Slang phrases can be fun to use, and “It’s my jam” is fun for me. The phrase captures what it is about etiquette that pulls me to the subject on many levels.
“It’s my jam” sums up my emotional sense of connection.
When we bond with a cause, direction, or pursue a passion, the dedication is usually characterized with a verve for seeking best practices. What are those informal self-enforcing rules that guide us in social situations?
I find myself “thinking in etiquette,” honing myself as an observer, finding the many and varied ways people are trying or failing to be kind and respectful to one another. Finding blog topics to write about each week is an exercise of dedication to what I hope is the production of a good that is free to everyone.
What has intrigued me about the power of knowing what’s etiquette-ful in situations that vary are the consistent principles of sociality at work as people interact with others:
When I consider etiquette-ful action in various situations, it helps me regulate my own behavior. Being not perfect and, like most people, I suffer from the occasional bout of self-deceit that makes me think I’m right. The concern for being etiquette-ful helps me take pause and silence any words or actions that may cause others to take offense.
Etiquette has made me acutely aware of tone—tone of voice and tone of action. Adam Smith advises us to temper our passions “to that pitch, in which the spectators are capable of going along with.” Etiquette reminds me that we need to take pause and step outside ourselves to judge our own behavior. This helps us know the right thing to do in whatever particular situation we are in.
Etiquette is a product for people by people. Etiquette-ful behaviors vary from culture to culture situationally and relationally, yet always come from the ground up—from people’s best practices through time.
Yes, "it’s my jam," is a favorite phrase that sums up my love of learning more and writing about the many ways in which etiquette, as the body of "how-to" social practices, helps people navigate any situation kindly and graciously.