Social Etiquette

You pay a surprise visit to your close friend and discover he has relocated to the US without informing you. You invite people to your mother’s burial ceremony; it’s only your wife and children who show up. Everyone else has an invitation to your colleagues wedding except you. You have come to the realization that people avoid you. It happens even to the richer than rich people. I have highlighted a number of routine social activities that we should pay particular attention to in order to create and maintain the desired social impression required.


Greetings and courtesy

Social etiquette standards differ amongst different cultures and gender. Your long lost friend introduces you to his wife and you give her a bear hug. It could be an innocent gesture or borne out of the mischief of ‘tapping current’.Always watch out for body language before you grab at women. You don’t greet people unless they greet you first.


You come across your friend’s baby strapped in her baby chair and you reach down to unstrap the child; you proceed to carry the child without permission. Same goes for handing other people’s children sweets or biscuit without first obtaining the permission of their parents.


A long-time friend loses his/her parent; your condolence should be offered in person not through text or phone call. Don’t be too busy for them or they will be too busy for you. Nothing is worth celebrating if there are no witnesses!



The way we dress speaks volume about us. You can imagine planning to go to a friend’s baby’s christening and you dress as if you are planning to seduce her husband.   It’s your son’s graduation day and your make-up is like an audition for The Run’s Girls movie. You are more or less a grandfather and but you sag your trousers, this is unbefitting. Ensure your wardrobe attracts the kind of attention and invitations you want.

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If you are organizing a party with a budget of N5,000 per plate and the host or hostess does not want riffraff as guests, it is advisable to keep it simple and casual if the host or hostess is a down to earth person.


Don’t go to Kenya in a mini skirt. Be it in a bank or a law firm keep the colours subtle. You can’t go wrong with black and navy blue. Invest in maintenance of your white shirts. Ensure while you are in the office your shirt is always tucked in, your trousersreach below your ankle. If you look good your boss will always want you to take the file to the MD’s office. If he has a social engagement you can be sure that he will ask you to accompany him. You would possibly sit on the high table and have your picture splashed on blogs. It feels good abi?


Imposition and intrusion

At the office resumption time is 8am but everyone has to know how spiritually religious you are and so that is the time you start persona praise and worship at the office. You must show you love God more than everybody.


A person is having lunch and you decide to just dip your hand into the meal and take a piece of meat; meanwhile nobody knows when you take lunch. Unless you are food buddies,I suggest you keep your hands to yourself.


You are sceptical with their claim that it’s a designer wear and you actually pull out the collar to check the label; that cheapens you!

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Use of phone

Your conversations are noisy how else will people know your worth.


Eating habits

Keep your mouth closed always. If you have to cough or sneeze with food still in your mouth use an handkerchief. If you have gum in your mouth, chew without vigorously moving your jaw.



You want the gory details, so you keep cross-examining the widow on how her husband died? Very insensitive!


You talk at people not to them; sounding insulting and critical with your loud arguments. Even when you are wrong you must win with the volume of your voice.


You are the name dropper. You start every conversation with ‘My friend who works in Chevron’‘my friend who lives in the US.’



After a meeting they refuse to give you their call cards and refuse to take yours.

You always leave doors and drawers open!

You leave your desk always littered and untidy!

You have an office inside the office where you receive all manner of guests.

You store your frozen chicken in the office freezer and forget it over the weekend; you show no remorse not even to spray the freezer with an air freshener.

You use your colleague’s plate leaving it unwashed; or you leave yours unwashed.

You call text your boss in the morning and tell her/him you have to go to the embassy.





You don’t have to sit by the aisle while the insides seats are all empty. Please move in so those people who are physiologically endowed do not have to brush against you to get to their seats with minimal difficulty.

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You blast your horn because you want the car in front of you to block the other vehicle pressing its trafficator for space. You shunt into every free space; you refuse to allow any vehicle right of way. Must you do your shopping or haggle with every traffic hawker on the expressway road.


Please don’t lap your 65kg son in the bus; pay for his seat.


Try to enter the bus with your correct change; don’t become the conductor.


Leave the window open so other passengers in the bus can get fresh air. If you don’t like the wind don’t sit by the window.



The cashier is already working on your purchases and you discover you need to pick up another set of items thereby causing delay for those behind you on the queue. In some cases I have seen people ignore me and tell the cashier they are in a hurry and should attend to them instead because they are too impatient to wait for their turn. Be careful, your boss may be watching you


Social Networks

You have asked your estranged wife to return the total feeding allowance you have given her since the day you got married.



Don’t show up at a party empty handed.



Be concerned, open and honest. Remove the smirk leer and stop rolling your eyes



We all know what we are supposed to do?


Let’s note all the things we are doing wrong and maybe everybody we come across would want to be our friend!



Iyabo Fahm

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