Of course you want to RSVP to party invitations, tip servers generously, and avoid wearing white to a wedding. But when it comes to being polite, there are definitely some etiquette rules that you no longer need to follow. Whether you're keeping yourself from cursing, or waiting around for that cute coworker to ask you on a date, it may be that you're being a little too polite.
As the years go by, what's considered tactful and right tends to change. And we should all change with it. "What may have once been appropriate behavior evolves as society progresses and changes," national etiquette expert Diane Gottsman tells Bustle. "For example, there were no social media rules several years ago because technology was not prevalent. Today we talk about Snapchat, Instagram and other forms of social media which did not exist with the rotary dial."
With societal changes come all sorts of new rules, as well as less need for the old ones. And that's a good thing. Do you want to send out paper wedding invitations? Or call someone after an interview? If not, you totally don't have to. Read on for some more rules of politeness you can officially let go.
1. Refusing To Curse, Or Feeling Bad About It
As Richie Frieman, manners expert and number one best-selling author of REPLY ALL... And Other Ways To Tank Your Career says, "I think we can loosen our stance on cursing allowing people to use it when they are trying to emphasize an issue or also to relate." This doesn't include truly awful words, or letting certain four letters words rip in mixed company. But, as Frieman tells me, the occasional "damn" is now considered OK.
2. Not Speaking Up In Social Situations
Keeping quiet used to be considered polite, but now it's more than OK to ask for what you want. "For example, if you go to a restaurant and your meal is not prepared to your liking, you must speak up," Frieman says. "There is this strange belief that being mannerly means being a welcome mat to walk over ... We need to change that right away."
3. Being Weird About Money
When money is involved, people tend to clam up so that no one's feelings get hurt. But Frieman tells me it's not necessary to be "polite" when handling certain financial situations, like splitting a bill in a restaurant. If your friend had a steak and all you had was a salad, you can (and should) refuse to go halfies.
4. Expecting Chivalry On A Date
It used to be expected that your date would hold open a door, pull out your chair, or (in extreme, totally fictional movie cases) lay their coat down so you could walk across a puddle. While that's all incredibly polite, Gottsman tells it's not really expected anymore. Since these niceties are almost exclusively done for women, it can feel a bit outdated — and even slightly offensive.
5. Waiting For Someone To Ask You Out
As I started to say above, plenty of people believe it's a man's job to ask a woman out. But why sit around and wait? "Online dating and apps have made it an equal opportunity environment," says speaker and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport. "Women are more comfortable making the first move." So go ahead and do it.
6. Getting Picked Up For A Date
This is another dating norm that's now a bit passé, and possibly even a little dangerous. "If this is an initial meeting, sometimes it is better to meet your date at the location until you know you can trust them," Rappaport says. With more and more people meeting up with strangers from the interwebs, it's well within your rights to play it safe.
7. Doing Everything By Phone
While a phone call might be greatly appreciated — maybe to say "thank you" after an interview, for example — an email is just as fine. "Texting and emailing has pretty much taken its place," Rappaport says. Many people now conduct business via email; it has become customary and standard." And definitely not rude.
8. Refusing To Clean Up Your Friend List
Remember when it was so wrong to delete someone from your Facebook friend list? Now, it may still feel awkward, but I think we've all accepted it's gonna happen eventually. As lifestyle writer Kristin Appenbrink said on Real Simple, "... if and when you discover that you don’t really care what your seventh-grade biology lab partner did over the weekend, remember that it’s OK to prune your friend list." No one's feelings will be hurt. I promise.
9. Sending Out Handwritten Notes
Whether it's a thank you card or party invitation, it's perfectly fine to do it all via email. People will still appreciate a beautifully handwritten note. But don't feel like you have to spend hours writing out cards or driving to the post office. "It has become more common for people to send emails thanking people instead," Rappaport says. Thank god.
10. Mailing Your Friends A Fancy Wedding Invitation
In the same vein, if you don't have the time, don't worry about what your guests might think about receiving an invitation via email. As Rappaport tells me, real paper invites are becoming a thing of the past. It's up to you to decide what you like, but you certainly shouldn't feel bad about whichever route you take.
11. Responding To Everyone On The Internet
If you once thought you had to respond to each and every comment online, it may be time to let that go — especially if someone is being rude. "While you can’t always get away from negativity, you can at least manage it better," said Appenbrink. "The first, and easiest, option is to simply not respond."
When it comes to being polite, it's never a waste of time to go above and beyond. But don't be afraid to let go out of these old etiquette rules, all in the name of moving forward.
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