Your Guide to City Etiquette

City Etiquette

Have you ever visited a big city and thought that its inhabitants were just plain rude? If you felt rushed, trampled, or pushed aside, you may have been part of the problem. Here’s something you need to understand when it comes to people who live in a big city; hustle and bustle is a way of life. And when someone interrupts that and causes us to slow down, we don’t like it. We understand it is usually unintentional, but it can still be frustrating.

Just like there are customs to learn for visits to foreign places, so too are there customs to learn for visits to the city. Luckily, they’re pretty easy to figure out. And lucky for you, I made this list so you won’t have to figure it out the hard way. And by “hard way,” I mean eye rolls, loud sighs, and dirty glances – or worse.

Sidewalk Rules

  1. Pay attention and put your phone away! We all know that city sidewalks and streets are busy. When attention is averted, you run the risk of walking into a person, traffic, or some other object.
  2. Don’t let your group take up the entire sidewalk. If there are more than two people in your group, please don’t walk in a horizontal line. Doing so takes up the majority of the sidewalk and makes it impossible for fast walkers to go around you. The sidewalk is meant for sharing. If your group is large, walk behind one another.
  3. Use simple driving rules. We are taught to drive on the right side of the road, why don’t we do that on sidewalks too? If you stay on the right side, you won’t bump into people or have that awkward shuffle with a stranger to get around each other.
  4. Don’t cause a traffic jam. It’s totally fine if you want to stop, but don’t do it in the middle of the sidewalk. When you stop in the middle to look around or take a picture (don’t expect anyone to go out of their way to stay out of your picture), you interrupt the flow of traffic. It causes people to stop and try to meander around you.

Entering and Exiting

  1. When entering an elevator or walking onto the subway, always, ALWAYS, wait until everyone has exited before you enter.
  2. When exiting a revolving door, do not stop just outside of it. You could be blocking the only way to get out. People come out of those doors relatively fast – and those doors don’t just stop. If you are blocking the exit, they could get hit with the door.

Riding Public Transportation

  1. Please, for the love of GOD, give up your seat to the elderly, pregnant, and handicapped – unless you fall into that category.
  2. If the bus or train is packed, your bag does not deserve a seat. Put it on your lap.

Riding the Escalator

  1. In my experience, this one is mostly for the escalators in subway stations. There is always one side for those who wish to stand to ride up and one side for those who wish to walk up. Don’t stand on the side that is moving. Someone could be late for work or rushing to get to the next train and you could be preventing them from doing so. If you have luggage, stand with it in front of or behind you instead of to the side. If you impede those walking up the escalator, there is a good chance you will be trampled .
  2. Speaking of being trampled, never stop at the top on the escalator or stairs. Doing so is a sure-fire way to get run over by commuters in  a rush.

If you haven’t been able to gather from these tips, here is the one rule of thumb. Stay out of the way.  Do that, and you’ll fit right in.

City dwellers, is there anything I am missing? What other etiquette tips do you have for those visiting the city?