Etiquette expert Nora Cline lays out some basic rules that should be observed at all times. (PS Much of it involves good manners in the dining room.)
It might seem in our modern society that disrespectful behavior is not only acceptable but encouraged.
But turn off reality TV for a moment and remember this: Good manners never go out of style, at any age or in any situation.
Confidence, good conversation and honoring basic etiquette principles will go far in showing respect, especially in restaurant settings, when many of our casual and professional encounters take place.
Here are a few tips to remember:
Keep elbows and hands off the table when you are eating. You will need both arms and hands when eating Continental style, but when eating American style, your free arm and hand should be in your lap not wrapped around your plate while eating with the other. I see this lack of table manners more frequently when dining out at fast food and family restaurants.
You don't have to sit as stiff as aboard at the dining table but hunching over your plate is a definite faux pas as it looks like you are ready to use your fork as a shovel. Keep your arms and elbows close to your body while eating not out like a chicken flapping its wings. Resist the temptation to fidget with utensils, drum your fingers on the table, jiggle your knee, bounce your foot or other fidgety habits that might disturb others at the table.
Last but not least, please remember the basics: take small bites, chew quietly, with your mouth closed, don't talk with food in your mouth, don't slurp your drink, don't reach across the table in front of someone to get something out of reach. Instead, politely ask for the item and remember the magic words, "May I please?"
Hats are still worn by both sexes for either fashion or function. Hats may remain on in places such as outdoors, athletic events, hotel lobbies and elevators, and public transportation. According to Emily Post, the rules of etiquette dictate that baseball caps should be removed in a home, at the table, in restaurants and coffee shops, theatres, indoors at work unless required for the job, when the Pledge of Allegiance or national anthem is played and when the U.S. flag passes by, as in a parade. To disregard this is not only a breach of etiquette but also a display of disrespect.
Avoiding eye contact when speaking to others might show a lack of self-confidence. It also indicates a lack of respect to the person to which you are speaking. Instead, look at the person, speak clearly and avoid mumbling. You will come across so much better. Always remember the magic words when interacting with people you are more likely to get what you want if you do.
Good conversation is like a volleyball game; one person listens while the other talks, each taking turns and no one hogs the ball. If you find that your dining partner is falling asleep in his spaghetti while you ramble on, it's a sure sign that either you're hogging the conversation or the topic is boring. Get back on track by asking a question or offering a compliment to put your focus on them, instead of you.
In our culture, shaking hands is a sign of respect. Don't ruin it by giving a "dead-fish handshake" which is limp, cold and conveys a lack of self-confidence. Offer your right hand, grasp the other's right hand gently but firmly, meeting web-to-web. Pump hands gently up and down one to two times. It's an art, so practice until you've got it right.
Nora Cline is the owner of Modern Manners www.modernmanners.biz in Powell.