As rainy days become more prevalent this time of year, I thought this might be a good time to give everyone a few umbrella etiquette tips.
One of the most important things to remember when using an umbrella is that carrying one on a rainy day expands your personal space. Knowing this, follow these tips:
- Save your oversized umbrellas for the golf course and choose an average-sized umbrella instead.
- When passing someone on the sidewalk, adjust your umbrella for height. Using the “duck n’ lift” approach: taller person raises, shorter person takes the low road.
- Always be aware of those around you while using an umbrella so you don’t inadvertently poke the tall man who is walking behind you. And on that note—get rid of any umbrella that has exposed spokes.
Hold on tight
If the wind is blowing, hold on tight to your umbrella. Not only do you want to save it from blowing away, you also want to be sure you don’t injure the person walking next to you.
Keep your head up!
This seems very obvious (to me, anyway), but make sure you’re paying attention to where you’re walking while carrying an umbrella. If you’re busy texting, tweeting or emailing on your smartphone, you’re not paying attention to your surroundings. And as they say “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye!” Save your messages until you’re safely at your destination.
Awnings are off limits
If you have an umbrella with you on a rainy day, be courteous. Walk outside the awnings, or on the other side of the street, to make sure there’s room for those without umbrellas can stay a little bit dryer.
Shake it Off
When going into a dry area, such as a restaurant or lobby, tap your umbrella against the ground or on the edge of the building to shake off the rain before taking it inside. Be mindful not to splatter the people walking by.
If you’re taking your umbrella on the bus or the train, consider bringing along a plastic bag to store your closed, wet umbrella in. Barring that, store it on the floor, not on the seat next to you.
When entering a building, leave your closed umbrella close to the door if possible. Many restaurants have umbrella stands for guests.
No swinging allowed
If you’ve brought along a “just in case it rains today” umbrella and you’re walking with it, hold the closed umbrella vertical, not tucked under your arm. And refrain from swinging it around or side to side as you walk (yes, I’ve seen grown adults ‘playing’ with their umbrellas while they walk!). A closed umbrella is traditionally held like a walking cane.
When the skies open up, don’t be THAT guy! Use common sense and be an aware umbrella user.