7 etiquette rules for the COVID era

Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 7:51 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - This is something you can relate to: many people are on edge right now and are taking their frustrations out in unhealthy ways. Between the pandemic and politics, you’ve probably experienced rude behaviors online and in public. Then there’s the social gatherings. What if I get invited to a party that I don’t feel comfortable attending? We spoke to etiquette expert Kianga Crowley. She’s the founder and owner of Simply a Lady Co. and offers advice on manners and etiquette. She has tips for you when it comes to dealing with people during the pandemic.

  1. You can only control yourself. You cannot control others' words and actions. You can only control how you respond.
  2. Before responding to someone, pause. Allow yourself to be aware of what is happening around you. Although taking a pause is one of the hardest things to do, it gives you the chance to consider if the conversation or argument is worth it. “Take some time out in the morning to meditate maybe find your peace. But even in the midst of a storm, sometimes those meditations those thoughts go out the window, but it’s still important for us to always to remember to pause. Just pause before you react or respond,” Crowley says.
  3. There is nothing you can say or do to change their mind. For some people, they stand so firmly in their opinions, you will not be able to change it. She encourages you to reconsider engaging with that person. Crowley says most times, it’s best to just move on with your day.
  4. It’s ok to say no to parties. If you’re invited to a gathering - whether it’s dinner or a wedding - it is ok to politely decline. Crowley says you can ask the host what social distancing guidelines will be in place. She wants you to know that it’s ok to decline invitations to keep you and your family healthy. Crowley recommends sending a gift instead.
  5. Understand this is a new part of our culture. Before traveling internationally, you would research the culture and customs of the country to ensure you don’t offend anyone with your actions. Crowley says our culture here is changing, so it’s ok to do things differently. Even if you want to continue living life as you have in the past, understand others will not.
  6. What if I don’t want to give hugs or handshakes anymore? Many things are changing because of the pandemic but one thing is not: respecting boundaries. If someone approaches and is reaching for a hug or handshake, you can step back and explain you are limiting contact to keep you and the other person safe. Then continue the conversation. Crowley says everyone should respect the choices you make about your personal physical contact.
  7. Keep your mask off the table. Our culture has table manners, such as using the correct fork with each course and placing your napkin in your lap, rather than keeping it on the table. Crowley says your mask should also be in your lap or kept in a pocket or purse.

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