Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Etiquette mistakes

Formal dinner parties are not as common as they used to be. Usually when we eat dinner we are relaxed with family or friends, or sitting in front of the TV. So when a wedding or special event arrives, many of us do not know the rules for formal dining.

When it comes to proper etiquette, most of us know the basics. But what about the mistakes you don’t know you’re making?

When sending out an invitation, never say “please RSVP." RSVP means “please respond”, so the phrasing would be redundant.

You should never shake hands while seated. If someone approaches your table, always stand to greet them.

And regarding the cheek kiss; it’s one kiss in America, right cheek to right cheek. Two in Europe.

Confused about which glass is yours? Your drink will always be on the right. To remember this, curl your thumb and index fingers to form a lowercase “b” on the left, and a “d” on the right. “b” is for bread, and “d” is for drink.

If you need to leave the room, say “please excuse me”, never “pardon me”. Pardon is used as a command and would be considered rude.

And when you are finished with your meal, your napkin should be placed to the left of your plate to signal you are finished. Not on the plate or on your seat. 

Experts on business protocol from the University of Southern California said business meals are often used as a test of character. Managers of top companies have rejected job candidates who automatically added salt and pepper to their food without tasting it first, because they say it shows blind devotion to routine.


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