Home Self Improvement The Comprehensive Guide to 97 Essential Etiquettes

The Comprehensive Guide to 97 Essential Etiquettes

The Comprehensive Guide to 97 Essential Etiquettes

During my time in my twenties, I relocated from Atlanta towards New York City to advance in my professional ambitions. Each day, I would board a crowded bus from my place in the Upper West Side to my workplace located in midtown Manhattan. The bus would always be filled to the brim, and managing to secure a seat was indeed a stroke of luck.

Most days, my journey resembled a makeshift gymnastics routine. I clung onto poles, handles, or even the back of seats, being jostled around like a gymnast in high heels whenever the bus made a halt. But one fortunate day, I was able to claim a seat near the bus’s front section.

The bus soon halted again, and a heavily pregnant woman struggled to get on board. As usual, the bus was bursting at its seams, and no seats were vacant. Glancing around at a handful of men seated nearby, I was shocked to see not one offered his seat. Ultimately, I surrendered mine.

Maybe expecting the men to offer their seats might seem sexist, but the fact remains that nobody made an effort to do so. I recall how baffled I felt, pondering if this would be the same sight if an elderly man, a person on crutches, or a woman laden with grocery bags entered the bus. Does nobody consider it inappropriate or disrespectful to allow a pregnant woman to navigate her way through a moving bus?

Raised with traditional southern values, I was taught early on about the importance of displaying good manners. My teachers instilled in us that manners are reflections of our integrity, self-respect, and consideration for others. But manners also significantly contribute to society’s smooth functioning. An article from Psychology Today in 2011 observed that manners and other socially reinforced rules of politeness play a role in making us better members of society and in strengthening our mental networks.

Manners did not originate from Victorian England to control children’s behavior. They’ve been evolving over tens of thousands of years as an essential component of human societies. They help us survive by fostering cooperation within our social groups.

Despite manners being continually neglected in today’s fast-paced world, their importance cannot be undermined. True, manners have evolved, but human nature remains the same. Respect and appreciation will always be in vogue.

Practicing good manners help distinguish you from the masses and demonstrate your maturity, awareness, and empathy, all attractive qualities that many often fail to display. Good manners can carve unforgettable first impressions, and they exude a sense of gratitude instead of entitlement.

To brush up your manners, here’s a compilation of 97 etiquette rules in everyday life, table manners, conversational manners, cell phone and texting manners, and business manners:

Everyday Manners

1. Make sure to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ You’d be surprised how much of a difference these simple words can make.
2. Always greet people courteously when you visit their home. And remember, before you leave, to say ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you.’
3. Be patient when having a conversation. Don’t interrupt or talk over someone.
4. Upon meeting someone new, extend a firm handshake and say, ‘Nice to meet you.’ Repeat similar sentiments when you part ways.
5. If you accidentally bump into someone, ensure to apologize.
6. When someone presents you with a gift, express your gratitude either via a note or a call.
7. To move or catch someone’s attention, say ‘Excuse me’ instead of just breezing past them.
8. Be responsible for tidying up after yourself, more so when you’re a guest in someone else’s house.
9. Indoors, speak in a soft voice. Pay attention to how loud you are speaking.
10. If a sneeze or cough is imminent, cover your mouth, turn away, and then say ‘Excuse me.’
11. Steer clear of making loud, rude noises (like burping); if it’s unavoidable, apologize.
12. When you’re having a snack in someone’s company, offer to share.
13. Hold the door open for others.
14. Always remember to flush after using the toilet and also leave the seat down.
15. Refrain from using bad language, especially in the presence of unfamiliar people or those likely to be offended.
16. If you’ve borrowed something, ensure to return it.
17. Always try to be punctual.
18. Keep your hygiene in check. Offensive hygiene is unpleasant to others.
19. Avoid speaking during presentations, movies, or any other events – it’s disruptive.
20. In a crowded situation with limited seating, offer your seat to the elderly or disabled.
21. Refrain from chewing gum while in a conversation or in formal settings like school, work, or religious services.
22. Respect people’s privacy; knock before entering a closed room.
23. Maintain decorum even during boring events. The speakers and performers deserve the audience’s attention.
24. If you see someone struggling, lend a helping hand.
25. When asked for help, extend your support graciously, without any complaints or grumbling.

Table Manners

26. Make sure to chew with your mouth closed.
27. Do not talk with food in your mouth.
28. As soon as you’re seated at a table, put your napkin on your lap.
29. Wait for all to be served before you start eating.
30. During family meals, pass serving dishes to the right.
31. Do not complain about food that does not appeal to you. Instead, attempt to eat a small serving.
32. Make efforts to eat without making noise.
33. If you need to refill, request someone to pass the dish instead of reaching over.
34. If you must leave the table, excuse yourself politely.
35. Engage in table conversations. Enjoy the meal without rushing.
36. Keep your elbows off the table and maintain good posture.
37. Do not pick your teeth at the table.
38. After finishing the meal, thank your host or the cook and express your appreciation.

Conversation Manners

39. Maintain eye contact during conversations.
40. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, extend a handshake, introduce yourself, and maintain eye contact.
41. Avoid dominating a conversation. Allow everyone to contribute and show genuine interest in their viewpoints.
42. Don’t abruptly change the topic unless the current discussion has clearly ended.
43. Actively participate in the conversation – avoid giving terse or one-word responses.
44. Express contrasting opinions respectfully, instead of arguing or belittling others.
45. Refrain from interrupting someone who’s speaking.
46. While in conversation, be aware of body language and non-verbal signals.
47. Avoid distractions like cell phones during an ongoing conversation.
48. Abstain from gossiping or making unkind remarks about others.
49. Be sure to introduce others who join the conversation.
50. In case of disagreements, disengage gracefully and wait for a better time to resume the conversation.
51. Refrain from lengthy, tedious stories.
52. Don’t use offensive language or make inappropriate jokes unless you know it won’t offend the other person.
53. Overall, try to be modest during conversations.
54. Prepare for interesting conversation topics.
55. Avoid controversial topics like politics or religion unless you know the person well and are certain it won’t cause disagreement.
56. Don’t raise your voice or talk in a domineering manner.
57. Avoid excessive self-talk. Show interest in others.
58. Think before you speak.

Cell Phone and Texting Manners

59. While on a call in public, speak softly and be considerate of those around you.
60. Silence or turn off your phone in public settings like the theatre or movies. Do the same when engaged in personal conversations.
61. Don’t make calls when seated at a restaurant table.
62. Avoid multitasking like typing on your computer while on a call.
63. Always answer your phone politely and energetically. The caller, irrespective of the number, deserves a cheerful response.
64. Ask the other person’s permission before switching to speaker mode.
65. If you must take a call in a restaurant or a similar social setting, excuse yourself and find a private space.
66. Refrain from talking too fast or too slow.
67. Always be courteous and polite on the phone, even with salespersons.
68. Avoid replacing in-person conversations with texts. Avoid sharing sensitive information over text, which you could have shared in a call or face to face.
69. Keep texts short and precise.
70. Don’t text while at the dinner table or during a conversation.
71. Do not text something you wouldn’t want to make public.
72. Avoid text abbreviations unless you’re sure the other person understands. Never use them in professional situations.
73. If you’re texting someone who maybe doesn’t know you, let them know who you are.
74. Being direct in texts reduces the chances of misinterpretation.
75. Refrain from texting late night, as it can disturb the recipient.
76. Double-check the recipient before hitting send.
77. Text messaging is informal – be conscious of whom you’re texting with. When in doubt, call or email instead.
78. Never text or read texts while driving. It’s unsafe both for you and others around you.

Business Manners

79. Display the right amount of respect towards clients and superiors at your workplace.
80. Always be a little early for meetings, lunches, or business dinners.
81. Be thoroughly prepared for meetings and presentations.
82. Dress aptly considering the nature of your business. Inappropriate clothing is a strict no-no.
83. Be cautious with your emails. Use the right language and correct grammar, also ensure your spellings are right. Avoid emailing sensitive or controversial information.
84. Avoid relying solely on technology for interaction, when a personal meeting is feasible.
85. Maintain professionalism at after-hour business events. Control your alcohol intake and keep your professional demeanor.
86. When dealing with international clients or partners, familiarize yourself with the commonly expected etiquette of their home country.
87. Avoid losing temper, cursing, and inappropriate behavior at the office.
88. Stay at home when sick to prevent spreading the illness to your co-workers.
89. Stick to the schedule for meetings. Be respectful of others’ time.
90. Refrain from wearing strong perfumes or cologne at the workplace.
91. Avoid office gossip or talking ill about colleagues or clients.
92. Steer clear from discussing personal issues at work, unless it affects your job, in which case inform your boss.
93. Speak respectfully and kindly to everyone in the office, regardless of their position.
94. Pay attention during meetings. Avoid getting distracted by your phone, laptop, or other devices.
95. Avoid eating strong smelling food at your desk, as it might cause discomfort to your colleagues.
96. Own up to your mistakes and never take credit for someone else’s work.
97. In the face of uncertainty, always opt for courtesy, integrity, and kindness.

Good manners provide a structure for our engagements and help us feel comfortable in any situation. They make us more appealing and likeable; they’re a universal sign of a person’s quality, character, and concern for others.

Like etiquette expert Emily Post once said, “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, regardless of which fork you use.”

What other good manners do you think should be included in this list? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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