How to Be a Considerate Urban Dweller

We firmly believe that city dwellers can be some of the nicest, most polite people out there. After all, you are forced to be in close quarters with hundreds of people every day. You need to learn to read social cues and put others needs above your own. And yes, we all dream of retreating to a ranch in the middle of nowhere where we don’t have to talk to anyone or remember to be nice to the deli guy and we can walk however slowly we want on the sidewalk, but humans are social creatures, and nowhere represents this better than our bustling cities.

That being said, city living doesn’t come naturally to everyone, so here are a few tips on how to handle yourself if you suddenly find yourself in an apartment building in the middle of a metropolis. (Public transportation is a whole conversation unto itself, so we will cover that in depth later!)

  • Remember that there are people around you! Avoid very loud conversations in person or on your phone. Also be aware of music leakage. Even if you’re using headphones, loud music can definitely be heard by those around you. (Also, please use headphones. Do not be that person who is just watching music videos on their phone OUT LOUD.)

  • Sidewalks are the city’s highway, so treat walking as though you were driving. “Pull over” if you need to stop for any reason, don’t just stop dead in the middle of the flow of traffic, especially if you are a group of people. If you are walking and texting, you are NOT walking as fast as you normally do. Try to move out of peoples way. Also, like on roads, keep to the right (or left if you’re in Europe I guess?), especially on stairs, so traffic can flow both ways.

  • Don’t block things! Don’t stop in doorways or at the top, bottom, or middle of subway stairs.

  • Don’t walk three abreast (or more, jeez!) down the sidewalk!

  • Be mindful of your downstairs neighbors and don’t clomp around on your hardwood floors or play very loud music all of the time. On the flip side, be aware that you are living in very close quarters and don’t be too hard on your neighbors unless it is very intrusive and persistent.

  • Be mindful of jaywalking. If you can see cars aren’t coming for a while, then it’s probably safe, but don’t run into the middle of the street if you see someone coming.

  • If you are on a bike, remember you are still a vehicle and obey all traffic laws. No riding against traffic, no running red lights, no biking on the sidewalk.

  • Telling neighbors to quiet down: Doing it in person the first time is probably best, or if you can’t, leave a friendly note. However, I’ve been known to resort to/respond to a few bangs on the ceiling or floor with a broom handle. It’s quick, unobtrusive, and everyone knows what it means.

  • For gods sake pick up your dog poop! There is no excuse not to do this.

2 thoughts on “How to Be a Considerate Urban Dweller

  1. Pingback: Noisy Neighbors | Uncommon Courtesy

  2. Pingback: The Etiquette of Weed Pt. 3: A Rebuttal | Uncommon Courtesy

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