Savvy Manners for When You’re Late! Don’t We All Need This?!
By: Maralee McKee
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OK, onto our savvy skills for interacting with ease!
Do you ever wake up 20 minutes earlier than usual just to make sure you and your family aren’t late for an event that morning? Then, despite your great intentions, your careful preplanning, and your laser-focused clock watching, you end up at your destination about five minutes late?
It’s frustrating, but it happens. In my family it happens more than I’d like!
One child’s shoe is right where it belongs; the other can’t be found by a search party made up of Sherlock Holmes, Columbo, and Jack Bauer!
The other child is cranky about breakfast. Then the dog acts like she needs to go outside… again. So you let her out, and now she won’t come back inside.
All the while, your good intentions are being drowned out by the tick-tock of the clock.
Here’s one reader’s question. Change a few minor details, and I bet any of us could have written her e-mail!
Love your blog! Hope you’ll find the time to answer my question! We have three small children and a teen. No matter how early we get ready for church, my husband and I seem to walk in about ten minutes late. We’re embarrassed and frustrated. Any etiquette advice you could share for entering late would really be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help!
Your Real World Answer!
We all get a little embarrassed when we’re late. That’s probably good. Our conscious is whispering, “Yikes, this is awkward; I don’t want it to happen again!
Why? Because being on time is our practical and visual demonstration of the importance and respect we place on attending the event.
However, life happens. When our best intentions go a little askew, we need to take it in stride, plan to try again next time, and for now put Plan B into action. What is Plan B? Entering with the least amount of distraction.
While today’s reader question dealt with church, you can use these gracious, savvy tips for most public events: a concert, movie, play, school program, meeting, etc. There are tips for both the person who is running late and those already seated who want to graciously help the latecomers enter with ease.
1. If you’re the first to enter a row or pew that doesn’t butt up against a wall, take a seat in the middle of the row so people can enter from either side. If your pew or aisle butts up against the wall, take a seat at the end of the pew, against the wall. Your goal: not causing others to step over you.
2. Your purse, baby bag, or anything else you’re carrying goes under your row, seat, or pew, not the one in front of you. (That’s only on airplanes.) Otherwise, the people in the front row have no place to put their things.
3. In the movies or anywhere there isn’t enough room under your seat, place your items in your lap, not on the floor by your feet, so that others stepping into the row don’t have to maneuver both by you and over the items. It’s too difficult to maneuver and too easy to trip.
4. At any live event, never enter during a song (especially a solo) or a prayer. Wait and enter quickly between songs.
5. If you’re sitting on the aisle and see people looking for a seat, it’s kind for you and your family to scoot down to let them sit on the aisle so they avoid having to step over you.
6. People with children five and under and anyone thinking they may need to leave during the event should take seats in the back 10% of the aisles closest to the exits. Heads naturally turn when there’s movement in a room of seated persons. You want to distract as few people as possible as you leave.
7. Those of us without children would be kind to sit closer to the front and not on the aisle to allow parents with children to sit in these child-friendly areas.
8. Watch your backside! When you enter a row or pew where people are already seated, make sure to turn your back to the stage as you walk past the people in your row. This keeps you making eye contact with them, instead of placing your backside right at their eye level! Say in a soft voice, “Excuse me” as you step over others, and, “I’m sorry!” if you accidentally step on someone’s toes.
9. If everyone in the row can remain seated, that’s fine. If it’s going to be a tight squeeze, then men usually stand to let others pass. Women remain seated and turn their knees in the direction the person is passing. This allows maximum room for others to make their way down the row.
Feel free to comment on something that happened when you were running late and add on to our list of gracious ways to enter!
I’ll see you Friday! You’ll learn seven savvy manners for eating soup: tipping bowls, blowing, adding crackers, where to rest your spoon, and a few others you just wouldn’t think of!
Welcome again to all my new readers! Please subscribe now at the top right of this page, and join me here Friday!
See you all then!
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