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50 Little Etiquette Rules You Should Always Practice

Good etiquette is about making people comfortable. Here are the everyday etiquette tips that will help you navigate any situation smoothly

By | Charlotte Hilton Andersen |

Proper etiquette in the 21st century

Etiquette isn’t about old-fashioned politeness or outdated rules about opening doors and folding napkins. At its core, good etiquette is the oil that keeps society running smoothly. “What we call ‘good manners’ are really a list of agreed-upon social rules that let everyone know what to expect when interacting with others,” says Valerie Sokolosky, an etiquette expert and the author of Do It Right, a comprehensive guide to modern etiquette. “Knowing these ground rules of good manners isn’t just about being polite—it’s about how to be kind and gracious in every situation.”

There are many different types of social situations, each with its own unique set of etiquette rules: tipping etiquettebusiness etiquettewedding etiquette, online communications and email etiquette, and restaurant etiquette, to name a few. You also need to know how to write a thank-you note, when to send condolence messages and what to say when you’ve messed up. Of course, you probably do the “right” things naturally a lot of the time, but there’s also a good chance you’re accidentally making some serious etiquette mistakes too.

What is the golden rule of etiquette?

It really boils down to this: Etiquette is about people, not policies. “Good manners are all about helping people, including yourself, feel comfortable no matter the situation,” explains etiquette expert Lisa Grotts, founder of the Golden Rules Gal. “Instead of enforcing arbitrary ‘old-school’ rules or what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ etiquette is about following guidelines that lead to greater respect, cooperation and understanding.”

If that sounds a little confusing, don’t worry. We’re here to guide you through it all with expert advice so you know what to do in every situation.

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