Proper etiquette is something that is taught, just like how your parents taught you right from wrong. Knowing when to use proper etiquette is important. You’re going to be put in situations where it might be more than just saying, “Yes, Ma’am” or “Please.” It’s the little things that make a huge difference and puts you on everyone’s good side! First opinions are everything, so it’s crucial to make sure you make a great first impression wherever you go.

We can always use a good reminder on how to make a good impression and how to wow people with proper etiquette. Here are a few tips of mine on how to go about using proper etiquette in different situations.

Hand Written Thank Yous

It may be 2016 where you have the option of emailing, video calling, texting, and social media to stay in contact with family and friends, but nothing is quite as good as writing a personalized thank you letter. The only mail we get now-a-days is junk mail or bills. How boring is that? It’s an awesome feeling to open up the mailbox and receive a letter when it is not your birthday or another holiday. When you write a personalized thank you letter to someone, it means a little more than sending a “Thank You” text. Writing letters is now considered “old-fashioned”, but it is worth the time to hand-pick the cards, add your own personal note, and take the time to mail it to the recipient. It shows someone that you were thinking about them, that you care, and that you took the time to mail it out.

When you write thank you letters, it should be 5-7 sentences. First, thank them for what they have done for you or given you. Next, tell them how much it means to you or what you will do with your gift. Lastly, add in a personal message that only the two of you share. This way, if you’re writing a dozen thank you’s, each one will be personalized to whom you are sending it to!

It’s too easy to use social media. Take the time and really show someone that they are on your mind! The next time you get a letter in the mail, it will mean the world to you!

Dinner Table Manners

If you ever host a dinner party, are invited to a dinner party, or just going out to dinner with friends and family, it’s important to use proper table manners. First things first, always place your napkin in your lap at all times. The last thing you want is a big stain on your outfit.

When using your utensils, work your way from in outside in towards your plate. There are usually two forks placed at each plate. The outside fork is your salad fork; the inside fork is used for your entrée. When the food arrives, always wait until the host takes a bite first or directs everyone to go ahead and eat. It’s very polite to wait for others to eat and to not “dig in.”

While you eat, keep your elbows off the table. If you need to rest your arms, use your forearms to do so. Sit up straight and eat over your plate. (Some of these rules sound like Mom and Dad’s, right? They knew what they were doing!) When the food is being passed around (clock-wise) only take one or two scoops. Be mindful of the people at the table and make sure to leave plenty of food left for everyone else.

If you need to use the restroom while you’re seated at the dinner table, make sure you excuse yourself and make eye contact with the host to let them know you’re talking to them.

As far as table conversation goes, try to steer away from anything too serious. For example, politics, gender issues, race, money, etc. Others might participate in subjects like this, but it’s best if you keep the conversation light and not tap into it. You don’t want to offend anyone by mistake. You are invited as a guest and should behave as so!

Always be sure to thank the host (perhaps bring a present for them when you arrive to show thanks!). After all, they put in hard work to set up a special night. You want to show them that you appreciated the invitation and your time.

RSVP

In my experience with others, there seems to be a confusion about RSVP-ing. When you receive an RSVP in the mail, this means that you got invited to an event and the people hosting it want an answer from you. It’s important to understand that you send the RSVP back if you accept the invitation AND/OR decline. That’s right, you send it back if you decide to decline. The hosts are wanting to check a head count for seating and food purposes. It is polite to respond either way. Also, try to respond within a week or two from receiving the RSVP. You don’t want to keep the hosts waiting!

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