I spend a lot of time at coffee shops meeting with people. In fact I am at a coffee shop, meeting with someone almost every week day. I have had significant conversations with kids, leaders, donors, committee members, etc at coffee shops in our local area. I know the value of what can happen in these places.
You most likely have had great experiences and poor experiences at coffee shops. The main thing that creates our experiences is not the coffee shop itself, but the people that are in there. Let’s try to honor and value each other in these settings. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Go local. Your dollar matters. Even if it is only a few dollars at a time. I don’t have anything against chain coffee shops, but I want to support local businesses. Young Life is funded by local donors (businesses and individuals) who care and give to make Young Life happen in our communities. So, instead of going to the chain coffee shop go to a local coffee shop. Build a relationship with the people there. Be Young Life in being relational and loving people well even in these settings.
Right size your table. Don’t be the guy on your laptop in the coffee shop taking up a table for six when there is a table for two or a counter next to you. You don’t need all that table space. Anticipate your group size before everyone shows up. Change tables if your group is bigger or smaller than you anticipated. By having the right size table your are valuing other patrons.
Anticipate the conversations you are going to have. I have seen more than one crying woman in the middle of a coffee shop. This is awkward for everyone. If you know you are going to have a hard conversation with a person, find the back corner or an area where there are not many people sitting around you. This will help you and everyone else that is there.
Order something. Don’t be the person that shows up to a meeting and doesn’t order anything. If you know that might be the case for the person you are meeting, buy them something. Don’t be cheap. You are using space for other customers. You are honoring the establishment by purchasing something.
Don’t be overly loud or noisy. Don’t be the overly load person talking on a cell phone. Don’t be the overly loud group that people are making faces at the entire time you are there. If you are meeting kids at a coffee shop, find a non busy time to meet. I used to meet my Young Life guys at 7pm on Monday nights at a local coffee shop. There was no one in there each week but us. It was the perfect time to meet with 8-10 high school guys.
What other coffee shop etiquette needs to be on the list? Leave a comment.