Practicing proper etiquette helps instill a code of polite behavior in society, however, there are many rules from the past that have become severely outdated, including:
- Pantyhose being the most professional look for women,
- Dressing up to board a flight,
- Sending handwritten notes after interviews,
- No white after Labor Day.
While some rules may seem a little pretentious at times, there are others that have evolved to meet today’s standards and convey an undeniably pleasant amount of courtesy.
Here are 16 rules of modern etiquette that everyone should know.
1. Plastic bags or branded bags from boutiques shouldn’t be used as handbags. While these bags are fine transporting your purchased goods home is fine, according to modern etiquette, reusing them in place of a handbag is inelegant.
2. Inviting someone to a restaurant insinuates that you are paying. Saying, “Let’s go to a restaurant” implies everyone is paying for themselves, but to invite someone to dinner means that you should be footing the bill.
3. The most prestigious seat in a car is directly behind the driver. Many of us are quick to call “shotgun,” but according to etiquette, this seat should be reserved for a woman as it allows the driver to easily open the door for her upon arrival.
4. Never dry an umbrella by leaving it open nor in the office at someone else’s place. Umbrellas should be folded up and hung on a hook or placed on an umbrella stand.
5. Handbags should never be placed on your lap or chair. Small and elegant clutches can be placed on tables, but handbags should be hung on a chair or put on the floor.
6. You should always call before visiting. Surprise visits are a big no-no in the rules of modern etiquette and you should always make sure the person whose place you’re going to is expecting you.
7. You should always face the people you have to walk past to get to your seat when visiting a cinema, theater, or concert hall.
8. “Home clothes,” according to modern etiquette, consist of pants and a casual sweater. Bathrobes and pajamas are only supposed to be worn when going to the bathroom, in the morning, and going from the bathroom to bed at night.
9. Once a child is old enough to have their own bedroom, you should always knock before entering. Respecting one’s privacy at a young age will hopefully teach them to respect yours in return.
10. When exiting an elevator with a group of people, the first person to leave should be the one closest to the door.
11. Never wear more than 13 accessories at once, including fashion buttons. The rules of modern etiquette also state while a bracelet can be worn over gloves, a ring cannot.
12. Politics, religion, health, and money are all taboos when it comes to small talk. In response to an inappropriate question, one should politely change the topic of conversation or gently state, “I wouldn’t like to talk about it.”
13. Don’t take out your phone and leave it on the table while out with people. Having your phone displayed shows that it’s more important to you than the people around you.
14. It’s unacceptable to discuss someone who is absent. Gossiping shows a lack of character and modern etiquette forbids running down others who aren’t there to defend themselves.
15. While it’s appropriate for a lady to wear a hat and or gloves indoors, modern etiquette frowns upon wearing a cap and or mittens while inside.
16. Modern etiquette states that it’s best to keep a secret of nine things: age, wealth, family quarrels, religion, medical problems, love affairs, gifts, honor and disgrace.