Some New Rules For Being Polite

Don’t stand in a crowd on sidewalk, in front of an escalator, or in front of a doorway. Why do people do this? The first thing I do when I get off an escalator is continue moving away from the escalator so I won’t be in people’s way. Same with sidewalks — you need to pull over. Just like you shouldn’t stop in the middle of a road, you shouldn’t stand in the middle of the sidewalk. You pull over. More people than you and your friends are trying to get somewhere that you are not trying to get to. There are more preferences in the universe than the ones you and your friends share. All we’re asking for is a little consideration.

Don’t @-reply the person you’re shit-talking. This may come as a shock to you, but my personal Twitter account is not run by an intern. That means I can see you shit-talking me. I CAN SEE YOU. You MADE it that way. Either engage me directly or use my real name rather than my handle when you’re talking trash, like a normal passive-agressive person. Freak.

If you are walking beside your friend on a small-ish sidewalk, at least pretend to move out of the way for the person coming toward you. I’m cool with people who are deep in discussion or are drunk and being oblivious and having a good time — I’m cool with those people simply failing to notice that they’re about to pass someone on the sidewalk and not moving out of the way. That’s excusable because it isn’t inconsiderate, it’s just absent-minded. The people I can not understand, however, are those that walk two abreast toward you looking you directly in the eye as they proceed to not move one centimeter out of your way. I always want to turn around and ask, “Yo, bro, what if I hadn’t moved? There would have been a head-on collision!” I’m not asking for you to stop walking and sidestep completely out of the way for me. I would be happy if you merely affected the idea that the thought of yielding to me occurred to you for half an iota of a second. Just don’t fucking act like I’m not there, a-hole.

Don’t hijack your Facebook friend’s thread to fight someone you’ve never met. I can’t believe this needs to be said, but you know people get notifications for every post you make, right? You don’t need to get into it with strangers/your friend’s brother/someone else awkward. You don’t know this person’s relationship with the person you’re arguing with and you certainly don’t know the person. Why is it so important to engage them and to waste time arguing on the internet? Go outside and breathe. This is not your fight, little one.

In a coffee shop, do not sit at a four-person table if you are by yourself. The reason that there are tables with more than two chairs at cafes and places where people work on the internet is that sometimes groups larger than two come in and would also like to sit down and drink tea together. The only time it’s acceptable to sit at a four-person table if you’re by yourself at a coffee shop is if there’s nowhere else to sit.

Stop calling people hipsters and then making fun of them for being hipsters. First, the definition of “hipster” is so fucked up and confusing now that it seems anyone who happened to buy a sweater from Urban Outfitters is a conformist cultural vampire. You are also hipster if you: like sushi, wear flannel, go to coffee shops, have a Mac, enjoy farmer’s markets, live in a “gentrified neighborhood” (THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES IS A GENTRIFIED NEIGHBORHOOD), need glasses, listen to records, wear tight pants, have Instagram, drink cheap beer, drink expensive beer, like brunch, like selected bands. I’ll stop. But aside from “hipster” having basically no meaningful definition, and aside from it being used as a sort of oppressive tool for shaming people for their preferences, the common complaint about hipsters is that they are mindless conformists, but that they’re also elitists who exclude you. But you know what kind of person generalizes groups of people as mindless conformists then excludes them for it? People who call other people hipsters and then ridicule them for it. The logic of that is messed up. Hipster bashers have become hipsters.

Don’t post crazy political rants on Facebook. If you want to do that, get a blog. No one wants to open their Facebook timeline and see you clogging up their newsfeed with “9/11 was an inside job” or “Paul Ryan is a lizard person.” Seriously, just get a blog we can choose to go to or not go to. Don’t force this on unsuspecting Facebookers.

Stop making fun of people for DIY, shopping at farmer’s markets, eating local food, or otherwise engaging in a more sustainable economy. Here’s why you need to stop ridiculing people who are doing these things — they’re trying to reduce suffering and conserve your resources, asshole. Yes, a concrete consequence of not eating meat is that the suffering and energy use that would have been byproducts of that person’s meat consumption are never realized. By shopping at farmer’s markets, one is reducing your reliance on unsustainable fossil fuel use. Yours. By going the DIY route, people can sidestep supporting corporate operations that exploit third-world laborers and the places they reside. You do not get to ridicule people for trying to participate in that system less. Ridiculing someone for that is very backwards; logically, if you’re making fun of someone for trying to make a smaller number of things feel pain, you’d celebrate someone actively trying to hurt things. Doesn’t make sense. TC mark

image – Shutterstock


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  • marenhogan

    Man, I want to give this post the biggest slow clap the world has ever seen.

    • Natsie

      I hear ya sister, I hear ya. And fuck, the word hipster couldn’t have been summed up any better. That word can feel free to piss off.

    • Bailey Powell


  • Nick

    You had me until the end. If you’re open to different ideas that may challenge yours, I recommend reading “The Locavore’s Dilemma” and “Economics in One Lesson” (free ebook by Henry Hazlitt).

    • Matt

      I second that. The last one lost me.

  • A.

    Amen at that hipster rant I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • k10

    January, you are perfect. Marry me.

    • k10

      PS I’m a straight female but will make an exception for you.

  • onceupon

    Out of curiosity, who made you the arbiter of what should and shouldn’t be talked about on Facebook? What do you expect people to discuss in the heat of election season anyway? You would perhaps prefer more endless commentary about the state of the weather and feeble attempts at one-lined pithiness?

    • christ

      oh my god shut up

    • Lizilla

      1. You missed the point. 2. I hope you understand the irony of writing a comment like this on an article about being polite.

      • Eddie Going


    • ashes

      It’s not about being the arbiter/arbitrator of anything. Because statuses can be seen by anyone you’ve friended, they’re pretty much aimed AT everyone you’ve friended. If you want to discuss politics, do so with your friends or other people who WANT to discuss politics. Post an article, video, whatever on their walls or have a conversation/debate in person, on the phone, via text/email, on gchat, Skype, etc. See how there are so many options other than an unnecessary public post clogging up other people’s news feeds? Pretend Facebook is a dinner table: no need to widely discuss money, politics, or religion and (unintentionally, I hope) alienate and/or offend others.

    • Jess K (@JessLK721)

      Personally, I don’t mind the occasional logical political comment. But, when it clogs up my newsfeed (and I really DO mean every-other-freaking-post) and it’s nonsensical conspiracy bull$#!@ … it doesn’t need to be there. Take it somewhere else (like a personal blog, as suggested). Without this crap, and yes it is crap, I still have PLENTY of other things on my fb besides “endless commentary about the state of the weather and feeble attempts at one-lined pithiness”

    • Eddie Going

      BINGO!! I love this whole post except that facebook comment (all of us have things that we don’t want to see on the FB feed). Plus, hipsters are hipsters – case CLOSED :)

    • arbietheastronaut

      I think it’s GOOD to see political commentaries on Facebook (except for bullshit conspiracy theories and plain idiotic comments of course) – a good break from reading all those banal mindless “nobody cares” status updates. Plus you’ll know people actually care about ~serious stuff. And at least you’ll know who to stay away from irl.

  • laurabeth

    THANKYOU for saying most of the stuff I say everyday, and all of the stuff I say most days. It is simply relieving to hear a plead for common sense & simple etiquette so compactly & aggressively stated. We may never see that troglodyte free day but until then, slow clappers unite!

  • Life@TwentySomething (@LifeAt20Some)


  • Laura Springer (@tangentrider)

    Oh my gosh, the passage-blocking (door, sidewalk, etc) is getting to the point that I may just flip. Another passage-blocking issue missing from the list: push in your chair when you get up from the table.

  • Kenza

    #1 and #3: THANK YOU. Nothing turns me into an angry beast of a human being faster than having to deal with people who apparently DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE A SIDEWALK.

  • Danaynay

    YES to all the points regarding walking around in public. Somehow, after thousands of years of living in crowded, urban places, people still have not figured out how to walk down the street. Well, I suppose it’s more to do with being considerate, but nevertheless…. please stop meandering in a very slow zig-zag path down the sidewalk so I can’t pass you. And you and your 13 friends should find a better place to stop and chat than on the corner of a busy intersection.

  • LazyReader

    When walking down the sidewalk, January, you should remember to turn off your invisible powers. I forget all the time, and people just walk right into me.

    For real, what the hell is wrong with people? If a sidewalk is only two persons wide, and two people are coming in one direction against a single person from the opposite direction, where in the world do the 2 people think the one person is going to go? Are they going to dematerialize, or suddenly float over the oncommers? Or are they expected to Spidey-jump against the nearest wall? The number of times I’ve gotten scratches on my arms and purse from being squished to the side by selfish, self-absorbed sidewalk hogs is infuriating. You’ve got to reduce to single-file!

    The same goes for people with umbrellas in crowds. I should be blind by now.

    • Eddie Going

      I just did a rant about umbrellas! SO TRUE:

      • LazyReader

        That was awesome! And I’d like to add, it’s not that I’m an angry person, it’s that the inconsiderateness of humanity on the whole *really* makes me angry! Be nice and look outside yourself people!

    • Eddie Going

      Thanks for watching it!!!! :) :)

  • Ana


  • Will S. Patterson (@WillPatterson)

    People shouldn’t stand on escalators that don’t allow people to pass. Nuff said.

    • Eddie Going

      Agreed! AMEN!

  • T

    Couldn’t agree more with the first point. That’s just in the interest of public safety. The rest was a bit whiny, yeah? Untwist your panties and try again, hipster.

  • Christina (@christinalefou)

    I know you’ve specifically advised me not to, but um, I really now feel the need to go on facebook and post ‘Paul Ryan is a lizard person.’

  • Lucinda

    The sidewalk /walking aide by side infuriates me. I refuse to move out of my lane and make people crowding the sidewalk move for me.

  • Claire

    i do none of these these, yay! and whenever someone brings up the word “hipster”, what you said is basically what i say to them

  • Emily Post
  • 26yearold

    oh please. I’ll call whoever I want a hipster. stop whining.

  • arbietheastronaut

    January! You have a Twitter!? Where! I ~need to follow you!

  • Emily

    Also: if you’re on the bus and there’s a pair of empty seats, don’t take the aisle seat and refuse to move to the window when other passengers come on. It’s awkward asking a total stranger to shift seats and forcing them to do so is sort of rude.

  • nightshaye

    Thank you, and i understand the last paragraph completely.
    Unfortunately, in this day and age, it’s cool to be selfish, cool to be a “diva”, cool to bash reason, even cool to be evil. When it’s cool to be a douchebag, we have a long way to go.

  • Starstar

    For one thing, websites like facebook and twitter are those classified as social networking sites right? An avenue to “socialize” with other people and talk about anything – like those happening in our SOCIETY today.

    So if we are not allowed to engage in a conversation about any topic in a social networking site, then was it the point that they are in existence?

    Sorry but, to the author of this article, what makes you think we should limit the use of the said social networking sites in lieu of exercising our freedom of speech/expression. I think you just have the generalization of what you see in your timeline or news feed, if what you see are posts with blatant disregard for public policy, good customs or decency – which are posted only by your friends in the said sites – then maybe go talk to them.


  • Starstar

    I apologize but I have to agree with the person who coincided with your opinion with the first point your raised, but the rest are a bit too whiny.

  • Stephanie L

    This is incredibly on point, especially the first rule. Although I have one major addition to this list: PUT DOWN YOUR EFFING CELL PHONES.
    Out to dinner? Put it down.
    Someone speaking to you in person? Put the cell phone down.
    Walking through a doorway, on a sidewalk, or just off the subway? See rule number one; put the cell phone down and step aside.
    And I can’t believe it needs to be said, but driving? PUT THE DAMN CELL PHONE DOWN.

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