I don’t want to go all Emily Post here, but I have noticed a general shift away from having decent manners. I’m not really talking about the finer points of etiquette, such as which fork to use, or what to bring the host of a dinner party. I’m just talking about having some common courtesy, and making things a little nicer for the people around you. So here goes.
1) Make eye contact with people, and acknowledge them. Even if you don’t know them, it doesn’t hurt just to look someone in the eye and say something as simple as “Hello,” or, “Good morning.” You can keep right on moving if you like. This isn’t about striking up a long conversation. It’s just being friendly.
2) If you’re talking to someone, and another person comes up to the two of you, make sure they know one another. All you have to say is “Do you two know each other?” If not, introduce them, and say a little something about each of them so the other person has a bit of context.
3) If you want to be a good conversationalist, remember to ask people questions about themselves and give them the time to answer. Be a good listener, and even ask some follow up questions. Resist the urge to take their stories and refer them back to yourself. My wife and I find people like this very frustrating, and not very interesting. You start to feel like you are there just to interview them and to let the conversation revolve around them. After a while I tend to give up and move on.
I don’t want to sound like a nag. I’m just suggesting that you engage the people around you in a way that connects you to them meaningfully. You’ll be more memorable because of it, and you will continue to make friends and acquaintances throughout your life. It’s a relatively low investment in time and energy, and it pays off many times over in the long run.