“Friends and good manners will carry you where money won’t go.”
—Margaret Walker

Anyone who knows me will tell you that my number one pet peeve, besides a warm drink, is bad manners. Being well-mannered is a very simple thing that goes a very long way: a please or a thank you; holding a door for someone; letting someone in line ahead of you or giving up your seat. All very doable and, in my opinion, they all make for a far better world. But what do I know? I think cloning David Beckham would make for a better world.

The tricky thing is, in this digital age, we spend less and less time with people, and more and more time with people. Confusing, I know: I read it 10 times and then I had to move on. We do spend more time with people these days, only now we do it in a very different way. We are engaging virtually. Do manners still apply in the virtual world? You bet they do — even more so.

You need to have virtual manners mainly because those on the receiving end of your cyber messages do not have the luxury of hearing your tone or seeing your body language. Many things can be misinterpreted as rude or sarcastic, simply for being read the wrong way; this can also depend on what mood or state of mind the reader is in. It is a must to be clear in your communications and remember that your messages are read way different than you hear them in your head as you type or test.

Also, we spend so much time looking at or listening to our devices that we forget to actually look people in the eye. This is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to tech manners. I had a fifteen minute conversation with a woman the other day and I think she looked up at me twice. The rest of the time, she was face down in her technology. If you are so important that you can’t look up from your phone or quite frankly get the hell off it when you are interacting with others, why should people even bother talking to you? I see this all the time; truth be told, I was even guilty of it myself but have since turned over a new digital leaf. I enjoy engaging with people and looking them in the eye: that’s true interaction.

The beast we call (sometimes ironically) “social” media has at one point or another made ill-mannered sloths of us all. Having to check and see who re-Tweeted you or Liked your post, all the while missing what is actually going on in the moment? We’ve all done it.

There is something so, well, terrifying when you see a group of people all together but no one actually talking to the other. All there for a good time, had a shower, put on makeup or cologne, but never actually noticing anyone around them. This is…rude!

I made a conscious effort many months ago to truly engage with those I am blessed to meet and spend time with. What if they are gone tomorrow? What if I am gone?

What do you think about the way we (dis)engage with social media? Is tech over-running your life? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Twitter @slice_tv.

 

Dee Brun is the award-winning author of Libations of Life: A Girl’s Guide to Life One Cocktail at a Time, a cocktail chef and stylist, TV personality, home entertaining guru, writer, humorist, wife, mother of 4, TV Junkie, shoe-aholic, and borderline George Clooney stalker. Read her column, Isn’t it Deelightful, every Friday on Slice.ca.