How Etiquette Has Changed Since the ‘90s Gallery
September 25, 2018
The world of etiquette looks pretty different in the 21st century
How Etiquette Has Changed Since the ‘90s
There are some timeless rules of etiquette that everyone knows. You should stand up straight, keep your napkin in your lap at dinner and say “please” and “thank you.” These things haven’t really changed since Emily Post wrote her first book of etiquette in 1922. But some rules of etiquette have changed, and the changes have come swiftly.
The 1990s may not feel that long ago, but it’s been nearly 20 years since Y2K madness brought about the turn of the century. And the 2000s and 2010s have brought along a lot of changes. We communicate and interact with others so differently now than we did when Bill Clinton was in the Oval Office, “Seinfeld” dominated TV ratings and Furbies were the only toy children wanted for Christmas. And those changes in communication have brought around plenty of changes in etiquette.
It’s more than you think. You can’t just joke about any old thing, the dating landscape is totally different and cell phones bring about a whole host of etiquette rules (and new ways to be rude). Just how much has changed since the ‘90s? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about modern etiquette.
Being Present Is More Important Than Ever
Living in the moment and actually having a conversation with the people you’re with wasn’t much of an issue 25 years ago. But today, everyone is carrying around smartphones and tablets in their pockets and purses. It’s so easy to just whip out your cellphone and text or check out the news when you’re on a date or out with friends. But please don’t. It’s a behavior that’s actually really rude.
Social Media Changed Everything
How we meet new people, how we communicate and how we share news about our everyday lives and biggest moments is totally different now. Just remember one rule about social media: If you don’t want your elders or employers to see it, don’t post it. That’s a sure etiquette lesson your grandma wishes you knew.
Phone Calls Are for Important and Long Conversations Only
In the ‘90s, you would call for any ol’ reason. Inviting someone out to lunch? Give them a call! Want to catch up on the latest episode of a TV show? Call them right after the credits roll. Nowadays, there is this feeling, especially among the younger set, that a phone call means something big is going on. If you want to say something short, just text. Please, just don’t text important news.
It’s Rude to Smoke in Public
In the ‘90s, you could light up pretty much any ol’ place you chose to. It wasn’t considered particularly rude to smoke at your friend’s house, in the car or at a restaurant or bar. But in 2018, 26 states and hundreds of cities have indoor smoking bans, so it’s illegal to smoke indoors. And if you’re in the company of others, it’s polite to ask to step outside to have a cigarette. But really, you know the health effects of this habit, so maybe you should quit smoking. These foods and drinks may just help get the job done.
You Need to Be Careful With Humor
Go back and watch some old episodes of even a seemingly harmless sitcom like “Friends.” You’ll notice that some of the jokes just don’t land the way they used to. Joking about sexual preferences, gender, race, weight or a host of other touchy topics is considered pretty offensive today. Keep things PG and polite with these small talk tips.
RSVPing Is Easier — So Be Prompt
Back in the day, you had to RSVP to every birthday party, bar mitzvah and wedding with a phone call or stamped and addressed letter. These days, all you need to do to confirm your attendance to a party is send a text, check ‘attending’ on Facebook or fire off a quick email. RSVPing within 24 hours of receiving an invitation is polite and a sure way to be the best party guest ever.
There’s Literally No Excuse for Being Late
Being late is a habit you really need to quit. There’s no excuse for it! In the ‘90s, you didn’t know when you’d hit traffic or when the trains were stalled. Today, you can check Google Maps or Waze to see exactly how long it will take you to get to your final destination, and Twitter is a great resource for seeing if people are talking about traffic or public transportation delays. And if you are late, shoot your friend a text and let them know ASAP.
There’s No Rules on Who Asks Who Out
One of the life rules you need to ditch in middle age is waiting around for a man to ask you out. In this modern dating age, if you’re interested in a person, just ask them out!
The Person Who Initiates a Date Should Pay
Calling a Woman ‘Ma’am’ or a Man ‘Sir’ Isn’t Always Polite
You may have been taught that it’s polite to call your elders ma’am and sir, but that isn’t the case anymore. Sure, in the South this still may be the most proper way to address someone, but be sure to gauge the situation and the person before immediately calling someone ma’am or sir. The phrase could offend them because it’s seen as something for someone very old. And if you didn’t know these phrases weren’t always polite, you probably need these other etiquette questions answered.
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