George Washington’s Rules of Civility

“Honor belongs to the Man
who Honors everybody before Him”

1. Every thing that you do, do it with honor

2. In front of others, let your hands be shown
so your intentions of good-will and openness
will be known

3. Do nothing to embarrass or otherwise
cause distress to the person you are speaking with

4. Do not interrupt another with humming
or tapping to yourself, but let his words have
open-air in which to breathe

5. Do not yawn or otherwise suggest you are bored
with somebody with whom you are speaking
but do your best not to find yourself in such a situation

6. If everyone is standing, do not sit and make
the situation an awkward one, do not speak
when all are enjoying a moment of silence
and commune, relax and let the moment
have the integrity of its shared space

7. Do not draw attention to yourself
by dressing radically, taking off your clothes
or otherwise crying for attention

8. Let everyone participate in games equally,
even those who aren’t as skillful,
do not seek to be dominant to speak the loudest
or otherwise monopolize the inter-action

9. Do not put your feet on the table
when eating or otherwise show dis-respect
for the situation at hand

10. When you are sitting, relax
don’t be moving around causing a commotion
and distraction to others

11. Do not be fidgity or biting your nails
picking your ears and doing other things
which are generally disgusting or un-couth

12. Don’t roll your eyes or make exaggerated
motions with your facial features to suggest
you are un-impressed or a jackass,
don’t spit on people when you’re talking,
be aware of your actions and their effects

13. Don’t kill any living thing, a fly or spider
in front of another, be a man of peace
and if you see something like a stain
on another person’s clothes, point it out
to him discretely, remove a piece of food
from their lapel as you would like them
to do for you

14. Don’t disregard someone whose talking
to you by turning your back or clearly
not paying attention, don’t jostle a table
if they are trying to write on it

15. Have basic hygiene, clean your hands
and teeth so they don’t have to be disgusted
when looking at you

16. Don’t make exaggerated motions with
your cheeks or tongue or lips like a clown

17. Don’t be some yes-man flattering
and patronizing every-body you come
across, nor allow yourself to be patronized

18. Don’t read in a social space in close
proximity to others suggesting they are bothering
you when really you are being publicly anti-social,
likewise, don’t read what other people are looking
at or writing without their permission

19. Be nice, friendly and pleasant
casual but also serious recognizing there are moments
of joy, fun, elation and comraderie as well as concern,
tragedy and drama

20. Act appropriately given the context of the situation

21. Don’t point out people’s flaws in public

22. Don’t laugh at other’s misfortunes, even if
they are your “enemy”

23. Recognize if someone gets in trouble,
even if they deserved it, that it still is an emotionally
unsettling event for them, and be respectful of that

24. Don’t laugh your head off like a jackass
at some public spectacle, have some sense of

25. Don’t make outrageous statements
and ceremonious gestures which are uncalled for,
likewise give a toast or whatever is appropriate
in the appropriate situation

26. Shake people’s hands or give them a hug
and kiss on the cheek or whatever the local
greeting is, going with the flow

27. Do what you’re supposed to do,
but don’t get bent out of shape if others mis-step

28. Accord everyone the basic amount of respect
deserving of being a human being, even if you
don’t think highly of them

29. If someone is an honored guest, a worthy person
elderly infirm or for whatever other reason deserving
of special care, don’t stand in their way,
let them through, hold the door for them, etc.

30. If you’re walking with somebody elderly
or visiting, etc. protect them from passer-bys
or when crossing the street or whatever situation
in which they might need some guidance, direction
or protection

31. If you’re visiting someone and they’re offering
you hospitality and they are being overly generous,
for example, offering you to sleep in their bed,
don’t accept, let them sleep in their own bed
and you take the couch

32. On the other hand, when offering hospitality,
go ahead and offer them the best you have to
offer, and if they decline insist. Likewise, if you
are offered something, and the other person
insists, graciously accept so as not to offend
their magnanimity

33. If you hold a position, you have precedence,
this is true, for example, if you’re playing pool
and you are the winner, you stay on the table,
however, at the same time, recognize that
others get an opportunity to “prove themselves”
and so be courteous in giving new-comers
that chance

34. When talking with others,
let them have the “right of way”
to speak more liberally than yourself,
and so be a gentleman in conversation
rather than trying to monopolize
the air-waves

35. When you know you are speaking
with someone who is busy, be brief
get to the point so they can do what
they need to do and you won’t
be a hindrance to them

36. If you’re talking to someone esteemed,
don’t make radical gestures and ceremonies
just be respectful of them and likewise
they should be courteous to you

37. Give people room to breathe

38. Don’t pretend to be a doctor,
if you don’t know what you’re talking about

39. Acknowledge people’s merits

40. Don’t argue with people,
let their position stand even if you disagree

41. Don’t try to teach others what you know
if its unsolicited, if they’re a writer and
you’re a writer, let them ask if they want
your opinion or advice and otherwise
just appreciate having met someone
who does the same thing as yourself

42. If you’re around somebody who clearly
likes to look and act and talk and dress a certain way,
for example, your grandmother,
don’t insist on acting like a punk
at least while you’re in her presence

43. Don’t show off how happy you are
when there is someone clearly suffering
from an illness or otherwise perturbed
in your immediate presence

44. Don’t rub people’s noses in their failures

45. If you need to put someone in check
to let them know whatsup that they messed up
in some way, do it privately so as not to embarrass
them, don’t make a big scene of it, use discretion
and when you do tell them what needs to be said,
do it with kindness and sweetness not anger

46. Thank someone if they are offer genuinely
constructive criticism, especially if they are a friend,
and if you think they were wrong in admonishing
you, then after-wards, in private, you can let them know

47. Don’t make fun of important things,
don’t make harsh sardonic attacks on others,
and if you do make a joke, let others have the opportunity
to laugh at it first, don’t just laugh as if everyone must
think its funny because you said it

48. If you’re pointing out someone’s flaw to them,
for example that they smoke or drink or gamble
or eat poorly or are out of shape or whatever it is,
don’t do it if you are an alcoholic slob.
Show by example.

49. Don’t curse and use unnecessarily
tasteless dis-respectful shock-value language
when its unnecessary

50. Don’t think just because someone tells you
something, for example if they’re saying something
about someone else who isn’t present, that its necessarily
true, in fact, give the person being talked about
the benefit of the doubt that its not true
until you have an opportunity to further investigate
the situation, assuming its even worth caring about

51. Don’t look like a degenerate slob

52. Don’t try to look like some hot-shot
to impress others, for example, wearing a suit
and tie at a casual bar, unless you were already
wearing that due to your profession

53. Don’t go running around your neighborhood
causing a commotion, waving your arms
as if something is wrong and essentially
stirring up panic or distracting drivers
who could get into an accident for no reason

54. Don’t be vain, constantly checking your hair
your makeup your clothes this that and the other
so concerned about your appearance, if you really
care then go to the bathroom and do it in private,
people don’t need to see your grooming in public

55. Don’t be eating something in a situation where
its clearly dis-respectful or doing whatever else
would be absurd, like smoking in a church
or any other conceivable obvious scenario
you could come up with

56. Hang out with good people, not low-lifes
and if everyone around you is a scumbag,
then do things on your own. Have the ability
to have fun, to do what you need to do,
to leave a scenario if necessary, without
always having to have someone hold
your hand

57. If you’re walking with someone,
don’t stop and start, and do this and that
disrupting the flow, going quick and slow,
needing to smoke, and starting conversations
with random people, and essentially
dis-regarding the other person
and/or the purpose of the walk in the first place

58. When you’re speaking, use reason
don’t just say whatever you feel lashing out
at others or giving other people you’re
problems when they didn’t ask for it

59. Don’t say something unbecoming
or do something immoral, for example, lying

60. If something’s a secret, let it remain a secret
don’t bagger someone to tell you if they
don’t want to

61. Don’t use all sorts of high-falutan words
and expressions and adjectives
and superlatives that people aren’t going
to get and don’t pose difficult questions
to make someone seem unknowledgeable,
to do so is to intentionally humiliate
someone and/or to show you don’t care
about them and is a form of an attack

62. Don’t ruin a positive moment
by going out of your way to publicize
negative things which are un-called for
out-of-place merely for the sake of bringing
down other people’s good time

63. Don’t brag about how great you are,
what you’ve done, how much money you have,
how many women you’ve had sex with, etc.
Let others speak on your behalf as they
desire and be humble

64. Don’t laugh in a serious situation,
like a Church, or a funeral
have respect for where you are,
why you are there, and what other
people are going through

65. Even if someone deserves it,
don’t tell them off, don’t call them names,
take the high road and let it be obvious
by your demeanor in contrast to their
own the difference in your character

66. Be friendly, go out of your way to say
hello to people you know, people you’ve
seen before, acknowledge their presence
and that you are happy to see them,
that you wish them well, and if its a social
situation engage in conversation,
don’t just sit in the corner and draw
attention and negative energy to yourself

67. Don’t be over-bearing in a conversation
demanding people listen to you
or ordering others around as if they’re
your servants or something

68. Don’t go somewhere if you’re not invited,
don’t give advice if its not asked for,
respect the fact that people might not want
you to participate in everything that they
are doing

69. If two people are having a disagreement,
don’t get in-between the two of them
and take a side and suggest the other is
wrong and involve yourself and make
it a bigger production than it needs to be
for the sake of self-involvement.
Let them work it out amongst themselves,
it’s their issue not yours, and if you see
things are getting out of hand,
you can go over in a nice way and
try to help resolve the dispute

70. It is not your responsibility to go around
telling other people how what they are doing
is wrong, have your opinion, but keep it to
yourself if its unsolicited

71. Don’t point out people’s imperfections
in public, remarking about their moles
or a birthmark or a scar. Many things that
we might discuss in private are not issues
for public and social discourse

72. If you speak Russian and English
and you’re surrounded by English speakers,
speak English so everyone can be included
in the conversation, don’t alienate people
by insisting on communicating to your
buddy in a foreign language, or slang,
or using derogatory words or even
being overly pretentious and didactic

73. Be thoughtful when speaking
don’t just run your mouth
and articulate well so people can
actually hear what you’re saying

74. Don’t interrupt others while
they’re talking and making their point,
be a good listener, give them a respectful
space and ask your question one they’ve

75. Don’t suggest that someone
wasn’t listening in a dis-respectful way
but be ready to re-peat yourself as necessary
and to re-start telling a story if someone
new joins your audience

76. Don’t get in someone’s face, crowding
them for the sake of an unwanted intimacy
breathing on their neck or whispering in
their ear when you don’t know them well,
spitting in their face when you talk,
they can smell your breath, Don’t yell in
their ear, don’t impose yourself upon them
forcing them to listen to you as if you’re
the only person who matters in the world.
Give them space to inter-act with you
as they like

77. Don’t whisper gossip and tell secrets
in a public place, clearly dis-regarding others
Do those things in private, if at all

78. Don’t compare people’s relative
virtues with one another, and if someone’s
being commended, let them enjoy their moment,
don’t feel the need to have to commend every
single person in the surrounding area
as if their accomplishment wasn’t note-worthy

79. Don’t talk about things you don’t really
know about, don’t spread rumors, and don’t
disclose who told you what if they wouldn’t
want it to be known that they told you.
Respect people’s confidence.

80. Don’t go into elaborate details of explanation
on minutia unless your audience actually cares
for that level of detail, otherwise keep it general
within a general level of interest

81. Don’t stick your nose into other people’s business,
prying to find out information that they want
to keep private

82. Don’t agree to do something beyond your
capabilities, and likewise, if you agree to do something
and you can do it, then you should do it.
Fulfill your promises and so be someone who can
be trusted.

83. No matter how upset the other person may
be, they may yell, they may lose their cool,
act uncharacteristic, maintain your calm,
speak softly, meaningfully, rationally,
and let their tempers cool.
Don’t throw gasoline on a fire
or allow yourself to be thrown on “tilt”
or otherwise off your game because someone
else is wound up.

84. If someone is saying something,
and they have the floor, don’t interrupt

85. In a public scenario, when you’re
asking someone a question, do it in a courteous
way, and be brief, so they can answer you
and you can move on

86. If you’re having an argument or a debate
and you speak so much or so loud that
the other person can’t make their point
or defend themselves, then you’ve “won” nothing.
Let the other person have an equal opportunity
to speak.

87. Don’t contradict and provide counter-points
to every statement someone’s trying to make
in explaining their view of something,
let minor discrepancies go, so you can actually
hear the “larger vision” of what he’s trying to say

88. If you’re given space to speak,
don’t go on a million tangents, throwing everything
in and the kitchen sink, make your points
get to the point and let people move on with their
lives. Likewise, don’t repeat ad infinitum the same
point, insisting on drilling it into someone’s head
as if they couldn’t get it the first time.

89. Don’t speak poorly about people who
aren’t around. Lashon Hora.

90. If you’re in front of food, don’t sneeze
or cough or otherwise spit or spew your
disgusting bodily fluids and refuse
on what people are going to put in their
mouths or the surrounding air-space.

91. Don’t glorify being a slovenly eater
a gluttonous pig, shoving food in your
mouth, and acting like you don’t care
at all about the fact that others are trying
to enjoy themselves and don’t want
to see you gorging yourself as well
as the fact that there are millions of people
in the world dying of starvation daily

92. Don’t dirty a utensil or food-item
that is meant to be used by everybody.
I don’t want your saliva or the dirt from
your hands on what I’m going to put in my mouth

93. If someone’s your guest, treat them with
hospitality and generosity, if they’re eating with you
make sure they have enough, don’t eat one thing
and give them another, but offer them whatever
you would want to eat

94. Don’t fill your mouth with food to the point
that you can’t speak or its coming out of your
mouth and crumbs are falling on the floor
and you look like a complete jackass

95. Don’t spit out seeds on the table
or eat food with a knife when you’re supposed
to use a fork or any other gesture that basically
detracts from people being able to enjoy
their meal, the conversation, and the experience

96. If you’re fingers are sticky, don’t wipe them
on other people’s clothes, or the furniture
or otherwise mess-up wherever you are.
This is Common Decency 101

97. Don’t try to eat something that’s too big
for your mouth, too big to chew, that it looks
like your choking or trying to eat a live squirrel

98. Don’t speak with food in your mouth
or look around scandalously while drinking
as if something sensational was going on

99. Don’t guzzle down your drink to show
how great you are, or sip it infinitely slowly
holding up the general flow of the activity.
Drink like a normal human being.

100. Don’t pick your teeth in front of
other people, no one wants to see it,
but if someone else does it, don’t worry
about it, ignore it and move on

101. Don’t gargle and rinse out your
mouth in front of others as if you were
in a dentists chair or something

102. Every meal doesn’t need to be a massive
production, every drink doesn’t have to be
to someone’s health or in some-one’s
honor. At the end of the day, food and drink
is for the sake of our health, not an occasion
to throw a party on a daily basis

103. Don’t make other people wait for you
while you eat, recognize when people are
finishing up, and finish around the same
time so you can get on with your night

104. Everyone who is eating with you,
or with you in any social or intimate situation
should feel comfortable, relaxed,
and welcomed

105. Don’t cause arguments over the dinner
table, enjoy the food, enjoy each other’s
company, realizing that the moment
and the meal will “taste better”
when it is set in a spirit of happiness

106. Do not seek the best seat in the house
the best seat at the table, sit wherever, it doesn’t
really matter, but if you are offered that seat
and they insist, graciously accept

107. If people want to talk, listen
but if people want silence, then just
enjoy your meal, your beer, whatever you’re doing

108. Show respect for elderly people,
for holiness, for people’s beliefs in the sacred
and the divine, for your parents, and all things
worthy of respect

109. Spend your free-time in ways that are good
and constructive, don’t waste your time hanging
out with morons and assholes
and engaging in stupid, reckless, dangerous
and self-destructive activities

110. Always keep your inner fire burning,
your passion for life, your hope, your optimism,
your friendly demeanor, your ability to give
of yourself, to have positive energy,
and to act with character and dignity
and righteousness.

Thank you.