1. Call before stopping by anyone's house--especially families with small children or families who have a lot of children, or people whose children are in school all day, or people who once had small children but they grew up and went to college, or people without children and people who may not even like children. God made man, or he evolved from a single cell organism, or probably both--in any case, man was formed and given intelligence; and the highest form of intelligence man can use is picking up the cell phone (that he insists on using in the middle of a movie) and calling before he stops by. Seriously, call first-- if only for the fact that it gives Mountain Man time to get dressed before he answers the door.
2. Speaking of calling people, identify yourself when you call. Recently, I had a very confusing, but enlightening phone conversation with a complete stranger who I thought was my mother-in-law. She sounded just like her. While I really did want to know about my father-in-laws health, I really didn't want to know about the stranger's husband's health related issues...most of which required a trip to Planned Parenthood and a round of antibiotics.
3. Write thank you notes for everything. Who doesn't like to get mail?? Make someone's day and say thank you for something they've done for you or for someone else. Think the task is impossible? Read this.
See? Quite possible. Say thank you.
4. Don't text/ talk/ drink/ chew gum/ eat/ discipline your kids/ wave at people/ gawk at strangers/ run over pedestrians while driving. I know this may seem really obvious, but just focus on driving. Your fellow humans will thank you profusely when they are sitting with their families in the evening safe and sound.
5. Don't state the obvious, find a compliment instead. There is never a need. The fat person knows he's fat. The new mother knows she looks tired. The tall, gangling teenager knows he/she is tall and gangling. The pregnant lady knows she is uncomfortable. The newly divorced don't want to hear about your divorce--just tell them they look nice and that you are thinking of them, and move on--even if they don't look nice and you haven't thought about them since the last time you ran into them at church/ in the store/ picking up kids from school. They need never know the truth, and they'll leave your presence feeling a little bit better.
6. Love yourself. Which really has less to do with good manners but is just good, common sense. If you love yourself, you'll love others and you'll be a little more compassionate, kind and patient to all the other humans you have to share the planet with. Loving yourself means you value yourself and by extension honor others in their mortal journey...
...even when they stop by unannounced.
What are your pet peeves? Your best advice?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your comments here...