When the Unaware Overshare

At check-out time at the hotel, there were 18 floors and one elevator in service. The crowded elevator stopped at every floor. A woman talked loudly into her cell phone, oblivious to all others.

A friend relating the story, said people began exiting at the 14th floor to walk down.

I found a quiet area of the airport to get some work done. A woman sat in the next seat and started playing Solitaire on her laptop… with the sound turned up. It went zzooooop! like a casino, every time she moved a card. Who knew Solitaire had a sound?

Did she need a quiet place to be noisy? I packed up and moved.

On the Friendly Limousine Bus shuttle between the Narita and Haneda Airports in Toyko, Japan, I heard the following intercom announcement: "Portable electronic devices are not allowed on the bus, as they annoy your neighbors."

I like that Friendly Limousine defined why the behavior was rude – it annoys your neighbors. The purpose of etiquette is to be aware of the people around us. Rude behavior happens when we don’t see each other.

Electronic devices are not required to be a noisy space invader. Sometimes we laugh too loud in restaurants. Or shout down hotel hallways, while others are trying to rest. Or become so absorbed in a movie or video on our cell phone, we're unaware it's broadcasting to an unwilling audience.

Be patient with members of our flawed human family. Some talk louder or increase the volume because they are hard of hearing, unaware how it affects others. And you should always ask, "Is it better to do battle in a crowded elevator, or let a momentary annoyance pass?"

Most importantly, be aware of the people around you and try not to annoy your neighbors.



Culture and Manners Institute at www.cultureandmanners.com