The 16 Rules of Modern Etiquette

Courtesy isn’t hard to display — it amounts to respect for both yourself and others. But there are several nuances which only a small number of people seem to know. We collected a few rules which can make your life (and those of others’) more pleasant.

The 16 Rules of Modern Etiquette

1. Never visit without calling first

If you’ve ever gotten a surprise visit, you might have been caught off-guard wearing a robe and slippers. One British lady liked to say that when she saw an unexpected guest, she would put shoes on, take a hat, and grab an umbrella. If the person was pleasant, she exclaimed: “I just came home!” If not, she said: ’Ah, what a pity I have to go!’

2. Never dry an umbrella when it’s opened — neither in the office nor at someone else’s place

You should fold it up and put it either on an umbrella stand or a hook.

3. Never put a handbag on your lap or your chair

A small and elegant clutch can be placed on a table. A handbag can be hung on a chair back or put on the floor if there isn’t one (these are offered in some restaurants). A briefcase should be put on the floor.

4. Plastic bags should only be used for going to and from the supermarket, as well as brand bags from boutiques

Using them as handbags is a bit tacky.

5. Home clothes are pants and a sweater. Comfortable, but tidy

A robe and sleepwear are meant for going to the bathroom in the morning and from the bathroom to the bedroom in the evening.

6. When a child moves to his/her own room, make it a routine to knock before entering

Then your child will do the same when entering your bedroom.

7. A woman can wear a hat and gloves indoors

But not a cap and mittens.

8. The total number of accessories you wear shouldn’t exceed 13, including fashion buttons

A bracelet can be worn over gloves, but not a ring. The closer to the evening, the more expensive your jewelry should be. Back in the old days, diamonds were considered an evening adornment for married women only, but nowadays it’s possible to wear them during the day.

9. In terms of ordering in a restaurant, saying ’’I invite you’’ means you pay

If a woman invites a business partner to a restaurant, she pays. If someone says, ’Let’s go to a restaurant,’ that means everyone pays for himself/herself; if a man offers to pay for a woman, she can agree.

10. The person who exits first from an elevator is the one who is closest to the door

11. The most prestigious seat in a car is behind the driver

And it’s for a woman. A man sits next to her, and when he gets out of the car, he holds the door and holds out a hand to the woman. If a man drives, it’s desirable for a woman to take the seat behind. However, wherever a woman sits, a man should open a door for her and help her to get out of a car. In business etiquette, men increasingly break this rule hiding behind a the slogan: ’There are no women or men in business.’

12. In the cinema, theatre, or concert hall, you should go to your seat facing the people already sitting

13. Taboos for small talk: politics, religion, health, money

Here’s an inappropriate question: ’What a dress! How much did it cost?’ How to respond? Smile and say: ’It’s a gift!’ Change the topic of conversation. If the person insists, say gently: ’I wouldn’t like to talk about it.’

14. Familiarity between people who hardly know each other is forbidden

Treat others the way you want them to treat you. Even if you know a person well, in the office you should act as if you were strangers. Yes, the same applies with your family members. Respect others.

15. Discussing those who are absent, when it is simply gossip, is unacceptable

You shouldn’t run down your relatives, especially your spouse. If your spouse is so bad, why not get divorced? It’s also forbidden to express contempt for your native country. ’This country is filled with misers…’ – well then, you’re one of them.

16. It’s better to make a secret of nine things:

Age, wealth, family quarrels, religion, your medical problems, love affairs, gifts, honor and disgrace.


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