing white gloves in public. This is general consideration for the other people inhabiting this planet. Here are a few of the modern faux pas that really get my blood boiling:

1. Lack of concern for other’s personal space. This could involve anything from sitting on the subway with your legs wide open, taking up 3 seats, riding with tons of luggage at rush hour, or leaving your coat and bags on the floor of a very crowded fitness studio so that there isn’t room for the humans to work out with out tripping over it.

2. Taking more than you need, and leaving nothing behind for the others. This one refers to those taking 3 sets of weights at the gym and leaving them idle in front of them while others have none to use. Or staking your claim on lots of seats, or equipment while others stand around uncomfortably. Didn’t your mother teach you to share your toys?

3. Talking loudly on your cell phone where others can hear you and might not want to. Making the barista or counter clerk wait while you talk to someone else, and everyone in the line behind you is seething. The cell phone is a tool for convenience, not so that you can blab loudly wherever, whenever you please. This means restaurants, stores, public transportation and anywhere else people don’t want to listen to you.

4. People who text and walk, or stop in the middle of a busy area to text so that people can’t get around them is another pet peeve. It’s also dangerous. Shout out to the woman who walked through the red light at a crowded crosswalk and caused me to fall off my bike. She didn’t even notice I was there before she waltzed  in front of me in grossed in her text, or after I was down on the ground.

5. People who get up as movies, performances and classes are ending to get out of the room before everyone else. I get the “beat the crowds” mentality, but leaving an exercise class 2 minutes early and getting in the way of those who are stretching is rude. But not quite as rude as getting up at the end of a performance so that those still politely seated can’t see the stage anymore. In a live situation, it is insulting to the performers as well, even if you think they can’t see you. Just. Sit. Still. Until it’s over.

Well, those are the ones at the top of my list. What are your social etiquette pet peeves? Share them in the comments.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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