Etiquette and the Happiness Factor

Sharing Happiness

Fundamental to human nature is the desire to be happy.  One thing the pandemic brought us is the time to reassess this basic fundamental.    

Relationships are at the core of happiness—relationships with family, friends, colleagues, animals, your environment, yourself and your higher sense of being.  Being social creatures, we long for connectedness.  

When I teach etiquette seminars, the emphasis is always on the reasons why we would want to apply etiquette:  the confidence, comfort, and connectedness it brings.  

Connectedness is the essence of happiness, and the happier you choose to be, the more confident and comfortable you are.

Being Connected

Our human need for connection drives us to engage in social interactions with others.  These interactions create experiences that lead to acquaintanceship, friendship, romance, dislike, or confrontation.

Etiquette plays a direct role in determining the outcome of your attempts to connect with someone.

Five outwardly etiquette-ful actions to help others connect with you:

  • Smile when you speak to someone.  Even while wearing a mask, be physical with your smile. 
  • Looking directly at others when speaking is a necessary part of your smile.  Keep the gaze going.
  • Keeping your distance, your body language conveys your being present.  Arms to your side, palms open when you speak conveys openness.  Quick or unnecessary movement, keeping your arms crossed, or appearing distracted, shows the opposite.
  • Validating other people’s views, even if you don’t agree, makes them feel as if they’ve been heard.
  • Occasioning communication means that you are committed to showing up.  Encourage others to speak about themselves.  Even if you can’t spend time in person, texting, emailing or social media go a long way in communicating.

Five inwardly etiquette-ful actions that help others connect with you:

  • Create a desire to make others feel important.  It will challenge your creativity.
  • Choose to pay attention!  Cut out distractions when communicating.  Keep the phone out of sight and off the table when spending time in person. 
  • Engage even if you don’t really feel like it.  Stay positive, share happy news, find something uplifting to share.  
  • Adopt the philosophy that you are a giver.  Then give of yourself.
  • Be available to ask others for advice.  This is easy if you engage another in something positive about that person’s life and look for something you genuinely appreciate.

When we are etiquette-ful and kind to others and ourselves, we are bound to experience a level of happiness.  It is the same concept of the giver of a gift experiencing the same amount of joy and appreciation as the receiver of a gift.  Practicing etiquette guidelines during our interactions with people is a form of kindness in action.

Sharing Happiness

Some believe that being joyful is a responsibility of being human.  The HeartMath Institute has conducted many studies that help support this belief.  Their research shows that the emotions we feel – happiness, anger, uncertainty, fear – are shared energetically when we connect or interact with another being. 

Mindful of this, we can all celebrate moments of humility realizing that we can’t begin to know everything, but that we can contribute to the greater good by the little things we do inwardly and outwardly in kindness.  From this perspective, we can look around and appreciate everyday experiences – that the sun did rise, that seasons are occurring, and that we are all connected in some way.  How joyous!  How etiquette-ful!

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