Shaping perceptions: How people see you matters

By Jane Babirye
On 26 August 2023 at 12:30

We’ve often heard that our self-perception matters more than how others see us. While this holds true to some extent, there’s an undeniable truth in the saying, "the first cut is always the deepest." Your public demeanor, from clothing choices to behavior, communicates volumes about your identity. Therefore, it’s crucial to avoid the following behaviors if you wish to earn respect from others. Remember, "respect is earned, not commanded."

Chewing in Public: Chewing might be unavoidable at times, especially after a meal when you need to freshen your breath for an important meeting. However, the way you chew and where you do it matter. Chewing loudly with an open mouth in public not only appears as poor grooming but also disrupts those around you.

Poking your nose/ ears in public: Engaging in activities like picking your nose or ears in public is quite distasteful. Doing so with bare fingers and then examining what you extracted is simply unpleasant. Unlike reflex actions like yawning or sneezing, this behavior lacks justification. Refrain from such actions in public settings.

Yawning, coughing, and sneezing etiquette: While yawning, coughing, and sneezing are involuntary actions, how you handle them in public speaks volumes about your consideration for others. If you can’t control them, at least make an effort to do them discreetly. Cover your mouth with your palm while yawning or coughing, and sneeze into your elbow or use both palms to cover your nose.

Odorous food consumption: While some might take pride in eating certain foods in public to showcase their success, it’s important to recognize that people have varying preferences. What you enjoy might be repulsive to others, not to mention the strong odor of certain foods like boiled eggs and roasted nuts.

Public spitting: Spitting in public, especially in places that are not already foul-smelling, is difficult to comprehend. Some individuals spit as if their lives depend on it, even in queues at bus stations or marketplaces. Public restrooms are available nearby; make use of them if you find yourself needing to spit excessively.

Adjusting clothes: It’s common to face wardrobe malfunctions in public, such as tight bras, shifting dresses, or exposed undergarments. Regardless of the situation, excuse yourself to a more private location before making adjustments.

Speaking loudly over the phone: Ears and eyes can be very stubborn some times. When you don’t want them to work is when they decide to show off their ability most. You ever get into a public car and all you want to do is enjoy your trip to wherever peacefully? And then boom, someone at the back receives a call they ‘think’ everyone would know of. If you have been doing this, from now onwards know it’s not nice for those seated next you. Get home and call back whoever has called you and shout all you want.

Personal Functions in Public: While bodily discomfort might lead to the urge to pass gas, doing so in public is uncomfortable for those nearby. Regardless of your discomfort, consider the comfort of others and find a private place to relieve yourself.

Easing yourself in public: I called it ‘easing’ because I know how uneasy it can be to have a bloated stomach. What I mean actually is farting. In spite the discomfort you may be feeling, it will be more discomforting for those near you when you decide to ‘ease’ yourself.

While personal freedom allows us to make choices, indulging in any of the above behaviors anywhere on Earth can label you as someone with poor manners.