Seinfeld Life Lesson: Etiquette Codes

By Sam Blend

Many people think that Seinfeld is a show about nothing, but I would argue that you could call it Seinfeld: the show about etiquette. So many etiquette questions are brought up and challenged on the show, I thought I’d pick a couple and let you know what the proper behavior is for each situation.

Situation: How long should one keep a greeting card?

It depends on the significance of the card and who it’s from. If it is something that means a lot to you or if the person put a lot of thought into the message, display it for about a week. I’m a pretty sentimental person, so I think it’s a good idea to save such things after you stop displaying them. You could make a file or scrapbook to keep them organized and avoid clutter. Another good idea is to scan them to your computer, so you’ll really have them forever. However, if the card is your average greeting card, the person definitely didn’t put a lot of thought into it, and you don’t really care about it, it is probably safe to discard it after a week of display. Just don’t let the person find it in your trash can!

Situation: Is there an appropriate location to call somebody to offer your condolences?

If your friend’s loved one has passed away and you’re looking for the right time to call them to express your sympathy and support., don’t try to squeeze the call into your day like Elaine did. She calls her friend cell phone walking around the city and ends up having to cut her off. I don’t think the type of phone or location matters as much as your availability. Don’t call somebody for such a serious matter if you aren’t sure you have a good half hour or so to talk to them. It’s something incredibly important that should not be taken lightly.

Situation: When is it not a good time to laugh?

Laughing is good, and it is  one of my favorite things to do. I laugh at everything. I surround myself with people who can make me laugh. But sometimes it’s just not appropriate. If you’re at a recital, like Elaine was, it is most definitely not a good idea to start cracking up, no matter what your friend just did and no matter how funny the joke they just whispered in your ear was. Contain yourself during a  presentation, performance or whatever. If it’s important to them and the atmosphere is silent, don’t be the one to break it. If you can’t control yourself, step outside.

Situation: How to not be nasty at the gym.

So much of this seems like common sense, but I guess so people miss the memo that I still need to point it out. Wipe down machines when you’re done with them —nobody wants to work out in a puddle of your sweat. It’s fine if you bring some water with you to hydrate when you work out, but if you spill some, make sure to clean it up. There’s always the possibility of somebody slipping and getting hurt. Don’t pee in the shower. I don’t care if you do in your own shower, but a public one? That other people have to use? Let it all out beforehand, or be prepared to hold it in.

Situation: Double dipping.

Answer: You’re at a party. You dip your chip once, take a bite and realize you’re going to need more dip to fully enjoy the chip. Doesn’t matter. DO NOT double dip into a dish that is being shared at a party. That is so gross. Discourteous. Disgraceful. Disgusting. You don’t know what germs you’re carrying, and you could easily spread them by double dipping. If you really need more dip on that chip, dip with the side you haven’t taken a bite from. Don’t be a George!

Can you think of any other good etiquette points that Seinfeld brings up?

Photo credit:

Samantha Blend is a second year English major and a blogger for O&B, writing about life lessons she has learned from Seinfeld. Her posts appear on Fridays.

One thought on “Seinfeld Life Lesson: Etiquette Codes

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