Whether you are attending a support group, a therapy session or a social gathering, here are some tips which will enable you to get the most out of your experience. We are all so fortunate to be able to engage with others and we hope that “inexperience with etiquette” does not ruin the event for everyone.
1. Arrive on time. We all get stuck at work or something unexpected comes up; we’ve all been there. To cause the least distraction be quiet when entering an event in order to allow you an opportunity to determine what is currently going on and to be the least disruptive to other participants. Depending on the event, wait until there is an appropriate “break” before joining the group.
Listen to the person in charge. They will help you get where you need to go. Getting on the “right path” the first time will save you frustrations across the board.
3. Turn off your cell phone. Sometimes people try to send a “quick text” during an event but even texting can be disruptive to those people seated around you.
4. Save the snacking for breaks. Loud snacking, candy wrappers and purse zippers create a major disruption to those around you. Eating also presents all kinds of smells, sights and sounds that the other participants did not expect to be part of their experience.
5. Resist the urge to whisper comments. Your comments keep others from hearing. Make a mental note and wait for breaks or the end of the event to share insights.
6. Know when to return to your seat. Pay attention to what the moderator says when allowing for a break – usually they will give a time amount for the break or an exact time when the event will commence. Be courteous to other attendees by getting back to your seat on time.
7. Stay until the end rather than leaving early to beat the crowd. We all hate traffic but only slightly less than we hate staring at the back of another attendee climbing down the row to flee during the final moments of the event.
Basically the name of the game in event etiquette is courtesy. Make sure whatever you do takes into consideration your fellow attendees. Help those around you to have a pleasant experience and they will do the same for you!
“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson