Savvy Manners for When You’re Late! Don’t We All Need This?!

By: Maralee McKee


It’s a joy to be with you!

If you’re a reader visiting, please come in and make yourself at home! It’s great to have you drop by! I hope you’ll enjoy the site and then take a moment and subscribe. I’d be honored to have you join my blog family!

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!

Dear Maralee,

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 conscience 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 has access on both ends, take a seat in the middle so people can enter from either end. If one end is closed off, take a seat at that end. Your goal: not causing others to step over you.

2. Your purse, baby bag, or anything else you’re carrying goes under your seat, 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 aged five and under and anyone thinking they may need to leave during the event should sit in the back 10% of the seats 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 face the people in your row as you walk past them. This keeps you making eye contact with them instead of placing your backside right at their eye level! Say “Excuse me” in a soft voice as you step over others, and of course apologize 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 in the box below this page, and join me here Friday!

See you all then!



Maralee McKee

About Maralee McKee

Maralee McKee is the founder of Manners Mentor. With her best-friend style, sense of humor, and knack for updating etiquette to meet our modern sensibilities, she has been referred to as "Sandra Bullock meets Emily Post!" Maralee shows you how to become the best version of yourself. No fluff. No pretense. Just you at your authentic best! The person you were always meant to be! To learn more about Maralee click on the "Meet Maralee" or "New? Start Here" links at the top of this page.

The Top Manners for Traveling With Style at 30,000 Feet

The Best Airplane Etiquette Tips for Making Flying Less Stressful

By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor Here's an odd thing about flying. When passengers were polled about their ...

Ending Back-and-Forth Emails, Hugging When Meeting, and What to Do If You Forget Someone’s Name

By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor Today we look at three different scenarios that share a common thread: knowing ...

10 Unique Habits of Remarkably Gracious Ladies

10 Unique Habits of Remarkably Gracious Ladies

Here are ten habits of gracious ladies (and gentlemen) that we can all make our own. When we put them into practice, we'...

Buy Manners that Matter for Moms now!