By 19th century standards of etiquette, anecdotes were considered rude and making eye-contact with a stranger was viewed as vulgar. And beauty rituals were another story entirely; people colored their hair with a mixture of lead, sulphur, glycerine, and rain water. Thankfully, things have changed quite a bit since then. In order to stay up to date with today's most important etiquette tips, I got in touch with Diane Gottsman — the national etiquette expert, accomplished speaker, author, and owner of The Protocol School of Texas — and she was more than willing to share her insights as well as the products might be able to help your manners along.
Gottsman explains that "etiquette is a way to navigate through life, treating others with respect and consideration, building relationships rather than burning bridges." While the aforementioned point of etiquette hasn't changed much over the past two centuries, the challenges to maintaining respectful behavior certainly have. "Today's fast-paced world requires a different form of behavior," says Gottsman. "We are faced with a multitude of different scenarios that our parents and grandparents didn't have to deal with," she continues.
First, Gottsman offered tips that applied to a generation surrounded by technology: "Social media is an incredible opportunity to connect. It is also an opportunity for millennials, as well as every generation, to damage friendships and business relationships by posting something that can never be forgotten," she says.
However, certain etiquette rules have survived the years, like: "Chunky soup is spooned straight into your mouth and clear broth and bisque is sipped on the side of the spoon." Not sure where to start? These genius products can help you hone your etiquette, so you can floor your coworkers and friends with your manners. But, if following any of these rules isn't your jam, etiquette be damned — you do you!
1Find New And Innovative Ways To Break Your Phone Addiction
Technology etiquette is a relatively new practice that our parents never even had to think about, but now that everyone's got a smart phone, it's one of the most common ways to seem aloof and rude to someone else. "Think about who is affected by your behavior," says Gottsman. "When you are looking down texting, you are ignoring the person sitting across from you."
Having a ton of trouble breaking your phone addiction? The Kitchen Safe Time Locking Container helps you build healthy habits by locking away your temptations for any amount of time between one minute and ten days. It's made from sturdy BPA-free plastic, comes in multiple different colors and sizes, and reviewers say it's also really great if you need a distraction-free environment to work.
2Keep Your Music And Calls To Yourself In Public
Another technology-must is ensuring that if you're in a public place, your music and phone calls remain your music and phone calls. "If your music is so loud it disturbs your neighbors," says Gottsman, "it is allowing them to form an opinion of you based on what they see and hear."
House of Marley is an awesome tech company that uses natural woods and recyclable materials (so you can be polite to the planet), and their Smile Jamaica In-Ear Headphones create a high, balanced sound quality so that you won't need to jack up the volume to hear the bass. It's also got one button for microphone use, so subtly accepting calls is convenient and simple.
3Freshen Your Coffee Breath And Limit Your Need For More With These Mints
Gottsman also stresses the importance of fresh breath while you're interacting with someone else, so she recommends "breath mints for coffee breath, for your purse, desk, and your car."
These Viter Energy Caffeine Winter Mints simultaneously take away your coffee breath and your need for coffee. They have a refreshingly cool wintergreen flavor that leaves your mouth feeling clean, and they have a boost of caffeine (equivalent to half a cup of coffee) with no jitters or crash. They're also infused with vitamins, and this pack of six comes in travel-friendly tin cases, too, so you can keep one in all the aforementioned places.
4Always Travel With A Pack Of Tissues
"According to a recent survey conducted by Robitussin, 65 percent of Americans go to work sick," says Gottsman. Consequently, she recommends always having a pack of "tissues for sniffles." This adorable Apple Tissue Box is a convenient way to travel with your tissues in your car or purse. It's got a top to keep them inside, a space-savvy round shape, and a slot that dispenses one at a time.
5Be Mindful Of Others' Health With This Genius Hand Sanitizer
"According to the same survey [from Robitussin], only 36% of Americans wash their hands after they cough or sneeze," Gottsman says. That's why it's always important to keep others' health in mind and have something on your person that you can use to clean your hands.
The EO Hand Sanitizer Spray contains nothing but organic ethanol, echinacea, and lavender to gently cleanse your hands without drying your skin or leaving a sticky residue. It also comes in a pack of six, so you can keep one anywhere you might need it.
6Stay Tidy With This Travel-Friendly Version Of A Detangling Favorite
According to Gottsman, "A travel brush and comb for an always groomed appearance" is another great thing to have. The Tangle Teezer Compact Styler has the same revolutionary teeth configuration and memory flex technology that painlessly detangle knots, regardless of your hair type, and the travel version has a protective click-on cover and ergonomic shape, so you can carry it anywhere with you. Like the original, it can also be used on wet or dry hair.
7Be Perpetually Prepared With This Stylus, Pen, And Flash Drive All In One
"Millennials are bright thinkers and they take great pride in what they do and strive to give it their best when they undertake a project," Gottsman says. "That includes doing their best when it comes to interacting in and out of the office."
However, the art of being prepared is also a matter of etiquette. The Genuine Picks Crystal Ballpoint USB Pen is an awesome tool when it comes to networking, jotting down notes, and always having the right files. It's a regular pen, a stylus, and a flash drive all in one, and reviewers love that it's stylish and durable enough to take anywhere with them.
8You Never Know When A Situation Might Call For Cash
Now that you can carry your entire bank account around on a debit card, people very rarely have cash on them anymore; not only is it bulky, but it's easy to lose. Even so, Gottsman says it's always polite to carry "cash in your wallet," so you can "always be ready for gratuity." Then there's situations like splitting bills, cash-only restaurants, and paying somebody back.
The ROCO Minimalist Wallet makes it easy to carry everything (both cash and cards) in a slim, organized way. It has a high grade aluminum case that can hold up to 20 cards in the most space-savvy way possible, and a flexible band money clip that condenses and secures your bills.
9Study Up On All Social And Business Etiquette
Finally, the best way to refine your etiquette is to be conscientious and study up. Diane Gottsman's Modern Etiquette for a Better Life helps you to master all social and businesses exchanges in an elegant, confident way. It touches on everything from business trips to social media, and it does so in an accessible, natural tone that's never rigid or stuffy.
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