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16 Rules Of Modern Etiquette That Everyone Should Know

These days, it seems that courtesy and good manners are in shorter and shorter supply. Still, good manners definitely matter, and you'll be surprised how far etiquette will take you. My mother always used to say, "Friends and good manners will take you where money won't." The older I get, the truer that wisdom seems. 

Still, we could all do with a bit of brushing up on the rules of etiquette now and then, which is why we've compiled this list.

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1. Always call before visiting someone.

It's never cool to pop in on someone unannounced. If anyone's ever done it to you, then you know why - you might have just gotten out of bed, might be feeling ill, the house may be a mess. One British lady had a clever way of dealing with unannounced guests: she'd put on her shoes, coat, hat, and grabbed an umbrella. If she liked the guest, she'd say "I just got home!" to excuse the unpreparedness, but if she didn't like the guest she'd say "Sorry, I was just on my way out."

2. Never dry an umbrella when it's opened.

Fold it up and hang it on a stand or hook.

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3. Don't use plastic bags/branded boutique shopping bags as a handbag.

It's just tacky.

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

You can place a small, elegant clutch on the table, and a handbag can be hung on the back of a chair. Briefcases should rest on the floor.

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5. The best "home clothes" are pants and a casual sweater. 

Bathrobes and pajamas are meant for taking a bath or sleeping. Do your best to wear real clothes during the daytime. 

6. When a child transitions to having their own room, always knock before entering.

This way, your child learns about respecting privacy and will (hopefully) respect yours in return.

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7.  A lady can wear a hat and/or gloves indoors...

... But not a cap and/or mittens.

8. The total number of accessories you wear should never exceed 13.

This includes fashion buttons. Bracelets can be worn over gloves, but not a ring. Back in the old days, it was also customary to wear more expensive jewelry towards the evening, but nowadays this convention isn't as strictly adhered to.

Outside The Beltway

9. If you say you're "inviting someone" to a restaurant, then you're implying that you'll be the one to pick up the tab. 

While convention also usually has the gentleman pay, if a lady invites a business partner she can/should pay. A better way to phrase it so everyone pays their own way is to say "Let's go to a restaurant."

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

... And therefore, the one who should get the door for others.

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

This seat should be reserved for the lady. Regardless of where the lady sits, however, a gentleman should always open the door for a lady and help her exit the car. In the business world, this rule is increasingly broken due to the maxim, "There are no men or women in business."

12. When visiting a cinema, theater, or concert hall, you should always face the people you have to walk past to get to your seat.

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13. Taboo subjects for small talk: politics, religion, health, money.

If someone asks you an inappropriate question, try to politely change the subject. If they persist, just say "I'd prefer not to get into it."

14. Don't pull your phone out and leave it on the table in public. 

That shows that the device is more important to you and that you're bored with what's happening, ready to pick it up and end conversation whenever you're tired of being polite.

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15. Don't engage in gossip, especially if it's behind someone's back. 

No matter how juicy it is, it's never cool to badmouth someone or gossip about them in their absence. It just shows a lack of character.

16. Make a secret of nine things:

Age, wealth, religion, family affairs, medical issues, gifts, romantic entanglements, honor, and disgrace.

As a bonus, here's Jack Nicholson on common decency:

Philistine

 I think much of decency. How to pass a plate. Not to shout from one room to another. Not to break a closed door open without knocking. Let a lady pass. The aim of these endless simple rules is to make a life better. We cannot conduct a permanent war with parents — it’s dull. I pay close attention to my manners. It’s not an abstraction, it’s a simple and comprehensible language of mutual respect.

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H/T: Bright Side