Whether we're talking first dates, job interviews, or even get-togethers with friends, there are so many
ways to make a good first impression. I'm sure, just by showing up with your bad self, that you'll win people over. But there are always fun ways to give a little something extra in social situations, especially if you look to how they did it in the past.
I don't know about you, but when I picture parties and work shindigs from years gone by — say, the 1950s and 60s — I imagine everyone having great style, great conversations, and etiquette skills to die for. Obviously, in reality, things weren't as perfect as imagined to be. But I think we may all agree there seemed to be a certain something in the air back then, that
makes me feel nostalgic for old charm.
Let's steal a few etiquette tips from the past, and bring them back. Apart from the great feeling that comes from being confident and polite, there are some extra benefits to be had. As
certified counselor David Bennett tells Bustle, "Making a good impression with people ... is important for social and career success." The tips below can come in handy, in a variety of settings, so go ahead and give them a try.
Arriving With Drinks In Hand
Your schedule may be packed to the brim, and it might not feel like you have time to pop off to a cafe for coffee. But if you do, why not offer to pick up a few extra drinks for your coworkers? "Most people like coffee, tea, and other similar drinks, and constantly have one in front of them," Bennett says. "Offering to bring an extra coffee or tea along when you meet your boss, friend, or new acquaintance is a gesture that is big enough to make a good impression, but small enough to not be considered sucking up."
Standing Up When Greeting Someone
If you're out to dinner and someone new arrives at the table, it's considered extremely polite to stand up and say hi, as a formal way of greeting them. "Standing up to meet someone conveys a simple but powerful message: they matter," Selena Rezvani, VP of consulting and research at
BeLeaderly, tells Bustle. "It's easier to stay seated at a restaurant when your sister’s new boyfriend shows up, but it’s far more welcoming and inclusive to stand up, look him in the eye, smile, and shake his hand hello."
Back in the day, a handshake was everything. But they still have plenty of meaning today. "Our first interaction is with a handshake and introduction," says protocol expert
Jacquelyn Youst. "Executing a proper handshake sends the message we are confident." Here's how to do it properly, so you can win people over, left and right.
Hosting A "Real" Sit Down Dinner
"We should bring back the 'old-fashioned' aspect of dining together and creating bonding experiences over dinner," Maryanne Parker, founder of
Manor of Manners, tells Bustle. Whether you're trying to impress your partner's parents, or just want to feel fancy for an evening with friends, nothing tops hosting a dinner.
A sit down dinner is the perfect time to show off your cooking skills (or, at the very least, your food assembling skills) while bringing everyone you care about together. And what could be more impressive than that?
Being On Time (And Not Flaking Out)
It was tricky to bail on people back in the day, because doing so meant finding a pay phone, remember their phone number, and hoping your friend was at home to hear the bad news. With texts, it's now super easy to bail on friends. Or to text them saying you're running late. But that doesn't mean you should.
"One lesson we can take from history and good impressions is to be punctual," Youst says. So if you make a promise to meet your friend, try to go. And (if you want to make an even better impression) try to actually get there on time.
Making A Few More Phone Calls
Speaking of phones, a phone call can make a difference.
It can take a bit more effort (and you're not alone in feeling that talking on the phone can be kind of weird). But, taking the time to have an actual conversation can be quite impressive.
This is especially true if you're calling to ask someone out on a date. "It shows confidence and is respectful of not wasting the other persons time texting back and forth," matchmaker Michela Hattabaugh, of
Three Day Rule tells Bustle.
Sending An Actual "Thank You" Card
Whether you've had a great interview, or a lovely evening at your friend's party, follow that up with a thank you card. "This might seem old-fashioned in our world of instant communication via email or text message, but a hand written thank you note is still the way to go when you want to make a good impression,"
life coach and author coach Jaya Jaya Myra tells Bustle. "Whether you are thanking someone for a gift, a thoughtful gesture, or even a great job interview, you're sure to get their attention — in a good way."
Taking Turns Getting The Check
If you're in a position to be able to pick up a check (or at least split it) go ahead and make it habit. "Take turns taking the check, whether you're with friends or on date," matchmaker Andrea Leiser, with
Three Day Rule, tells Bustle. "With all of my friends, we go back-and-forth taking the bill. It's much less awkward than the 'fake check dance.'"
Having A Few Go-To Conversation Starters
Wherever you're going, try having a few fun facts stored in your brain, so you'll never fail to have something to talk about. "Brush up on popular topics," Justin Lavelle, chief communications officer for
BeenVerified.com, tells Bustle. "At the very least, be aware of any current events that are likely to come up in conversation." It'll save you from awkward silences. And hey, it's always good to be informed.
Not to say people didn't get distracted back in the day, but there are more chances for it now than ever before. So make an effort to stay in the moment, whenever you're with someone.
"One important element of making a great impression is being fully present," says Bennett. "If during an interaction you're pulling out your phone, checking out your smart watch, or any other type of technological distraction, you're giving the person you're with the impression that they aren't important and worthy of your complete attention."
A great way to make a good
impression is to walk into a room with your head held high. Communication coach Stacey Shipman tells Bustle posture plays a major role in making a lasting impression. In fact, studies show standing up straight can affect how people perceive you, and even how you perceive yourself, by making you feel more confident and ready to take on your day.
Whether it's shaking hands, calling a friend, or sending a thank you note, there are plenty of social benefits to be had from these old-fashioned habits. And it may even be fun in the process.