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Life is Better at the Beach

Sun, sand and the sounds of the waves … the beach does make things better. But only if everyone knows how to act. While Memorial Day is a solemn day, many view this upcoming long weekend as the unofficial kick off the summer season. Please remember to pack your marvelous manners along with your towel, cooler, floppy hat and sunscreen whenever you’re headed to the beach.

To make sure your behavior doesn’t ruin someone else’s good time, follow these two rules:

1. Share well with others. Give others space to enjoy their day by setting out your blankets, chairs and towels so that you aren’t right on top of another group. Fifteen feet is a good buffer zone of politeness. If there is other space to be had, please don’t set up camp directly in front of another group and block their view of the ocean. Make sure you don’t cause a ruckus by kicking up sand, shaking the sand off your towel or spraying your sunscreen so that the wind sends it to your neighbors. Mind the wind’s direction.

2. Don’t invade the auditory space of others. You’re outside laughing and chatting and enjoying the day. That’s marvelous! What isn’t so marvelous is if you blast your music, or talk on the cellphone or to your companions so loudly that those on blankets in your vicinity can hear you. Some people venture to the beach to listen to the crashing waves so be marvelously well-mannered and keep your volume down. We aren’t telling you to be as quiet as a hermit (crab) but let’s make sure your dull roar doesn’t drown out the roar of the waves! Leave the profanity and vulgarity home, particularly when there are families with small children in your vicinity.

These two simple tips will ensure you’re well-positioned to be marvelously well-mannered at the beach. Now we offer a suggestion on how to graciously deal with others who may be rude or inconsiderate or simply unaware of their boorish behavior’s impact on your good time. We need to remember the only behavior we can control is ours – so let’s always maintain our graciousness no matter what is thrown our way.

Be ready to move. The worst is when you’re enjoying yourself and a group plops down and bothers you for some reason. It could be that they are practically on top of you. Or maybe they are far enough away but their cigarette smoke, loud music, or provocative conversations still waft your way. OR maybe they are constantly kicking sand up as they run around. What do you do? This is a facts and circumstances situation. While you could ask them to give you more room, smoke somewhere else, turn down their music, mind their language or stop kicking sand in your direction, should you? Recognize that you’re trying to get them to be aware of the impact of their behavior and to care enough that it bothers you to agree to change it. That is a tall ask. Moreover, with more and more people behaving badly in public (sometimes actually verbally and physically assaulting people for the most minor of reasons), we advise you to always remember, safety first at all times. Save yourself the aggravation and change locations yourself. Quietly. Without fanfare or side-eye or muttering under your breath or head shaking. Just quietly pack up and move to a more serene location. Yes, it’s a hassle but what we want to avoid is you sitting there in an unpleasant situation or having it escalate.

Now, if you don’t want to move, the only alternative to you sitting and stewing is to politely and pleasantly ask them to please turn down their music, mind their language, etc. But recognize you don’t own the beach, this is only a request, and they may very well not comply, and indeed your request may set them off. Which brings us back to our solution of removing yourself from an unpleasant situation.It is your responsibility to keep yourself and those inn your party safe. The safest thing to do is to move or keep quiet and try to enjoy yourself. Personally, we would choose to move to a place where we won't be aggravated and enjoy the day without worry. Remember, having good manners often means putting up with someone else's bad manners.

If the last year has taught us – or should have taught us - anything it is that life is short and let the small stuff roll off your back. Don’t let petty nuisances ruin your day. So exercise some adult self-restraint, act with grace and just move. Then forget about your old beach neighbors, put on more sunscreen and enjoy the rest of your day!


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