Time for Etiquette "Spring Cleaning"
Updated: Feb 12
It’s that time of year, when we mentally and physically begin to make the shift from winter to spring. There is anticipation of new life and new birth with the appearance of green grass, budding flowers, birds chirping, and longer days of sunlight to enjoy outdoor activities.
So, we begin the ritual of “spring cleaning” to spruce up our homes, inside and out. We deep clean, declutter, pull weeds, plant flowers and make our homes over for another season. Many of the tasks require the cost of our effort, time, perseverance, and finances. But, the end result is worth the personal sacrifices!
Just as our homes need spring cleaning, our relationships often need recalibration. Spring is the perfect time of the year to reassess how we demonstrate etiquette by showing respect, consideration and honesty. Sensitivity to the feelings of others and awareness of how our actions affect those around us are foundational to experiencing healthy relationships.
Consider the following behaviors and attitudes, adapted from March 2017 broadcast by Dr. David Jeremiah, that impact the quality of relationships in families, the workplace, with neighbors and friends, and in formal and informal settings. How would you rate your display of etiquette towards others in each area?
Impatience – Are you easily irritated, want things “now,” or display a short fuse when wronged, offended, nagged, criticized, or irritated? OR do you listen, silently endure, show self-restraint, or persevere through delays?
Inconsideration / Rudeness – Do you offer to help only when asked, only do good to those who are generous to you, or snub, ignore, criticize or belittle others? OR do you communicate with an approving smile and pleasant tone, recognize and show appreciation with a “thank-you,” or show thoughtfulness and consideration by doing even the “little” things that make a difference?
Envy – Do you treat others, including family members with ill-will because of their possessions, power, authority, performance, professional status or success? OR can you rejoice over the success of others (in your actions and speech) and shift your focus to being content, thankful and grateful for what you have and who you are?
Pride – Do you tend to be “puffed up,” “wise in your own eyes,” always have to win and be on top, or desire to be out front and better than others? OR are you humble in spirit, building up and edifying others?
Selfishness – Do you pursue your own interests over others’, project an important or independent attitude, consistently draw attention to yourself, find it difficult to share, or live a “me-centered” life at work, in your family, or in other relationships? OR do you place the needs of others above your own, find contentment in working behind the scenes and not always out front, step aside to allow another to have the “choice” opportunity, invest yourself in someone else without gain or reward, or humble yourself to serve others?
Anger – Are you easily provoked, tend to lose your temper, or tempted to seek revenge? OR do you practice self-control, respond with forgiveness, or listen and refrain from reacting to what you “think” you heard?
Resentment – Do you keep a record of wrongs against you and share them with anyone who will listen, find forgiveness and reconciliation difficult, harbor bitterness, or plan ways to get even with others? OR can you let go of wrongs, forgive others, or talk it out to seek reconciliation?
Discouragement - Do you grumble when things don’t go your way, express self-pity, or feel despair when faced with obstacles and problems? OR do you express hope and see possibilities in others and circumstances, view failure as an opportunity for growth, or seek support from friends, colleagues, family members when working through difficult situations?
What do your responses reflect about your practice of etiquette in your interactions with others? Is there room for growth in being more sensitive to the needs, feelings, and presence of family, friends, neighbors or colleagues? Are there personal behaviors, attitudes and feelings that need adjusting in order to foster positive relationship with others?
Tuning up your etiquette toolbox, as in spring cleaning your home, may require some effort, time, perseverance, and honest reflection. The above listed behaviors: impatience, inconsideration, rudeness, envy, pride, selfishness, anger, resentment, and discouragement, all impair and weaken relationships. What would happen if a shift was made from grumbling, complaining, gossiping, lying and nagging to reflecting a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, and contentment?
Make a choice this “spring” to contribute to the positive health of relationships in your home, workplace, community and social outlets. Displaying the etiquette principles of respect, consideration and honesty will not only enhance your interactions with others, but also improve your quality of life!
Kim Purscell is a licensed etiquette instructor and protocol consultant, an accomplished speaker, and experienced business executive. Ms. Purscell’s passion is to help people move upward in the workplace by improving their professional image, behavior and communication skills; and empower clients to present themselves with power, confidence, and credibility anywhere in the world. Ms. Purscell can be reached at Kim@EtiquetteMatters.us