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17 Etiquette Rules We Should Never Have Abandoned

Good manners evolve, but they never go out of style. If you're skipping these social niceties, your manners may need a makeover.

By | Charlotte Hilton Andersen |

RSVP’ing in a timely manner

Maybe it’s because people receive so many invitations or perhaps it’s because invites have become so casual, often sent via email or social media, but the fact is that RSVP’ing has become as rare as men removing their hats indoors. While the hat issue isn’t a big deal anymore, failing to respond to an invite is not just a breach of good etiquette but a breach of basic humanity, says etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life and founder of the Protocol School of Texas. “People need to buy food, plan entertainment, and other things that take significant cost and time,” she says. “Not RSVP’ing or waiting until the last minute makes the host’s job infinitely harder.” People often stress about sending a negative reply, which is one reason they may delay, but it’s a lot easier to do if you know the best way to say no to an invitation.

Taking off your sunglasses indoors

Go anywhere these days and you’re likely to see a variety of shaded eyes, even in places like movie theaters. Is everyone nursing a hangover, or is it just one more sign of our avoidance of others? “Unless you’re an A-list celebrity, don’t be shady: Remove your sunglasses when greeting someone,” says Lisa Grotts, etiquette expert, founder of Golden Rules Gal, and author of A Traveler’s Passport to Etiquette. “Without eye contact, you can’t communicate properly, and looking at someone when they’re speaking increases understanding and shows respect.” If you’re outdoors and have sensitive eyes, it’s fine to put your sunglasses back on after saying hello, but skip the shades when you’re indoors.

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