A Manners Guide For The Twenty-Something New Yorker

by Chiara Atik · July 15, 2010

    It's hard being in your 20s in NYC. Love is a battlefield, and so is work/the coffee shop/the subway/the bar. You know what else? Sometimes people are rude and annoying. We polled all our friends, and compiled some etiquette suggestions for the young New Yorker.-



    Wouldn't it be so much easier to get along if everyone just followed these simple suggestions?

    At the coffee shop/restaurant/store

    -Never order/pay for something while on your cellphone.

    -Also, don't incessantly gab away on your phone while waiting in line for something, forcing everyone else to listen to your conversation as well.

    -Don't begin your order with "Uh, gimme a <blank>." That is rude.

    -If you pay part in cash and part on card, make sure you tip for the TOTAL amount...not just what got charged to the card.

    -If you aren't holding or hovering over your items in a sample sale, they are fair game!

    -Outlets can be scarce in coffee shops! Unplug your computer if the battery is full to let someone else charge up.

    -Don't take your shoes off in coffee shops and curl up on the couch/upholstered chair where other people would want to sit. Don't take your shoes off, ever.

    -If you're going out for someone's birthday, you will all pay for the birthday person. Duh. There is NO excuse not to do this, and if you can't afford it, DON'T GO!

    -When dining out with a group, be aware of what you are ordering. If you get the Steak Frites and the expensive wine and an appetizer and coffee while everyone else gets, like, an entree, don't be like "Let's just split it, shall we?"

    -If you have to peace out early and are calculating your share of the bill before you go, take both tip AND tax into account. Tax is 9%, tip is 20%, so you need to leave almost a third more than the sum of your drinks and food.

    At The Bar

    -If a drunk patron at a bar asks for a cigarette, give it to them. Better they get one more stick of cancer than you.

    -If someone asks for a light, and you HAVE a light, give it to them. Don't be a jerk.

    -If you get really drunk, always send an apology note/text the next day.

    -If you spill your drink on someone, offer to buy them a beer! All will be forgiven.

    -Most people have a relatively accurate sense of how tall or short they are. So if you're tall, maybe don't stand in the very front at a concert, thereby blocking everyone elses' view?

    -Have one dollar bills ready so you can tip the bartender! A dollar per drink. (Same goes for Barista at smaller coffee places)

    -If someone makes you a cocktail that requires muddling, shaking, mixing or stirring, you should tip more than $1.

    -Don't flag down a server or a bartender and then not know what you want (or then turn to your friends and say "What do you guys want?"). BE READY!

    -Don't open a tab for ONE drink!

    -If you're at a bar, and your phone rings, don't answer it just to be like "Hello? Hello?! I can't hear you!". You knew that would happen. Just text.

    -If someone buys a round of drinks, everyone should buy a round! If you're really broke, start hanging out in cheaper bars, or make sure to get them back next time.

    -Be nice to bouncers and they will kick the jerks out of the bar for you.

    Getting Here And There

    -If you were driving, and needed to text someone, you would pull over, right? (RIGHT?). Well THE SAME THING APPLIES FOR WALKING ON THE SIDEWALK. If you are not good at walking and texting, and, unfortunately, most people aren't, you should move over to the curb, instead of swerving into people.

    -Don't walk side-by-side in a LINE with your five best friends on the sidewalk. You are not a motorcade.

    -ON THE SUBWAY: If your friend is sitting at another seat far away from you because there weren't any seats together, you should probably wait to resume your conversation instead of SHOUTING OVER the other passengers.

    -Conversely, if two people who are clearly together sit in seats on either side of you, be polite and offer to move for them!

    -If it's pouring outside and you have an umbrella, don't get under an awning--save that for the people who DON'T have an umbrella!

    -Ladies, watch how you get into and out of a cab if you're wearing a skirt or a dress!

    -Always carry cash so you can pay your share of the cab!

    -Don't listen to your music on your phone ON SPEAKER on the subway. I don't care how good the song is: it sounds tinny and obnoxious.

    -If someone on the subway is drunker than you, give up your seat. Better he or she pukes on the floor than on your head.

    -Really, we are the age demographic that has no excuse NOT to give up our seats on the subway! Unless the train is empty enough for there to be plenty of seats for everybody, you should probably be standing, and always ALWAYS offer your seat to older/pregnant/impaired riders!


    -The person who ASKED the other person out (be it guy or girl!) should offer to pay!

    -If you're a girl, and you know the guy you're with makes less money than you, you should offer to pay, but once he offers, never try to insist. It's a pride thing!

    -Texting on a date is rude. If you're having an awful time, go home, and if you're dying to give a friend the play-by-play, just go to the bathroom.

    -If your one night stand asks to use your shower the next morning, pay it forward and let them. You never know when you might need to wash last night's bad decisions off yourself.

    -Bringing someone home? Have a cat? Warn them. They might be really, really allergic, and nothing kills the mood like a desperate need for Sudafed.

    -Don't assume you can just walk around naked in someone's apartment.

    -Some people need SPACE to sleep, so don't strong arm someone into cuddling, especially if it's your first time hooking up with them.


    -Don't ignore someone's wall post. Everyone check's Facebook 8 times a day; we know you saw it. Also, don't ignore someone's wall post while continuing to post a bunch of stuff AFTER said wallpost. So rude.

    -Ditto for BBM. You saw the message, now just respond.

    -Don't turn someone down for a date and then check into someplace else on Foursquare or Tweet "At the movies with so and so!"

    -Don't use obnoxious text abbreviations. Especially if you have a smartphone.

    -Not only is the SOUND of your phone annoying during a movie/play/concert, but the LIGHT is annoying too.

    At Home

    -Don't have sex on a couch you share with your roommate. It's bad enough to do it in the shower but at least that can be bleached.

    -If it is raining/snowing/sleeting/a heatpocalypse, don't make your delivery man wait outside with your food while you find your shoes/count out cash/finish your phone conversation. And maybe tip a little extra?

    -Parents coming to visit? Give your roommate a heads up, please, so they don't walk into the living room nearly naked with your DAD there.

    -If you get home drunk and just HAVE to have your roommate's Cup Of Noodles, buy them another one!

    -If your roommate needs to consummate their latest love affair, make yourself scarce for a few hours. They would do it for you!!

    -Having a wild party? Invite your young neighbors. Otherwise they will resent you.

    -Having a wild party? Warn your older neighbors. Otherwise they will resent you.

    -If someone cooks dinner for a group of people, someone should offer to do the dishes!

    -Always bring a bottle of something to a friends' house party. (That's what Trader Joe's is for!)

    And finally...

    -This is so gross but I see it all the time and it just really has to stop: DON'T CLIP YOUR NAILS IN PUBLIC! Not on the subway! Not on the sidewalk over a subway grate! Not on your stoop! Not anywhere but in the privacy of your bathroom for the LOVE OF GOD!

    This list was compiled using suggestions from about 40 young, often irked, but always polite New Yorkers!