The 40 everyday things which make you 'tacky' according to an etiquette expert

THIS week marks National Etiquette week.

It’s important to brush up on our manners to ensure we’re not embarrassing ourselves at a dinner party by starting before everyone else has their food or reaching across the table to grab the salt.

Although we all hope that our manners are good enough to pass the test, some of us don’t actually know the first thing about etiquette.

Common behaviors like laying down on someone else's couch or having your phone beside your plate at the table is actually considered tacky.

Etiquette expert and author Jacqueline Whitmore, who founded the business etiquette consulting firm called The Protocol School of Palm Beach, spoke with The Sun and shared her top 40 etiquette rules to live by.

She said this week is a reminder to “practice those good manners that may have fallen by the wayside.”


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Although some of the tips on her list may be thought of as “common sense,” you’d be surprised at how many people avoid even the simplest of courtesies.

Below are Whitmore’s top 40 etiquette practices to live by:

  1. Hold the door for the person behind you.
  1. Never lick your knife.

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  1. Keep a supply of thank-you notes on hand for those times when someone gives you a gift.
  1. Offer the breadbasket to your neighbor first before serving yourself. 
  1. Be punctual.
  1. Let someone go in front of you in line.
  1. Put your phone away during meals.
  1. Always R.S.V.P. And do it right away before you forget.
  1. Dress for the occasion. It’s better to be overdressed rather than underdressed.
  1. Use your turn signal. 
  1. Return your shopping cart to the corral instead of leaving it in the parking lot. 
  1. Push your chair in when you leave the table.
  1. Offer to help clean up.
  2. Ask before bringing a guest.
  1. Apologize when you are wrong.
  1. Wait until everyone has been served before you begin eating.
  1. Be kind to your server. 
  1. Don’t put your feet on someone else’s furniture.
  1. Let people get off the elevator first before you get on.
  1. Don’t groom yourself in public. This includes clipping your nails, brushing your hair, or picking your teeth.
  1. Don’t talk with your mouth full of food. 
  1. Return money that you borrow before the giver asks for it.
  1. Never order the most expensive item on the menu if you’re not paying the bill. 
  1. Never give advice unless someone asks or pays for it.
  1. Treat the janitor with the same respect as the CEO.
  1. When someone shows you a picture on their phone, don’t swipe left or right. 
  1. Don’t spit in public.
  1. Pick up after your dog.
  1. Offer to help someone who is struggling to stow their luggage on an airplane.
  1. Don’t double-dip at a party.
  1. Respect everyone's personal space.
  1. Don’t correct someone’s grammar in public.
  1. Talk less; listen more.
  1. Don’t stare.
  1. Keep your word.
  1. Keep your voice down when walking down a hotel hallway. And don’t slam your hotel door.
  1. Avoid finishing other people’s sentences. 
  1. Don’t block the baggage conveyor while waiting for your bags at an airport. Allow enough room for others to retrieve their bags. 
  1. Say “excuse me,” if you belch or pass gas in public.

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  1. If someone offers you a mint, take it.

As for Whitmore’s parting words of wisdom: “Etiquette varies from country to country, but kindness never goes out of style.”

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