7 Basic Etiquette Rules Most of Us Keep Breaking
Good manners are as different as the people who show them. Eskimo people rub noses when greeting each other, the Japanese always take off their shoes before entering a house, and Thai citizens will never show off their shoe soles — it’s considered inappropriate. Nevertheless, there are some etiquette rules that should be followed no matter what nationality you are. Everyone should want to be a polite person after all!
We at Bright Side want to direct your attention to some disregarded etiquette norms that have become common and welcome in the present day.
1. Carrying women’s bags
Our smart phones are getting bigger by the day, and there’s hardly a person left without some kind of a bag to put it in. This is how to deal with them:
- Always carry your bag on your left arm or shoulder so that your right hand is free for handshakes.
- Never carry a woman’s bag if you’re a man, even if you love her dearly. This doesn’t include heavy shopping bags though.
- Don’t place your bag on the table or on the floor next to you in a restaurant. Either hang it on your chair or on the hook that you sometimes find on the side of or directly underneath the table.
2. Showing respect at the gym
The fact that it’s not a ballroom or a business office doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want, disregarding others. There’s still a way to do things properly.
- Being late to a group exercise class doesn’t mean you have to barge your way through all the people toward your favorite spot. It’s your fault, so just take whatever space is available and don’t block the equipment.
- When you’ve finished using the weight machines, re-set them to the minimum weight. That way the next person that uses them won’t injure themselves if they start doing exercises without looking. Trust us, it happens.
- Use a towel to wipe your sweat from all handles and equipment surfaces.
3. Behaving in public places
As members of society, we are expected to behave in a certain way when we’re surrounded by people, instead of in the comfort of our own homes.
- There are 3 types of people in this world: those who come early, those who come on time, and those who come late. If you aren’t the first type, you will inevitably have to pass in front of people in the theater, at the movies, in a concert hall, or in any other place with seats. The only right way to do it is facing other people and not turning your back toward them.
- If you are the first type though, you’ll be the one who has to let people through to their seat. In this case, don’t remain sitting. It’s inconvenient for people to pass over your legs as an obstacle. Stand up and make it easy for them.
- Speaking of public places — talking on your phone, commenting on what’s happening in front of you, or chatting with neighbors is inappropriate at the movies, in the theater, or at a concert. The last 2 can only happen at a sports match (but restrain from shouting rude stuff at the players). People come to these events for one purpose — to enjoy them. Listening to your chatter isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of fun.
4. Dealing with invitations
There are 2 types of invitations: “Regrets only” and “RSVP.” Both require an answer if you want to be a nice person or wish to be invited to an event in the future.
- If an invitation says “Regrets only,” you should only respond if you are sure that you will NOT come. Otherwise, the host will just count on you.
- “RSVP” (“respondez s’il vous plait,” French for “please respond”) on the other hand, means that you must write or call the host to confirm your presence at their event. Preferably during the requested period of time. The host needs to know exactly how many people will come to prepare the right amount of food, beverages, etc.
5. Handling table manners
Judging by the time we all spend eating out these days, it's only right to learn some guidelines to follow.
- Using cloth napkins may seem easy, but there are some rules to follow as well. If you need to leave the table for some time, put the napkin on the chair. People won't enjoy looking at it on the table while you're away. If you've finished your meal, only then can you put it on the table but not on the plate. It will be a sign for the waiter that you're done and they can come up and take the dirty plates away.
- With your fork, you are supposed to put it on the plate if you need to take a break from eating. And if you aren't sure which fork to use for which dish - just start with the one farthest to the plate and then work your way in.
- It's an awkward moment when you come to someone's house for dinner and see shrimp or peanuts on the table, but you're allergic to them. To escape a situation like that, always notify the host about the foods you can't eat due to health issues. It will save you both a lot of trouble.
6. Dressing up for the occasion
Dressing up can be very tricky nowadays because there are so many options and so little certainty on what’s right and what’s not. Here are some useful tips:
- Casual Attire: This can be anything from a T-shirt and jeans to shorts and a blouse. Find out if you’re going to be inside or outside and ask what others are wearing first.
- Casual Friday: This happens in the office and doesn’t mean “casual” from the previous point. You could meet a higher ranking employee who can determine your future, so why risk it with sandals.
- Business Casual: Being neat is the answer here. Ditch clothing that is too tight or oversized and just be in style. You never know who you might meet.
- Formal Business: This is perfect for professionals who want to always look dashing and are aimed at climbing the ladder. A suit and dark dress shoes for men, and pumps, a skirt, and a blazer for women.
7. Being a people person
There are 2 simple rules to follow to make people secretly thank you in their head.
- When standing in line at a coffeeshop, don’t talk on the phone. Especially when the barista is already asking you questions. It’s impolite to make everyone wait and listen to your conversation.
- Don’t bring your pets (mostly dogs) with you everywhere you go. They don’t enjoy shopping, even if it’s at a pet shop. Other people don’t enjoy your big clumsy dog or a small barking one either. The same goes for when you’re invited to a house party. Always ask first if you can take your dog with you.
The number of people in the world is constantly increasing, so it’s only natural to want to learn how to coexist together. We hope these easy-to-follow pieces of behavioral advice will be of help.
Which of these things drives you crazy the most? Share in the comments and let’s make the world a better place together.
Preview photo credit julesjuliejuliet/instagram