Etiquette for the 20s

Since several years ago, I have been continuously reminding myself to always be polite to anyone. It requires only three magic words, which I believe everyone already know: sorry, please, and thank you. I heard that saying sorry too often is unnecessary. But still, we gotta say it when we gotta say it. Like the song lyric, ‘sorry seems to be the hardest word’, not everyone can easily let the word slip out of their mouths. Just recently, I learned that our everyday etiquette has evolved. There are more things we have to bear in mind when we interact with other people (this include when we post something to our social media feed, isn’t that how we interact nowadays?). I got three additional things, at least. Tell me if you got more!

First thing first is easy. Post or share wisely. I’m still working on this part, honestly. I know exactly the feeling of wanting to share many good (and bad) things on social media. When we’re happy, we want everyone to see. We want to share the happiness, don’t we? And when we’re sad, we kind of want to grab the attention of people who care (or pretend to be so). Since it’s my social media, it is up to me. My full authority. I can post anything, as much as I like. But then, I have people who are watching me. Have I think about them and how they feel? Actually, one of my good friend is the one who told me about this and I always remember what she said. This is more or less what she told me “People are going through different stuffs in life.. let’s say, you just got married. You post 5 pictures on your wedding day, and then 2 pictures of how happy you are with your significant other each day consecutively. You might think you’re doing okay, you’re happy and you want to share it. But maybe, one or two or some of your friends on your social media are having a lifetime crisis of finding their true love. Have you thought of how would your abundant posts of love story make them feel? They aren’t necessarily sad. Maybe they get jealous. Or anything.” There is actually a debate about what she said, people argued “Well, you should be happy for the newlywed. You being jealous is your problem, not theirs. Don’t blame them.” and so on. The point here is to be considerate, as simple as that, because not everyone really want to see the story of our life everyday. This isn’t only about the quantity of our post, but also how we share it (the caption, the words we use, how we deliver the message, etc.). And this isn’t only about sharing on social media. This kind of etiquette also applies when we’re having a conversation with someone. Have you ever had a friend who just got engaged or who just got a boy or a girlfriend and they talk about it all the time? If not, just imagine how would that make you feel. So, be considerate.

Second one is actually based on my short survey. I asked a question to some of my friends and made a conclusion. We all are a member of some groups in our messaging apps, aren’t we? Sometimes we ask something to the group, hoping that someone would know the answer. For example, I ask someone’s number to a group: “Does anyone know X’s number?” Sometimes I got an answer, sometimes all I got is a silence. I definitely understand that silence means no one knows. But why don’t people bother to answer ‘I don’t know’ anymore? So I did this survey: “Would you prefer to get an ‘I don’t know’ or a silence?” and all the responses I got are get an ‘I don’t know’. Therefore, from now on, it’s better for us to make a bit of an effort to type I don’t know rather than stay quiet. Help other people feel appreciated.

This is the last thing, which actually kind of similar to the first one. I actually read this from my friend’s post on Path. This is again about interacting with someone, especially those you haven’t met for a quite long time. Rather than asking ‘where do you work now?’ or ‘have you got kids?’, it is better to ask ‘what’s your daily activity now?’ or ‘what’s your plan for the near future?’. The latter questions will develop more conversation and are less judgmental. The first two questions kind of give some pressure to the person you ask. Less likely that they will be open to us after hearing those questions. And, be careful of the response we give to their answer. Be excited about it.

So, those are three additional points of etiquette I learned and I really try to apply. They weren’t there before. They just came when I grew older (more mature, I mean), when life gets messier and full of unnecessary expectations from the society.

Have a good weekend, guys.


♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia


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