I am amazed when I go into shopping malls and see the number of people dressed in pajama pants flaked out on the leather couches provided for tired shoppers. Or worse have their bare feet or dirty shoes on the seat. Really?? You aren’t in your own home and quite frankly, I don’t want to see how you look before you leave your home on a normal day.

It’s all about having situational awareness. The awareness should go something like this:

Am I at home or in public? What I do or how I’m dressed at home is quite different than how I behave or dress in public to some degree. This may seem exceedingly basic but in actual fact, the opposite is often occurs.

Take for example going to live theatre.

Level of Dress

You have spent a good deal of money on the tickets. So why not get a little dressed up? I’m not saying dressing as if you’re attending a State dinner. But wearing grunge jeans and faded t-shirts? Neh, don’t do it.

Cell Phones

There have been scores of articles about cell phone etiquette faux pas. So I won’t bore you with the same details. But I will share with you that many actors on stage are getting more and more frustrated with ill-mannered audience members to the point that they are shaming them all while maintaining their character on stage. Read about how Benedict Cumberbatch, the late Richard Griffiths, Dame Helen Mirren, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig, Kevin Spacey, Patti LuPone and James McAvoy dealt with these uncouth thespians. I have to say that I don’t blame these actors who have worked very hard on their craft. They desire to provide an evening of talented entertainment and not have to compete with a ridiculous cell phone going off. I’ve read that some of these actors want the offending theatre-goer removed promptly.

Crinkling the program

Are you not aware of the people around you while engaging in your nervous habit? You are driving them insane, you realize. Crinkle to your heart’s content or even create amazing origami creatures when you get home otherwise please keep the hands quiet while the play is on. Kicking someone’s seat I’m quite at a loss as to why people kick the seat in front of them whether in a theatre or plane or bus. Does it not cross their mind that the person will be irritated? The utter thoughtlessness is mindboggling, quite frankly.

Putting your feet on the balcony rail

May I remind you that you aren’t in your private living room? The other audience members around you don’t want to see your shoes or worse, bare feet…thank you. It’s also disrespectful to public property which may become marked or scratched from shoes or boots.

Practicing good social awareness means that our social interactions in public together with hundreds of strangers will be pleasant and jovial. Once again, remember when you are out of your home, then your behavior needs to change to reflect this fact.


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Maria and her Etiquette Program have been featured in several media outlets including:

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