While waiting for my partner at an upscale Japanese fusion restaurant, an unmistakable Tiffany's bag at a nearby table caught my eye. At the table sat a golden-haired mother, a very put-together woman with pink pearls round her neck, and her daughter. The teenager shifted uncomfortably in her seat, dropped her elbows onto the table, and sighed heavily before beginning to browse through Snapchat. After a few heartfelt attempts to connect, the mother brought out her own cell phone.
Now, you could say that such etiquette is common among teenagers and between family members – it is – but this faux pas, among others, is one I've seen committed across the spectrum. I've seen it in Tokyo and San Francisco, between lovers and friends. I admit I've done so myself.
While there are some things that cannot be helped, how we spend the little time we have with those dear to us – for either personal or business reasons – is something we do have control over.
Consider every "rule" on this list an opportunity to reconnect, relearn, and be present.
#1. Exchange bad habits with a proven etiquette guide.
#2. Dress for the occasion.
#3. Be punctual.
Many of us have lowered our standards from “don’t be late” to “call if you’re going to be late,” but we should renew our tradition of being on time.
#4. Present the host with an appropriate gift.
A bottle of wine or sparkling cider is a classic choice. For special occasions, plan ahead for more thoughtful gifts such as this custom floral arrangement.