Restaurant Manners

People need to visit the restaurant once in awhile. However, you need to master a number of etiquette and social manners to fully enjoy the experience and avoid getting embarrassed in front of other guests and the host. You will quickly pick up the rules as you practice these time and again. Here are some more tips on how to look your best while dining.

Basic Rules

Always arrive 5 to 10 minutes early. Never come to an event late. Once seated, position your table napkin neatly on your lap. Place it beside your plate whenever you need to be excused from the table. Instead of passing any item hand to hand, set these on the table. Examples of the items to be passed are the bread basket, salt and pepper shakers and butter plate. Do not intercept a pass. Do not snag a roll out of a bread basket or use a shaker when still en route to another person at the table. Food should be served from the left, while dishes are taken out from the right side of the diner.

Before you eat or spread dips, butter and spreads, transfer these from the serving dish onto your plate first. Do not turn your wine glass upside down just to decline wine. You should allow the wine to pour to avoid drawing any more attention. You can also hold your hand over the wine glass to indicate that you do not wish to be served any more wine. Scoop food away from you at all times. Before you season the food, give it a little taste first. Try a little bit of everything on your plate. If your food is too hot or cold, wait for it to cool off. Do not blow on the food.

More Basic Manners

Keep your elbows off the table at all times. Also keep your left hand on your lap, until you need to use it. Chew with your mouth closed and do not talk with it full. Cut only food that is enough for your next mouthful. Eat in small bites slowly. If you’re eating steak, do not cut the meat into several pieces.

Slice one piece at a time then chew. Do not clean up spills using your napkin. Do not touch things that have dropped on the flour. You can use the napkin to keep spills away from you. You can wait for the server to clean up any mess or bring you a replacement of any item that has fallen on the floor.

Switch your cell phone off before entering the restaurant. Never answer your phone during the meal. If it is very important, you can excuse yourself from the table then take the call outside the restaurant. Do not use a toothpick, comb your hair or apply makeup while still seated on the table. When a women leaves the table or comes back to be seated, all men at the same table should stand up. Avoid pushing your dishes away from you once you are done. Do not stack them, but wait for the server to remove these.

Proper Etiquette When Meeting Someone for the First Time

If you’re meeting a person for the first time, it is vital that you show some manners as a form of respect and politeness. This applies whether you are the one visiting a new place or you have new guest to attend to. The objective should be to make the other person as comfortable as possible. You can get ahead by following a few simple guidelines.

Initial Actions

If you are already expecting the person, make sure you do your research. Find out more about the person and get information such as his full name, the place of origin, occupation, reason for visiting and other connections. This will help pave the way for a smoother conversation. Use this information to ask the person and start new discussions. It will make him more comfortable, as well as give the impression that you really were anticipating his arrival.

If you are casually introduced to someone, look the person in the eye, smile, then offer your hand. As you are shaking hands, introduce yourself and get the other person’s name. Repeating the name will help you remember better. Do not forget the person’s name. If you still do, ask a common friend quietly to get you back on track.

When Visiting

If you’re the one coming over a new person’s place, try to bring a little something to show respect, such as flowers, a bottle of wine or a pie. Greet the person warmly as he opens the door. Do not enter the house until you are invited in. Once you are inside, establish your space and wait until you are invited to sit. Do not touch items and other decorations inside the house. Stick to the people you came in with and wait for the perfect time to mingle.

When dining, always practice good table manners. Do not eat until the new person or host has started to eat or insisted that you begin first. You can share jokes and tell stories at the table, as long as you consider these appropriate and decent. Avoid green jokes and other offensive remarks when meeting someone for the first time. Keep some of your opinions to yourself. You should think and review your possible comment before blurting it out.

If you want to move around the house or check out the space, always ask permission. If you need to go to the bathroom, ask for directions. Remember to keep the bathroom clean at all times. Feel free to ask about photos and other items that can be a good topic for conversation. If you land upon a sensitive topic, such as the death of a friend, give your sincerest apologies then move on.

The Way to Behave

If you meet someone for the first time, it is a good idea to keep topics light and open-ended. This way, you can gauge if the person may react positively or otherwise towards certain topics. Do not gossip with the person or you might get the impression of being someone not to be trusted. When it is time to leave, give you warmest thanks and say that it has been a pleasure getting to know him. Shake hands and look the person in the eye again as you bid farewell.

Internet Etiquette

The internet has become common ground for millions of people all over the world to communicate. It is equally important to know that there have been rules and etiquette established to ensure that the online world continues to be safe and fun for everyone to hang around in. Internet etiquette or « netiquette » is very easy to learn, provided you have the right background and manners for it.

Common Courtesy

Always be respectful and courteous to others when chatting inside a chatroom or sending an email. Include the words, « Please », « Thank you » and « Good morning » when writing. The internet will become a friendlier environment if you practiced politeness more. Use emoticons to convey your expressions, since people usually cannot see your face when communicating. There are plenty of emoticons available to help you share your feelings and expressions.

Informative and Brief

Keep your messages short, especially when chatting or writing an email. Try to cut your message into several short paragraphs, so that these can be easy to follow. Use acronyms and other online abbreviations to help others understand your message faster. If you’re speaking to a friend or a online beginner, you can make messages longer, provided that you stick to the topic at hand, so as not to confuse the other person.

Shouting and Flooding

Writing in all capital letters is shouting in the virtual world. This can be considered very rude by a lot of people. You can capitalize proper nouns and a word or two to emphasize your point. Also avoid flooding or following up one thread or post after the next. Other people can no longer type in their messages if you occupy all the spaces available. This is also considered to be very rude. Spamming is another invasive and rude action wherein you get into a person’s email and send too many messages, clogging the entire inbox.

Never speak in inappropriate or profane language when inside chatrooms. You can get banned or kicked out temporarily if a moderator discovers your rude manners. If you are talking to people from other countries, be sensitive about some of their language and try to help them understand you better by using the right language, tools and emoticons.

Privacy Matters

Never post personal information in the wrong location to avoid online predators. Always watch your kids if they are on the internet, since they can divulge useful information for dangerous individuals. Always obey copyright laws. Cyberbullying is existent online so you have to watch out for your kids carefully. Report any offensive action to moderators and web site owners.

Do not pose outrageous photos of yourself or other individuals on the internet. You can be charged with libel or slander by spreading gossip and other offensive remarks about another person online. Always be courteous and hold your tongue even when getting into fights online. The best thing to do would be to report to the right authorities and not getting in contact with the offensive party by deleting the account or cutting any links.

How to Behave in a Date

Some people have had their most embarrassing moments during a date, simply because they weren’t following instructions. If you are going out with someone, make sure that you understand the rules perfectly. Get the needed information and prepare everything to have a fun and memorable night. Here are some tried and proven tips from the experts.


Plan ahead when you are going out, how long you will be staying out for and where you are going. You will need to ask permission and let other people know about the plans, so that they can stop worrying. You have to be ready 10 to 15 minutes before the time your date plans to pick you up. Men should be at their date’s house early, but not too early.

You may send a text message or call your date to let her know that you will be on your way. When men pull up in front of their date’s house, never honk the horn and just wait for the girl to enter your car. Get down, knock on the door or ring the doorbell. Meet your date’s parents if they are available. This shows a lot of respect. Also let them know that you will be bringing their daughter back on time. Open the car door for your date as well.

How to Dress and Behave

Where do you intend to go? You have to wear the right clothes for the occasion. If you’re going to a formal dinner, make sure you dress appropriately. Practice some table manners and how to eat in a fine dining restaurant. If you’re going to the beach, make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Plan your activities ahead so that you can bring the necessary items.

Make eye contact several times during your date. This makes the other person feel important and the sense that you are listening intently. Let the other person finish talking before you respond. Listen more and ask questions about the other person, instead of just talking about yourself all the time. Make sure you give your date compliments from the moment you see her. Try to make her feel special by saying you like her dress or shoes. Laugh at jokes, even if they’re not very funny. Respond by telling a joke of your own. Jokes have to be decent and clean during dates.

Some Romantic Manners

It is a good idea to shut your cell phone off during the date. Do not answer your phone unless it is very urgent. Do not talk very closely or talk about sensitive stuff until your date opens the topic. Also keep your hands to yourself, especially during the first date. Be a gentleman by offering your jacket or giving your date more choices in the activities.

Keep flirting simple and set limits. Try to gauge and observe your date’s observations. Do not be too forward or aggressive with your statements and questions. Get to know your date more before you move on. Finally, end the night formally by saying you have a nice time and bringing your date home safe and right on schedule.

How Does Business Phone Etiquette Affect Your Business Performance?

Before and During the Call

It is important for someone to constantly practice their tone before making an actual phone call to ensure that they can achieve the right pitch, volume and tone of voice when speaking over the phone. This will help the listener over at the other end to interpret what is actually being said beyond the verbal cues.

When you make your phone call for business matters, always begin by identifying yourself, your position, and what company you belong to. Then, indicate the name of the specific person you wish to talk to. But take note that you have to be polite when requesting to speak to that person because you’ll never know when they might be busy attending to something equally important.

On the other hand, if you are the one answering a phone call, make sure to assume a professional but pleasant tone. As when you are the one calling, identify yourself and your business organization. This straightforward approach of phone communication is preferred in the business setting wherein almost everyone works at a rapid pace.

Answering or Responding to Phone Calls

Another important etiquette feature in a business phone system is the hold feature. This particular feature produces dual results such that it will enable you to attend to urgent cases and still be able to maintain your communication with the person on the other line. However, there is a specific way to do this right to avoid offending the other person on the phone and to avoid wasting their precious time.

If you are about to put someone on hold, make sure to ask them first if they would allow to be kept on hold for a short while. Wait for their answer before you leave and attend to an urgent task, leaving them with no idea where you just went.

If they are indefinite about being kept on hold, calmly and clearly explain to them the necessity of attending to another matter while you are talking on the phone. Make them feel that this does not render them unimportant, but that there is a sense of urgency about this other matter. If you are going to cause inconvenience to the person you are speaking to, make sure that you explain it to them fully. However, make sure to not keep them waiting beyond 30 seconds and be quick when addressing the urgent matter that you promised to respond to while you keep the other person on the line waiting.

Leaving Voice Mail or Messages

The voice mail option is available for most business phone systems, which enables one to leave a message to someone informing them of what you are up to such that you are not available to answer the call. Hence, it informs the caller instead of trying to guess why the call is not being responded by the person on the other hand. This is especially useful in a business setting wherein people you are communicating with lead a hectic schedule such that they cannot waste even a few minutes trying to connect to you via phone call.

When you leave a voice mail message though, keep it brief and straight to the point. Make sure you speak the words clearly for the person on the other line to understand the message clearly. If you have a playback feature when recording your voice mail, you can play it again to see for yourself whether it is clear enough. Any business professional will appreciate getting a return message to let them know you cannot respond within the time needed.

Good Bathroom Etiquette

If you’re sharing a bathroom with colleagues or housemates, it is important that you also practice good hygiene and proper etiquette. Cleanliness is very important so that you keep the environment conducive for living or working. The general rule is that you need to leave the bathroom the same way it was when you entered. Here are some quick and easy tips.

For Starters

Do not gossip in the restroom. You will never know if your boss or the person you’re talking about is just inside one of the stalls. Never talk about other people in the restroom. The objective is to relieve yourself and clean up. You can engage in small conversations provided that it there’s no malice or other consequences.

Check a stall first before attempting to push the door in. First, check the lock sign or other indications that another person might be using the stall at the moment. Some locks do not work properly, so you will have to check a second time by viewing the open space beneath stall doors as you enter the bathroom and ensure that there is no one else using it.

When opening bathroom stall doors, push gently, instead of banging it in. This will allow the person inside to react with some time to spare, should the locks be dysfunctional. If someone reacts as you open the door, simply give your apologies then look for the next vacant stall. If you and a friend are using two stalls at the same time, do not talk to each other.

More Bathroom Manners

Do not engage in cell phone conversations in the bathroom. Do not broadcast personal matters with other people you do not know. Never argue with anyone inside the bathroom. Do not block the sinks or keep others from accessing it, just because you are putting your makeup on. Always shut the faucet after use. Do not leave anything on the sink. Always look after flushing. Always check to see if all waste is gone after flushing. In some cases, you may need to flush a second time.

Use just enough toilet paper. You may use these to open faucets and door knobs. Throw these in the waste bin after use. Skip the perfumes and other free products. It will be advisable if you bring your own soap, unless the bathroom has liquid hand soap available. Do not just spray the space around you trying to get rid of bad smell. Some people can be allergic to perfume.

Keeping It Clean

Never litter inside the bathroom. If the place needs some cleaning, call the maintenance personnel for the benefit of everyone. If the lights were already on when you entered, keep these on. Establishments usually keep the bathroom lights on. Do not take up too much time at the sink if there are others who need to use it. Never use the opposite sex’s bathroom if yours is occupied.

If you find things left in the bathroom, call to see if anyone has lost anything. Empty the sink if you filled it with water initially. Make sure there are no traces of dirt and other wastes left when you’re done. Also keep the mirrors clean at all times.

Four Basic Rules To Proper Instant Messenger Etiquette

Instant messaging has risen in popularity with the boom of the internet industry. It is indeed a reliable and cost-efficient way to communicate with friends as compared to making phone calls or send text messages.

The exponential growth of the internet messaging system has sadly led several users to abuse its use. The sense of immediacy has created this illusion of casual communication such that one completely neglects all forms of ethical concern when communicating via IM. If you are one of those who frequently use internet messaging devices such as Yahoo! Messenger, AOL, or Skype, here are some basic guidelines to proper etiquette when using IM for communication purposes.

Understand IM Limits

Again, the immediacy and the casual sense of communication that the IM environment creates establish this idea amongst IM users that everyone is willing to chat with anyone. However, this is a common myth that one must realize isn’t true. If you have free time and would be willing to spend 30 minutes each day chatting with your online friends, then you need to understand that not everyone has that luxury. When you start a conversation with someone and they do not respond quickly, avoid “buzzing” them. They could be busy doing other works, or they might not even be in front of the computer!

Therefore, try to be more sensitive with your IM sessions. Learn to understand what others’ priorities are. And even when you are free to chat online, you have to understand that these friends of yours probably aren’t. You have to be specially sensitive when chatting with someone who is at the office as it could have serious repercussions at work.

Crosstalk is a Major No-No

During to the casual nature of instant messaging, it is a common practice for IM users to respond or engage in more than one conversations at the same time. During this conversation, you have ideas that you want to share to your ‘friend’ but your fingers are not as quick to type them in as these thoughts arise. Hence, a common practice among online users would be to chop up their sentences such that they appear on your chat box as phrases.

A tendency for most users would be to readily assume or conclude what they see appear on the box without being aware of what the rest of the statement is about. Hence, several friends end up arguing due to miscommunication during online chat. Hence, you must avoid sending out potentially offending statements, especially if you are unsure about how the other person would respond.

Be Careful When Chatting with Strangers on IM

IM accounts are often public, thus giving strangers the opportunity to send you messages on the spot. Just as you would when handing out e-mail addresses, you need to be extra careful when responding to complete strangers. However, do not readily assume that they have bad intentions or trying to spam you. If a stranger starts a conversation, politely ask them what their intent is. And if they do respond politely, carry on with the conversation in a polite manner.

But if they start to flood you with messages and begin sending out offensive comments, there is a “Report Spam” or “Block” option in most IM windows that you can use to prevent them from sending future IM messages to your account.

Read and Respect IM Status

This is the most basic IM etiquette that most users fail to practice. When another user indicated “Busy” or “DND” on their IM profiles, you need to respect that. It simply indicates that they do not want to be disturbed with impromptu IM chat sessions. In some cases, others would post a custom status message, saying “Busy but you can leave a message”, then you can certainly drop them a quick message. However, do this only when you have something really important to say.

Etiquette When Visiting a Foreign Country

Although there is some room for forgiveness if a foreign visitor makes a number of social mistakes in your country, you can always do better by doing research and knowing more about a particular culture or practice. Etiquette will vary, depending on the country you are visiting. It is important that you know a few guidelines to avoid embarrassment and trouble.

Doing Research

First of all, you have to research about the particular country you intend to visit. View their political past and other traditions. Talk to some of the locals online before visiting and ask about some common practices that will convey you as a respectful individual. You can take a short language course to learn the basic sentences. You can create a simple vocabulary of the most common words, together with the right manner of saying it. You will get a friendlier response from the locals if they see that you tried to study a bit.

Trying Out New Things

Try to experience the new flavors, sights and sounds. Do not always stick to American fast food chains. You should study the basic dishes and meals served by the country you are visiting. If invited for dinner, learn how to behave around the table. Some countries find it rude if you refuse to taste some food offered to you. Observe how others behave at the table and just follow. Most of the table manners you are already practicing in your country may relatively be the same as in a foreign nation.

Always dress conservatively and in a manner that will ask for respect from the locals. If you are visiting religious sites, make sure that you do not have revealing clothes. Wear comfortable walking shoes, instead of sneakers to be ready for anything. You should also bring cash and your credit card, just in case you need to pay for certain fees. Make sure you exchanged your dollars beforehand. Read laws and other rules about alcohol consumption, operation of motor vehicles, smoking and other common behaviors. Abide by these at all times. You may be surprised to discover that punishment in other nations is much heavier compared to your own country for similar offenses.

From Home

Small gestures in your home country can significantly be misinterpreted. For example, nodding your head means agreement in America, but it means disagreement in Bulgaria. Physical gestures are highly important especially if you are communicating with the locals. In China, you will need to bring a calculator to haggle or purchase goods from the local merchants. You can bring a pen and paper while traveling to help you draw maps and find exact locations.

Smiling is a general gesture that conveys friendliness. Avoid, however, whispering or laughing at religious sites because this is a sign of disrespect. Feel free to ask your tourist guide about certain behaviors so you can enjoy the entire experience. Ask how to properly greet new people, since you should expect to meet new faces during your trip.

Etiquette When Dining Out

When invited for dinner or hosting a dinner party, make sure that you know the different foods to expect so that you can handle these well without embarrassing yourself. You should make the necessary preparations as well as spread information so that all attendees will know what to expect and avoid any trouble and misunderstanding. Here are some tips.

First Things First

Assume the number of people you are expecting. You may divide the check among all attendees evenly by talking to the host of the restaurant. Always ask for a separate check when dining with other couples. You should also consider drastic differences between orders. For example, even if the check should be divided evenly among all attendees, if one couple only ordered a salad, while the rest finished 3 courses, you should make the pair pay less, or just for their order. Do the same for non-alcoholic drinkers if you are having wine.

Tipping Tips

It is always considered proper dining etiquette to leave a tip at a restaurant. Tips can range anywhere between 15% and 25%. Waiters should be given 15% to 20% of the total bill. You can add more for excellent service. The bartender should be provided with 10% to 15% of the bar bill. The wine steward can be given 15% of the wine bill. The car attendant can receive 1 to 2 dollars, while the coat check can get 1 dollar per coat. If the owner is the one serving, you can still leave a tip.

The Different Foods

When eating artichokes, pluck the leaves off using your fingers then use your fork and knife to cut bites from the heart to eat. Asparagus can be eaten whole using your hand. At restaurants, it is more proper to use a fork and knife. Avocado served in its shell should be eaten using a spoon. Avocado without the shell is eaten using a fork. Very crisp bacon should be eaten by hand, while flat ones can be eaten using a fork and knife. Always eat berries using a spoon, with or without cream.

When eating bread, break slices. Butter each bite one at a time. Never cut a roll using a knife. When bread baskets are passed, take one bread then pass the basket on to the next person. Use mother of pearl utensils when eating caviar. Chicken should be eaten always with a fork and knife. Crab, lobster and shrimp cocktails are eaten using a cocktail fork. Clam out oysters and clams in a half shell using an oyster fork. Use a nutcracker to break the shell of crabs and lobsters open before clamming out with a fork.

Olives are considered finger foods, so use your hands freely. When eating pasta, twirl the pasta around using your fork. When eating salad, cut one bite at a time. Sandwiches can be picked up using your fingers. Sandwiches with gravy or rich sauces should be eaten using a fork and knife. Sushi can be eaten using your fingers or chopsticks. Aim to eat bite size pieces whole.

Etiquette in the Workplace

Especially if you’re still new to the job, you have to learn how to mingle with your co-workers appropriately to project a feeling of comfort and camaraderie. The way you handle yourself at work will greatly affect your performance, as well as how others will respond to you. You can make lasting relationships in the office if you practice good manners.

First Rules

Greet people you meet first when you enter the workplace or if someone comes in. You have to be always pleasant and polite. You will find that it sets a good mood in the office. Your voice has to be pleasant. This also applies when answering the phone or paging someone via the intercom. Set the tone for productivity by being helpful and friendly at the same time. You can also greet janitors and other blue-collar workers.

Make it a habit to answer the telephone promptly. If a co-worker is still attending a meeting or is away from his desk, you can answer the phone after 3 to 4 rings. This will help provide the idea that the business attends to all clients and concerns at all times. Simply take down important information that you will later on relay to your co-worker.

Meeting Practices

When there is a scheduled meeting, make sure you arrive on time. Dress properly for the occasion, even if it is casual Friday. Prepare yourself for the upcoming topics and shut your phone off before entering the room. Do not chew gum while inside the conference room. Allow other people to speak before you come up with your own opinions and suggestions. Continue being polite when responding. Avoid arguments and other negativity inside the conference room. If some people are being rude to you, maintain your tact and respond in a calm and composed manner.

Always use positive body language. Listen to the other person’s concerns. If you need to sneeze, cough or yawn, be very discrete. You should go to the bathroom before you come inside for the meeting. Aim to last the meeting without having to go to the comfort room.

Facing Clients

When a client is waiting, attend to him first and avoid any unnecessary actions. Try to avoid personal conversations or put the phone down if you are speaking to someone to attend to the one who is physically present. Do not eat at your desk or drink while talking to the customer.

If you setup an appointment with a client, dress well and always be there a few minutes before. Avoid any annoying habits you have and do not use strong perfume or any other odorous material. Assist the client at all times and present the details clearly. Remember that you are there to provide information and do business.

It is good to make small talk to make the customer comfortable, but avoid lengthy conversations that deviate from the main topic. If you’re supposed to meet a client, but cannot be there on time, make sure you call or text ahead and ask the customer to wait a few more minutes. Always give them the idea that you prioritize the meeting.