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As social media is a social medium, it is important to follow proper social etiquettes. Our etiquettes in public should be carried along online as well. Just because you are behind a computer monitor and people canít see you, doesnít give you the license to throw your etiquettes out of the window. Here are a few tips you could follow.

1. Give More Than You Receive
If you want to receive attention from others online, you have to be willing to give it first. You cannot just bust on to the social media scene and become a top user; you need to earn respect. For that you need to give more than you receive.

2. Add Value to the Site
At the end of the day, the thing that will earn you great connections with others is if you add value to the community. For this you need to submit content which other members of the community value as well. Sending content which only you approve of and others donít, will not help your cause.

3. Build Quality Relationships
People are more willing to help those who they really know. By building quality relationships with other users, youíll always have someone in your corner to back you up. Remember, relationships require the participation of both parties; so, always be a good participant in your social media relationship.

4. Listen to Others
Your first reaction whenever someone disagrees with you online is probably to tell them how wrong they are. Instead of constantly fighting back, take the time to listen to what theyíre really saying. Listen to the people commenting on your blogs. Understand where theyíre coming from. You donít know everything, and you can learn from others if you take the time to listen.

5. Be Nice
All of these points add up to one thing Ė just be nice. Is it too much to ask for people to be kind to one another?


by Meghana Biwalkar

With a backpack on your back there are absolutely no limits to what you experience. But as any adventure, backpacking can be tricky. To make your backpacking a success, it's important how you behave and interact with people from different cultures. Here are some tips to help you shine at your backpackers' hostel:

1. Break the ice: On a backpacking trip you tend to meet people from around the world. In fact, most hostels encourage interaction between travellers. For instance, hostels usually have a common area to gather and socialise, a common kitchen and laundry area. So, whenever you come across a co-traveller, the best way to start a conversation is by enquiring about their travels and stay so far. Don't indulge in personal questions though.

2. Look for hostel standards: It's a great place to meet people and save money but be aware of the fact that hostels can be dangerous. It will have both good and bad people in the bunch. Thus, avoid one-on-one encounters with anyone, and move in a group whenever possible. If possible, look for a hostel that is a member of the Youth Hostel Association. Don't be embarrassed to decline a room if it doesn't suit your requirement.

3. Plan ahead: To avoid last minute surprises, make advance hostel bookings and a travel itinerary. Also, in places like Europe most museums and tourist places have some days off in the week. Once again, if you know your schedule you'll be able to avoid these days. But, while planning leave some room for last minute changes.

4. Pack that toilet paper: Yes, this is a precious commodity for backpackers. But, if you are sharing a bath ensure that you don't leave a mess behind. Make sure it's flushed out properly and there are no bits of paper lying on the floor.

5. Learn some local habits/phrases: Even though you may not be fluent with the native language, it's still nice to know the local dialect. When travelling to a different country it's also important to know the local rules to enjoy your backpacker stay. For example, in countries like Singapore you cannot smoke in public areas or consume chewing gums. Now, you don't want to end up breaking the rules and find yourself without a place to stay, or worse, locked up in a foreign jail.

Lastly, pack a quick dry towel. You don't want to be stuck up with a stinky and wet towel, when you move from one hostel to the other. Now, that you know what it takes to be a good backpacker, go on and have an adventure of the lifetime.  


by Meghana Biwalkar

The nip in the air is an indication that the year's come to an end. It's time to welcome the New Year and celebrate the new beginnings. But, only because it's New Year, one must not let go and forget their manners. So, if you are attending any party, especially a house party you may just want to go through the etiquette guide:

1. Don't Tag: The first rule of a house party is to never invite guests on your behalf. Remember, it's not an open for all so always ask the host well in advance if you can bring along a guest. And, never take it personally if a host turns down the offer. After all, they are throwing the party!

2. Be Social: As a guest, you should help your host to make their event a successful event. You can do this by making a genuine attempt to talk to everyone. However, be careful that you don't get carried away with the New Year's wave. Watch out what you say, and make sure that you don't get too friendly with people you just met.

3. Carry a Gift: Like any other house party, it is considered good manners to carry a gift for the host. Also, instead of carrying a generic gift such as a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers put some thought into the gift. It's always better to personalise the gift keeping in mind the preferences of your host.

4. Watch the Smoke: It is considered rude to ask at a house party to permit you to smoke. Unless the host smokes, it's always better to take your light outside the house. In case you are smoking with everyone else in the house, watch the curtains and ensure that you are not smoking in a closed room.

5. Be Gracious: After the New Year party, send a thank you note to your host for their time and trouble. Mention specific incidents, compliment on the food and let them know that you took notice of their effort. It's New Year after all, it's nice to bring it in with a gesture of gratitude.

Lastly, watch your drink. It's New Year, and a house party. So, chances are that you may get carried away. But, be careful, enjoy the drink and take it slow. Here's raising a toast to new and a successful year ahead!


by Meghana Biwalkar

If there is one rage that has undoubtedly caught on like fire, it has to be social networking. What is unique about this phenomenon is that it doesn't withstand the age bar. From tweens to grandparents, almost everyone has their profile on these sites. So, just as any social network, here we are bound by etiquettes. Here's a quick round-up of manners for effective networking:

1. Choose your niche: The growing number of social networking sites only means more offers to join these sites. But, don't jump on every offer you get. Understand the site and what it has to offer, before making your selection. For instance, some sites are purely for social or personal networking; while others such as LinkedIn are for business. The same rule applies to other groups or communities on the sites.

2. Fine-tune your profile: It is important to polish your profile, as sites dedicated to pleasure can also lead you to a potential career opportunity. So, always make sure that your photographs and personal information is password protected. After all, you don't want your to-be boss or business partner to see something that is completely private. Also, your online profile is sought of a resume, where people can make judgement calls based on your information. Bear this in mind every time you edit or create a profile.

3. Pace yourself: It's nice to be pro-active on these sites, but remember everything has a limit... be careful about the number of bulletins you post in a 24-hour period. So, if you are one of those who post every joke or some inane information more than 10-times a day leading to a spam, chances are that people will soon block your entries or may just delete you from their list.

4. Stick to your commitments: If you are on a social networking site, you are always under the spotlight. This is especially true, if you offer any kind of help to someone. Here, people can read that you have expressed interest to help a friend or colleague, so make sure that you follow-up on your offer. After all, your reputation is at stake. Also, these sites are highly reciprocal. So, if you choose to help someone, you are assured that your efforts will not be neglected.

5. Don't be aggressive: Yes, you want to desperately get into the groove and be seen on everyone's network you think is worth knowing. But, hold that thought. Don't be too persistent by sending constant reminders about the invite. Always give a day to a week for a person to respond. Also, if you want to reject someone's request, wait for 24 hours. This will help you gather your thoughts, and save some embarrassment or harsh feelings.

Finally, be honest and don't invent things, it might backfire. Just play by the rule and enjoy every minute of your online networking world.

Be polite to your fellow fitness freaks 

by Meghana Biwalkar

How would you react, if you find yourself caught on a treadmill that has sticky or glistening stains of sweat? Well, thatís our reaction too! But, to think of it, you could also be the culprit behind it. After all, you are at the gym where you are likely to sweat, correct? Thus, the easiest thing to do is to follow some simple rules to make your gym a hygienic and fun place. Here are some guidelines that will help you become an aware and a responsible gym-goer.

1. Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
This is the most basic rule. Always wipe off the handle bars and the seat after your exercise. Most gyms provide sprays for this purpose. If your gym doesnít have this facility, just use your spare towel or wipes.

2. Learn to Share
If you are under a circuit training programme, ensure that you share your slots with someone else, this way you can get timely rest in between two sets, and you will not be blamed for taking over the equipment. If someone is already using the machine, wait until theyíve finished their set. Itís rude to interrupt people during their workouts. If your gym has a time slot for machines during peak hours, abide by those rules.

3. Handle with Care
You are likely to feel a little tired after your weight training programme. This doesnít mean that you drop the weights, expecting someone to pick up after you. Always put the weights back carefully when you are done, and while doing so, donít clank them or throw the weights on the rack. This way you will not disturb other people in the training area, also you will ensure that the equipment is not damaged.

4. Maintain Silence
Yes, itís not a library, but it is not a public park either, where you can chat with your friends or talk on your cell phone. Be courteous towards others; your talking could disturb someone elseís concentration. Also, when you are playing the music, donít have it blasting through your headphones. Please note that they are just headphones, and not speakers. So, observe the volume.

5. Scrutinize Yourself
You may have worked hard to attain that perfect figure, but this doesnít mean that you show-off your hard work. If you are using a public gym, ensure that you are wearing the right clothes and are in no way offending the people around you. Blatantly staring at those toned bodies is not on either. This way you are letting them know that you are jealous, besides of course making them feel uncomfortable.

Just follow these basic rules at the gym, and you are sure to have a great workout. Also, remember to shower after your workout, you donít want to carry your body odour on your way back home.


by Meghana Biwalkar

The heat is on...and it is not very merciful. Yes, the scorching hot days of summer are here. There is no better way to fight this heat, than a dip in the swimming pool. However, this can be a stressful affair, if your swimming pool is nothing but a chaos leading to unsafe behaviour, noise and stress. If all of us follow some pool manners, it could be an invigorating exercise for everyone. Here are a few tips for you to ponder over, before you take that plunge...

1. Follow the instructions
If you wish to enjoy a clean pool, donít forget to shower or wear your cap, before entering the pool. All of this may sound mundane and annoying, but observing personal hygiene is a pre-requisite in a pool. After all, who would like to swim with someoneís long hair floating in the pool?

2. Be sensitive to others
When you are using a public pool, it is important to maintain the overall safety. So, donít play rough or outrageous games such as dunking your friends, running and jumping or splashing water on each other. It might sound like fun, but it could be dangerous to other swimmers. Also, donít wear any jewellery, watch, and keep your nails trimmed while swimming; it could hurt your fellow swimmers.

3. Observe your lane
Yes, itís not just for roads. So, the next time you are in a busy pool, pick a lane and stick to it. Every pool has a fast, slow and medium lane, so judge your speed to select your lane. This will avoid accidents, such as knocking into another swimmer, and help you to complete your lap without any interruptions. In case you do wish to switch lanes, look in all directions before cutting across, watch out for other swimmers and allow them to complete their laps. This will help maintain decorum in the pool.

4. Donít waddle in the pool
If you donít wish to swim, use the waddle area to relax. Also, the pool is no meeting point. So, donít stand in one corner and catch up on the gossip. You have parks and coffee shops for your long conversations!

5. Save the splash
No one likes to be splashed with water, whether in the pool or outside. So, watch your strokes and tame them down for the safety and convenience of others.

These are only guidelines to help you maintain safety in the pool. The best etiquette is to swim cautiously. So, go on and have a nice dip.


by Meghana Biwalkar

Ever wondered what it would be like to drive to work without having to use the choicest words from your vocabulary. Here are some tips to help you make your time in the car as fun and enjoyable, as you have always wanted it to be:

1. Horn NOT Ok Please
Probably the biggest factor out there, which contributes to driving stress, is the noise pollution. Most of it is due to the over use of the motor Ďhorní. Agreed itís the surest way to have your say, but if you were to wait just a second longer for the person ahead of you to move, you might not need to honk at all. So, try and be a little patient on the road.

2. Give Way
Whether you are coming out of a junction or waiting for a traffic light, giving way and not racing to take the first available spot will certainly make your life more peaceful. And this will really not slow you down. Rushing to get ahead in the traffic by rashly overtaking and cutting in only means you will reach the next traffic jam sooner.

3. Appreciate those who Give Way
When somebody is nice enough to give way, make sure you acknowledge them with a wave or a smile. A small gesture like that promotes goodwill and goes a long way in making the other person feel good about letting you through.

4. Use High Beam Cautiously
Unless driving on an un-lit road, do not use your high beam too often. Your high beam can blind the on-coming traffic. This would also cause them to use their high beams, which in turn will blind you. Also, just use the parking lights, when entering a housing complex; so that you avoid blinding children or old people. And speaking of residential areas, keep your 1000-watt mobile orchestra on mute.

5. Be Courteous to Fellow Commuters
The next time you see puddles donít speed off; especially when there are pedestrians or motorcyclists. And be considerate to truck and bus drivers. Remember, they are manoeuvring massive vehicles that donít stop or change directions as fast as the cars. Besides, they are on the road all day enduring the heat and the pollution trying to earn a living. Give them a break.

Follow these simple acts of consideration and you will reach your destination less stressed than before. Also, you will be in a better frame of mind to do the job that you actually drove out to do in the first place.

Are you mall savvy?

by Meghana Biwalkar

A crowded street, beeline of cars and a buzz of people outside a mall on Sunday, is nothing new. Even with slow economy, the malls are not missing the crowd. After all, malls are a great place to hang out with friends and family. But, as with any social development, there come certain rules and manners:

1. Smile, it costs nothing
It may sound clichťd, but the truth is a smile will get you the best treatment and acceptance. So, the next time you see a salesperson; donít brush him/her off with a smug, instead, smile and respond to their greeting. In case, you donít want any help from them, decline it politely by saying, ďNo, thank you. I am just looking around.Ē Also, itís not just the salesperson. In case, you are with a co-shopper in the same aisle, itís always good to nod or exchange a smile, thatís the only thing which comes free in a mall, isnít it?

2. Donít lose that shirt
Yes, the shopping malls provide you the luxury of trial rooms. But, donít treat this luxury like your walk-in closet, where you can throw away a pile of clothes that donít fit. Here, one must politely return all the clothes to the salesperson. Also, if a certain shop expects you to carry a certain number of clothes in the trial room, just follow the rules. It will only make your shopping easier.

3. Never juggle the clothes
Usually, shops in the mall provide a hangar that displays the styles. So, go through that first, before creating havoc on the racks. And, in case, there are no hangars, donít just pull out clothes from the stack and throw away like a piece of junk, if you donít like it. Fold it and place it back on the rack. This will help the next shopper to enjoy their shopping. After all, if we wanted to pull stuff out from a mess of clothes, we may as well go to a local market, right?

4. Maintain a distance
Never stand too close to a person in the billing line; it will not help in speeding up the billing process. Instead, you will only be considered rude and impatient for peeping into your co-shoppers bill and his/her wallet.

5. Donít take eatables with you everywhere
Most shops in a mall will not be comfortable about your taking food in. Follow this rule by finishing whatever you are eating in the food court area and then heading down for shopping. Food is best avoided on the elevators and on the staircase as well.

Thus, the next time you are at a mall, just remember that nothing is personal. Treat all the luxuries as a gesture and respect them. Happy Shopping!
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