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What is Etiquette (Good Manners).

Etiquette is an ethical code of good manners adapted from personal behaviour. It is a set of conventional rules in high society, that delineates the expected and accepted social behaviors that are observed by polite soicety as conventions and norms within a social class, or a social group.

Etiquette is a form of dencency it differentiates us as humans between people with good manners as opposed to bad.

Etiquette is taught by our parents. If the parent is bad mannered so will their children copy. If a parent uses vulgar language a small child not knowing the difference between right and wrong will follow suit.

Sigmund Freud once said “It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built upon a renunciation of instinct,”.

Etiquette is a set of rules that tell others how well mannered we are. Phoning or texting someone you hardly know at an hour when people are about to go to sleep is bad manners and is not the done thing to do. Not turning up when promised knowing something needs urgent attention is downright rude. Not letting the person know by txt, email or phone that is counting on you to turn up is a disgrace.

Here are 60 things we should know about being well mannered.

  1. When you enter a room, always say hello do not wait for someone to say hello to you first.
  2. When shaking hands keep direct eye contact with the person in front of you, grasp their hand firmly but not painfully, shake for one or two pumps (no more!), and shine a royal smile (Because of the coronavirus covid-19 regulations shaking hands is forbidden , although fist bumps were accepted ubtil we had to socially distance ourselves from other people).
  3. If you enter a room full of strangers wait untill you are invited to sit down. The same applies if you go to your boss’s office or an interview always wait to be told to sit down.
  4. If you are at a table with a small group of guests, always wait until everyone is seated and served and for the host to begin eating before you start.
  5. Keep all belongings off the table and turn your phone on silent.
  6. If you happen to need to go to the bathroom whilst you are still seated at a dinner table do not just get up and go, do excuse yourself first.
  7. The proper way to hold knives is on the right hand and forks on the left with the tines facing down. Instead of stabbing food, balance the food on back of the fork, then bring it to your mouth and eat small bites and never gulp your food down as if it was some sort of race, savour each mouthful. Enjoy your food.
  8. When finishing your meal put your knife and fork at the 16.20 hrs position. Do not leave your knife and fork open or crossed as this may mean you have not finished your course.
  9. Learn to use your cutlery by working from the outside inwards, accordignto the course being served.
  10. If you are not drinking alcohol put your two fingers over the glass to guard any liquid and politely say “no thank you”.
  11. If you’re eating and want to take a sip from a glass, dab your mouth with your napkin to avoid staining the rim of the glass. No one wants to see the residue imprint of the food you have consumed.
  12. When condiments are not within reach do ask politely to have someone pass them over never lean forward a grab it yourself. Grabbing a bowl of salad or a saltshaker as it’s being passed to someone who asked for it is the equivalent of cutting in line: greedy and rude. The same goes if you want another slice of bread or a roll, ask first never take.
  13. If there is only one slice of bread or one roll left ask if anyone else wants it before you help yourself. This applies to everything, including biscuits, chocolates or a slice of cake. Be the bigger person.
  14. The correct way to drink a cup of tea is to use the thumb and index finger to hold the top of the handle, while the middle finger supporting the bottom. Sip from the same spot so the entire rim doesn’t have lipstick stains. If you’re more of a coffee drinke loop your index finger through the handle. When in doubt, NO pinkies out.
  15. Napkins are not just for catching crumbs they are to wipe excess food off ones mouth. Wiping ones mouth and hands at the table is done on the inside of the fold of the napkin to protect the clothes from getting dirty.
  16. If you are a having a business lunch do not ask for a doggy bag if you cannot finish your meal. However on the other hand if you are out with friends and family it is ok to ask to take your food home especially if you have paid for it. It is more polite to ask for a doggy bag rather than wrap it up to go. People of High Society would often bring treats back for their pooches, however times have changed and it is the norm to ask for your food to be wrapped up without giving the game away that the food in reality is for you.
  17. This is more common sense than etiquette: If a guest at your party is drunk, ask him/her discreetly if they would like to lie down, if you can arrange for a taxi or drive them back yourself then even better, or you could offer for them to sleep it off in a spare room or couch never let them drive back drunk or walk home alone.
  18. If you have been invited to a party and it states on the invitation only you and no guest do not make things awkward and ask to bring someone with you. There must be a reason why you were only invited ( It could be a tight budget).
  19. When you are hosting a party and there are presents involved never ask for cash instead state “no gift wrapped presnts please” (yet there will be the odd one that will bring a toaster not wrapped).
  20. When you are invited as a guest to a dinner party or a birthday or any other social event never show up empty handed. Especially if the host is a woman (all women love flowers and all men love a bottles of amber nectre).
  21. Always thank people for their gifts, the more personal the more thought has gone into it, however if you are eco-firendly and do not want to buy thankyou cards you can send emails but never send them in bulk as it looks spammy and may not even land in the recipients inbox, this will be missed all together.
  22. Office etiquette if you are in the office and on speaker phone alert everyone in the room and on the other end that the phone is on louder speaker.
  23. Always close the door when you are making a phone call this make more sense for privacy and eliminates distracting background noises.
  24. Never user the speakerphone in a public area, you do not know who is listening. Don’t talk on mobile phones in a waiting room, checkout lines, restaurants, trains or public toilets. There is a reasonable time and place for this, consider your surroundings.
  25. When phoning someone always ask them “if it is a good time to talk”, never assume they will drip everything for you, arrangea suitable time to talk.
  26. I still believe in chivalry, however now either gender can open doors. I still believe it is well mannered for someone to open a door for you as is the same as you opening a door for them.
  27. If you are in an office environment (ie, Boss’s Office ) only speak when you are spoken to. Always wait for your boss to speak to you first.
  28. If you make plans at home or at work always confirm with the other party and set reminders.
  29. If you are running late, let the other person know (do not leave it to the last minute).
  30. If you say you will be turning up on a certain day give a timescale so that the other party can make adjustments to their day. Do not let leave them wondering what time you will be turning up. (people have lives to lead and are not there at your beckon call).
  31. If you have to cancel a meeting do let the other party know well in advance and not leave it to the very last minute or leave them in the lurch.
  32. When intoducing people for the first time you must address the host first for example “Mrs. CEO, I’d like you to meet the mail guy, Steven.”
  33. If you have to have your private mobile at work set it on airplane mode or silent. That way if you are needed in an emergency you still can be contacted. Never send privaye texts or emails whilst at work or browse the internet on social media platforms. There is a time and place for everything.
  34. When you see someone struggling carrying or lifting something, offer to help.
  35. If you see an older person on a bus offer them your seat.
  36. Always reply to emails of importance especially if someone is asking you something. If you are too buy set an autoresponder and message them when it s more convenient never blank them.
  37. If you have made eye contact with someone and are speaking to them face to face do not break contact to glance to your phone if somone has messaged you or look at your watch.
  38. Keep your personal phone seperate from meetings, work and social events. There is a time and place for gossip and chit chat, choose your options carefully. It is rude to be on a date whilst also looking at your phone, it’s either one or the other it cannot be both unless you are a couple.
  39. When emailing decide who it is you are writing to, if it is to do with work do not send emojis, gifs or colourful fonts or clipart. Be professional.
  40. Never use your private email to send messages relating to work always use an office email.
  41. Always have a signature in the email with your contact details and disclaimer.
  42. Never use capital letters in an email as this is deemed as shouting.
  43. Keep business mesaging text and email within office hours.
  44. If the business is abroad, work out their office hours by GEO Location.
  45. When answering the phone at work the best practice is to say the name of the company followed by your name, such “Good Morning or Good Afternoon Disabled Entrepreneur Renata speaking”.
  46. When leaving voice mails, keep it brief and to the point, state your name, place of business, and number. State why you are calling and then say goodbye.
  47. Whether it is a bus, train, elevator or escalator always allow for people to leave. If you are waiting to enter, queue in an orderly fashion and never push your way in.
  48. If you are walking on a path with someone always have them walk on the inner of the path to you.
  49. If you are walking alone watch out for buiding entrances and crowded areas and do not stop to phone or text in direct line to foot traffic.
  50. If you are in an area that says be quiet respect the rules and if you happen to use head phones make sure no one else can hear the music coming out of them.
  51. When you meet someone for the first time or of importance always take your sun glasses off if you are wearing them do not wear them continuously in front of them as its rude.
  52. If someone offers to buy you a drink offer to buy one back.
  53. If someone keeps buying you takeouts, the least you can do is offer to to chip in (no pun intended) or offer to pay next time. Never continue taking because eventually people will see through you.
  54. Social Media Platforms, you can follow and friend your co-workers but when it comes to busness connections with bosses and potential clients connect via LinkedIn unless you are doing SEO and you want to add their profiles to a SEO Link Wheel, where you happen to manage their pages and market their products and services.
  55. If you own a pet and you take it for walks always clean up their mess. Consider your surroundings and how children may play in the grass your pooch has just pooped in.
  56. Babies this is a sensitive subject and being a mother myself I looked how the Royal Family behave after having newborns in public. You will never see a Royal feed their child in public or change their nappies. So when I witnessed in a restaurant right opposite and in full view of my table a woman breast feeding I somehow was put off. I know breast feeding is the most natural thing in the the world but you won’t see the Royals do it in public, so why should you.? There is a time an place for everything and if your baby needs feeding there are breast pumps on the market for just this event of you having to feed your child out of your comfort zone. Nobody want to see swollen breasts with buldging nipples whilst eating an à la carte dinner, especially if they are entertaining business aassociates. You will never see A-Listers doing it so be respectful in your surorundings
  57. Years ago only blind dogs were allowed in restaurants, but I have noticed that dog owners are alloweed to bring their dogs into these establishements. However one has to think from another perspective some people are allergic to dogs or have ocd flare ups when dogs go near them never mind the smell of a wet dog whilst you are trying to have your meal or pint in peace is off putting to say the least.
  58. If you have dog on a leash keep it short when you are getting too close to people and never say “he/she won’t bite” not everyone is a dog lover so don’t be selfish.
  59. How you sit says all about you, The right way to sit is with a ladies legs crossed at the knee. Legs and knees must be kept together, although crossing at the ankle is fine. A popular pose is called “the duchess slant,” named for the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. The position involves keeping keeping knees and ankles tightly together and slanting the legs to the side.
  60. When going for an interview or going to the office one has to look smart and professional, the same goes if you are going to a social gathering like a wedding one has to scrub up well and look a million dollars. People can access you by the clothes you wear. If you wear cheap clothes and do not care about your appearnce people will make their on assumptions about that your are not successful. You need to treat your body like a business and choose your outfits carefully. It used to be said that if a man wore trainers he was not worth much money but nowaday some trainers cost more than designer shoes. Technically speaking you should not judge a book by its cover (Steve Jobs wore a black polo and jeans all his time in Apple). Not everything is as it seems, on the other hand not everything that glitters is gold. When attending formal events the done thing is for women to wear hats although fascinators are also perfectly acceptable.

Final thoughts

Etiquette is not just about table manners it is about how we portray ourselves to others. If our persona is that we think highly of ourselves with no thought to the other person, we in turn will be judged by our actions. If we purposely blank people or do not turn up with not even a text or call to let the other person know, we are then portrayed to be prententious and rude.

Well manner people will have the courtesy to acknowledge another person that have either reached out to them or are waiting on them to act. They simply will not ignore the individual. This has happened to me a few times and certain people who obviously think they are better than me have acted like I do not matter.

It is rude and there is no sugar coating it.

To all the people that have acted like I do not matter well at least I have dignity. I take pride in value peoples feelings and opinions.

‘Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you.’ Confuscious.

I suppose being brought up from a strict background with my father being a Soldier in WWII who fought in the battle of Monte Cassino and later with the British Army, I had it drummed into me from an early age about time keeping and doing things by the book.

I still practice good manners as it is in my nature and do not respect people that have little regard for other people’s feeling.

Do good and God will reward you.

Stay Safe and Happy Holidays.