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Reply All: A Guide To Email Etiquette

"Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much." ~Robert Greenleaf~
“Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.”
~Robert Greenleaf~

I happen to have the very best friends a gal could ever wish for. I also happen to be associated with some incredibly gifted, kind and passionate professionals as well. Having said that, we all do crazy things now and then, like hit the ‘Reply All’ tab when we’re responding to email.

Reply All. Hmmm….

A great idea in theory, but it’s the digital equivalent of the paper junk mail that clutters my inbox and kills bazillions of trees. I have to admit being guilty of it in the past month, replying to a  group email that has to do with a vacation that I’m really, really, really excited about.  I’m guilty of reply-alling.

‘Reply All’ is usually unnecessary however. Generally the person who generates the email is the ‘organizer’, the nerve center of communication, and they will ultimately gather responses, send out information neatly tallied and succinctly explained in another email, thus avoiding the thousands of irritating responses.

Asking for directions and parking is a no-no in a ‘Reply All’ response. MapQuest? GPS? Yes, techno-wizard, use it. The other common and particularly stunning faux pas with ‘Reply All’ responses is asking, or delivering personal information that ought to remain personal between the emailer and emailee . Yes, consider those your first new words of 2015.

More often than not ‘Reply All’ is not necessary, overflows already bursting inboxes and annoys the ever-loving-shit out of most folks.

You can thank me for your modern etiquette lesson later on darlings, for now, just nod and carry on being your fabulous selves.

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Boomer Etiquette

"Let me help you while you pollute everyone else's space with your annoying phone etiquette." ~Anonymous~
“Let me help you with your phone.”
~Anonymous~

I have a lot of respect for my friends and colleagues when it comes to wisdom gained through experience. They’ve been there and done that, way before I even drew a breath.

What I don’t respect are mindless boobs who assume manners and common courtesies are something owed to them, but no deserved by those who share the world with them.

Let me break it down for you;

Rules of the road. If there are three lanes and you are anywhere but in the far left lane and being passed by other vehicles, move over. Traffic sucks for all of us, please play kindly.

Movie theatres. Yes, I used to think that teenagers were the most rude, but it’s no, it’s the silver haired set. It’s allllllll you. Teenagers may be attached to their devices, but they aren’t invading our space with noise.

Yes, you are the only people who let your phone ring in waiting rooms, restaurants, theatres and other public places and then go ahead and answer it.  Even in appointments with professionals.  Nothing is as important as the present moment. Love yourself enough to be in that moment.

Turn off your ringer, and if you don’t know how to do that, please, for the love of everyone’s blood pressure, leave your damn phone in the car. You are THE ONLY generation who answers your phone while in the theatre. I think this may be because you don’t know how to text.  Ask for a lesson. That’s not sarcasm, it’s a sincere plea. I promise you, once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it.

Also, sit the hell down!  My son timed some grey-haired-piece-of-annoying-as-hell-skin who stood in front of us at the theatre while the previews played. A full minute he stood and talked to the people he came to the theatre with. The only reason I didn’t lose it was that I would have mortified my teenager. Sit down, shut the hell up, and let everyone enjoy the movie.

This morning I went out for breakfast. I found a nice quiet table and was enjoying my coffee and reading the Sunday paper when a couple sat down right next to me. As in, less than 30cm away. They continued to talk about their bedtime playtime last night, and then Mr. Viagralovin proceeded to cough and snot and make calls. Seriously, it’s like finding a secluded spot on a beach and then having the only other person on the planet plant their pasty white ass down right next to you.

It took three phone calls before I picked up my jacket, purse, plate of food, newspaper and coffee and moved tables. His wife looked at me like I was crazy.  I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my breakfast in peace. I hope they on the other hand,  both get the shits.

What this all really boils down to is two things; first, I’m bitchy. I’ve been under the weather and had to be out to take the kiddo to practice, so I found the quietest, closest place I could and nestled in.  Second, people really need to learn how to respect one another’s space, especially as our population booms.

I try to keep to myself when I need quiet, like this morning. I try to be friendly when I meet someone on the street, hold a door, or push my cart through the store.

We are doing a lot of mindless living, multi-tasking not only tasks, but personal relationships.  We all deserve better.

Do the world a favour, when you see someone being rude, quietly address them, and if that doesn’t work, use your outside voice. Trust me, the rest of the world will thank you for policing the subtle things that make civilization civilized.

 

 

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I Took Etiquette Lessons – Asshole

gone…that’s the beginning of the punch-line to my favourite Southern Belle joke.

Etiquette.

Hmm? What on earth is that?

As the world has come to worship the almighty dollar, and take life itself for granted, etiquette has become a lost art, much like kindness, compassion and patience.

Civilization as we know it has come to judge the measure of a person, not by how they treat one another, but how much wealth they can amass, always at the cost of another.

Despite our access to a multitude of communication platforms, our language has been degraded to social statements of 140 characters or less, emoticons (think cave drawings), and text lingo.

We are living in the dark ages.

Instead of being beholden to a corrupt church, we are beholden to the corrupt 1%  who hold the purse strings. Being corrupt in the name of God is no more heinous than being corrupt in the name of the almighty dollar.

Etiquette my friends, is no longer valued or displayed. It is a dinosaur in the age of prized individualism. Grace needs space, and with our stretched commitments, more and more people are losing their ability to be kind, live with grace, and practice etiquette.

These things  are the foundation of civilization, and the foundation is crumbling.

With our pressured lifestyles, and expectations of instant gratification, a new epidemic seems to be taking over the GTA.

It’s true, Assholeitis is spreading. Reliable sources report that becoming an Asshole is highly contagious and infects the young and old alike.  Often passed on by those infected during rush-hour traffic, store line-ups or any other interaction with another human being.

Just remember you are never more important than another driver, customer, someone else’s schedule, or someone else’s sense of self-worth. In other words, don’t drive like an obnoxious moron, take 20 items through the 8 items or less lane, or treat any other person disrespectfully. If you do, I hope someone has the backbone to put you in your place darling, because keeping one another accountable is civilized.

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Everything That’s Wrong With the World

The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis...
The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night I was reminded yet again of the unfortunate state of our fortunate society when a television network aired a commercial for a children’s version of Hell’s Kitchen, or some such ridiculous program.

Really? Is this what we want to teach our children, to criticize their peers at work, and work in a threatening environment?! Give me a break.

What the world needs now is kindness, compassion, and generosity.  A new generation of pretentious bots doesn’t give me much faith that the growing trend toward spiritual ignorance and egotism is going to make this planet a better place to live.

I daresay the little darlings who will star in this heinous entertainment debacle and their misguided parents would even recognize the subtlety of sarcasm my sweet, juicy, peaches.

Unfortunately I have had to endure meals sitting with such gastronomic goons. Their obsessive criticism is a less than convincing smoke screen of negativity spewed forth in order to boost their image of superiority.  Talk about indigestion my darlings!

Breaking bread together has long been more than a way to sustain physical health and strength.  Meals have also been a ritualistic way for people of all cultures to celebrate rites of passage, express spirituality, and welcome others to our family and home.

Thanksgiving is a particularly poignant reminder of what it means to share a meal together. Sharing food has been an act of peace for thousands of years.

It has also been used as an aphrodisiac in the arsenal of skilled lovers since the dawn of time. Imagine the mood if, while feeding your lover a chocolate dipped strawberry,  they piped up with, “That would be better with slightly less chocolate”. I’ve never been a fan of mud wrestling, but I think the ensuing nude mayhem would be akin to Roman sporting events.

The recent trend toward people self-describing as ‘foodies’ has marked a decline in civilization as we know it. I like to call them ‘rudies’ instead.

That’s the polar opposite of the folks whom will be sharing our Thanksgiving meal next weekend.

No, don’t panic darlings, we’re celebrating a week early so that yours truly has an opportunity to take an extra-long weekend for the actual ‘Thanksgiving’ holiday.

But enough of my wonderful life, back to ‘Everything That’s Wrong With the World’.

I am an advocate of good company and gracious living. That means that no matter how terrible a recipe has gone awry, or how bold the wine-food companionship, you ought to graciously  thank your host and get on with the real matter at hand – enjoying  precious time together.

A few reminders for foodie-rudie’s this Thanksgiving;

1) First and foremost we don’t need to hear that you think the stuffing is too ‘sagey’. Sagey isn’t even a word.

2) Do not suggest a ‘better’ wine match. There likely are many better or ideal wine matches to the meal. We don’t want to know. We just want to relax and enjoy the bounty which is set before us.

3) No. Not everyone thinks that the dessert you brought is the best thing they’ve ever tasted, nor do we need to be corrected with regard to the ethnic pronunciation.

4) Your job is not to upstage the host/hostess. Your job is to be kind and entertaining. Should you fail those most basic social requirements, do not expect a second invitation or a second date.

5) No one cares how you ‘prefer’ your food to be prepared. We prefer that you maintain the most basic rules of civility.

6) Expect someone to roll their eyes and tell you to shut up if you make even one negative comment in your outdoor voice.

7) Rest assured that you will not get laid by anyone, ever,  should you talk about what certain foods do to your digestive system. Know your food limit and eat within it.

Everything that’s wrong with the world begins at your very own breakfast, lunch and dinner tables my sweeties. Kindness, good manners and the ability to enjoy simple blessings is nurtured every day as we ‘break bread’. If you fail to appreciate this, you really fail to understand the meaning of life.