Common courtesy

Revision as of 12:01, May 2, 2006 by 06djl (talk | contribs) (Interactions with others)

Or, how not to be a total asshole to complete strangers, which could and should be the real title of this entry. Please expand.

Interactions with others

  1. Entering or exiting a building: look behind you to see whether anyone else is coming through the same door in the next 5 seconds. If the door will slam in the face of the person behind you, hold it open.
  2. If you see someone right outside, and opening the door would involve no more effort than extending your arm, go ahead and give it a push.
    • In particular, let the pizza dude inside, even if it ain't your pizza. We're lucky to get delivery here.
  3. If there are two doors going into a building, and a large amount of people are squeezing through one while the other door remains closed, open and go through the unopened door so as to optimize the flow of traffic.
  4. If you see someone carrying boxes, ask if there's a door you can open.
  5. If someone is standing in front of a dorm with a sleeping bag and a prospectus, and appears to be under the age of 20, offer to swipe the person in.
  6. Say hello to people you meet. If someone else says hello to you, respond in kind. Bonus points for smiling while saying hello.
  7. Don't destroy or abuse property. Particularly not if it belongs to somebody else.
  8. Say "excuse me" rather than just pushing past people in a crowd or a constricted space.
  9. Wave to, nod, or mouth "thank you" to drivers who stop for you to cross on a pedestrian crossing. It's the law for them to stop, but it's still polite when they do because many don't.
    • Look both ways before you cross the street, even if you're at a crosswalk.
  10. Don't write things in ALL CAPS. or all lowercase, for that matter. Ever.
  11. Avoid egregious public displays of affection.
    • (Also note if one displays egregious PDA it is apparently innappropriate to create a wiki about it--this was news to me)
      • (More like "it's common courtesy not to gossip.")
  12. If you're done using a public computer, close all the windows so people know it's not in use.
  13. If someone farts in Schow, make believe you didn't hear it. (Even though you did and it's hilarious)
  14. When watching a movie when other people are present, don't talk (unless the movie is awful and the group as a whole wants to).
  15. Log off computers when you're done with them unless you want strangers to look through (and potentially modify) the non-public files in your Achilles account.
  16. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, husband, non-monogamous partner, or simply his/her recent random hookup. Also can be stated as, "Thou shall not covet sloppy seconds."
  17. You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose.

Residential life

  1. If you cook in a kitchen, for God's sake, clean up after yourself. Don't leave your spaghetti sauce on the stove top until spring break. If you cook and "that mess was there when I got here," just take a few minutes and clean it up anyway. Your guests probably don't want to eat in filth.
  2. Don't throw your old sardines, or any other stinky refuse, into the bathroom trash can. There is a trash room.
  3. Knock the lint out of the lint screen after you use the dryer.
  4. Talk to your janitor.
  5. If possible, leave space on the sidewalk so others don't have to walk in water, mud, or snow. If you're walking in a group and one person comes in the opposite direction, move behind someone in your group so the person passing can use the sidewalk as well.
    • And be careful how you maneuver with that umbrella. You almost took my eye out.
  6. If you yak or see someone yak in a place that's a bit out of the way--a basement, far-off corner, or anywhere that isn't a toilet, really--make your best effort to tell someone responsible that there's a stinky, biohazardous mess on the floor.
  7. Don't leave your laundry in the washer or dryer for hours after it's done. No one wants to touch your wet underwear to move it out of the way and other people like having clean clothes too.
    • If, by chance, the person before you has left laundry in the washer (we all do it once in a while) be so nice as to move the clothes into an empty drier, if available. You might as well, and it keeps them clean and away from the spilled bleach that is inevitably everywhere.
      • If you spill bleach in the laundry room, wipe it up.
  8. Don't sample random people's shampoo, toothpaste, face wash, etc just because it's in the bathroom.
  9. Turn off the television when you leave and no one else is watching, even if it's a TV in a public space. Especially if it's a TV in a public space.
  10. Don't steal. Some stealing is okay though, like stealing food and free stuff. Especially free stuff.
  11. Keep in mind that you live with other people. Playing music loudly late at night when people are trying to sleep or study, especially after having been requested to turn it down, is incredibly rude. Be considerate and use common sense.
    • Blasting music in the quad, no matter what time of day, is unnecessary and inconsiderate. Not everyone shares your taste in music (and even if they do, they don't necessarily want to hear it thumping through their closed windows).

Dining halls

  1. If there's only one omelet left at the dining hall, ask the person behind you if they want half.
  2. When putting up your tray in Greylock or Driscoll or Mission Dining Hall, gently place your silverware into the cloudy blue dishwashing solution, don't throw it in there and splash everyone around you.
  3. Oh yeah, and don't try to compost paper cups, saltine wrappers etc...there's a trash can for that.
  4. Compost your napkins and tea bags.
  5. Thank the cardswiper people in the dining halls.
  6. When putting your tray away at any dining hall, have the courtesy not to cut other people who are waiting in line to do the same thing, even if you are rushed. If you can't resist the urge to cut people when you are rushed, give yourself enough time to put your tray away before you need to leave for class or whatever else you need to go to after a meal.
    • On the subject of busing trays, please do just that. Don't leave random glasses, plates, or even full trays of food at your table, because it's disrespectful (and not to mention degrading) to the people who work hard to feed you.
    • In fact, don't cut people when you aren't rushed; for instance, in the line for First Fridays. Being drunk and not wearing enough clothing on a cold night are not excuses.


  1. If the room is empty, and you're leaving, turn off the lights. Please.
  2. When in a library, kindly turn the light off when you leave a carrel.
  3. If you go outside to smoke, for crying out loud, throw away your cigarette butts when you're done. Littering is not cool, ever, and this is no exception.
    • Also, don't huddle right outside the doors to the building. Nobody wants to walk through a cloud of smoke every time they need to enter or exit.
  4. If you have a plastic/glass/aluminum container to toss, but the nearest public recycling bin is full, hang onto it until you come to one that isn't full rather than making a pile on top of the bin. The facilities staff should not have to remove dozens of empty bottles sitting on top of the container before they empty it.


  1. Don't fall asleep in a discussion class. Coffee is your friend.
  2. If you must fall asleep in any class, try not to snore loudly or jolt awake too hilariously.
  3. When engaged in debate, distinguish between criticisms of your argument and criticisms of your character.
    • Don't make the latter when you're trying to make the former.
    • Don't interpret the former as the latter.
  4. When you go into the Language Lab, hand your ID card to the monitor, don't just throw it into the bin.

Cell phones

  1. Before entering a classroom, a library, a concert, a lecture, a play, or a movie, put your cell phone on vibrate. PLEASE. (How about just turn it off or silence it completely? You can't answer it, why should you care if it's ringing?)
  2. If you are in the library and feel the need to talk to someone on your cellphone, have your conversation in an area where people aren't studying nearby. Also refrain from having loud, long conversations with other people in the library when people are trying to study around you.

Public performances

  1. If you are at a classical music or choir performance, or at the 62 Centre or movie theater, shut up during the performance.
  2. Do not loudly unwrap throat lozenges in the middle of the music or play. If you have a cough, it's best to unwrap one before the music/play/whatever starts, or during a break in the middle.
  3. Do not clap between movements, or at any point where the conductor asks you not to clap.
  4. If you are 168 years or older, recall that you've suffered hearing loss. What seems to be an inconspicuous whisper to you is actually quite loud.
  5. Don't bring small children.
  6. Take off your hat.
  7. Turn off or silence your cell phone - do NOT leave it on vibrate.
  8. Don't send text messages.

The oft-troubling existence of hats

  1. Take off your hat indoors.
    • Especially in class.
    • Find a way not to be offended by those JERKS who would dare wear HATS indoors. How dare they though, right? Outrageous.
    • Find somebody who genuinely doesn't understand WHY wearing a hat indoors is considered offensive, and explain it to them in a polite and, above all, well-reasoned manner. Because, seriously, I don't get it.
      • It's not necessarily offensive, but it is courteous to remove hats. It's something I picked up from military customs and courtesies (and before that, teachers; and before that, parents). Two reasons: First, you can see a person's whole face/head better without a hat, and so personal interactions are more open and expressive without it. Second, leaving a hat and/or jacket on indoors gives the impression that the person is about to leave the building and, presumably, the people in the building with whom they are interacting. When I have a coat/hat on indoors and am talking to my parents, for instance, I'm liable to hear the expression, "hey, take off your coat and stay a while!"
    • Don't begrudge people who leave hats and jackets on indoors given Williamtown's near arctic climate.
      • Hey, presumably it's not subzero indoors. (Well, in most [some?] buildings.) And baseball caps do very little to keep people warm. Regardless, even the military makes exceptions to this courtesy for temperature, religion, etc.
    • How about receding hairlines? Do those warrant keeping the hat on? Or what about just a bad hairday? Nasty scar? Pimple? Scalped by natives?
    • Especially if you are at an event at Chapin Hall, Brooks Rogers, Images, the theater, etc. I can't see the play/concert/speaker/movie through your giant ushanka or that baseball hat jauntily propped so that it adds an additional five inches to your head.