"Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is the code of sportsmanship and of honour. It is ethics."
Quotes like these have made Emily Post an iconic name when it comes to social conduct. Her book, published in 1922, may not have invented the term, but it has taught us the true meaning of the word etiquette. Now, that might all seem very well in the 19th century when calling cards were sent and wearing the right tie for dinner meant errrrything, but how do these age old rules apply to today's world? Can there really be a rule of etiquettes for leaving someone on read, for example, or for responding to a Facebook friend request? While it does seem like people are getting more and more lax when it comes to social niceties, the catch here is that Emily Post's rules are actually timeless, and tweaking them a little to apply them to modern life might make all the difference in improving your social cred.
Here's a list of Emily Post's rules adapted to the 21st century that can help you rise to the top of everyone's most wanted list, RN.
1. Responding to an invitation:
These rules can apply to Facebook events, emails, and even friend requests. According to Mrs. Post, we should respond promptly in the manner indicated on the invitation. Make sure this is your final answer, changing a yes to a no is only acceptable on account of illness, injury, family matters or unavoidable business. Cancelling because you have a better invite is a no-no. Being a no-show without informing is unacceptable. If you decline an invite, always drop a reason for doing so. If you would like to bring someone along, always wait for the host to ask you first, or decline stating the reason being you are busy with guest, partner or friend. This gives the host a chance to extend the invite. Always say thank you, regardless.
2. Missing calls:
I know it seems like a task to answer a call in today's WhatsApp world, but human contact increases your credibility. Applied to today's life, returning a missed call is absolutely essential. Given today's times, we can't all be attached to our phones all days and it's okay if we can't take a few calls, but you must always call back as soon as possible. Do apologise for not being available, especially in work and social scenarios.
3. Using your silverware:
Food these days has become a lot more casual, so it's okay to use your hands to eat taco's, pizza or any other hand held dish. Use your knife and folk to eat any piece of food your drop on your plate in the process and make sure you don't try and pick up any food that is too goopy to avoid being a messy eater.
4. Dealing with the middle seat on a flight:
If the people to your left and right are not giving you enough space or armrests, do not be afraid to ask for it, politely. Use a statement such as, "Excuse me, do you mind if we share some armrest space, I hope I am not disturbing you?" The other person will probably never object.
5. Getting stuck in an uncomfortable conversation at a party:
If the person you are talking to won't stop talking about how much they love Trump, or any other topic you might not agree with, the trick is to not argue. Just saying, "I'm not comfortable with this conversation", or ," I don't know too much about that" in a friendly, non aggressive and changing the topic can help you keep the situation pleasant.
6. Dealing with an inappropriate comment on social media:
The way in which we deal with offensive comments truly shows a person's class. If we are to apply Emily Post's rules, the answer is pretty straight up. It's ok to untag yourself from a thread, delete comments or unfriend someone."Don't insult, attack or impugn someone's typing skills", according to the latest edition of her book. If you must reply at all, be polite and firm and ask them to desist from making the comments that have offended you.
7. When you send someone a wrong message or screen shot by mistake:
We have all done it at some point. You end up sending someone a catty message about them, or their own screenshot. While it's not nice to b**ch in the first place, one might wonder what to do when caught in such a horribly sticky spot. Well, It's Mrs. Post to the rescue again. The advice? Contact the person immediately, meet up preferably in person and apologise. Admit your insensitivity, tell him or her how terrible you feel about hurting them and ask for forgiveness. Do not tell lies and make more excuses.Then, give the situation some time to blow over.
8. Dressing for an occasion:
Gone are the days of strict dress codes and changing your outfits to suit the time of the day. These days people wear jeans to parties and lingerie inspired clothing to work. It seems like anything and everything goes, making it more and more confusing to dress for a parties and gatherings. So, what does the etiquette book have to say? It's best to stick to dressy separates or an evening dress for women. Less is more, so if you are confused about the size of the gathering go for something elegant and neutral and dress it up with accessories. For weddings, fusion for cocktails is ok but go the traditional route for everything else.