Social decorum is the knowable and often unwritten rulebook setting down appropriate social behavior and propriety—it’s all about etiquette and good manners. Behavior that is calm, steady, courteous, and kind is the language of self-command.
We comply with formal and informal rules and procedures as we get along with others and build personal and professional relationships. One way to look at the whole process is to think of yourself as building social capital.
What rules help you navigate social situations and foster positive relationships? I have found that creating a list of self-imposed guidelines helps me know what to do when I might otherwise lose confidence, freeze or become tongue-tied in a social environment.
My Top Fifteen List of Rules of Social Decorum:
Social decorum involves knowing the right and wrong times to do or say something. We teach children that it is okay to feel many things, but not okay to hurt others by blurting them out when with friends or family.
An attitude of helpfulness is the best assistant for navigating social decorum. Imagining how another person feels and doing what you can to make them feel comfortable and uplifted in a given moment is always the goal.
Building networks of social relationships helps us have a sense of belonging. Your encouraging nature will serve you, as others will perceive you in a good light and treat you well. You are creating lasting impressions that establish trust and reliance.
The most interesting thing of all is that aiming to be the best you can be in all social situations actually helps others to act as their better selves, too.
“I am a journalist in the field of etiquette. I try to find out what the most genteel people regularly do, what traditions they have discarded, what compromises they have made.”
~ Amy Vanderbilt