Please and thank you will always be magic words. Think about it. How many times has someone asked you to do something without saying “please?” and you give them that look until they say it before you actually get up and do what they asked? Or you find yourself stopping half way through a sentence to say “thank you” to the waiter or waitress who is refilling your drink. These are basic manners that are ingrained in many of us at young ages by our parents. Manners are often times drilled into every fiber of our being and they shouldn’t whither away once we’ve grown older and become working professionals. Here are the 10 manners every lady should live by. 

Sir/Ma’am.

If I ever forgot to say sir or ma’am as a child, my parents would correct me in front of whoever I was talking to. To this day, I still call almost everyone ma’am or sir or Mr. or Mrs. It is often very difficult to break this habit, but it’s an excellent one to have. If you aren’t comfortable calling everyone ma’am or sir, at least do it in professional settings when you are talking to someone of authority. We don’t say ma’am or sir because of age; we say ma’am or sir out of respect.

Send handwritten thank you notes.

Writing letters of gratitude is already a lost art, but if you hand-write the letter, it becomes even more meaningful. Taking the time to sit down and write a short letter shows that you are truly grateful for something someone has done for you.

Make eye contact while giving a firm handshake – and don’t forget your smile.

When you have been introduced to someone, look them in the eyes. Make sure your hand is fully extended, not just your fingers.

Be on time.

If you are not at least 5 minutes early, you are late. Being somewhere on time is a good way to show someone that you are respectful of their time. The only time this rule can be bent is for parties. 

Respond to all RSVP’s.

Mail them with enough time cushion that you meet the “RSVP by” date. If you can not go to something, always write back saying you appreciate the invitation, but that you simply can’t make it. Whether you are replying yes or no, always include your name on the RSVP card so that the host or hostess knows who they will or will not be expecting.

Be courteous.

Holding open a door for someone will not delay your arrival time. Always smile at people that you pass on the street. Do not play on your phone while someone is trying to engage you in conversation. Most importantly, do your best to remember the little things about someone like their dog’s name or ask them about the vacation they just went on.  Genuinely paying attention to a conversation is a must. Always go out of your way to be kind and help others.

Don’t embarrass people in public.

If someone says something that may not be correct, normally, you should wait until a private moment to correct them. If someone has something in their teeth, always pull them aside. For the love of all things holy, do not interrupt someone while they are speaking.

Always offer to help.

If you’re a guest to a party or staying at someone’s house, always offer to help them. If someone is preparing dinner, ask if you can help them in any way, even if it is just setting the table. When the meal is over, offer to help clean up. If you see your host attempting to clean up a mess of any kind, offer your assistance. It is also important to remember that if you’re going to offer to help, actually do the work.

For gentlemen, always walk on the street side of a sidewalk.

The purpose for this being that if a car driving by hits a puddle, the water hits you first. It’s silly, but true. It can also be a safety concern when it comes to wild drivers. This is a custom that seems to have died, but please do try to remember it. It’s heartwarming to see men still do this.

Table etiquette is imperative.

Your napkin belongs in your lap. If you get up to go to the restroom, your napkin remains on your chair, not the table. Always wait for everyone to be served before diving into your meal. Do not eat until after you give thanks by prayer. This also happens after everyone has been served. Do not chew with your mouth open. Do not talk when there is food in your mouth. No elbows on the table when you are eating.

Using your manners in a public setting, in a business setting, or a party setting is a great way to be noticed and shows your character. Always remember, your mood should never dictate your manners.

If these seem like a waste of time to you, bless your heart.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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