Umbrella Etiquette | Manners & Etiquette

Umbrella and girlIt’s raining today and Meredith Sweetpea is off to meet a friend for lunch. As she prepares, she wonders what the etiquette might be for what to do with a wet umbrella upon arrival.

It is most important to consider other people when toting a wet umbrella into an indoor space.

Rules for Umbrella Etiquette

  • Don’t set your umbrella on a seat near you, under any circumstance.
  • Don’t hang your wet umbrella over the seat back or arm where it can drip water onto the floor, thus causing a slip and fall hazard. If it is a large umbrella hold it between your knees on a bus or crowded area. If it is a small one, slip it into a bag or place it on the floor under your feet.
  • Don’t shake your umbrella out near others, or in an indoor space. Shake it out before you enter the building but make sure first that there is nobody standing nearby.
  • Your umbrella extends your personal space by up to three feet. Be mindful that you are taking up more room than usual.
  • When walking on the street, raise your umbrella so that you can see where you are going, and so that the point of the umbrella is not facing forward. This can cause a nasty incident if someone inadvertently gets stabbed! WE know you didn’t do it on purpose, but did the stab-ee?
  • When passing others on the street, the shorter person should raise their umbrella over the head of the taller person so they can pass, or fold their umbrella to allow passing in a crowded area.
  • Please avoid using your umbrella as a weapon. Even if the people in front of you are moving slowly. It is bad etiquette to bump others or their umbrellas with your umbrella.
  • When folding your umbrella, take care not to “aim” the point at someone else. It is best to point the umbrella toward the ground and close it from there.
  • When you are entering a building, be aware that other people behind you are rushing in to get out of the rain. Especially those who forgot their umbrellas. Don’t stop right in front of the door once you enter. Move to the side of the door if you have to hesitate to allow others to enter. Likewise when you are leaving a building. Do not stop right in front of the door to open your umbrella.
  • If you have placed your umbrella into an umbrella stand, take a moment to make sure you take your own umbrella when you leave. You might want to put an identifying mark or tag on your umbrella so that you can quickly distinguish it from others.
  • If you are holding the wet umbrella, if you hold it near you, you will get wet. It is easy to carry a plastic bag with you and slip the wet umbrella into that bag. Where I live, we get perfect-sized bags on our daily newspapers when they are delivered on a rainy day.
  • If you have an umbrella and are walking near someone who does not have one, offer to share yours. Wouldn’t you like it if someone did the same for you? Simply offer your umbrella with a smile.
  • If you are a couple walking under an umbrella, let the taller person hold the umbrella.
  • Once it stops raining and you are still carrying your umbrella, be sure to hold it in a manner that is not dangerous for others around you. Do not sling it under your arm horizontally with the point and handle facing others. And please don’t swing it about and risk hitting someone else with your umbrella.

I think this is enough to get me started on my day. At least it is not windy! That is another problem for umbrellas.


Order this really cute umbrella of Van Gogh’s “Irises” here.


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