Archive for August, 2010
Monday, August 16th, 2010
As I mature (versus getting older) the death of someone I know or love becomes increasingly heartfelt and difficult. In this past year I have attended more funeral services, memorials, and celebrations of life than I care to think about. Yet, with each event, certain situations have revealed themselves; crying out for me to write about. Let the following be a wake up call on how to attend wakes, funerals, and other memorial services, to care and respect:
1. ARRIVE ON TIME. At every funeral I attended, more than a handful of guests arrive long after the service begins… even when the service was already delayed in starting. This is totally unacceptable. It is each guest’s responsibility to arrive on time. This means taking into consideration the availability of parking and any unforeseen traffic delays.
It is not acceptable to say you were delayed due to a ball game. My husband Ron keeps both the S.F. Giants and 49er at-home schedules on his bulletin board to check whenever we must drive past the area of the ball park to reach an event or appointment. It is all about caring more about others than yourself. Being late shows your lack of respect and selfishness. Arrive no closer than 10 to 8 minutes ahead of the appointed time. If you do arrive late, be quiet in all you do. Do not hold conversations with other guests. Respectfully wait until an appropriate break in the service to enter the room to take a seat.
2. TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE. A while back, I attended a funeral where at the beginning of the service, someone’s cell phone sounded. The person allowed their cell phone to ring all four times-through to voicemail-before it became silent. Now, you would think this was a wake-up call to other guests to check their phones. Unfortunately, four other cell phones rang, the last of which was during the final prayer. Need I say more? Make it a habit to check and turn your cell phone to silent, vibrate mode, or off before entering any meeting, restaurant, theatre, or event.
3. WEAR PROPER ATTIRE. In Western culture, the proper color to wear at funerals has been black. While black is still best, especially for the immediate family of the deceased, guests have more options. They should still wear subdued, conservative clothing that is respectful to the event. Wearing jeans or the same clothes you would wear to a back-yard barbecue shows a great lack of care and respect for the person who has died, their family, and others. Everyone should have at least one nice set of clothes to wear for special occasions.
Colors to avoid include red, orange, and yellow and anything that has bright and cheery flowers or other bold and loud patterns. Wear clean, neat, well-pressed clothes. Men should wear a dark jacket with dark slacks, dark dress shoes, white or plain solid colored shirt, and a subdued tie. For younger men, the minimum should be a well-pressed solid-colored shirt, slacks, and dress shoes. Women should wear a dark or black suit, pant suit, or similar outfit that is subdued.
The key here is to have at least one good set of clothes for occasions like these. If you don’t, buy something… even at Goodwill. Never wear the same old wrinkled shirt, blue jeans, flip-flops, sandals, or sneakers. One of my pet peeves is how parents allow their children to wear sloppy clothes and jeans to special events such as weddings and funerals, rather than appropriate clothing.
4. SEND A MESSAGE OF SYMPATHY. It is often awkward to know what to say to a parent, spouse, or other immediate family member when someone passes away. It’s always nice to send a message of sympathy, whether by email, fax, or by regular mail. It shows you care and are sympathetic.
Unless you are part of the family and are extremely close, do not call them… especially between the death of their loved one and any service or event being planned. It is an extremely stressful period. Emails and messages sent by regular mail are much less intrusive.
When expressing your feelings, be genuine with your words. Do not sound like you are using “canned” phrases copied from a commercially printed sympathy card. Among the phrases to avoid are:
— It’s awful, but when your time is up, it’s up
— I know how you feel
— Be sure to stay busy, they say it is the best way through this
— At least he went peacefully
— Know that he’s in a better place now
— You must stay strong through this
— This was probably a blessing in disguise rather than to continue suffering
— At least he is no longer in pain
— It’s truly sad he died so young
— Only the good die young
5. SEND A GIFT OR CONTRIBUTION. Historically flowers have been the tradition to send to bereaved family’s home or funeral home, today if you wish to express your feelings beyond a written message of sympathy, do not automatically send flowers for the funeral or a live plant for the person’s home. Instead, contact the funeral home or a family member to confirm this is something they will prefer and enjoy. Many people now choose donations to their favorite charities, over flowers.
6. RESPECT THE FAMILY’S WISHES. Do not criticize the process leading up to the funeral or the event itself. Rituals and styles have shifted in recent years whereby they are not as formal or ritualistic as in the “old days.” Families may choose not to adhere to certain historic customs. Focus on the positive aspects, not the negative.
7. OBSERVE CULTURAL, RELIGIOUS, AND OTHER PRACTICES. When invited to an observance for someone who is from a culture or faith with which you are less familiar, ask someone about it or go on the web to learn what will be taking place during the event and what you may be expected to do. Doing research will help you be more relaxed and comfortable when certain practices take place. By knowing ahead of time you can participate and enjoy the experience more fully.
8. BRINGING SMALL CHILDREN. If you choose to bring young children to a funeral, brief them ahead of time about the importance of what they are attending. Set aside practice time to learn how to whisper and sit quietly for long periods of time; to demonstrate to you that they are matured enough to attend this important event. Bottom-line is if your child is unable to whisper or sit quietly for 45-60 minutes at home, it may be best to hire a babysitter for a few hours, rather than cause disturbances at the event.
BONUS: For additional information, read “What Can I Say?”, an article on how to support the grieving. It is on the Web at: http://russmonroes.com/what-can-i-say/
Question: What other items do you have to add to this list? Do let us hear from you by locating this article at www.AdvancedEtiquette.com/blog. You may also reach us at www.AdvancedEtiquette.com. If you enjoyed this article and want more, subscribe to our “Etiquette Tip of the Month” newsletter—at no charge—filled with great monthly tips on all sorts of topics from international business and social etiquette and protocol to everyday life subjects. It will be great to have you as a member of our happy family of subscribers at www.AdvancedEtiquette.com/subscribe.
Monday, August 16th, 2010
Many Americans hit the road on vacation each year. In an effort to cut down the number of accidents due to not knowing or understanding road signs, this tip is dedicated to everyone who drives U.S. highways.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE: This tip is also dedicated to my brother Melvyn Seid who passed away in May 2009. He was a man who loved traveling the world and often took his family on fun road trips all around the United States in their family van.
Road signs and other highway markings are the driver’s guide to road safety. Knowing what these signs mean and using them and other rules of the road properly makes life easier for you and more pleasant for all the drivers and pedestrians you encounter. So how you drive is an important part of etiquette.
How well do you know road etiquette? Answer the following seven questions after reading each description of the situation:
QUESTION 1: You’re driving on a freeway, nearing a large city and the convergence of several highways. Your road goes from two lanes to three, four, and then five, and traffic is getting heavy. A large green sign for your exit shows, “North US 57, Main Street 1 mile” with a small sign on the top-left reading “EXIT 32.” What must you do to exit as safely and quickly as possible?
A. Ask passengers to keep a lookout for your off-ramp so you can get into the appropriate lane to exit.
B. Stay in the right lane so you are ready to exit.
C. Move to the far left lane to be ready to exit.
D. Move to the middle lane so you can move to your exit quickly when you see it.
ANSWER: The small exit number sign on top of a larger directional sign is always on the same side as the exit. Since the “EXIT 32″ sign is on the top-left of the big sign, your exit ramp is on the left. Therefore, “C” is correct.
QUESTION 2: While driving cross-country, you enter Interstate Highway I-23 at “EXIT 42″ and get off at “EXIT 163.” In what direction are you driving and how far have you traveled?
A. East, 19 miles
B. North, 121 miles
C. South, 121 miles
D. West, 205 miles
ANSWER: Almost all Interstate and US highways and some State highways going north and south are numbered in odd numbers. Those going east and west are numbered in even numbers. Most states follow federal guidelines and number their exits according to the mile markers. On even-numbered highways they begin in the west and increase as you drive east. Odd-numbered highways begin in the south and increase driving north.
Therefore, “B” is the correct answer. Because the number increases, it indicates you are driving north, for 121 miles (163 – 42 = 121).
Note: To my knowledge, the State of New York numbers its exits consecutively west to east and south to north without any regard to the mile markers. California historically did not display exit numbers and mile markers until recently; they are appearing more and more in certain sections of the state. These are the only exceptions. If you know of other exceptions, please let us hear from you.
QUESTION 3: Driving at night on a rural road with no streetlights, your headlights are the only illumination. A sign appears ahead of you, a tall rectangle with alternating black and yellow stripes slanting down to the left. Without looking at the road’s edge stripes or anything else, this sign indicates you should immediately:
A. Stop! The road is about to end.
B. Drive cautiously around the sign on either side and watch for an obstruction.
C. Drive to the left of the sign and continue.
D. Drive to the right of the sign and continue.
ANSWER: This sign is an object marker. It warns of an obstruction, such as a bridge abutment or other intrusion into the roadway. The slanted lines always point down toward the lane and direction in which it is safe to avoid the obstruction. Therefore, “C” is correct.
Similar signs and barriers with slanted lines guide you around construction zones and other hazards or obstructions. Always note the direction in which the lines slant down and go around the barrier to that side.
QUESTION 4: You are entering a freeway on the on-ramp, driving in unfamiliar territory. You notice a continuous white line on your left and a solid yellow line on the right. Without hesitation, you should:
A. Proceed cautiously onto the highway.
B. Cross the line quickly into the next lane.
C. Accelerate to highway speed.
D. Back up immediately!
ANSWER: Oops! Yellow stripes separate traffic traveling in opposite directions or mark the left edge of the highway. If you ever see a yellow line on your right, you are going the wrong way into opposing traffic. White edge lines always define the right edge of the road. In this case you have turned onto an exit ramp. Stop and back down the ramp immediately. Therefore, “D” is correct.
All roads conform to this rule. In many cases there are red reflectors on the yellow line, which you see in the headlights of cars going the wrong way, in case the yellow line is not readily visible at dusk or at night.
QUESTION 5: You are driving on a six-lane highway with three lanes on your side. You are in lane Number 3, the far right lane, and you want to pass the slow trucks and cars that are using the lane as well. Cars in the other two lanes are moving faster and passing the slower cars and trucks. You should:
A. Carefully move into lane 2 to pass one or more of the slower vehicles.
B. Move into lane 1 if the vehicles in the middle and right lane are slower than you and you want to pass.
C. Move into the Number 1 lane and stay there to be sure you are never impeded by slower traffic.
D. Drive in whatever lane is comfortable, because faster traffic will go around you.
E. Always drive in lane 2 when there are three lanes, so you have room to maneuver.
ANSWER: “A,” “B” or “E”‘ are correct. I hope you did not choose “C.” This is my biggest pet peeve, when drivers remain in the far left Number 1 lane, no matter what. Driving etiquette says you only use the left lane as a passing lane, except when all lanes are full of traffic.
If you want to pass, do so to the left. If you are passing and a faster car comes up behind you, do not continue to block that car. Slow down and move into a lane to your right until the car passes you. In other words, do not hog the fast lane whenever cars are behind you. If you chose “D,” this could be you.
Especially at night, if you come upon a slow vehicle and want to pass, do not immediately go around it to the right. Flash your headlights or flick your high beams on and off to let the driver know you want to pass. If the car doesn’t move over in a reasonable time, then signal a lane change and move around the car.
When changing lanes for any reason, use your turn signals so all the drivers around you know your intention. Surprising other drivers with unannounced lane changes can cause accidents.
QUESTION 6: You are driving on a two-lane winding road either at the speed limit or a little slower, so you can enjoy the scenery. Four cars and a truck are piled up behind you. You should:
A. Continue driving. When you get to a road with more lanes or a passing lane, cars can get around you.
B. Speed up to the limit or faster so you can leave cars behind.
C. When it is safe, pull over into a turnout or wide shoulder to let cars pass, then resume your journey.
D. Slow down even more to give the more adventurous drivers a chance to pass you on straighter stretches of the road or when they can see no cars coming the other way.
ANSWER: It’s the law! When four or more cars pile up behind you on any road because you are going slower than others may want–even if you are driving at or over the speed limit–you must pull into a turn-out or onto a safe shoulder to let them pass. Therefore, “C” is correct.
When you see another car behind you on a one-lane road, the courteous thing to do is drive at least as fast as the limit until you reach a place to safely let the other car(s) pass. Causing other drivers to get frustrated or angry because you are holding them up, often causes them to do dangerous things–such as pass you when it is not safe on curves or when cars are coming the other way. Some may try to pass you on the shoulder which is not only unsafe, it’s also illegal.
QUESTION 7: You’re renting a car and it’s time to fill it with gas. You realize you have not noticed on which side the gas tank is located. To find out, you should:
A. Pull into a gas station and don’t worry about it. If it’s on the wrong side, the hose will stretch
B. Look at the dashboard for a gas pump icon
C. Have your wife or child hang out a window and look
D. Look at your car’s reflection in a store window as you drive by to see it
ANSWER: Choose “B.” If there is an icon of a gas pump, the side on which the hose is shown indicates which side of the car your gas tank is located. Check it out on your own car. It should be consistent. If not, let us hear what make and model you have.
I hope this tip has been fun for you to check out a little of your EIQ (Etiquette Intelligence Quotient) with regards to road sign etiquette.
Question: What other road signs do you have to add to this list readers should know about that are not as commonplace? Do let us hear from you by locating this article at www.AdvancedEtiquette.com/blog. You may also reach us at www.AdvancedEtiquette.com. If you enjoyed this article and want more, subscribe to our “Etiquette Tip of the Month” newsletter—at no charge—filled with great monthly tips on all sorts of topics from international business and social etiquette and protocol to everyday life subjects. It will be great to have you as a member of our happy family of subscribers at www.AdvancedEtiquette.com/subscribe.
Thursday, August 5th, 2010
Before we begin . . . a few Bad Dog Pet Peeves from Readers:
In my newsletter I asked people to submit their pet peeves about how dogs behave in public. Here are some of their responses, followed by my own comments. Overall, I believe that when it comes to good behavior, humans and dogs are not that different. You’ll see why in my answers below.
Pamela of San Francisco asks: When did it become acceptable for owners to allow pets to urinate on other people’s lawns and gardens? I asked one owner how she might feel if I poured a cup of urine on her front lawn, and she accused me of being confrontational.
Answer: It is never acceptable! Humans are taught it is not appropriate to defecate on public sidewalks or to urinate on the sides of buildings. Dogs are no exceptions. It isn’t anyone else’s responsibility to pick up after dogs except owners. They should use Pooper Scoopers and steer their dogs to appropriate places to relieve themselves.
Dogs, like children, will only behave as well as their parents and owners teach them. Good parenting begins when the dog is a puppy and the human adult is a child. Unless the parent reinforces good behavior at home, the puppy or child will not know how to act in public. Well-mannered dogs and humans are welcome and valued members of our society.
Karen of Daly City asks: I was walking my dog Shadow, on leash, at an outdoor music concert. Shadow must have smelled old dog urine directly next to where people were sitting. So he did the doggie thing and marked it, lifting his leg and urinating a tiny bit onto a woman’s knapsack hanging on her back. I was horrified and apologized. The woman was very gracious. What can possibly be done to make amends when a dog inadvertently marks the personal items of another person?
Answer: Humans are not allowed to destroy other people’s lawns, gardens, and personal property. This holds true for dogs as well. You could have offered to have the item cleaned, or given the owner a fair amount of money to have the item cleaned or repaired. Urine, especially female urine, can cause terrible dead spots in lawns and gardens and will discolor streets and buildings. Just imagine what it did to her knapsack!
D. Morgan asks: People run their dogs off-leash in our local high school yard, even while school is in session, when children use the field, or when athletic groups play games there. It is not within the school district’s means to enforce their “no dogs” rule. People remove the “No Dogs Allowed” signs shortly after they are erected, or the signs that remain are ignored. Rarely does a dog owner retrieve his dog and leave when asked. Don’t rules and kids come before dogs?
Answer: There will always be pet owners who are unlawful, inconsiderate and think they can get away with bad behavior in the name of their pet. Unfortunately, whoever posted the sign must enforce the rules and laws set forth, and an average citizen such as you can’t have much effect.
Also, what would be a polite and effective way to ask dog owners to keep their dogs away from frightened children, regardless of unfounded fears or how well voice-controlled and mildly tempered the dogs are? I can leave with my own kids if a particular dog bothers them, but when I lead a group activity outdoors, it is impossible to leave and cede the territory.
Answer: Try this. When leading group activities, have more than one facilitator. One of you becomes the safety monitor. Have this person approach all pet owners in the area at the onset of the activity to ask for their kind cooperation in keeping dogs on leash and away from the kids’ area, because some children are afraid of dogs. Perhaps post or hold a big sign on a stick that reads, “Kids at play… please keep dogs on leash and away from this area. Thank you.” Always thank people for their cooperation. It’s the right thing to do, no matter what their responses are or attitude is toward you.
When the weather is good both humans and pets–especially dogs-enjoy being outdoors.
Adults, children, and dogs may do as they please in the privacy of their own homes, yards, and gardens. But when in public, all are expected to behave in a civil and courteous manner. Here’s my own list of pet peeves:
Owners who bring dogs as uninvited guests: Humans are taught never to bring an uninvited guest to a party, or to ask if an extra guest is welcome. Unless a dog is officially invited, owners should leave them at home and not even ask if they can bring the dog.
Dogs off leash: By law, dogs are to be on a leash when out in public. The only leniency might be when a dog is totally obedient to its owner. This is no different than parents of children. Children are often leashed when very young, until they learn to mind their parents in public and not run off in all directions.
Dogs who drool and slobber: Humans keep a towel nearby when a baby or person drools. They try not to let their baby slobber on them. Likewise, a dog’s parents should keep a towel handy whenever their dog drools or slobbers, especially at someone else’s home.
Dogs who bark too much or are overly playful: Children and adults who become too loud and rowdy in public places are typically invited to leave the area. Dog parenting requires similar disciplining. Dogs who bark too much and become too playful need owners who call a time out, just as good parents remove children from the play area to calm them down. Both owners and parents repeat the lesson until dogs and children learn how to behave appropriately.
Owners who don’t keep dogs safe: Good parents would never let their children swim in a pool or pond that wasn’t clean, or wander off into the woods or unknown territory. They would also never keep an infant or dog in the car with a window slightly open while they run into a store for a quick purchase. Humans and dogs should also always wear seatbelts while in a moving vehicle.
Inconsiderate travelers: Good parents and dog owners practice voice commands and instructions prior to leaving home. They don’t let their children or dogs leave their sides, and they curb all yelling and barking. While more hotels are pet friendly today, some adults and children are terribly afraid of animals. Good parents and owners don’t let their children and dogs get too close to other people, unless invited, and expect them to be well mannered when they do so.
Wouldn’t it be nice if owners treated their dogs with the same sense of responsibility and discipline as they would their own children? Perhaps they don’t understand that well-behaved dogs become the center of attention, just as people compliment well-behaved children and adults.
FORWARD THIS NEWSLETTER. Pass this article to anyone you know who has a bet. In fact, make a copy of this article and keep it in your wallet or purse to hand someone who is not being a responsible parent/pet owner. Invite them to contact me with continued dialogue on this topic. I’d enjoy hearing from them.
QUESTION: What other items do you have to add to this list? Do let us hear from you by in the reply section below. or you may also reach us at Info@AdvancedEtiquette.com. If you enjoyed this article and want more, subscribe to our “Etiquette Tip of the Month” newsletter—at no charge—filled with great monthly tips on all sorts of topics from international business and social etiquette and protocol to everyday life subjects. It will be great to have you as a member of our happy family of subscribers at www.AdvancedEtiquette.com/subscribe.
Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
I know you probably can’t imagine “Ms. Etiquette” roughing it among the elements. Yet my husband and I make a point of camping each year. It’s a great way to relieve the pressures of city life, get back to nature, and to simply relax.
Here are eight tips and courtesies to help you enjoy your next camping trip:
1. Keep your distance. Don’t set up camp too close to another camp. In a public or forest service campsite, with toilet facilities, tables, and parking, set up your camp as far away from others as possible. If you like to pick a spot in a national forest or the backcountry, camp far away from trails and other camps so that no one can see or hear you. Never walk or drive through another’s campsite.
2. Be aware of noise and lights. If you play music, watch TV, or turn on a generator, stop by 9 p.m. or earlier, if neighbors appear to be quiet or retire. In the morning, make sure they are up before you make noise. If you arrive after dark or before dawn, keep noise to a minimum and dim your headlights.
3. Practice “no trace” camping. Leave your camp as clean or cleaner than you found it. Pack out your rubbish or put it in the proper containers. Never put metal, glass, or plastic into your campfire because they do not burn. Don’t bury metal, glass, plastic, paper, or food scraps because animals will dig them up or wind and water will unearth and scatter them. For more “no trace” tips, see
4. Keep nature beautiful. Do not wash dishes or clean fish in streams or lakes which will pollute the water. Throw the dishwater and entrails onto the ground at least 200 feet away from any camp, stream, or lake. Animals will dispose of the entrails.
5. Use proper toilet facilities: Always use the provided bathroom facilities. If there are none, set up your latrine 100 yards or so from any camp. Try to make it downwind, downstream and at least 200 feet from a stream or lake. Do not urinate on trees or plants, because animals desiring salt will eat the tree bark or plants, often destroying them. Try to urinate on bare soil or rocks away from streams or lakes. If you’re hiking, the best place is often on the trail, where no harm can be done to any plants.
6. Keep trees healthy. Never drive nails or shoot guns into trees. The holes allow access for insects that could destroy the tree. Don’t leave wire or rope around a tree trunk or branch when you leave. Never cut live trees or brush for firewood. Instead, find dead wood, unless you see a sign prohibiting the gathering of firewood. In many improved campgrounds you must supply your own firewood. Some campgrounds sell it at the office or host’s site.
7. Stay somewhere appropriate if you have small children. Choose a family-friendly campground where they are welcome and have safe places to play. Keep children under age 8 or 9 under direct supervision. They can wander out of your sight in a moment and be miles away before you find them. Teach older kids these camp etiquette tips so that they, too, will be welcome in any camp.
8. Manage your dog. Dogs are never a good idea in the woods or wilderness because they can terrorize wildlife, bark too much or leave messes that people don’t clean up. If you must bring your dog, it must be quiet and under control. Keep it on a leash no more than 6 feet long, never let it free to chase birds, squirrels, deer, or other wildlife. And you must clean up after it around the campsite.
Question: What other items do you have to add to this list? Do let us hear from you in the area below. If you enjoyed this article and want more, subscribe to our “Etiquette Tip of the Month” newsletter—at no charge—filled with great monthly tips on all sorts of topics from international business and social etiquette and protocol to everyday life subjects. It will be great to have you as a member of our happy family of subscribers at www.AdvancedEtiquette.com/subscribe.
Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Having to go to work when the weather is extremely hot is never fun. Yet, regardless of how hot the weather may be, there are certain pieces of clothing a person—man or woman—should never wear in a professional office environment. Examples include…
Women exposed themselves in droves wearing…
° Tank and spaghetti strap tops at work without an outer covering
° Tops and tubes so low-cut their breasts were hanging out and exposed
° Skirts and shorts so short when they bent over their panties showed
° See-through dresses, tops, and skirts with seemingly no under garments
° Sheer clothing that shows through when back-lit
° A naked pregnant belly with a tiny top
° Rolls of fat above low-cut pants
° Rubber flip-flops manufactured for sports wear
Men were also at fault. They wore…
° Mesh and tank tops that did not fit properly that belong at the beach
° Pants and shirts so beat up they looked like the clothes you’d wear to move furniture or paint the living room
° Clothes that should only be appropriate for a backyard barbecue; not when attending a more formal event
° Pants down-around-the-knees with exposed under-shorts… I still don’t understand that one.
I don’t want to be a fuddy-duddy about today’s standards of dressing. I recognize that clothes have become more casual. Still, there are limits. While the people, primarily women wearing the kind of clothing above might think the message is “I’m so-o-o hot,” others might be thinking, “She’s so-o-o vulgar.”
What about you?
Do you always think through what image and impression you convey to others with your clothes? At work, do you and the co-workers with whom you work appear confident and professional? Are your clothes clean, well pressed, and coordinated, giving the impression you care about your appearance? Wearing professional clothes does not mean having to wear a suit. It means clean, neat, properly fitting clothes that are neither tight nor baggy. Showing cleavage is not appropriate, regardless of what you see on television. Colored shirts open beyond two buttons are in the same category.
Clothes send many messages about who you are. They show…
° Status, authority, power, and rank
° Friendliness, dependability, and adventurousness
° Upper, middle, lower-middle, and low class
° Trustworthiness and good judgment.
What messages do your clothes say about you and your company? Might you be too dressed down for the occasion?
If your clothes fit properly, are clean and neat, and in most instances on the conservative side you will give the best impression. “You are the message,” said Roger Ailes, President of Fox News Channel and media consultant to former US presidents. That means you are what you wear. You are your own brand and it is up to you to make the best impression at all times.
If you know people who should read this article because of the way they dress, please send it on. If you’d like to give someone a specific hint, submit your comments in the area below and then send them our blog at www.AdvancedEtiquette.com/blog.
Question: Have you seen people inappropriately dressed… not only to the office, but at other places, as well? Do let us hear from you in the area below. If you enjoyed this article and want more, subscribe to our “Etiquette Tip of the Month” newsletter—at no charge—filled with great monthly tips on all sorts of topics from international business and social etiquette and protocol to everyday life subjects. It will be great to have you as a member of our happy family of subscribers at www.AdvancedEtiquette.com/subscribe.
Sunday, August 1st, 2010
Anytime the weather is good is a great time to enjoy day hikes. I love hiking and wish I could do more. For years my husband and I have taken annual camping trips that include daily hikes.
Hikes are a great way to relax and enjoy a little solitude or to share time with loved ones, family, and friends as a group activity. It’s a perfect way to expose kids to the beauty of nature outside city life. It can also be a fine business activity. A few years back a potential client invited me to join her for a morning hike, instead of a morning coffee meeting.
Wherever you hike, you will invariably encounter other people who are also enjoying the same activity. If you abide by these few simple courtesies, your hikes will be pleasant, safe, and stress-free.
1. Hiking pace. Don’t try to hike at your partner’s pace. If your speeds don’t match and you are on a well-defined clear trail, try splitting up for a while. Meet up at predetermined points along the way. This way you can hike at your own speed and enjoy the special solitude of hiking alone; and probably see more wildlife in the process.
2. Hiking with kids: As soon as children can walk well by themselves (around age 4 or 5 and certainly by 6 years old), head out on a short day hike to get a feel for your child’s pace, level of interest, and endurance. You will also test your own patience and tolerance, not to mention your ability to carry your kid back to the car when that last half-mile is just a little too far. Younger kids are much less likely to continue and not complain when the going gets tough. Some kids don’t see the point of suffering like most adults who are too embarrassed to complain. When many kids get tired, hot, wet, or miserable, they simply stop walking.
3. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Leave your electronic devices (phones, radios and music devices) at home. If you want to listen to something, listen to the sounds of the wilderness. Resist the temptation to catch up on your phone calls.
Be sensitive to how much noise you make, especially in a group. When you’re outside, sound carries much more than you think. Keep your voice down and don’t make unnecessary noise. Act as though you are in a library or watching a performance in a theatre.
And there’s so much to hear. While there is a distinct lack of city noise such as traffic, honking horns, telephones, buzzers, beepers, car alarms, and (I hope) blaring music, there is no shortage of sound. Sounds of wind, water, birds, and other animals all add to the “music” of the wild. This is the most common reason people go into the woods, to enjoy the sounds of nature and the relative silence that ensues.
4. Stick to pre-arranged plans. If you are hiking with a partner or a group, don’t go off alone without telling someone what you are doing and when you intend to rejoin the group. If you agreed to hike, picnic, or camp in a certain location, don’t make a spur-of-the-moment decision to go off on your own. Your group could get worried or even frantic if you disappear. They could even get hurt or worse if they go looking for you in unfamiliar territory or in the dark.
5. Stay on the trail. Hike on existing trails. They are designed for the high impact of many hikers. Walk single-file so as not to widen it. Wear hiking boots so you can keep on the trail through wet or muddy stretches. Skirting puddles creates additional side trails and unnecessary erosion. Don’t shortcut the switchbacks. They are designed to minimize erosion and ease the ascent and decent in steep sections of the trail. Cutting these corners causes downhill drainage that can quickly erode a trail. When taking a rest break, move off the trail to a hard, rocky area, a non-vegetated place, or a place with durable vegetation, such as dry grass.
6. Share the trail. You have a pace that is natural and comfortable. If people behind you catch up, step aside—typically to the right—and let them pass. While this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many hikers choose to speed up instead. The problem is that slower hikers usually can’t maintain the faster pace and must slow down eventually, so faster hikers catch up anyway. Repeating this becomes uncomfortable for everyone, so don’t do it.
7. If you pack it in, pack it out. Whatever you bring with you, even on a day hike in a local park, take it out or dispose of it in a trash or recycling container provided by the park. Some trash items, such as batteries, are considered toxic waste and must be disposed of properly, not tossed with the regular trash.
8. Respect the environment and wildlife. Don’t alter the environment to your liking or bring home souvenirs. Allow the next person to see as much of the natural world as you did. It’s exciting to find an arrowhead or deer skull by the trail. Why not leave it there so the next hiker can enjoy the same excitement as you did?
You are in the home of wild animals and birds, so respect their need for undisturbed territory. Disturbing animals can interfere with feeding or breeding behavior. When following an animal for a photo, stay downwind, avoid sudden motions, and don’t charge or give chase. Resist the temptation to feed them. Leaving seeds for birds or breadcrumbs or nuts for squirrels can upset the natural balance of their food chain. Feeding wild animals can make them dependent on human food, which causes big problems, like bears in some areas ripping the doors off cars to get to the people-food inside.
BONUS: Protect yourself from lightning:
If a thunderstorm comes upon you while hiking, your instinctive response might be to take cover and get into shelter. But sometimes shelter can be more dangerous than staying outside. Find a place least likely to attract a strike. Stay away from peaks or tops of hills, exposed ridges, tall trees, and open fields.
Probably the safest shelter is inside the “safety shadow” of a potential lighting target. This means you’re far enough away that you are relatively safe from a direct strike and ground currents, but not so far away as to be a target. If you are near a large tree or other target, stay inside an area where the horizontal distance from the target is about one-half the tree’s height above you. It is best if the tree is 5 to 10 times your height so you place yourself a reasonable distance from the potential strike zone.
Wherever you place yourself, put a non-conducting item between you and the ground by crouching on top of your pack or knapsack, a rolled up jacket, or a dry rock. Assume the “lightning position” with your feet close together and your buttocks off the ground. Hug your knees or put your hands on them.
Enjoy your time in the great outdoors.
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