Editors Note: I have been working with people in their 20’s for the last 35 years. While technology has certainly added to the Manners Challenge for today’s youth, understanding and practicing mannerly behavior has always been a learning experience for the young. The preceding generations, X and Boomer, had their own issues to practicing good manners and keeping up with changes in the world around them. Just ask their parents and grandparents 🙂
Not to use the “M” word, but there are some challenges and “opportunities” the Millennial generation (born 1980/81 to 1994/96) and their younger siblings, the Gen Y’s (born after 1995/97) have when it comes to building rapport with others, showing respect, and being polite when dining out. Technology has significantly changed how we interact these days, but the fundamentals stay the same, no matter what the advances are.
Test yourself, and see if there’s anything here you and your friends want to think about:
Question 1: If you don’t want to date (hang out with) someone anymore, what should you do?
The answer is not to “ghost” them. Ghosting is when you just stop communicating with them through text, Snap Chat and other social media. It’s like you simply disappear and hope that the other person “gets it” that you don’t want to see them anymore. The answer is also not to write them a text or email saying you don’t want to see them again. In a perfect world, you would show the other person respect and have the guts to meet and tell them in person. Or, if that is totally out of the question for you, at least call them and tell him/her why you are ending things.
Remember… the easy thing is not always the right thing.
Question 2: When someone does something nice for you, what should you do?
Say, “thanks” in person? Of course, but then what? Text them? No. If someone has really done something nice for you, gone out of their way to do something, taken you some place special, made a job introduction, or given you a gift, the polite and best thing to do is to write and send them a hand-written thank you note. If you really want to stand out from others, do the thing that is not expected but so appreciated and send a nice, personalized, and specific note of thanks.
Tip… buy a pack of thank you notes and a pack of stamps and put the stamps on the envelopes and then keep them in your desk. This will make it quick and easy to write a note of thanks.
Question 3: When is it okay to use your cell phone in a restaurant?
This is a trick question because the answer is, never. Why go out to dinner with someone if you’re going to be on your phone talking or texting with someone else? This is a time to build the relationship with the person you’re with, so please, as soon as you sit down, put your cell phone in your pocket and keep it there. Do not bring it out anytime someone has a question like, “I wonder how many moons Jupiter has?” Just because someone has a question it doesn’t mean you have to whip out your phone and find the answer immediately. Just be in the moment and don’t touch your phone.
Note… if you know you might get an important text like from a babysitter or boss, just tell your dinner companion this might happen. If it does, respond quickly, apologize, then get back to your meal.
Question 4: When can women wear athletic tights to work?
If you work in a gym or athletic place of business then go for it. Otherwise, it’s not professional even on casual Fridays to wear leggings to work. I debated this with my millennial daughter when she was waitressing this past summer. I lost the battle at the time because I was told, “Mom, all of the waitresses wear them”, but then I will admit I was happy when she came home and told me her manager finally told all of the waitresses that they could no longer wear them because they didn’t look professional.
Remember… you are always being evaluated and what you wear says a lot about you. Dress for the job you want to have.
Have more questions about manners for millennials? Click on this link to see my recent segment on WBTV for more tips on how to have polite and professional manners, even for a millennial.
Have any etiquette questions? Please email me your etiquette questions at [email protected], and I will answer them in a future blog right here at ScoopCharlotte. com.