Tag Archives: social interaction

The 24hrs Rule

It’s a rule that didn’t exist 10 years ago, but now the 24hrs rule, although an unwritten rule, governs our etiquette regarding email, SMS text messaging and phone calls. Unless you are ill, on holiday or unexpectedly put in prison, you are meant to reply to this type of electronic message, to a friend or colleague, within 24hrs, anything longer and it is considered rude and an apology would be expected with the message.

Before the predominance of the internet and mobile phones, communication was limited to old fashioned landline telephone calls and snail mail. Now that we carry around electronic devices on our person and engage in social networking several times a day, we fully expect a response to our message within a reasonable time frame, which is no more than 24hours.

If a message goes over 24hrs without a response, then we get very annoyed as it is disrespectful to behave in such an impolite way. Even as the 24hrs barrier approaches we start to get annoyed that the person dares to get close to a contemptible reply time.

We are increasingly becoming more and more impatient and the 24hr rule is starting to become socially unacceptable for text messages and that a response within 12hrs (inclusive of sleep time) is expected. A good friend of mine was even upset the other day that I took 6hrs to reply to her text message and I was ill at the time!

It’s only in the dating arena, as per my previous blog post, where communication is acceptable over the 24hrs period otherwise it seems too keen. More and more we have to communicate with people over different mediums, but also be conscious of how quickly and often we do it. We also learn whether our friends are more responsive to a particular form of communication, some prefer texts, other emails and some even (can you believe it?) actually prefer talking on the phone!

I’m quite happy with the 24hrs rule but I worry that we are moving towards a world where instant responses are required. I am not a fan of that and that is why I don’t log into instant messaging systems unless I have arranged to chat to somebody.


Jake McMillan

Getting the girl to pay for Dinner!

Now we all know that when it comes to the first date there exists a socially accepted, gender-biased rule that men are meant to pay for dinner. But this is the 21st century; surely it should be 50:50 and, dare I say it, maybe even women should pay for the whole meal sometimes?

Well, this year I have been trying to see if I can get a woman to pay for dinner. I am part of the generation who have feminist mums and rightly believe that men and women are different but equal, and so when it comes to going out, any costs should be divided straight down the middle. But no!

Women say it is a “nice gesture” when the man offers to pay and it shows that the man wants to look after them. This is, of course, complete guff, but men have to put up with it if they want dates number two and three. The difficulty for men – and it really is a choice of principles or punani – is that there is no standard viewpoint. Some women are OK with 50:50 and many others are not.

Being a feminist myself, and ignoring the fact that I am a tight-fisted so-and-so (like you hadn’t guessed already), I believe passionately in equality, but I also wouldn’t mind being in a relationship too. So, what am I to do?

Until we can get more women to ask men out, the answer is how you ask a lady. For example, if I say, “I’d like to take you out to dinner,” the clear inference is that I am taking responsibility for the dinner. Whereas, if I suggest that it would be nice to meet up, and offer dinner as a possible activity and she accepts, then it is a mutual agreement and so a 50:50 split is more appropriate. Why should heterosexual dates have different rules to gay dates, where it is much more fair.

So, how many women did I get to pay for the whole meal? Zero, of course. The sad truth is that unless you “forget your wallet” (which will not get you date number two), women will not pay for dinner on a first date. Sorry guys, we’re just going to have to reach deep into our pockets, or stay at home and reach deep into our pockets!

Jake McMillan

One Kiss or Two?

The multi-cultural make up of London is what makes it such a great city, but it does also exacerbate the potential awkwardness of little social interaction we all do on a regular basis, namely the kiss hello. Depending on who you are greeting, you have to decide whether to even do the kiss hello and if you do, is it just one kiss or is it both cheeks and sometimes it can even be 3 kisses! So how do you know what to do?

There are so many unwritten rules about doing it, for instance, you don’t kiss hello a flatmate or a colleague, but you would an ex-flatmate or ex-colleague. Then there are those 50:50 situations, the friend of your partner who you don’t know that well or if on a blind/internet date, if you don’t kiss hello then you seem unfriendly but if you do kiss hello then it may seem too friendly?

Even the kiss itself can be done in many different ways that can easily go wrong. With the one kiss approach, this could be performed with the chap doing the kissing and the lady offering her cheek (or vice versa), or it could be the mutual version where both do the kissing on the cheek at the same time (but you really only kiss with half your lips), or it can end up being a weird cheek to cheek air kiss affair which you know is not right the moment it happens!

The subtle technicalities of the greeting are what make it difficult and can lead to errors. Many cultures do the 2 or 3 kiss hello, the latter is a surprise as you think you are done with cheek kissing, but no, another one is expected. Even the 2 kiss hello can have its problems as whilst doing the head transfer there can be accidental lips to lips contact. This is not so bad when it’s someone you wouldn’t mind kissing on the lips, but when it is your great auntie, it really is not a pleasant experience!

The answer to all this is that there is no real right or wrong (except about kissing your great aunt on the lips), just be confident in your approach, with no hesitations, and you will be fine. My preferred approach is to do the simple one kiss and to add a mini hug for close friends.

Jake McMillan