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Mind your manners

Mind your manners
Emma Kapotes/RD.com

Manners and proper behaviour are still as important as ever, but in these days of social media and instant messaging, it’s not always clear what’s acceptable. These little etiquette rules should keep you on track.

When to start eating:

When to start eating:
Emma Kapotes/RD.com

If you’re seated at a table with eight or fewer guests, wait until everyone is served and for the hostess to begin eating before you dig in. At a long banquet table, it’s OK to start when several people are seated and served.

Find out the 14 things your dinner party host is secretly thinking about you.

What to keep off the table:

What to keep off the table:
Emma Kapotes/RD.com

All items not having to do with food (and decoration) should remain off the table: keys, clutch bags, sunglasses, and especially phones.

When to text:

When to text:
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“If you’re in a situation where you’d excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, you should also excuse yourself before reaching for your phone,” writes Farhad Manjoo on slate.com.

Here are 7 real-world situations to gauge how good your manners are.

What to do if you’re not drinking wine:

What to do if you’re not drinking wine:
Emma Kapotes/RD.com

Don’t make a big deal of saying you don’t drink. Simply place your fingertips on the rim of the glass and say “Not today, thanks.” This implies no judgment of those who wish to imbibe.

How to talk on speakerphone:

How to talk on speakerphone:
Emma Kapotes/RD.com

Don’t use a speakerphone unless you’re in your office and holding a meeting that’s being attended by someone remotely. Alert the person you’re speaking with that others are present, close the door, and definitely don’t be a chatterbox while you talk. FYI: Using speakerphone at full volume to go through your voice mailbox is the definition of annoying.

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How to open the door for someone else:

How to open the door for someone else:
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It doesn’t matter the gender of either.

How to handle the work kitchen microwave

How to handle the work kitchen microwave
Emma Kapotes/RD.com

Here’s some basic airport etiquette:

Here’s some basic airport etiquette:
Emma Kapotes/RD.com

And once on board, stow your stuff and get out of the aisle quickly. When claiming your baggage, don’t crowd the carousel. Step forward only when you see your bag.

Here’s basic email etiquette:

Here’s basic email etiquette:
Emma Kapotes/RD.com

If all you have to say in your email reply is “Thanks!” refrain from sending it. You’re just clogging an inbox.

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– The Reader’s Digest team