People look to social norms to avoid awkwardness and/or being labeled an unlikable schmuck, or potentially worse as THE campus jerk. Norms make life simpler. And that is especially important in college when everything feels overwhelming and complex and mistakes feel like the end of the world.
There are a lot of times when our instincts push us to do something, but we really shouldn’t. Like, rumor has it, a girl waved her credit card at a Lucy’s bartender to get their attention, and she lost her hand. And once, a student wore a long puffer coat in September and was never seen again.
These examples might be slightly exaggerated, but social norms and etiquette rules really do guide our behavior, providing predictability that helps us understand each other’s actions, and easing our anxiety. These unwritten yet accepted rules allow people to build relationships and permit communities to function. As etiquette expert Karen Hickman explained, “The foundation of these rules is a consideration for other people.”
Without that consideration, Hickman said conflict can increase. Etiquette is so much more than just learning to use the right fork.
“It’s nice to know what fork to use because that gives you a level of sophistication. But if you use the right fork and you’re rude to the wait staff, you’ve missed my message altogether,” Hickman said.
This series aims to help Syracuse University students not only use the right fork but also be polite to the waiter. In other words, the goal is to provide our community with a survival guide that aids students in avoiding embarrassment and being considerate of others. These rules may change based on different arenas or shift over time, but exhibiting good manners is a small feat that can really distinguish a person and make life easier. “It’s important for people to know that etiquette and good manners never go out of style,” Hickman says.
Because rules are dependent on the arena, this list is sorted into categories for easier navigation. Altogether, the compiled set of rules comes from a range of students from different backgrounds, grades, majors, clubs and organizations. Continue reading to become a better member of the Orange community. And maybe even a better version of yourself.
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