Ask most people who the leading etiquette expert in their lives is, and they’re likely to say it’s their grandma… The matriarch of the family is the one who will definitely correct your grammar and let you know that you should sit up straight and well, and she’ll probably have an opinion about your table manners. Call her old-fashioned, call her strict or just call her Granny — she only wants you to be the best possible version of yourself, after all. And being the best person possible means you’re going to be a kinder, more polite person.
So, what are some etiquette lessons your grandma wishes you knew?
There’s the obvious, like “respect your elders” and “say please and thank you,” of course. But there are also lesser-known rules of etiquette from days gone by that include a number of ways in which you can be more considerate to others.
From knowing who should pay for a meal to know how to compose a meaningful, genuine thank you note, these are some etiquette lessons your grandma wants you to know.
Who Should Pay for a Meal
If you’re on a date, some may say that the man should always pay. But that old-school rule is a bit sexist, if you ask us. So who should pick up the bill? Whoever initiated the date!
The person who asked the other out technically extended an invitation. After all, the dinner is a reflection of that person’s wants: both wanting to spend time with the other person and wanting to eat at a certain place.
How to Behave at the Table
A quick guide to dining etiquette for the uninitiated: Don’t eat before everyone has been served.
Put your napkin soiled side-up on your chair when you get up from the table. Keep your elbows off the table.
Pass the salt and pepper together. Take your time while eating. If you follow these rules, Nana will thank you.
Where to Put Your Belongings When at the Table
It’s not just grandmas who are bothered — being on your cellphone when you’re at the table is one of the easiest ways to be rude without even realizing it.
So be a kind person and keep your phone in your pocket or in your purse. And speaking of bags, where should you put yours while eating? It goes under the table and between your feet.
What to Bring to a Party
You should always, always, always bring something to a party, whether it’s a casual game night or a formal dinner party.
You don’t have to bring anything big. Just a bottle of wine, a six-pack of beer or a small token from your hometown (if you’re a houseguest) will do just fine!
How to Dress for Formal Occasions
It seems like for formal occasions, such as weddings, everyone is always overdressed or underdressed. A quick guideline: Unless the invitation specifies otherwise (with a white tie or black tie), there’s no need to wear a tuxedo or a full-length gown.
Most weddings and similar events will be formal or black tie optional, which means men should wear a dark suit with a tie and women should wear a dressy suit or formal cocktail-length dress.