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Sharing embarrassing stories in a toast

Sharing embarrassing stories in a toast
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It’s a toast, not a roast, so if you’ve been honoured with the job of giving a toast at a wedding, birthday, or another honorary event then make sure what you’re saying is actually honouring the person, says etiquette expert Lisa Grotts. In other words? Save the hilarious story about their vomit-laden spring break for your friend group chat. “Keep the toast light and airy, avoid saying anything overly personal about the individual and keep it short, three minutes max,” she says.

While this is an important rule to follow, even etiquette experts don’t follow these anymore.

Sneezing into your hands

Sneezing into your hands
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Sneezes can be unpredictable, giving you just seconds notice to figure out where to aim the spray. The default for many of us is to sneeze into our hands or, even worse, just sneeze into the air. Not only is that super gross but it’s unnecessary, says Grotts. Sneeze into your elbow or at the very least turn your head away from other people, she says, adding that if you feel multiple sneezes coming on, excuse yourself to the restroom.

Using your napkin to blow your nose

Using your napkin to blow your nose
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You have boogers. You have a napkin, a thing which is used to mop up bodily fluids, at your fingertips. So you blow your nose in your napkin, right? Wrong, Grotts says. Even though it’s fine to use your napkin to wipe drool, tears, or food off your face, polite society says no snot. If you have to blow your nose, head to the bathroom and use a tissue, she says.

Don’t miss these things polite people don’t do in restaurants.

Setting your phone on the table

Setting your phone on the table
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Keeping your phone within eyesight may keep you on top of your notifications but it’s incredibly poor manners, Grotts says. It pulls your attention away from the people you are dining with and makes for an overall less pleasant eating experience for everyone, including yourself. “Don’t place any items on the table that are not part of the meal such as your mobile phone, keys, or sunglasses,” she explains. This may be news to younger generations.

Starting ‘fun’ conversations about politics

Starting ‘fun’ conversations about politics
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Starting controversial conversations might have been fun in college but saying shocking things only makes you look immature as you get older. “It seems that nothing is off limits with conversation these days,” Grotts says. But just because we live in a culture of oversharing and brutal honesty doesn’t mean it’s appropriate. “Steer away from religion, politics, off-colour jokes, or the cost of things,” she explains. “Instead, focus on safe subjects such as mutual friends or family, hobbies, movies, restaurants, sports, etc.”

Using emojis in your work emails

Using emojis in your work emails
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“Too many individuals treat emails to work colleagues as text messages in business settings,” says corporate image consultant, Brian Lipstein. Don’t be casual in any of your work communications he says. Modern manners say that business emails should still have a formal introduction, an appropriate subject line, a greeting, full sentences, and a formal closing, he explains.

Here are some social media slang terms you really should know by now.

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Sending error-filled texts or emails from your phone

Sending error-filled texts or emails from your phone
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Being on your mobile is no excuse for bad grammar and spelling, especially if you’re texting your boss or colleagues, Lipstein says. “Grammar and spelling should be properly presented and proofreading is a must,” he says. “Remember, it may be ‘just a text’ but this is still representing you, your values, the quality of your work, and overall leaves an impression on the reader of who you are and the sophistication you possess.” Plus, with grammar and spelling tools built into almost any system these days, there is no excuse for tons of errors, he adds.

Using a handshake as a show of dominance

Using a handshake as a show of dominance
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Handshaking is an art and one that’s being lost in our modern, casual society. “Too many men and women don’t know how to give or receive a proper handshake,” Lipstein says. Mistakes include a weak ‘limp fish’ shake, a crushing ‘dominant’ shake, holding too long, or grasping with the opposite hand. “A proper handshake should be nice and firm without overpowering the other person,” he says. “Shake from the elbow with three pumps of the arm while making eye contact and giving someone your first and last name.”

Posting everything you do on social media

Posting everything you do on social media
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Teens may post their breakfast, their bedtime routine and everything in between but by the time you’re an adult you should be filtering your feeds. From identity theft to privacy to workplace concerns, there are dozens of excellent reasons to be circumspect about what you post online. Think of your social media like your ‘cyber DNA’, Grotts says. “Anything you post, even if you delete it later, is online for life.” Even if you aren’t posting your drunk pictures or gripes about your boss to the public, there’s still a possibility someone could screenshot it and tell others, she adds.

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Sitting when being introduced to someone

Sitting when being introduced to someone
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Generally, both parties should be standing when being introduced for the first time, Lipstein says. So, if you’re sitting at your desk or a table when meeting a new person, take a moment to rise and then shake their hand, he says. This small gesture shows that the meeting is important to you.

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– The Reader’s Digest team