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11 Little-Known Etiquette Rules You’re Likely Breaking

It’s not always obvious that you’re committing a faux pas

 

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There are a lot of questions regarding proper etiquette. 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 you might know the answers to those common etiquette questions, it’s still remarkably easy to break the rules of etiquette and be rude without knowing it. Luckily, once you learn these lesser-known rules, you’re likely to never break them again. Read on to see the etiquette rules you’re probably breaking.

You cut up your entire meal at once

You cut up your entire meal at once
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According to the etiquette experts at Emily Post, you’re only supposed to cut up one piece of food at a time. That means even if you intend on scarfing down three pieces of steak in a row, you should take the time between bites to cut your food into small pieces.

You put your napkin on the table when you get up

You put your napkin on the table when you get up
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Napkin etiquette can be more complicated 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 thing to do is to gently fold your napkin and place it on your chair.

You flag down servers when dining out

You flag down servers when dining out
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There are a lot of rude things you can do at a restaurant, but the most egregious violation of etiquette is shockingly common. Don’t whistle at, shout at, 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. Just kindly make eye contact, and they’ll be with you at the next available moment.

You announce you’re going to the restroom

You announce you’re going to the restroom
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It’s not rude to leave a gathering to relieve yourself, but you know what is a breach of etiquette? Announcing that you’re going to go to the bathroom. Just say you need to step away for a moment and then return.

You point with your index finger

You point with your index finger
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In many parts 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 pointing fingers. If you need to indicate a direction or another person, consider an open-handed gesture or a two-finger point.

You RSVP on the last possible day

You RSVP on the last possible day
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Once you receive an invitation, you have 24 hours to RSVP. Life can be busy and you might not 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 that you received the invite and will let him or her know if you can attend when your schedule allows it.

You let your eyes wander

You let your eyes wander
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Have you ever been in a conversation with a person who is constantly looking around? Nothing says “I don’t want to be here” quite like roaming eyes. It’s proper etiquette to stay engaged with the people you’re spending your time with, so try to maintain some semblance of eye contact. Not being engaged in a conversation is actually one of the worst etiquette mistakes you can make.

You gossip

You gossip
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Wait, gossiping is rude? Oh, yes, it is, and it’s the most common breach of etiquette and a truly toxic behavior that’s wrecking your relationships. And while we all love a good story, there are plenty of reasons not to participate in gossip. It can wrongly harm the reputation of others, and it can come back to you and make you look worse. Find something else to talk about; it isn’t hard to do.

You discuss important things via text and email

You discuss important things via text and email
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We all know how much easier it is to text or email rather than call or talk to someone in person. But human contact is still important, especially if the relationship or 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 in-person.

You post your entire life on social media

You post your entire life on social media
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Sometimes, you just need to vent — we get it. And while your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account is your own, your online presence is important. Not only can this be a stranger's first impression of you, but how you portray yourself online can also be a make-or-break piece of the puzzle when it comes to job searches or your dating life.

You answer the phone without a proper greeting

You answer the phone without a proper greeting
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You may not talk on the phone as often as you used to, but it’s still good to know proper phone etiquette. The first rule of phone etiquette regards the very first thing you do on the phone: greet someone. It’s considered rude to just casually say your name, “What’s up?” or “Why’d you call?” when you pick up. The proper way to answer the phone is also the easiest. Just say “hello.” This is just one of the pieces of phone etiquette you need to know.

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