They say that good manners never go out of style. But there are some rules that should really kind of slide by the wayside. That’s when it’s time to say that some etiquette rules should be retired right now. I mean, knowing how to properly set a table is nice — if your family sits down to dinner together each night. But the idea that children should not speak unless spoken to is pretty ridiculous.
But etiquette is important. It serves as a guideline of sorts for how we should behave in various situations, The Spruce reported. It might be anything from knowing how to address someone you just met to understanding why you should always acknowledge some good done to you in the form of a thank you. And etiquette can change from country to country, community to community. Even your family probably has some rules about etiquette that you might not even realize that you’ve already implemented (like thanking Grandma for your child’s birthday present).
And the truth is that having good manners, well, matters. “Codes of conduct and polite behavior are always in fashion,” Tara Darby Rasheta, Program Development Director at JDW Cotillions, tells Romper. (JDW Cotillions runs dance and social education programs for kids.) “Although some of those rules definitely may change slightly over time.” So learn what you should (and shouldn't) be doing with these etiquette rules that might not be entirely relevant these days.
1. Men Holding The Door Open For Women
You might think that chivalry is dead when the dude in front of you lets the door slam in your face, but nope, it’s just a sign of the times. “With the modern day workplace shifting into a gender-neutral atmosphere, it is acceptable for both men and women to hold doors for one another as a gesture of kindness,” Bonnie Tsai, Founder and Director of Beyond Etiquette, tells Romper. So curb your expectations and hold your own door, ladies.
2. Thank You Note Writing
While it’s not out of style to offer thanks, doing so in a handwritten pen-to-paper form is. “Because of modern means of communication, sharing our thanks for a gift, meal, event or thoughtful gesture can be instantaneous and should be,’ Jennifer Porter, a manners teacher and etiquette coach in Seattle, tells Romper. Since there are so many ways to send your thanks (think emails, texts, or a quick call), you can express your gratitude in other ways. What’s most important is that you do it, since sending a thoughtfully written text or email is definitely better than sending no thanks at all.
3. Waiting For A Handshake
If you can believe it, at one time, men were told to wait for a woman to extend her hand before extending his. Now, it’s not necessary to wait, Lydia Ramsey, president and founder of Manners that Sell and the author of Manners That Sell – Adding the Polish That Builds Profits, tells Romper. "The person who extends a hand first shows the most confidence and courtesy,” says Ramsey. “Women today are expected to shake hands in all situations except the most formal social circumstances.”
4. Shaking Hands Correctly
Shaking hands apparently has its own special category when it comes to manners. When a woman shakes hands with someone else (male or female), she should do so strongly, like the boss that she is. “A woman is expected to offer a firm handshake instead of a light one as was once the case,” says Ramsey. That means having a strong wrist (not a limp one), or worse, offering your hand as if you expect the person to kiss it, not shake it.
5. Sitting To Shake Hands
If you thought that you should remain seated when shaking hands, think again. When it comes to meeting someone new, both men and women need to take a stand — literally. “A woman should always stand to shake hands rather than remain seated,” advises Ramsey. Of course, if you can’t get up because you’re holding a baby or for some other reason, then that’s fine. But if you can stand, you definitely should.
6. Know The Name Game
Back in the day, it was socially acceptable for people to call someone by a title and a last name (think Mr. Smith). That etiquette rule went out the window, and now, it’s more appropriate for people to call someone by their given name. “It seems acceptable in many instances to immediately call a person by first name before getting permission,” says Ramsey.
7. Outdated Office Attire
If you’ve ever watched an episode of Mad Men, you know that the office was the place to see and be seen. Not necessarily so in today’s super relaxed office environment, where casual Friday is almost an everyday occurrence. (Heck, as a remote writer, I’m decked out in a tank and leggings most days.) “No longer are all men expected to wear coats and ties or women to wear stockings,” says Ramsey. “Dress has gone to extreme with men choosing to not wear socks in business and to wear their most comfortable attire to work.” And women, who were once expected to always cover their arms, now rock those sleeveless (and sometimes strapless) dresses and tops to the office.
8. The Order Of Introductions
At one time, the order of an introduction was based on age and gender. That meant that you introduced the oldest person or the woman first. “Today, introductions are based on rank and hierarchy,” says Ramsey. “You defer to the highest ranking person.” This etiquette advice applies more to the workplace than regular life, where you might introduce people as you go around a circle, rather than placing importance on a few key people.
9. Toasting With Alcohol
You might be used to cheersing with a beer or another tasty adults-only beverage, but you don’t have to. Society once viewed it as bad luck if you toasted with a non-alcoholic drink but not anymore. “Nowadays, there may be a multitude of reasons why people choose not to consume alcohol including dietary choices, religious faiths, or simply a personal choice,” says Tsai. “The importance is to respect their choice on what they choose as their beverage.” So raise a glass filled with Gatorade, soda, or even a juice box, and celebrate the moment with whatever your desired drink happens to be.
Etiquette rules definitely still have a place in society, but as times evolve, so do they. So whether you’re in the office talking to your boss, or in the classroom having a convo with your kid’s teacher, (or both), knowing the proper protocol means that your own etiquette will be excellent and effortless.