8 etiquette mistakes you didn’t know you were making

You’d better step up your game [Photo: Pexels]

Etiquette is something that died in Britain along with the introduction of the telephone, takeaways and super-fast broadband.

Or isn’t that just what someone with terrible etiquette would say?

Because the world may be changing, but our ability to be rude or polite certainly hasn’t.

We asked etiquette expert Grant Harrold – AKA The Royal Butler – what every day etiquette blunders we’re making and what we should be doing instead.

  1. Dinner plate placement

Dinner plate
Don’t be tempted [Photo: Pexels]

When it comes to traditional mistakes, Harrold says that pushing a plate away from you when you’ve finished eating is “the dizzying height of bad manners”.

The world doesn’t need your announcement that you have, indeed, finished eating – they can just look at your plate.

2. Reckless chewing

Seriously, close your mouth [Photo: Pexels]

“And let’s not forget the other etiquette faux pas is eating with your mouth open,” Harrold warns.

“We should remember that the other guests possibly dining with you are out for a pleasant experience, they are not wanting to sit opposite a cement mixer!”

3. The wrong drinking vessels

Beer bottles
Not to be enjoyed alone [Photo: Pexels]

“When drinking, remember never to drink out of bottles,” he says.

“I would have hoped we’d have stopped this practice at 12 months of age.”

4. Clutching the wrong glasses

Wine glass
You can’t just do any old thing with a wine glass [Photo: Pexels]

“We should never hold a white wine glass by the bowl as we may look like a raging alcoholic or terrified someone is going to steal it.”

Instead, Harrold says we must “always hold it delicately by the stem”.

5. A closed ear

Less shouting, more hearing [Photo: Pexels]

“With conversation, it’s awful when people speak over each other and don’t listen.”

“This might be accepted in the local betting shop but, in polite society, we listen carefully and respond at the appropriate time.”

6. Dirty talk

Dinner table
Think before you talk [Photo: Pexels]

“We also never discuss sex, religion, politics or money, but what can we discuss well,” says Harrold.

“Always let your hosts lead conversation, but always be respectful of other people’s views.”

7. Inappropriate technology

Who ever thought that this was okay in company? [Photo: Pexels]

“The most common etiquette mistakes in today’s modern society are thanks to our new technology,” Harrold explains.

“For example, leaving mobile phones on dining tables, or being on them in the presence of someone else.

“Or even worse, answering them while in the middle of a meal or a meeting.”

He says that perhaps one of the worst mistakes he’s seen was someone enjoying a candlelight meal at a restaurant “with an iPad on the table”:

“To say I was speechless is an understatement but, thankfully, smelling salts were on hand.”

8. Slumped shoulders

Woman at table
And watch those elbows [Photo: Pexels]

Harrold says that when sitting down we “must always remember posture”, which means being mindful of a few particular things:

“Back straight, bottom tucked right into the back of the chair and hands on the lap.”

And last of all

Wine and people
Become the politest of the bunch [Photo: Pexels]

Besides taking heed of these eight rules, Harrold reminds us that it’s “never too late to learn” perfect manners:

“There’s no excuse not to understand how to queue properly or to always remember to say please and thank you,” he says.

“The human instinct is for us to treat others with courtesy and respect, as we would expect of others to ourselves.”

If you feel that reading this article hasn’t been enough to prevent you making your next faux pas, you can always enrol on a course and become the etiquette master among your friends.

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