Guide to Basic Etiquette

With the fast paced society, a lot of people tend to forget the common courtesy or basic etiquette. Whether it’s in the movie theater, church, a date, or when you just hang out with friends, there are still common courtesies that need to be followed. While some people might think that courtesy is old-fashioned or just showing off, proper manners speak a lot about your character and influence how people treat you in return. It is more important that you follow common courtesy in a business relationship to let the other party know that they are dealing with a well educated professional. Listed below are some common practices to help refine your social grace and improve other people’s impression of you.

Proper Greetings

A simple “please” or “thank you” can really do wonders and can even brighten another person’s day. It will show that you are considerate towards other people. Even if you think that the other party is being rude, it is generally in your best interest to be polite rather than stooping low to their crude level.

Cap Courtesy

For men (and some women), you should always remove your cap when you go indoors. When someone doesn’t remove their cap even when requested, it will seem suspicious and downright rude. Of course, a baseball cap is commonly used when your hair is a bit messy and you need to keep it in place. However when you go indoors, it is imperative to remove your cap no matter how messy your hair is.

Door Holding

When people talk about holding the door open for someone, you might generally assume that it only applies for men. It’s not entirely wrong, since men are still expected to hold the door open for ladies, allowing them to enter or to exit first before the man. On the other hand, ladies are not entirely exempted from this gesture as well. If there are in the presence of elders or if someone is carrying a lot of things, then a lady can open the door for that other person. When a gentleman has a passenger in his car, he should always go around and open it for her.

Avoid Tardiness

Nothing is more insulting than keeping the other party waiting for you. It shows that you’re not good at keeping your appointments and you will even give the impression that that appointment isn’t very important for you. Whether it’s a get-together with friends, a date, or a business meeting, always show up before the appointed time. If tardiness is a reoccurring issue for you, make it a point to set your alarm earlier or make use of multiple alarms.

Discreetly Groom Yourself

If you have something that needs to be picked, scratched, fixed, or any other forms of grooming, don’t do it in a crowd. Not only does it show that you are unprepared, but it can also show that you are inconsiderate for the other party. In these situations, it’s best to hold if off until you arrive home or until you have access to a comfort room. For ladies, it’s acceptable to quickly retouch lipstick without the aid of a mirror – discretion is key here.
It’s not okay however, when you use a compact and/or other form of make-up paraphernalia for an extensive retouch on your face. For both genders, you should avoid nail-clipping and/or nail-filing in public.

Use Gum Minimally

The only reasons for you to chew gum is when you have an offensive breath or dry mouth. If you really need to chew it, do so in the car during stop signs or when you’re not busy. If you need to chew it in public, chew it discretely, don’t smack it, or play with it.

Silence Your Phone

When go to a public place, you should set your ringer to vibrate. If you’re not expecting any important calls then you don’t have to pick up. That’s the reason voice mail exists. If you are waiting for something important, then you can have yourself excused politely and go somewhere private to take the call. Since you’re there on another business, don’t stay too long on the phone and keep your companion/s waiting. If you think it will take too long, then explain the situation to your caller and tell them you will give them a ring back at a more convenient time.

Avoid Touchy Issues

It is basic courtesy to keep your conversation topics at a safe range. Topics about finances, personal beliefs, or political views should be avoided unless you have a very intimate relationship with the person. Touchy topics have a very high tendency of leading to an aggravated or a heated argument. When that does happen, you don’t need to shout or use vulgar language to get your point across.

Restaurant Seating

If you’re in the company of the opposite sex in the restaurant, the lady chooses the seat and the man assists her. In the event when the table is located in the corner or near a wall, the woman faces out and the man faces in. Of course, he would want to look at the most beautiful thing in the room. In case you’re eating with someone of the same sex, then the guest gets to choose the best seat. For close friends, any seating goes.

Speak and Listen

This basic courtesy shouldn’t even be listed here, it should be common sense; but people seem to forget this fact. This is even why many relationships dissolve in a matter of seconds. When you other party speaks, you should listen. If they have a habit to drone on for hours, then you can softly interject when they pause in their speech. Never cut someone off mid-sentence. In the same situation, when you speak, you should give your entire idea, don’t stagger or beat around the bush. It makes the conversation lengthy and boring.

Meal Mishaps

Accidents happen, more so when we’re nervously eating in an important setting. However when these happen, don’t make a big fuss over it and distract the other patrons. If the accident is minimal or it only affected you, then move on with the meal as if nothing happened. On the other hand, if you spill something on another customer, you should apologize profusely and offer to pay for the dry cleaning; it’s basic courtesy. In the event when you spill something or make a mess on your host’s table cloth, you should talk with the host in private after the meal and offer to pay for cleaning. If the host insists you don’t need to, don’t force the issue. However, it would be beneficial to send a new table cloth or wine with a note of apology. Little acts like these are after all the foundations of etiquette.

Outdoor Settings

If you’re in a picnic, it can be easier to forget table manners; you can’t put your elbows on the table after all. Even if this is the case, never forget that you should still make other persons feel at ease during the meal and that you shouldn’t damage or soil another person’s clothing.

Common courtesy should be similar to common sense, however many people disregard this and they even insist on their own crude methods. A well educated person will read more about basic etiquette guides that can help you with your personal and business relationships. It affects our daily life after all.