There’s a sense that turning 30 somehow means you’re finally an “adult.” Long gone are the days of your reckless 20s, when you could (more or less) do whatever you wanted with few consequences. Right? Well, not so much. Like any so-called landmark birthday, simply turning the calendar from year 29 to year 30 means little in terms of your maturity. But maybe it’s time you clean up your act a bit and learn some proper etiquette.
Etiquette? You scoff. Isn’t that just standing up straight and keeping your napkin on your lap at dinner? Well, yes and no. Knowing how to conduct yourself in public and in private is one of the life skills you need to know before you’re 30.
Whether or not you feel like an actual adult at age 30, it’s high time you start responding to texts and emails, listen to people when you talk to them and show up to places on time. Not doing so is actually really rude, whether or not you realize it. What other etiquette mistakes should you stop making by the time you reach your third decade of life? Well, we’re glad you asked!
We get it, life is busy, especially if you’re a frequent party guest. But you know who else has a busy (and expensive) life? Party hosts. So do them a favor and don’t wait until the very last minute to respond to an invitation. You should actually send your RSVP back within just 24 hours.
Sure, you can easily text someone to let them know you're running 20 minutes behind — but that doesn’t make it OK. Being late is a really rude habit that you need to quit. If you worry you’ll be late, give yourself ample time to account for traffic, trains or other obstacles. If you promise to be somewhere at 1 p.m., make it your duty to be there at 1 p.m.
It doesn’t matter how casual the event you’re going to is, you should always be sure to bring your host a small token of your appreciation. A bottle of wine or six-pack of beer is an easy go-to, but the best party guests know that bringing a small personalized item or something exclusive to their region (like chocolates from a local shop) is the best hostess gift.
Do you go in for a hug? Move for a simple handshake? Wave hello? Knowing how to greet someone is one of the biggest questions about etiquette. If you’re in a business situation, a handshake is the most appropriate way to start a conversation. Reserve hugs, kisses and other more intimate greetings for people you know will be accepting of them.
No matter how entertaining that text or funny that tweet, resist the urge to check your phone during a real-life conversation with someone — it’s really rude. If you happen to be expecting an important call or text, let the people around you know before you start your evening. Otherwise, leave the phone in your pocket.
We get it, making eye contact can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re an anxious person. But making eye contact with a person shows that you’re focused on them and you’re interested in what they have to say. This is an easy and great way to make a great impression on another person.
It’s easy to forget even your most basic manners, but remember the things that you learned all the way back in kindergarten. Saying “please” and “thank you” may seem small, but they really do show your appreciation for others. These phrases are just a few of the nice things you need to say more often.
Wait, gossiping is a breach of etiquette? You sure bet it is! Gossiping is alarmingly common, especially considering it’s one of the very rudest behaviors and something you should absolutely quit. There are a lot of big and little consequences of dishing dirt that can affect your life in a negative way, and plenty of other reasons why you should never gossip.
Knowing how to have a good conversation is part of being a more polite person. The No. 1 rule of knowing how to make small talk is listening to the other person. If you really listen — and we don’t mean just waiting for your next turn to talk — you can ask engaging questions and have a true discussion. Talking about yourself constantly is quite rude.
It’s easy to feel uncomfortable when someone compliments your outfit, your intelligence or your accomplishments. If you’re a humble person, hearing your own praises sung can be weird. But dismissing someone’s compliments by saying “Oh, it’s no big deal/this outfit is old/I didn’t work that hard” just makes the situation more awkward. Accept the praise and move on.
Very few people truly enjoy sitting down and writing mountains of thank you notes — it probably goes back to being forced to write them to every aunt and uncle who gave you $5 in childhood. But knowing how to write them (in a timely manner) is hugely important. After receiving a gift, be sure to send a thank you card with a greeting, a genuine expression of gratitude and small personal details. It’s an etiquette lesson your grandma wishes you knew!
Yes, your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram is your own, and your online presence is important. Not only can this be a stranger's first impression of you, it can also be a make-or-break piece of the puzzle when it comes to job searches or your dating life. So be careful before you let loose on the internet.
We get it. It’s so much easier to text or email someone rather than call or talk to them in person. But real life contact is incredibly important, especially if the topic of discussion is important or sensitive. If you’re discussing a serious subject or even just having a lengthy conversation, it’s much more proper (and efficient) to just pick up the phone or meet for a coffee at a great local spot.
It’s really easy to let those little notification bubbles on your phone add up. Who cares if you have 1500 unread emails, 15 ignored texts and a handful of missed calls? Well, the people who are trying to reach you care! Making time for others can be hard, but return that call or email. It’s not polite to ignore someone.
So you went on a date with someone you met on Tinder and the chemistry just… wasn’t there. That’s fine! There’s no need to go on another date with someone you didn’t click with. What you shouldn’t do, however, is cease all communication with no warning (better known as ghosting someone). Just send a polite text saying you had fun but aren’t interested in seeing that person again.
Putting your bag on the table has been a table etiquette mistake since Emily Post’s day, and the rule against placing your belongings on the table extends beyond purses to include wallets, cellphones and other small items. So what should you do? Place your bag under your feet, keep your phone in your pocket and keep the table clear for food and good company.
This major etiquette blunder may seem obvious, but you’d be shocked by just how many people chew with their mouths open or smack their lips while at the table. Remember, keep your mouth closed.
If there’s one rule you learn as a child, it’s to not talk with your mouth full of food. It’s a lesson that should not be forgotten. If you’re eating a delicious steak dinner, just finish your bite before responding to a question. If need be, motion to your fellow diners that you’re chewing. They’ll be happy you waited.
It’s easy to get confused in more formal dining situations, when there are all sorts of knives, forks, plates and glasses at your place setting. Luckily, it’s really easy to realize which dining utensil, plate and glass are yours. Make “OK” signs with each hand. You can easily remember the bread on the left is yours (the “b”) and the drink glass on the right belongs to you (the “d”).
If you’re going out to eat, you need to account for leaving a tip. In most table service situations in the United States, a tip of 20 percent of your total bill is standard. Unless service is abhorrent or you ate at a counter service restaurant, remember that it is rude not to tip your server. And that’s just one way you could be acting rude in a restaurant.
More From The Daily Meal:
25 Things You Can Do to Be a More Polite Person
25 Secrets to Being the Best Party Guest Ever
Etiquette Surprises From Around the World
Don’t Break These Unspoken Rules as a Houseguest
15 Ways You Didn’t Know You Were Being a Terrible Party Guest