Starting at a young age, our parents teach us what is appropriate and what is not. We call these lessons manners. However, as we mature and are put into new social and cultural settings, sometimes our manners fall short. Fortunately, there’s no reason to beat yourself up for etiquette you never even knew was poor. These 17 etiquette tips will help you navigate every social setting. Whether you are gearing up for a fully packed wedding season or starting a new job you don’t want to miss these tips.
1. Wait for Everyone to be Seated
Your hungry and if you don’t eat in the next 30 seconds you might scream. Fight the urge to dig in until everyone at the party is seated for dinner. Unless you are at a long banquet table, then you can start eating before everyone is seated. Proper etiquette says that a table of 8 or less, wait to eat.
2. No Texting at the Table
Texting at the table is a major etiquette no-no. If you do need to use your phone, like in an emergency, quietly excuse yourself from the table. Otherwise, using your phone at the table is rude and annoying.
3. Dab Your Lips
Ladies, if you love wearing lipstick but hate that stain it always leaves on the rim make sure to dab your lips before taking a sip. Just a gentle dab on your napkin can prevent staining the rim of the glass.
4. Let People Off the Elevator
For example, say you’re in a rush and the elevator doors open to reveal a full elevator. Instead of pushing through everyone, politely step to the side so those exiting can do so. This might seem like a time suck; it’s easier to shove than step aside, right? Actually, stepping aside allows for people to get off quicker and you can get on your way faster. Everyone wins.
5. Don’t use all Caps
Using caps lock in an email or text message is the technological equivalent of yelling at someone. For this reason, using caps lock for any reason is completely inappropriate. Even if you are mad and want to yell, don’t do it over text or email. It’s incredibly rude, unprofessional, and makes you come off as a loon.
6. Open the Door
Traditionally, men are expected to get the door for women. However, modern-day etiquette states that whoever gets to the door first should open it. Regardless of gender, if you’re at the door, just open it. There’s no sense in waiting around for someone to do it for you.
7. Plates Move CounterClockwise
At a dinner party, it is polite to pass a dish rather than reach for one. As the dishes make their rounds, always pass counterclockwise. However, if someone to your left asks for a dish, it is appropriate to hand it to them directly. No harm, no foul.
8. Keep Voicemails Brief
Okay, so people do still leave voicemails. Whether they listen to them or not is another story. In that case, if you do need to leave a voicemail, be sure to keep it brief and concise. If necessary, practice what you want to say prior to leaving the message. This will prevent any rambling, stumbling, or repeating of anything already stated.
9. Name the Person of Greater Status First
While this may seem a bit archaic, it’s actually proper etiquette to introduce the higher status individual first. For example, if you are introducing your boss to another colleague, your boss would be introduced before your colleague. This is a subtle sign of respect for their status and authority.
10. Sick? Stay Home
FOMO or fear of missing out is an awful feeling. However, knowing that it was your strain of sickness that made everyone else sick is worse. No one will be offended or insulted if you decline an invitation based on an illness. In fact, they would likely be even more offended if you attended their event while ill. Just don’t make being sick a regular excuse.
11. Read the Wedding Invitation
Before responding to that wedding invitation, make sure to read it closely. If it doesn’t say anywhere on the invite that you get a +1, then guess what? You don’t get a +1. Planning and budgeting for a wedding is extremely stressful. For that reason, don’t be offended if you didn’t get a +1. Even worse, don’t badger the wedding family for a +1. The last thing they need is to redo all the seating arrangements and catering.
12. Don’t Ask For Cash
Newlyweds of all ages can agree that before, during, and after a wedding, they are strapped for cash. Therefore, you may be inclined to request cash gifts rather than presents. This is extremely tacky. If you do wish to relieve some of the financial burden, perhaps ask guests or family members to donate towards a honeymoon fund.
13. Use Ear Buds
Maybe it’s your favorite song ever, however, that’s not the case for everyone around you. If you are playing your music on speaker and in public you are being inconsiderate. Use earbuds to enjoy those sweet, sweet tunes. If your earbuds are leaky or cheap, keep the volume down.
14. Take your Sunglasses Off
Unless you’re outside and the person you’re speaking with is standing in the direction of the sun, take your sunglasses off. People want to see your eyes when they are communicating with you.
15. Keep Public Cell Phone Conversations Short
Talking on the phone in public is fine, however, don’t be surprised when people start acting as if they are in on the conversation too. Having loud conversations on the phone while in public is rude.
16. RSVP in a Timely Manner
As a result of embracing casual everything, most RSVP invitations are sent out online. Just because they are sent out via email or Facebook invitation, doesn’t make them any less legitimate. If someone sends you an RSVP, they genuinely want to know if you’re coming. Don’t just respond because you think it doesn’t matter. Leaving the RSVP hanging for an extended period of time is disrespectful.
17. Never Show Up Empty-Handed
If you are going to someone’s home, especially a new friend, always bring a small gift. Flowers, wine, chocolate, or dessert is an appropriate and polite gesture.