Stars Screen Binge Culture Media. Tech Innovate Gadget Mission: Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. Minding your manners Story highlights Etiquette experts offer tips on evenings out, travel, courteous Social graces etiquette at different occasions and smartphones In the Middle Ages, a code of conduct limited violence among competing warriors Contrary to popular belief, elbows on the table are fine when you're not eating.
Welcome to Real Simple Finishing School -- your be-all, end-all, authority on awkward interactions, stressful situations and elbows on the table still rude? Please be so kind as to take a seat.
Class is about to begin. Meet our wise and wonderful etiquette e xperts. Benet Davetianauthor of "Civility: Catherine Newmanetiquette columnist for Real Simple.
Anna Posta coauthor of "Emily Post's Etiquette, 18th edition," and a great-great-granddaughter of the famed manners maven.
Smithpresident of Mannersmith, an etiquette consulting firm in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and author of "The Etiquette Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Manners. Where are your manners? Gone Social graces etiquette at different occasions way of hoop skirts and high tea? Beyond the reflexive "please" and "thank you" just like Mom taught uspoliteness sometimes seems like a low and slow priority in a fast-paced, 4G world.
Contrary to what you may think, we're not, as a culture, getting ruder. In fact, experts agree that we're more conscious of respecting others than ever before. Interesting when you consider why etiquette was invented in the first place: In the Middle Ages, a code of conduct was a way to limit violence among competing warriors.
Look at that -- a "no spitting at the table" Social graces etiquette at different occasions works! Later, in the Victorian era, according to Benet Davetian, author of "Civility: A Cultural History," complex rules of propriety were used as a means of differentiating among the classes. Not so nice, right? When the let-it-all-hang-out s rolled around, many of the old social graces broke down. And now modern technology has introduced a slew of additional opportunities for rudeness which we take full advantage of!
But, explains Diane Gottsman of the Protocol School of Texas, "today manners are less about faux pas than being mindful of how you treat people around you. If you're like most people, you have questions.
That's why Real Simple rallied the experts for updated advice on everything from bread plates to bcc. Manners at the t able. Elbows on the table are fine when you're not eating.
What you don't want to do is use your elbow as a fulcrum for bringing food to your mouth. Wrists on the table are always OK. Your bread plate is on your left; meal plate, in the middle; water, on the Social graces etiquette at different occasions. Wait until everyone has been served or the host gives you the green light.
If there's a large number of people or a buffet, you can begin eating when you get your food. At weddings and in other situations where there's preset food, wait until the host gives you the OK to start. For the first time around the table, dishes should be passed counterclockwise so that the right hand is free for serving.
If you're asked to pass salt or pepper, pass both. If you can get the item you need without fully extending your arm, go for it. Otherwise ask to have it passed. When you need to step away, say, "Excuse me.
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I'll be right back. Leave your napkin loosely on the table to the left of your plate, not on your seat. Manners for p arties. Always do it, and do it on time. Websites like Evite have technology that allows the host to see who has read the invitation and at what time.
In other words, a snubbed or delayed RSVP comes off as ungrateful and careless. Whoever is listed on the envelope is invited. If your baby's name isn't included, he's not invited. If it says "The Smith Family," then everyone living under that roof is welcome.
For large parties, you're on your own. Don't mention dietary needs to your host. For small dinner parties, let the host know as soon as possible. If you adhere to an especially tricky-to-accommodate diet, ask if you can bring a dish. And be sure to add, "I can't wait to be Social graces etiquette at different occasions. Never show up early, because the host may not be ready.
To join a new conversation at a cocktail party, catch someone's eye, smile, and enter the clique on a break. And if you see someone who wants to participate, pull her in when there's a lull. Instead of pulling the bathroom ploy, get used to saying, "It's been lovely chatting with you.
That's the purpose of a party -- to socialize. Introduce the two parties and explain what they have in common. Then say, "I'm going to leave you two to chat.
I'll catch up with you later. If there are fewer than a dozen people in attendance, you should say good-bye to the host. If there are more than that, you can slip out and send a text or an e-mail later saying, "What a great party!
Thank you so much for having us. Don't be the last guest unless you're a close friend.
The evening is over when any one of the following is true: The music is off, the lights are on, the drinks are stoppered or the food is cleaned up. When it's getting late, you can say, "I Social graces etiquette at different occasions an early morning tomorrow, and I'm going to have to start cleaning.
But if you'll excuse me now, I'm going to have to turn in. Manners for c orrespondence. Mobile society leads to bad manners?
When you receive a gift or someone does you a big favor, send a handwritten thank-you note. It only needs to be a few sentences. And it's fine to continue on the back of a card if you need to say more. Completely at a loss? Use small stationery and write one sentence "I really appreciate Include a warm greeting and a sign-off.
Mail the note as soon as you can, but definitely within two weeks. After a job interview, send an immediate e-mail of thanks and mention that a note is in the mail.
The latter has more impact because it's Social graces etiquette at different occasions, visual, and emotional.
Some human-resources executives value this as a demonstration of strong interpersonal skills. Also send a handwritten thank-you for a college or job recommendation. It's OK to drop the "hello" and "many thanks" after some back-and-forth. Also, pay attention to a person's signature.