Mind Your Manners : A Beginner’s Guide To Social Etiquette

Posted: August 21, 2014

Social etiquette takes very little effort, and has multiple rewards. Here’s a beginner’s guide to social etiquette – how to make friends, and keep them!

We’ve all been guilty of committing a social faux pas at some point in our lives, haven’t we? Most of the times, we learn from our social bloopers and focus on brushing up on our  etiquette lessons so that we don’t commit these social blunders again. Etiquette comes naturally to some people and some nurture it along the way, learning from their surroundings and experiences as they grow through the years.

It’s understandable that no one can be perfect or faultless at etiquette, however there are common standard forms of behaviour that every person can learn about, because our social conduct affects others. Besides, etiquette is an important aspect of  our personality and an extension of ourselves, so why not project the best of ourselves?




Besides, etiquette is an important aspect of  our personality and an extension of ourselves, so why not project the best of ourselves?

Individuals with etiquette project themselves as being well-mannered, polished, and well-cultured – making them popular among all. Etiquette speaks volumes about us, our personality, our character, and most importantly, it reflects our upbringing. Our etiquette stands as a direct source to our jobs and our relationships with others.

A person without manners can be a turn off to many people, and they may even find it difficult to seek employment in good organizations, as they would be a source of negativity. They may set a bad example to the working environment, and may go against the work ethics of the company.

Etiquette creates a rippling positive effect on our social lives as our good reputation will always be spoken about. Our behaviour can be a source of happiness to others, and at the same time, it could also be a source of discomfiture to others. Owing to this fact we ought to take responsibility of our behaviour and actions.

I did some of my own research and came across some situations where many of us go wrong. Some interesting tips have also been shared, that are practical and  easy to follow – here’s the list:

Social etiquette

  • When guests come over,  be it close friends or relatives, we need to be hospitable and make them feel at home. The host of the house must try and initiate the conversation as the guest is new to the environment. This would make the guests feel at ease and lighten the atmosphere.
  • While in a group, everyone should be included in the conversation. This sends out positive vibes to each member of the group. If an individual tries to control the conversation, then other members may lose interest in conversing , as no one likes control freaks.  So, do not control a conversation and give every member of the group a fair chance to speak.
  • Do not isolate a member in a group.
  • Do not interrupt a person in the middle of a conversation, and be a good listener. Wait for your turn to speak up.
  • It’s common courtesy to invite our friends and relatives over to our homes. At the same time our friends and relatives must also give us a fair chance to visit them back or at least efforts should be made to meet up at a common place, probably over lunch or coffee. It’s rude to constantly invite ourselves without inviting the other party back.

Table Manners

Many of us hesitate to go to a plush restaurant, doubting our own table manners and dining capabilities. It’s vital to brush up on our table manners as dining and socializing is the in-thing today. Table manners never go out of style and an individual with adept table manners comes across as being confident.

This may come as a surprise, but bad table manners could even be a cause of break-ups in relationships! Having the right table manners helps us to blend in with people belonging to varied sections of our society and communities. Here are some basic rules that are practical and can be used to our advantage:

  • While eating at the dining table our elbows mustn’t  touch the table.
  • It’s good to chew with our mouths closed and not emit noises while chewing food.
  • While dining at the table, it’s courtesy to request our guest to take a second helping however, if the guest refuses to take more, then stop at that. It’s not a good idea to force someone to eat more because they may have personal reasons – like health issues – for not doing so.
  • At the table, pass the items that are closest to you. We shouldn’t go out of our way to pass items that are not close. It may be a cause of discomfort to the others sitting at the table. Wait for others to finish serving, especially if you are the host.
  • In restaurants, while a server comes to take our order, we should give him our  attention and acknowledge his greeting. It’s offensive to keep them waiting while we are engrossed in our own conversation or any other activity. We’ve often seen that servers at restaurants are not treated with dignity, haven’t we ? Servers are just doing their job and they deserve our respect and time too.
  • At a restaurant while in a group, pay your share.

Telephone etiquette

  • Begin by answering the call with a ‘ Hello’ or by addressing our name. Beginning a call by just saying ‘Yes ‘ sounds rude.
  • While speaking to someone on the telephone, we must make efforts to give the caller our undivided attention. The caller deserves our respect and courtesy.
  • One must encourage back and forth dialogue so that each one gets a fair opportunity to speak on a call.
  •  Avoid consuming food or beverages on call. It may sound annoying and disrespectful to the listener.
  • Pitch, volume, and tone of our voice should be taken care of while speaking on the phone, especially to customers.
  • We mustn’t place our caller on hold for too long. In case we have to attend another call which is important, we should get back to our caller and inform them that we’d return the call, as soon we take care of the urgent call. Do get back if you’ve promised to call back.

It’s essential to take care of our behaviour as it forms the foundation to heal old relationships and build newer ones with our friends, relatives, with communities, and with our employees. It could be the propelling force to move our lives forward in the right direction. Every positive action of ours can bring an enormous change in our lives and ultimately in others’.  So, why not make a little effort to improve our manners for our benefit and also for the welfare of others?

Pic credit: n_corboy (Used under a CC license)

Diana has worked as an Editor/Writer and Content Manager for various digital platforms and

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  1. Pingback: Mind Your Manners : A Beginner’s Guide To Social Etiquette | Diana's Musings

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