Do you ever have to stop and think about what fork to use after the salad arrives during a dinner party? Have you ever wondered what is expected of you when you’re a weekend guest in someone’s home? You want to do the right thing, but you’re not sure what that is.

There are general rules of etiquette that work all the time, while there are others that are specific to each situation. It’s important to know the basics of good manners, regardless of where you go.

There are more bad manners and social faux pas than ever, so it’s easy to be confused about what’s socially acceptable. Many of the correct behaviors people once considered common sense have gotten lost in the swirling wind of bad advice, outdated manners rules, and social media that makes it too easy to slip up and be rude.

If you follow these tips you will be invited to more parties, be considered when job opportunities arise, and make more friends. Not doing any of these things can hold you back in social and professional situations.

Basic Social Etiquette

There are certain accepted behaviors in all social situations that you need to learn. With few exceptions, putting them into practice can make a big difference in your social life.

  • Easy to have good manners – These basic rules of proper etiquette are mostly common sense with a healthy dose of the Golden Rule thrown in for good measure.
  • Be on time – No one likes to wait for others who are chronically late. However, there are times when being late is out of your control.
  • Personal space – When you see someone squirming as you step closer back off a bit. Every culture has different comfort levels of personal space, so before you travel, find out how close you can get to people without being rude.
  • Men’s manners – This one is simple: All you have to do is be a gentleman. Rudeness is never manly.
  • Women’s manners – You can be a lady and still show strength. Times have changed, and some rules have become outdated, but it’s always appropriate to be mannerly.
      • Teens’ manners – Show everyone how grown up you are by demonstrating good manners. Chances are, if you exhibit proper etiquette, you’ll earn respect and maybe even more privileges.
      • Children’s manners – Be the kid everyone wants to play with. Even grownups will want to be around you if you’re polite.
      • Host and Hostess Gift – Never show up empty-handed when you’re a guest in someone’s home.
    • Dealing with a Flaky Friend – It’s difficult to deal with someone who is always late, forgets to show up, or can’t be relied on.