55 Rules of Etiquette to Start Using

Shannon Quinn - September 16, 2019

When most people hear the word “etiquette”, they imagine taking classes where you have to learn how to identify various fancy cutlery. In reality, most dignified and “gentle” society is really just about being kind to others, and acting like an overall decent human being. Here are 50 vital tips to proper etiquette that everyone should follow in everyday life.

People truly appreciate when you say please and thank you. Credit: Shutterstock

55. Say “Please and Thank You”

Everyone has been taught to say “please” and “thank you” since they were a child. Unfortunately, some adults forget to do this when they become adults. People truly do appreciate it, especially if the work in the service industry. You just might get better service from a waiter or waitress if you tack on “please” to the end of your order.

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54. Smile

In the United States, everyone is told to smile more. While this can get tiring, it truly does help to smile if you are trying to use proper etiquette. When you smile, it lets the other person know that you are being friendly. It can help to make people feel more comfortable around you.

When you meet new people, try to remember their names. Credit: Shutterstock

53. Remember People’s Names

Whenever you go into situation where you meet new people, try to remember all of their names. If you use someone’s first name when you speak to them, they immediately perk up, and will always respond better. People will truly appreciate it, and will be more likely to become your friend. This technique is great when you work in customer service, too. Angry customers get almost immediately calmer after you use their name.

Ask someone if you can use their first name. Credit: Burst by Shopify

52. Ask Permission to use Someone’s First Name

In modern times, there are not many other situations where it is inappropriate to use a first name right away. This is usually reserved for speaking to an authority figure. If you are meeting someone’s parents for the first time, it is polite to call them “Mr.” or “Mrs”, and ask permission to use their first name. This also applies for your boss, or anyone else that you should show respect to.

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51. Always Be On Time

It is incredibly disrespectful to be late for a meeting or date. In your mind, it may not seem like a big deal. But for the person waiting, it can be incredibly frustrating, because they feel as if their time is being wasted. And if they are waiting in a restaurant, they will feel embaressed. Showing up on time is a sign that you respect the other person, and that you appreciate their time.

You may want to start using a swear jar, if you cannot control your language. Credit: Shutterstock

50. Watch Your Language

Swearing might be okay around your friends, but most of polite society will not tolerate foul language. Remember that it is never appropriate to curse at work, school, or any other setting where you need to be on your best behavior. If you curse too much, you may lose respect among certain people. It is especially taboo to curse around kids.

Never underestimate the words “excuse me”. Credit: Shutterstock

49. Say “Excuse Me”

If you have to get past someone in a hallway of a grocery store, always say “excuse me”. By just standing and awkwardly waiting for them to move, you make the situation uncomfortable. “Excuse me” is also appropriate when you are trying to get someone else’s attention.

Always use a coaster. Credit: Shutterstock

48. Use a Coaster For Your Drinks

If you are a guest in someone’s house, and they have coasters on the tables, always use them. Putting a glass on a wooden table can cause condensation rings to form, and it may potentially ruin their furniture. It is incredibly rude. Even if they do not have coasters sitting out, it is always polite to ask for one. You can even use a napkin or paper towel to help protect their furniture, too.

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47. Make Eye Contact With The Person Who is Speaking To You

When you are in a conversation, always remember to make eye contact. This shows that you are truly listening to what the other person is saying, and you are engaged in the conversation. If you are looking at your phone or have your eyes down, it can seem like you are distracted, and not actually respecting the other person’s time.

Always cough or sneeze into your elbow. Credit: Shutterstock

46. Cough and Sneeze Into Your Elbow

Years ago, you may have been taught to cover your mouth with your hand when you sneeze. This is actually a very bad thing to do, because you use your hands to touch doorknobs and other things that will spread your germs. The new way to prevent the spread of germs is to cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow. By doing this, anyone who witnesses it will know that you are trying your best not to spread your illness to others.

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45. Stay Home When You Are Sick

If you are feeling sick, you should seriously consider staying home from work or school. By going to public places, you are spreading your germs or virus to others, when it could have been quarantined in your home. This is especially important to keep away from other people within 24 hours of having a fever, because you may be contagious.

Always step out of the room to take a phone call. Credit: Pexels

44. Step Outside to Take a Phone Call

If you are in a quiet cafe, library, or work, you should always step outside to take a phone call. Remember that no one wants to hear your conversation. This gives you more privacy, and it also shows respect towards other people.

When you meet someone for the first time, give them a firm handshake. Credit: Pexels

43. Give Firm Handshakes

When you meet someone for the first time in a professional setting, it is customary to shake their hands. Always grip their hand firmly, but not too firm, and make eye contact with them. Smiling helps, too. This is a sign of respect, but it also shows other people that you are confident, and know how to carry yourself well in the workplace.

Always wash your hands after using the bathroom. Credit: Pexels

42. Always Wash Your Hands

A shocking number of people do not wash their hands after they use the bathroom. You should always wash your hands, even if you think they did not get dirty. Remember that opening doors, touching tables, walls, and other items in public places will pick up germs throughout the day. So wash you hands every time you have the opportunity to do so.

Always ask your friends if it is okay to post something. Credit: Shutterstock

41. Ask Before Posting Something on Social Media

One of the most obnoxious things in the world is when someone takes a photo of you, and tags you on Facebook when you are clearly looking unattractive. No one thinks this behavior is cute. In fact, it just might be a way to lose friends. Before posting photos of someone else on social media, always ask their permission, first. They will always appreciate the gesture.

Make sure you dress appropriate for a special occasion. Credit: Shutterstock

40. Always Dress Appropriately

Before you go somewhere, be mindful of the dress code. Are you going to a black-tie even, or is it okay to dress in business-casual? If you are not sure, always check with the person who is throwing the event. You don’t want to be the only person to show up looking sloppy in comparison to everyone else.

You may want to let someone go in front of you in line. Credit: Shutterstock

39. Let Someone Go In Front Of You in Line

If you are at the grocery store with a full cart, and you see that the person behind you only has one or two items, it is polite to let them go first. Remind yourself that if you were in their position, you would hope that the other person would do the same.

Hold open the door for someone else. Credit: Shutterstock

38. Hold The Door

If you know there is someone behind you, always hold the door open for them, instead of letting it slam in their face. They will truly appreciate the gesture, and they are likely to do the same for the next person walking in. If you see someone who is handicapped, always offer to hold the door open for them, too.

Don’t get too upset over the small things. Credit: Shutterstock

37. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Small issues happen every single day. If we let these issues get the best of us, it will seriously ruin your day for no good reason. So let things roll off your shoulders, if you can. This is especially important in social situations when you are making new friends. If you let little things slide, people will appreciate that you were being cool about it.

Always push your chair in before you leave. Credit: Shutterstock

36. Push in Your Chair After You Leave the Table

Whether you are eating at a friend’s house or at a restaurant, always push the chairs back under the table when you are done eating. This ensures that the next person will not accidentally trip over your chair. It is helping out the wait staff or your party host, too. If no one pushed their chairs back, they would have to go around the entire table to fix it later.

Remember to clean up after your dog. Credit: Pexels

35. Clean Up After Your Dog

One of the worst things people do to each other is letting their dog go “number two” out in public without cleaning it up. This is incredibly rude and selfish. Someone could step in the doo-doo, and it would completely ruin their day, and potentially destroy the shoes they are wearing. In some places, if you are caught not cleaning up after your dog, you also have to pay a fine.

Do not look at your phone during dinner. Credit: Shutterstock

34. Don’t Look at Your Cell Phone During Dinner

When you go to dinner with someone, put the phone down. It’s okay to leave it out in case of emergency, but you need to be engaged in the conversation with the person who is in front of you, instead of texting.

Thank you cards and notes are always appreciated. Credit: Shutterstock

33. Make Handwritten Thank-You Notes

Whenever someone gives you a gift, it is a truly nice gesture to write them a thank you note. So few people practice this tradition anymore, that when you actually do it, people will be touched, and truly appreciate it.

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32. Always RSVP to a Party

When you get invited to a party, always remember to RSVP, even if you are saying that you cannot come. Party hosts need to know how much food and drinks they should buy, so they need to get a good idea of how many people are coming. Please respect the RSVP date given on the invitation.

Always ask before you bring a plus-one. Credit: Shutterstock

31. Ask Before You Bring a Guest

Unless an invitation explicitly states that you can bring a “plus one”, you should always ask if you can bring someone to a party. It may seem harmless at first, but you never know if the host had something planned where each individual person has a place setting at the dinner table, or if the extra person would ruin their plans.

Wait until everyone is served before you eat. Credit: Shutterstock

30. Wait Until Everyone Has Been Served Before You Start Eating

Ask if you should take your shoes off. Credit: Shutterstock

29. Be a Good Guest

When you are invited over someone else’s house, try your best to be a good guest. Ask if it is necessary to take your shoes off at the door, and whatever you do, don’t put your feet on their furniture! Just because you are good friends with someone does not give you the right to act like you own the place.

When there is a new neigbor in town, it is polite to bring them food. Credit: Shutterstock

28. Bring Food to New Neighbors

While the tradition may seem old-fashioned, it is still polite to bring food to new neighbors. This is a great way to say “hello” and get to know them. They will also likely appreciate your food, since moving is hard work, and they probably did not have time to cook. More often than not, this gesture will help you to become friends with these new neighbors.

Teach yoru kids some table manners. Credit: Shutterstock

27. Teach Your Children Good Manners

Your kids are never too young to learn table manners. In fact, the sooner they get used to eating politely, the more likely it will carry over into adulthood. Teach them to chew with their mouth full, sit during the meal, and never splatter anything on their clothes.

Use your turn signal. Please. For the love of God. Credit: Shutterstock

26. Use Your Turn Signal When Driving

Cars were made with turn signals for a very good reason. If you do not let other drivers know that you are turning, you may cause an accident.

Having arguments at work is just rude. Credit: Shutterstock

25. Don’t be Too Loud at Work

Whether you are having an argument or laughing over an inside joke, it is never okay to be too loud at work. Remember to always be a professional. Other people around you are trying to get work done, and they need some peace and quiet to do so.

Always remember your manners. Credit: Shutterstock

24. Remember Your Table Manners

Even well into adulthood, it is still important to use your table manners. If you are going to a fancy restaurant, you many need to kick it up a notch. Never put your elbows on the table, and wear the cloth napkin on your lap. Never reach over the table across someone else’s food, either.

Don’t bring anything too smelly into your office break room. Credit: Shutterstock

23. Don’t Bring Smelly Leftovers to Work

A lot of people bring leftover dinner to work the next day for lunch. While this should be perfectly acceptable, it is not okay to make the entire break room stink. Stay away from bringing fish, garlic, or cabbage for lunch, because that smell takes a very long time to go away, especially if no one can open a window.

If you talk on your phone at the movies, you are a terrible person. Credit: Shutterstock

22. Silence Your Cell Phone at the Movies

There is absolutely no excuse to text or talk on your cell phone in a movie theater. If you need to take a phone call, leave the theater first. If you talk on your phone during a movie, you are ruining the experience for dozens of people who paid for quiet viewing experience.

Always make room for other people. Credit: Shutterstock

21. Put Your Shopping Cart to the Side

We have all experienced going to the grocery store when someone has practically taken up the entire aisle with their cart and family. Remember that store aisles need to be shared with other people. Move your cart to the side, and be aware of your surroundings, just in case you are blocking an item that someone else needs.

Whatever you do, dont’ groom yourself in public. Credit: Pixabay

20. Do Not Groom Yourself in Public

Riding on public transportation is difficult enough as it is, because you have to stand uncomfortably close to complete strangers. When some people are running late for work, they think it is acceptable to groom themselves in public. There is a fine line between doing your makeup on the train, and clipping your toe nails on the Greyhound bus. Try to choose your grooming wisely in a way that will not disturb other people.

Always dress for success. Credit: Shutterstock

19. Make Yourself Presentable in Public

Far too many people think it is acceptable to walk around with sweatpants and dirty hair. You may be able to get away with this on a college campus, but by the time you enter the real world, you should try to always make yourself look presentable in public. Take a shower, brush your hair, and wear a nice outfit.

If your friend is grieving, ask if they are okay. Credit: Shutterstock

18. Reach Out To Friends Who Are Grieving

If your friend has recently lost someone in their life, they will be in a state of grief. They may not be ready to hang out and have fun again any time soon, but that doesn’t mean that you should completely step away from the friendship. Reach out to let them know that you are there for them if they want to talk. This will bring you closer as friends, and they will most likely return the favor for you some day.

Don’t leave your stuff lying around the house. Credit: Shutterstock

17. Clean Up After Yourself

You should always clean up after yourself, especially if you are living with a roommate. Remember that you are not the only person living in the house. How would you like it if the other person left their dirty clothes and dishes around in the shared space? Always be mindful of other people, and you should get along fine.

When someone is struggling, try to help them wih the problem. Credit: Shutterstock

16. Help Someone Who is Struggling

If you see someone struggling at work or in a public place, offer to help them. So many people are too busy, or they are so self-centered, that they refuse to get involved. Even if this person is a stranger, they will truly appreciate your kindness.

Always bring something over to your friend’s house. Credit: Shutterstock

15. Never Show Up to a Friend’s House Empty-Handed

If you are going to a friend’s house for dinner, it is always polite to bring a bottle of wine, or a bouquet of flowers. After all, your friends are going to be spending a lot of time and money to make you dinner and have you over to their home. Bringing a gift is polite, and it makes it more of an even exchange.

You should always put your shopping cart in the corral. Credit: RawPixel

14. Take Back Your Shopping Cart To the Corral

When you are taking your grocery cart out to the parking lot, it is always polite to take it to the corral. If you are going somewhere like Aldi’s, they even create the built-in incentive to make you bring it back to the front of the store by making you pay to rent the cart. When you leave a cart out in the parking lot, there is the chance that it may roll into someone’s car and scratch their paint. So putting it back is being polite to others.

Do not respond immediately if someone send you a nasty text. Credit: Shutterstock

13. Wait Before Reacting to a Nasty Text Message

No matter how nice you may be to other people, there is still the chance that someone could send you a nasty text. Your immediate reaction may be to respond with something equally as snarky. Remember that two wrongs do not make a right. If you value your relationship with his person, try to take a deep breath, and wait a while before you reply. Your friend may even send you an apology text in the meantime.

The Duchess Slant is still going strong today. Credit: Vogue

12. Sit Like Royalty

All of the women in the English Royal Family sit with their legs and knees together, and they are slanted slightly at an angle. This is called “The Duchess Slant”, and it is still going strong today. If you copy the “Duchess Slant” at your next party, it truly will give you an added air of elegance.

Always knock before you enter. Credit: Shutterstock

11. Knock Before Entering a Room

Whether you are at home or work, it is always polite to knock before you enter a room. Even if you have been invited over, you should always let the person inside know that you are there, and wait for them to say “come in”. Otherwise, you may open the door and stumble upon something you didn’t want to see!

Always apologize. Flowers don’t hurt, either. Credit: Shutterstock

10. Apologize When You Are in the Wrong

When you have done something to hurt someone, always say “I’m sorry”, and really mean it. Remember that an apology without action isn’t much in an apology at all, either. If you continue to do the bad thing you are apologizing for, the words mean nothing. So really self-reflect on what you have done wrong, and hope that the other person forgives you.

Always call before you show up at someone’s home. Credit: Burst by Shopify

9. Call Before You Show Up At Someone’s House

Very few people actually like a “surprise visit”. Unless it is your parents, people typically do not like uninvited guests. Their house might be a mess, or they might already have other important guests over. Always call ahead to let people know that you are going to be in town, and ask if you can stop by.

Always wait to get on an elevator. Credit: Shutterstock

8. Let People Get Off The Elevator Before People Get On

All too often, people are in such a rush to get on an elevator, that they nearly walk into the people who are getting off. Remember that you should let passengers get off first, before trying to get on. And if there are too many people inside, let it go, and take the next one.

Remember to thank veterans for their service to your country. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Thank Veterans For Their Service

Whenever you learn that someone is a veteran, always say, “Thank you for your service”. And if it is appropriate, also shake their hand to let them know that you are being sincere. Remember that these men and women very literally risked their lives for their country, and they deserve so much more than just a “thank you”. It’s the least you can do.

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6. Return Phone Calls

In modern times, people rarely call one another anymore. So it is more important than ever to acknowledge when someone leaves you a voicemail. Always remember to call this person back. They will seriously appreciate it, and it will most likely bring you closer with that person.

Remember to clean up after yourself at the gym. Credit: Shutterstock

5. Wipe Down Your Machines at the Gym

Everybody sweats, especially at the gym. Whenever you leave behind your sweaty hand prints on a cardio machine or weights, make sure you wipe everything down. Most gyms provide wipes, towels, or paper towels and cleaning spray.

Always remember to say “hello” to everyone. Credit: Burst by Shopify

4. When You Enter A Room, Greet Everyone

Whenever you show up to a party, always make sure to say “hello” to everyone there, and not just the people who are hosting the party. If you do not know someone, introduce yourself, and ask for their name. This is not only polite, but it will also make everyone like you more. If you forget to greet someone when you see them, they will often resent this, and remember at a later date.

It is best not to bring up controversy at a dinner party. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Skip Controversial Topics at Parties

As the saying goes, never talk about religion and politics over dinner. These almost always turn into arguments. Even if you all agree on politics, it can sometimes get very loud, and make people feel uncomfortable. Parties are meant to be a place where you have fun and relax. It is not the right environment to discuss anything too serious.

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2. Include Everyone in the Conversation

When telling a story in a group of people, always make sure you are including everyone in the conversation. Make eye contact with everyone there, and be sure to ask them questions on occasion. This is especially important if one of the people is an outsider in the group, and may feel uncomfortable interjecting themselves into the conversation. If you make sure to do this, they will truly appreciate it, and you are far more likely to end up becoming their friend.

Try to have a good relationship with your neighbors. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Be Mindful of Your Neighbors

If you live in an apartment, make sure you are mindful of keeping the noise down for the sake of your neighbors. If you live in a house, remember that this does not give you carte blanche to act however you want. Always be sure not to let your pets loose in the yard if they can potentially run into the neighbor’s yard, and never argue outdoors. Remember that you are all trying to live harmoniously in the same community, and not get on each other’s nerves.