The concept of “dignity” varies from culture to culture. With that being said, some behaviors and actions tend to be seen as undignified across the board.
From being in a business meeting to lounging with friends in a cafe, no matter where you are in public, being considerate and respectful is the ultimate way to carry yourself with grace and class.
So, here are 10 things you should never do in public if you want your dignity to remain intact:
1) Public displays of anger
There are many reasons why people lose their cool in public; long flight delays, an argument with a partner, and road rage, to name a few.
But as much as releasing that frustration may feel good in the moment, it does nothing to keep your dignity intact.
And with the age of technology, you have no idea who’s recording (as we know from the influx of “Karen” videos now trending on TikTok and Youtube).
So be warned, if you can’t contain your emotions and handle conflict maturely and calmly, you may find yourself viral on the internet or worse, in your boss’s office due to a lack of professionalism!
We’re all prone to engaging in a bit of gossip here and there…but if you’re known for getting caught up in spreading other people’s business, you’re doing your dignity no favors.
To other people, you’ll come off as untrustworthy and a trouble-causer.
Even if you make it a habit to tell your friends or colleagues not to share the gossip with anyone else, it will inevitably spread, and people will realize who is at the center of it.
So, keep your dignity intact by focusing on yourself and not engaging in rumors or talking ill of other people behind their backs.
3) Inappropriate attire
I’m all for freedom of choice. I encourage people to dress however they feel comfortable.
But there is a time and a place.
For example, I live in a major tourist destination. Recently, many bars and restaurants have started banning people who come in dressed in their beachwear.
And rightly so – families with young children don’t necessarily want to dine next to people half-naked. It’s all about being respectful and dressing appropriately for the situation.
Not to mention, when visiting sacred or religious places, it’s helpful to dress in a manner that won’t offend the locals.
I find taking a light shawl helps maintain dignity in such situations – I can cover up when entering a restaurant or sightseeing around a temple, and strip down when back on the beach!
4) Excessive drinking
It’s summertime, who wouldn’t like to enjoy a refreshing beer or cocktail?
But again, if you’re drinking excessively in public, you could come across as undignified (not to mention annoying to other people).
There’s no denying that one too many Jägerbombs or glasses of wine can cause us to lose control; our decision-making becomes poorer and our voices become louder.
So be mindful – people who are good at keeping their dignity intact limit how much they drink, make sure to eat regularly (to avoid being hit by the alcohol), and head home once if they do happen to cross the limit into “drunk”.
5) Ignoring personal space
A few months ago, whilst sitting on the train, a young man approached and asked if he could take the seat opposite (there was a table in between us). I said sure…
Within five minutes, he’d emptied the entire contents of his bag, spread out his lunch, laptop, tablet, and phone, and proceeded to occupy 85% of the table surface.
It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it was inconsiderate, taking into account that four people are meant to share that one table.
The fact that he didn’t acknowledge anyone else or try to keep his belongings to himself so we’d have a little space too was highly undignified. It showed a lack of awareness, care, or concern for others.
So, the moral of the story?
Respect other people’s personal space. Don’t treat public spaces like they’re your personal living room – you could end up making others extremely uncomfortable!
6) Being too loud
Depending on where you live, being too loud could cause you to lose dignity in public.
Where I’m originally from, the UK, shouting, laughing too loudly, or playing loud music is generally frowned upon in public…although that doesn’t stop a lot of people!
But those who do disrupt others with noise tend to be looked down upon as lacking in class and manners.
On that note – if you’re planning a big party where noise in your garden will inevitably affect your neighbors, it never hurts to give them some forewarning.
Even better, an invite to the party or some flowers to make up for the sleepless night will win you some favors too!
Again, depending on where in the world you live, this behavior can come across as extremely undignified.
By now, the vast majority of us are aware of the impact littering has on the world. We’ve all seen the heartbreaking images of small animals being caught up in plastic.
So, even if you’re tempted to throw out that sweet wrapper or flick your cigarette stub on the floor, why not hold onto it for a few minutes until you reach a bin?
As a smoker myself, I tend to keep some spare tissues on me to wrap cigarette butts in and dispose of later if there are no bins or ashtrays around, especially on the beach.
Put it this way, the new sexy is a person who goes out of their way to keep the world a clean place and puts rubbish where it belongs; in the bin!
8) Being rude or disrespectful
Manners…they go a long way in preserving dignity.
From holding the door open for the person behind you, to simply saying “please” and “thank you”, people will view you in high regard if you treat others with respect.
On the other hand…Making rude or offensive remarks will certainly drag your dignity down into the gutters!
And this applies to everywhere in public; on the bus, shopping, at work…basically anywhere you encounter other human beings!
The truth is, someone who is polite and considerate leaves a positive mark on those they meet. Those who are disrespectful show a lack of morals and integrity.
9) Excessive public display of affection (PDA)
If you’re loved up and can’t stop touching your partner, good for you! Just keep it to the privacy of your own home.
No one will think less of you for holding hands, giving your partner a peck on the lips, or a cuddle as you walk in public, but going in for a full French kiss or grabbing their behind could be seen as unclassy and undignified.
And yes, I get it, you’re just expressing your love (and desire).
But many people still feel uncomfortable seeing that, especially if they’re out dining at a restaurant or sitting on a bus with nowhere else to look.
10) Ignoring etiquette
And finally, depending on where you live, there will be certain etiquette rules to follow. If you’re in a Western country, for example, you shouldn’t:
- Pick your nose
- Eat with your mouth open
- Put bare feet on public seating (i,e, in a cafe or on public transport)
- Fart or burp loudly
- Eat smelly food in enclosed spaces
All of these actions can make others around you feel, well, pretty grossed out.
Ultimately, if you want to keep your dignity intact, avoiding these 10 things will help you achieve that.
It’s all about being mindful and respectful of others when you’re out in the big wide world.
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