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.
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.
All items not having to do with food (and decoration) should remain off the table: keys, clutch bags, sunglasses, and especially phones.
“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.
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.
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.
It doesn’t matter the gender of either.
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.
If all you have to say in your email reply is “Thanks!” refrain from sending it. You’re just clogging an inbox.
When talking to someone in person, don’t glance down at your mobile phone to see who’s trying to reach you.
Things not to do when emailing: shout in all caps, use coloured fonts or clip-art emoticons, attach large files, forward an email unless appropriate.
Work emails can be sent anytime, but business texts should be restricted to one hour before the start of the workday to two hours after it ends, according to The Modern Gentleman.
Use your hand to shield your lemon as you squeeze it into your iced tea so you don’t inadvertently squirt your dining companion in the eye.
If you’re eating and want to take a sip, dab your mouth with your napkin to avoid staining the rim of the glass.
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.
But if someone to your left asks for something, you can hand it directly to him.
When out with friends or family – even at a fancy restaurant – it’s fine to ask for your leftovers to be wrapped. But don’t do it at a business lunch or dinner.
Don’t check personal devices during a meeting attended by your boss or anyone else who can make her disapproval your problem.
When answering the phone at work, state your name and place of business: “Widgets, Incorporated. Susan Smith speaking. How may I help you?”
When leaving voice mails, state your name, place of business, and number. Succinctly say why you’re calling. Repeat step one; say goodbye.
You should also hold the doors for others before you board.
For example, “Mrs. CEO, I’d like you to meet the mail guy, Ron.”
If you leave your mobile phone at your desk, turn it off. Particularly if your ringtone is anything Justin Bieber-ish.
Your colleagues will thank you.
If you need to get up during a flight, don’t yank the back of the seat in front of you as you do.
Here are 13 things that airlines won’t tell you. (One is that good manners will go a long way.)
Playground etiquette says that a toy that’s been abandoned is up for grabs until its owner wants it back.
If a guest at your party is drunk, ask him discreetly if he’d like to lie down, if you can arrange for a ride, or even if he’d like to spend the night. Do not let him drive.
Don’t ask to bring a guest to a wedding if your invitation doesn’t indicate you may.
And “no wrapped gifts, please” fools no one.
Keep to the left on the footpath, and keep moving. Don’t stop to text or check email, especially at a building entrance.
If you use your iPod with cheap, leaky earbuds, those near you hear your playlist as if it’s being played on the world’s tiniest buzz saw.
Leaving them on is just plain rude.
It’s OK to piggyback on a neighbour’s free Wi-Fi as long as you don’t hog it and do realise it’s not secure.
Don’t talk on mobile phones in a waiting room, checkout line, restaurant, train, or (heaven forbid!) bathroom stall.
Open your email, check your calendar, respond.
You can email thank-yous for party invitations and birthday gifts given in person as long as you send each of them separately. (No cc’s.) For mailed gifts, letters of recommendation and wedding presents, a written note is still preferable.
It’s OK (and even advisable) to follow your boss on Twitter, but you shouldn’t try to friend him or her on Facebook. Friends implies equivalency; followers, not so.
Bring wine or flowers or dessert.
Still own an answering machine? Make sure the outgoing message isn’t annoying or twee.
Be respectful of other peoples’ time.
No matter where you are.
Change the baby away from other people and not on a table where someone might eat. At someone’s house? Ask where is a good place to do your dirty work.
When getting into a cab with your boss, go first so she doesn’t have to scooch across the seat.
If a mobile phone call is dropped, the person who initiated the call should redial – even if you’d wrapped things up.
If you chat long enough, it will come up naturally in conversation.
Don’t assume that not sending in an RSVP is the same a responding “no.”
Don’t post sensitive personal information on social media, especially if your co-workers can see what you post.
Even if you can’t hear the person on the other end very well, that doesn’t mean they can’t hear you.
Your dog Snickers may be very cute, but don’t assume that everyone wants your pet in their home (or store).