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Etiquette or good manners are decent social conduct that builds healthy relationships and takes you ahead in life. The idea behind why you should practice social etiquette is to appear formal to strangers or business partners and be a likable and trustworthy person in society. Learning social etiquette takes a little time and experience as the rules are not set in stone and evolve with times and trends. However, all social etiquette and manners have a common denominator that, when understood, makes it easier to learn. This article talks all about social etiquette in different settings that you may not have known.
What Is Social Etiquette?
Humans are social beings who need to follow specific rules of social interactions to facilitate interpersonal relationships. Social etiquette need to be followed in social situations to be respectful and courteous towards everyone present. This also extends to interactions with friends, family, and relatives. While social etiquette reduces conflict and promotes harmony, it also influences how others perceive you. You will leave behind a lasting impression on the other people, establishing a sense of trust and reliance, and in return, you are treated well and earn their trust.
Besides the courteous component of social etiquette, it also has usefulness in terms of friendships and partnerships that open up opportunities. Some basic social etiquette includes:
- Remembering people’s names
- Saying “excuse me” after sneezing
- Using “thank you” and “sorry” when a situation demands
- Holding the door for someone immediately standing behind or in front of you.
Why Is Social Etiquette Important?
While social etiquette might seem like an endless list of unnecessary rules that are, it is good to follow such etiquette that will eventually benefit everyone. Here are some reasons why good social etiquette is needed:
1. It shows people how to behave
Social etiquette is not always apparent in all social settings, and sometimes people wouldn’t know how to behave in certain situations. When they arrive at the point where they have to question their behavior, etiquette learned previously acts as a good reference.
2. It helps you to look like a kind and approachable person
Etiquette makes you look like a kind person who cares about the well-being of others. Your warm behavior also makes you seem like an approachable person who encourages others to interact with you.
3. Makes interactions easy
Social etiquette eases interactions between people by removing misunderstanding and unnecessary drama. It can also lessen confrontation that might arise from misunderstandings.
4. It becomes easy to build and maintain connections
A well-behaved, courteous person is easy to talk to and establishes himself as trustworthy. Such people are better able to create new relationships and maintain old ones.
5. Improves communication
Communication is not only the spoken language but also the general behavior exhibited towards others. Good etiquette communicates more about the person you are than your words.
6. Makes a good impression
Good etiquette is essential at workplaces as it makes you look more professional and make a good impression with everyone.
Types of Social Etiquette
Although the basic rule of etiquette is good manners, it can change in different social settings. Lunch with your family can be informal, while the same with business partners will be formal – you must learn different etiquette for such drastically different settings. Knowing the proper etiquette for the situation can make all the difference in presenting yourself well. Here is some standard social etiquette around the world:
1. Social Etiquette
Social etiquette relates to the norms of social behavior and interactions considered acceptable by everyone.
2. Face-to-face Etiquette
When meeting someone, introduce yourself with your full name and pay attention to their name and what they have to say. Also, mind your body language and avoid actions, body language, or gestures that come across as rude.
3. Meeting Etiquette
This type of etiquette informs people about how to behave in corporate meetings, events, and seminars.
4. Eating Etiquette
Eating etiquette is about table manners. These include not speaking with a full mouth, staying at the table until everyone is done, and thanking the person serving the food.
5. Telephone Etiquette
Telephone etiquette is all about how you should behave over the phone. Learning to keep the tone and pitch low when talking to someone and not putting the other person on hold for a long time is essential.
Basic Social Etiquette Rules
Below are the etiquette rules that are applicable to all settings:
1. Good manners
Good manners involve rules that work on common sense when interacting with others. Showing basic courtesy and decency while interacting with all people constitutes good manners.
2. Being punctual
No one likes to wait for someone who is always late. Although being late is sometimes acceptable when there is a genuine cause, you must try to be punctual at all times.
3. Personal space
People from different cultures have varying personal zones – it is how close you can get to them before they start getting uncomfortable. If you are meeting someone for the first time, maintain more distance than an arm’s length when greeting them unless they cue you to step closer.
4. Men’s manners
Being a gentleman is all about being polite. Rudeness is never acceptable, and speaking softly with warm gestures is sure to win the confidence of the other.
5. Women’s manners
Women must not confuse between being assertive and being downright rude. While the trends have changed, rudeness is just as bad a quality for women as it is for men.
6. Teenager’s manners
Teenagers are still experimenting with who they are, and it is not uncommon to be rude and rebellious. Teenagers will be treated with respect when they are polite regardless of what they believe.
7. Children’s manners
A good-mannered child attracts peers and playmates while also getting all the adoration and affection from the adults. Politeness is more appreciated in children.
Social Etiquette for Business
The social etiquette for business settings can change in different organizations. However, some universal business etiquette needs to be followed worldwide:
1. Business relationships
Keeping relationships formal in business environments is essentials. It is ideal not to share any personal connections unnecessarily, and any other info shared is only done when asked. Maintaining good business relationships is the key to job security and being a reliable coworker.
2. Business attire
Dressing for the situation can go a long way in making the right first impression and maintaining a good impression. Although the office might have ‘casual Friday’ dress codes, it is best to keep it as close to formal as possible and not dress like you are going on a vacation.
3. Cubicle manners
Sharing cubicles at work with coworkers can be trying even during the best of times. Stay clean; keep your station tidy, and avoid any distractions, such as sound or smell, that might disturb your coworker.
4. Shaking hands
A good handshake that exudes confidence and trust can establish you as a trustworthy person and make a great first impression. A weak handshake, on the other hand, can ruin your credibility and impression.
5. Business gifts
Business gifts show appreciation and are viewed as a good gesture. Ensure the gifs never embarrass the intended person.
6. Appreciating others
Whenever someone comes with a great idea or a breakthrough, acknowledge the brilliance of their thought without going overboard. Any congratulations need to be realistic and genuine. Also, never take credit for someone else’s work.
Social Etiquette for Communication
Your ability to communicate effectively can take you to some high places regardless of what you started. Here is some social etiquette for communication:
Learn how to hold a good conversation without deviating from sensitive topics. Never monopolize the subject and be reciprocal about what is being discussed.
Gossip is never good anywhere or with anyone. When people get to know that you gossiped, you will be the topic of the next gossip session.
3. Remembering people’s names
Remembering people’s names is an excellent way to make a good impression. Even if you meet them after years, recalling their names shows that you remembered them.
4. Using cell phones
Limit cell phone usage when interacting with people. Only pick up important calls, and do not check your social media when having lunch with friends or family.
5. Double-check email
Since most emails can’t be called back, always double-check them before hitting the send button.
6. Changing the subject
If you are being dragged into a conversation that you are uncomfortable with, gently nudge the topic into other areas to change course. If the person insists on continuing, clearly state that it is something you don’t wish to talk about.
Social Etiquette for Social Media
The information you post can make or break your reputation. Here are some social media etiquette rules that you need to know:
1. Tagging people
Tagging people in photos and posts are trendy and helps bring more attention to the post or photo. However, not many people like being tagged without their consent; therefore, get their permission before tagging them in any posts you make.
2. Posting political opinions
Political opinions can stir up a conversation and offend a lot of people. If you must make your position clear, then keep it private to not be rude on the public forum.
3. Posting pictures
Be cautious with what you post about yourself or your life online. Public posts can be used against you or paint a less than desirable picture with any future employer.
Comment sections are hot spots for drama, especially on sensitive topics. Even if you feel the urge to post an opinion, refrain from it as it would only drag you down the path of drama and conflicts.
5. Keep conversations private
Avoid posting personal or sensitive questions or comments on somebody’s post. If it is necessary, send them a direct message and have a chat in a private messenger.
Social Etiquette Inside Your Home
Social etiquette also applies to your home, although it is your private space.
1. Keep conversations pleasant
Dialogues and discussions within families can escalate quite quickly into conflict, and in many families, that’s usually a common way of release that everyone participates out of habit. Walk away from any trivial topics that lead to conflict or make a deliberate attempt to talk about pleasant things.
2. Paying attention to family
Do not use your mobile phone at the dinner table or a family get-together. When one brings a phone, the others follow, and soon, the gathering falls apart. Spend as much time as possible and have the best time with your family.
3. Teaching manners to children
Children must learn to respect their home and the properties they use. Show them how to be careful with things in the house and do their part to keep the home clean. Set realistic age-appropriate social etiquette for kids and appreciate them when they stick to it.
4. Living with roommates
Social etiquette when living with a roommate is of the utmost importance. It is best to have a written agreement with how things are done, who pays for what, and the scheduling for doing the chores. Have clear boundaries and respectful conversations. Have rules for when inviting guests over and avoid political topics.
Social Etiquette in the Public Place
Once you are outside in public places, the rules are further expanded. You may also find that many do not follow decent behavior. However, it is your responsibility as a decent person to stay within your best behavior. Here are some social etiquette examples for public spaces:
Learn about the specific etiquette in trains, buses, and any other form of transportation. Do not stare at people and keep your hands to yourself. Offer your seat to someone who needs it more than you and avoid getting into conflicts even if you are being forced into it.
2. Coffee shops
Keep your volume down when talking in coffee shops, and avoid making any sudden or loud sounds. Always tip your waiters or other staff and thank them for their service.
3. Headphone use
Although it is easy to get lost in what you are listening to, always apologize when you bump into someone because you weren’t paying attention. Try and maintain some awareness of your surroundings, especially in crowded places.
4. Walking your dog
Regardless of how harmless you think your pet is, restrict its movements by keeping it on a leash. Always pick up after your dog as it is solely your responsibility. If you have a threatening or aggressive breed, be extra cautious about people’s sensitivity.
Social etiquette is essential for becoming a pleasant and likable member of society. Although it can seem to be a lot, they can make all the difference at work, out in public, and even your home. Make active efforts to learn about new etiquette, and when unsure, do not hesitate to ask!