There are a lot of questions regarding proper etiquette. Should you shake hands or hug? What should you do with your purse at the dinner table? Is it rude to leave food on your plate at the end of the meal? And while those common etiquette questions have been answered, it’s still remarkably easy to break the rules of etiquette. Heck, we do it all the time! And that means you probably do, too. But what are the easiest (and most obscure) ways to be rude? And how can you break those habits?
These 10 lesser-known rules of etiquette aren’t massively rude. They’re more like small things everyone does on occasion that aren’t quite ideal. If you approach your dinner table incorrectly or look around while in polite conversation, you’re not going to be deemed a rude person. You’re just going to be more likely to wind up in an awkward moment, and nobody likes that.
Luckily, once you know these lesser-known rules of etiquette, you’re likely to never break them again! And that’s an easy way to become a more polite person. Want to get started now? Good. Read on through to see the etiquette rules you’re (probably) breaking.
You’re probably sitting down at the dinner table wrong. How can you do something so basic incorrectly? It’s shockingly easy to do. You should always approach your seat from the left-hand side. Otherwise, you risk running into other guests as they sit down at the dinner table. When you get up from the table, rise from the right.
Napkin etiquette is way more difficult than you might think. You may think that gently folding your napkin and putting it to the left of your plate is the way to go when you get up from the table. And while some etiquette experts say this is fine, the most proper way to deal with your napkin is to gently fold your napkin and place it on your chair.
Trying to finish that pesky final bit of soup isn't always easy. As you eat a big, comforting soup or stew and are nearly done, the soup is just one thin layer at the bottom of your bowl. While you may be tempted to slurp your soup, don't! It's a really rude table etiquette practice! Instead, tilt the soup bowl away from you and gather the final few bites into your spoon that way.
There are a lot of rude things you can do at a restaurant, but the most egregious break of etiquette is shockingly common. Don’t whistle at, shout out, flag down or touch a server if you need their attention. That refill on your Diet Coke or your dessert order can wait a moment. Your server is a busy employee, not your personal servant. Just kindly make eye contact, and they’ll be with you at the next available moment.
Everyone needs to step into the restroom during a dinner or pleasant conversation at some point in their life. It’s not rude to leave a gathering to relieve yourself, but you know what a breach of etiquette is? Announcing that you’re going to go to the bathroom. Just say you need to step away for a moment and then return. This is just one small part of making small talk like a pro.
In most of the world, it’s a major faux pas to point using your index finger at all, let alone at another person. And think about it: What phrase do you hear when someone is accusing someone else of a wrongdoing? They’re finger-pointing. If you need to indicate a direction or another person, consider an open handed gesture or a two-finger point.
Once you receive an invitation, you have 24 hours to RSVP. Yes, really! We know life can be busy and you don’t want to make plans until you’re sure you can commit to them, but planning events is expensive. It’s best to RSVP as soon as you can. And if you have to wait until the last minute, let the host know you received the invite and will let him or her know if you can attend when your schedule allows it. Oh, and no matter what you do, don’t just bring a random friend as your plus-one.
Wait, gossiping is rude? Oh, yes, it is, and it’s the most common breach of etiquette. And while we all love a good story, there are plenty of reasons not to participate in gossip. It can harm the reputation of others (wrongly) and it can come back to you and make you look worse. Find something else to talk about; it isn’t hard to do.
We all know how much easier it is to text or email rather than call or — gasp! — talk to someone in person. But human contact is still important, especially if the relationship or topic of discussion is important or a little 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.
Sometimes, you just need to vent — we get it. And while your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram is your own, 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 don’t share every detail of your life online. If nothing else, it’s an easy way to be rude without even realizing it.
More From The Daily Meal:
25 Things You Can Do to Be a More Polite Person
These Are the Worst Etiquette Mistakes You Can Make
Should You Still Call a Woman Ma'am? and Other Modern Etiquette Questions Answered
21 Most Common Table Etiquette Mistakes
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