What is Proper Funeral Etiquette?

Attending a funeral should only be about paying your respects; make sure you’re acting properly with these 3 tips.

Richie Frieman,
Episode #140

Funeral Etiquette Tip #2: Turn the Cell Phone BLEEPING OFF!

Look, this one should not even be mentioned, yet I have to remind us all. No one is so busy they can’t go thirty minutes without checking their phone. I don’t care what you do for a living, NOTHING you are doing is that important. I have witnessed such improper behavior and if it were up to me, that person should have been thrown out. For the record, I will volunteer my services as an official “Funeral Bouncer.” The best way to curb this poor showcase of manners is to simply leave the phone in the car. I know, rocket science, right?

If you have to make a beeline to your car after the ceremony, by all means, do so. If you have a call you “must answer,” you better be doing it before you walk into the funeral hall. The last thing we need is the sounds of crying mixed with your “I Got a Feeling” ring tone.

Funeral Etiquette Tip #3: If You’re Late, Don’t Bother Showing Up

The great Vince Lombardi once said, “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. And if you’re late… don’t bother showing up.” It’s a saying that any athlete has heard a coach say the first day of practice, but it also applies to every other aspect of attending an event. When attending a funeral, be on time. Period. This is not a time to be fashionably late. I understand that you may have gotten stuck in traffic but when that large wooden door shuts behind you, midway into a loved one’s speech, everyone turns around. We can’t help it; when we hear a sound we turn--and I just hope it’s not you I see back there distracting everyone. Even worse is when someone walks in and tries to find a seat, pushing through others to sit down. “Um, excuse me ma’am, mind if I just scoot down in the middle, I know that that girl over there.” What?!

If you are late, wait in the back. If the ushers at the funeral home need you to sit down they will help you out; but aside from that, if you are late, it’s now standing room only for you. Or wait until the time in the ceremony when people (the family, the priest, rabbi, etc.) switch from the podium to speak. And the only seat you should look for is one in the back.

Do you have a great story about how you witnessed some rather improper manners during a funeral? Post them on my Modern Manners Guy Facebook page so we can all laugh with you. As always, if you have another manners question, I’m look forward to hearing from you so drop me a line at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. As well, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @ MannersQDT. And of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


The Quick and Dirty Tips Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.