Catching a movie after a big meal is always a good way to retreat from the holiday frenzy.
There are a lot of good films out right now, and it will be easy to find something you would enjoy. Here are a few etiquette tips to keep your movie night (or afternoon) polite and courteous.
Buy Your Refreshments Before You Sit Down
Get there early enough to grab your popcorn and drink before the show begins. If you must get up during the show, squeeze past fellow moviegoers by looking towards them rather than away from them. Smile as you pass in front of them, being as careful as possible not to step on their toes.
Arrive early to pick a prime spot. Avoid saving an entire row for people who may or may not show up, or don’t have the courtesy to arrive on time. Those who are prompt garner the best seats. When it gets close to starting time and your friends have not appeared, release the seats for people who are in the aisles waiting to sit down.
Choose Your Seat Carefully
If you have the entire theater to yourself, with the exception of a few seats which have already been taken, select a location where you are not directly in front of another person. Always take a quick look back to see if you are much taller than the person behind you, and if so, allow your less lengthy friend to take the seat instead. Sometimes you have no options, but when you do, be mindful of your height in relation to the person in your rear view.
Keep Your Hands and Feet to Yourself
Do not use the seat in front of you as a footrest. Sharing your seat with someone’s bare feet is both unnerving and impolite. If this situation happens, stand up and move seats. If the person behind you is shallow enough to put his foot on top of your seat, he or she probably won’t be receptive to your request to place their foot back on the floor.
There is a certain amount of noise that goes with opening wrappers and snacking on popcorn and nachos. Chewing your refreshments should not rival the volume of the film. Even with the lights turned down, show respect for fellow guests by using your best manners. Don’t toss trash on the floor or whip out tuna sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs you brought from home. Interesting fact, there is a link between creative people and noise tolerance.
Hire a Babysitter
You may be looking for some much-needed respite and a movie is just the thing to turn your tired holiday mood around, but bringing a baby with you may result in an early exit. It’s L-O-U-D in the theater and your baby may not be able to rest comfortably. If you do bring a young child, and he or she starts to fidget or cry, remove them immediately out of respect for fellow guests. Don’t let your four-year-old run up and down the aisles. It’s distracting to patrons and dangerous for your child.
Turn Your Cell On Silent and Don’t Text
It’s common courtesy to take a call in an area which won’t disrupt other guests. If you have to answer, get up and walk out of the movie theater. Texting is also discourteous because the phone lights up every time you reach for it to see who is trying to contact you. Find a time you can be out of pocket for a couple of hours, excluding emergency calls. There is a reason the movie theater asks you to “silence your cell phones”.
Lower Your Voice
Be mindful of spoiling the ending for the people waiting to watch the show. Don’t talk loudly about how it ended or how you were surprised it wasn’t the butler who stole the precious jewels. A few choice words, spoken thoughtlessly, could potentially ruin the viewing experience for someone else. Keep your volume down when you exit the theater.
For more of Diane’s etiquette tips, you may enjoy How to Be on Your Best Holiday Behavior. Read her posts on Inc., subscribe to her articles on HuffPost, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Buy her new book, Modern Etiquette for a Better Life.