Current Issue -

Kindness Etiquette 101

By Design by Allison Thomley • Text by Inspire(d) | Summer 2024 Inspire(d)

Kindness is free! Share it with others this summer.

Make your vacations a whole lot more enjoyable by tapping into your compassion as you interact with folks in the service industry this summer. Treat going out or traveling like you’re going over to a friend’s house. You would likely express gratitude, and not overreact to a minor inconvenience, or complain loudly if something wasn’t to your liking. These places are communities – not just experiences – and we’re all just out here, seeking happiness. Your kindness and compassion can change the direction of someone’s day, and, in turn, change yours too. 

The following graphic shares some tips and reminders about interacting with others as you head out on your summer adventures. Remember: Being a kind human doesn’t cost a thing!

Remember Your Manners 

Be polite in your communication, and offer courtesy and respect. Please and thank you go a long way, as well as smiles and eye contact. It costs $0 to be a kind human, but the compassion sent out into the world is priceless.

Kindness Meets Kindness

If you have a complaint, be kind and calm as you explain the problem. Don’t yell or make a scene as you work to find a solution. Extend a little compassion – you never know what others are going through. Courtesy works both ways. Treat others how you want to be treated.  

Restaurant Respect

Be kind. Don’t take your frustrations out on staff and servers who have no control over menu items, what’s in stock, what’s sold out, etc. There are currently many supply issues and shortages, and costs have increased across the board.

In a hurry? Know what you want to order when you get to the front of the line. Ask for your check right away, and remember to tip. These moments of generosity go a long way for the people behind the bar, counter, or table.

Tipping To-Dos

• 15-25 percent of the bill is generally the norm (moving along the range depending on quality of service).

• Cash is king, but of course, a tip on a card is better than no tip! 

• A round amount is always nice (vs a pile of change).

Practice Patience

Sometimes it’s busy. You’re on an adventure, so take the opportunity to slow down, enjoy your environment, and be patient (here are some patience tips!). 

Be Good with Boundaries

These are real people with families and lives. Respect the boundaries they’ve set. With small staffs and small communities, hours can shift. Try not to complain about this. Plan ahead – check websites and social media for hours – maybe even call ahead to confirm, if it’s a long drive. Make reservations if needed. Try to avoid showing up five minutes before close. If you realize you’re cutting it close to closing time, ask if it’s ok if you still order/can still dine in. 


Leave 5-star reviews when you love a place, but take a pause before you leave a review when something goes wrong – try contacting management to resolve the issue first.

General Etiquette

• Put your phone down while interacting with the people helping you

• Give compliments freely

• Be friendly; not lewd.

• Try not to make too many menu adjustments

• Clean up if your kids leave a huge mess

• Follow the pet policy – unless it’s a service animal, no pets means no pets

Allison Thomley

Designer Allison Thomley just finished her junior year at Luther College studying Visual Communications and Art. Originally from Madison, WI, she loves listening to music and playing Mario Kart in her free time. See more of her work at