Common Etiquette Misconceptions

Illustrating Etiquette Misconceptions, Lisa Lyons places a cloth napkin in her lap

Etiquette is Old-Fashioned

Manners and etiquette are by no means old-fashioned and outdated. Do we really want to imagine a world without manners? Without social graces and pleasantries, we would be living in quite a chaotic and uncaring society. Certainly, etiquette moves and evolves with the times. However, the absolute foundations of etiquette are kindness and courtesy which will never go out of style.

Etiquette is Reserved for Royals

Royal etiquette is indeed quite detailed. They take it to a level most of us mere mortals will never encounter. However, the truth is etiquette is for everyone! When you hold the door for the person behind you, that is etiquette. Placing your napkin in your lap– etiquette. Tipping a server fairly– etiquette. Who would not want more of that in their life? 

Etiquette is Full of Seemingly Random Rules 

It certainly may seem this way at times but once you understand the “why” behind a particular rule, you wonder how you ever did things any other way! For example, at a networking event or conference, your name tag should be worn on your right side. Why? Because it is an extension of the hand you will use for handshakes when introducing yourself to someone. That just makes sense, right? 

Etiquette is About Superiority

This could not be further from the truth. Etiquette is about making others feel comfortable and treating everyone with courtesy and respect. In fact, a sign of poor etiquette or bad manners is to point out another person’s mistakes. It is not about superiority, etiquette is about extending grace to everyone you meet. 

Etiquette Means Always Being “Nice”

The perception that to have good manners you must always be nice and therefore allow people to walk all over you is simply not true. In fact, a key aspect of etiquette is learning to create firm boundaries in a polite manner. So, raise your hand if you have ever struggled with boundaries! Etiquette is for you my darling. 

Etiquette is Stuffy 

If you believe people who practice etiquette are still living like it is Downton Abbey, then no wonder you believe etiquette is stuffy! While I will forever love Downton Abbey, modern etiquette has moved on. Etiquette evolves with the times. We no longer kiss a woman’s hand upon meeting. We no longer clutch our pearls over a woman alone in the garden (looking at you Bridgerton fans!). Modern etiquette means navigating modern life with grace and courtesy, not rigidity. 

 

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