Here are a few of the ones that I think need to be instilled into our lives and taught to our children.
Opening doors for people – you should open doors for anyone who is with a child, elderly, has their hands full or actually anyone. You definitely need to hold the door open if someone is behind you or close behind you.
Seating – on a bus for example – if someone older than you comes on, stand up and give them your seat. This also applies to women with small children.
Elevators – two rules for this: a) when the doors open, let the people inside the elevator exit before you enter b) if you are standing in front of the buttons, ask people what floor they are going to so that you can push it for them.
Host/hostess gifts – if you are invited to a dinner, party or other event at someone’s home, it is good etiquette to arrive with a hostess gift – this does not have to be anything expense or extravagant. A bottle of wine, flowers, or something homemade is a nice gesture and shows the host that you are thankful for the invitation to their home.
Thank you notes – when you receive a gift for a birthday, a wedding, a baby shower, you need to send a thank you card or note. This lets the gifter know that not only did you receive the gift but that you are thankful for it. It is nice to include a special detail about the gift – that it fits, or looks great on your mantle or your kids enjoy it etc…
When invited to dinner, you should not begin eating until the host or hostess is seated. This is a sign or respect and courtesy – if the host has gone to the trouble of cooking and hosting, you can wait until they are seated as well before you begin to eat.
If someone comes to your home, offer them something to drink – even if it is water.
Throw out your garbage in a garbage can. If you are at a mall or take out restaurant, take your tray and wrappers and throw them out yourself. The staff is there to clean the tables, not clear them.
Please, thank you and you are welcome – This should be an easy one but today “no worries” has overtaken our “you are welcome”. Never say “I’ll take a…” or “I’ll get a…” when ordering from a restaurant or store. Please, always use your manners.
Then there are table manners – which should be basic – but need to be taught. Included in this are elbows off the table, chew with your mouth closed, cut your food into bite sized pieces, use a spoon for your soup, do not slurp – anything, pass food around the table (even if you do not want any of the dish, the person beside you probably does), hold your cutlery properly, take your hat off at the dinner table. And of course, clear your own plate and help clear the rest of the table and wash dishes.
This is a brief list of things I feel should be done by everyone. Please be aware of your manners and etiquette as this creates a positive and respectful environment.