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A Brief Guide to British Umbrella Etiquette

A Brief Guide to British Umbrella Etiquette

At Commisceo we do all things ‘etiquette’ – whether it’s dining etiquette in Brazil or gift giving etiquette in Mozambique.

Did you know however, that we also do British umbrella etiquette?!  We might not get a demand for formal umbrella etiquette training but here’s some etiquette advice for those moving to the UK who may need to become acquainted with surviving the upcoming UK rainy season:

Golfing Umbrella

Don’t, just don’t, don’t use one of these when you are in a crowded area.  They turn you into a walking weapon and are one of the most likely tools to irritate your fellow pedestrians. Designed to cover a golfer and their golfing cart, this type of umbrella should only be used in wide open spaces with limited pedestrian traffic.

Power Up Umbrellas

When using one of the ‘power up’ umbrellas, which spring open at the touch of a button, look to make sure that no-one is walking directly towards you when opening. Again, this type of umbrella can turn you into a walking weapon.

Mobile Phones and Umbrellas

Mobile phones and umbrellas don’t mix.  There’s nothing more likely to irritate fellow pedestrians than someone trying to manage a phone call while carrying their umbrellas.  The correct etiquette is to either pull over to the side and stop before using your phone or wait until you reach your destination. Including a takeaway coffee into the mix is guaranteed to irritate your fellow pedestrian.

Using Public Transport

When using public transport, the biggest etiquette breach has to be putting your wet umbrella onto the adjacent seat during your journey, leaving subsequent fellow passengers with a wet derrière.  Instead, fold your umbrella and place it next to you on the floor. If not folded, then the stray flapping material is at risk of drenching the legs or clothing of your fellow passenger.

Umbrella Adjustment    

UK umbrella culture dictates that the holder of the umbrella is responsible for avoiding clashes with others.  As such, hold your umbrella in such a way that you can see who / what is coming and then adjust the position of your umbrella to ensure that you do not interfere with the personal space of others. Be prepared to move and do not expect others to make allowances for you and your umbrella.  

Shake it, Shake it, Shake it!

When going inside a building, the correct UK etiquette is to collapse your umbrella and move the runner up and down the shaft to disperse any excess water. Ensure that no one becomes a victim of the spray when you do so.  Fold your umbrella accordingly and take it inside with you.  Where possible, leave your umbrella outside to ‘drip dry’.

The Umbrella Dance

Those with upmost UK etiquette are well acquainted with the ‘umbrella dance’. This dance dictates that, upon encountering a shorter person, the taller person raises their umbrella when passing.  Likewise, when encountering a taller person, the shorter person tilts the umbrella to the side upon passing.

Do you have tips on how to do umbrellas in the UK? Share them with us!

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