The 30 Basics Of Social Etiquette That Everyone Should Know By Now

Etiquette is the premise of making a great impression. We do not necessarily need to learn how to use dessert spoons or avoid phone calls when alone or with friends; there are other occasions when certain rules apply. You should understand where the boundary lies between following rules on how to behave and seeming over-ingratiating towards others.

Here are some of the principle rules of etiquette.

In restaurants

  • It is up to the man to open doors and allow ladies to enter first, and always help them to take off their coats. If there is a reservation, the man should find out where it is and lead his companion to it.
  • It is very offensive to laugh at the excessive volume or talk loudly.
  • When someone invites you to dinner, the golden rule is that he or she should pay for the meal. However, at impromptu meetings for lunch, each diner should pay for their own food.
  • If your guests want to pay the check, don’t make a fuss.  This is crass, and it is much politer to let them treat you.

At the table

  • When in a restaurant, you will only be given the cutlery you need for the dishes you have ordered. You have come for a pleasant dining experience, and if you do begin to feel lost, ask the waiter for advice.
  • Take your phones off the table and do not pick it up during dinner! This is simply rude, and other diners do not need to know how your business is getting on.
  • Always be on time for any meeting. Being late does not make a good impression. Don’t make excuses about traffic, as it is unfair to those waiting for you. It is okay to be up to 15 minutes late, any later than that then a call is necessary to offer an explanation.


  • Well brought up people do not talk about their personal affairs, relations with work, children, ailments, cares, habits or tastes.
  • Polite people do not gossip.
  • Listening is an important skill as talking. It does not mean keeping silent; it means that you should look with interest at the person speaking and make interjections at appropriate intervals.
  • Well mannered people do not interrupt, even if they have already heard the story before.

Paying visits

  • On occasion being early can be worse than being late.  We may interfere with our hosts moving tables, or our meal still being cooked.
  • Do not bring your children if they were not included in the invitation.
  • If you are a guest, it is impolite to refuse food. You should try any dishes offered without hesitation. If you are on a strict diet, do not accept invitations to dinner at all.

Shaking hands

  • It is customary for both parties to shake hands after signing a business agreement.
  • When you meet a stranger, you may shake hands the moment you are introduced.
  • It is acceptable to shake hands with a future boss at an interview.
  • A hand shake is expected when receiving some form of award at a formal ceremony.


  • When a door is held open for you, it is best to walk through without making a fuss. Guests go through doors first unless they are men, in which case the woman should go first.
  • When a lady is at a double swing door, she should take the handle of the right door and pulls it towards her. The man, standing behind her, should hold the door open, allowing the lady to pass through.

Stairs, escalators, and elevators

  • It was once considered polite for a man climbing stairs in the company of a lady to take the lead. However, for practical reasons, it is justifiable for the gentleman to overtake the lady in cases where the stairs are dark, steep or rickety. Otherwise, the lady should go first.
  • If a woman is in an elevator alone, she may press the button herself. In office buildings, men who are not accompanying women are expected to allow ladies and their companions to enter the elevator first.

Public transport

  • Able bodied people should not remain seated when elderly ladies and women carrying children are left standing.
  • Well brought up men only sit on public transport if there are no women standing. They should offer their seats to ladies as soon as they come near them. Men are always obliged to surrender their seats, giving priority to women who are elderly with heavy bags.
  • Women should never offer their seats to men. A young woman may surrender her seat to an elderly male relative.
  • When a lady is accompanied by a man, he should approach the exit first, clearing the way for her. He should get off first so he can assist his companion.

In shops

  • When shopping, it is bad manners to burden the shop assistant with sudden changes of mind or drawn out indecisiveness.
  • When you approach the check out, make sure you are ready.  possible moment.

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