Manners & Misdemeanors

The Etiquette Mistakes You Didn't Know You Were Making

Etiquette expert Myka Meier outlines the ten bad habits you need to break asap.
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You may think your manners are on point, but you could be making a gaffe without even knowing it. Just in time for peak wedding season and a social calendar full of summer dinner parties, etiquette expert Myka Meier outlines the top 10 etiquette faux pas you don't even realize you're making.

1. Never shake hands while seated. If someone walks up to your table, do not extend a hand while sitting. Always stand—no matter your gender!

2. Regarding the cheek kiss: It’s one kiss (right cheek to right cheek). If you travel to Europe, it can be two, or even three, depending on the country.

3. The guest of honor at an event always sits the right of the host or hostess.

4. The French don’t say bon appetit at the beginning of a meal, and neither should we! Instead, try "please enjoy." The commonly misused phrase has a physical connotation in France, meaning "hope you digest everything okay" instead of wishing guests an enjoyable meal.

5. Regardless of whether it contains wine or water, if a glass has a stem, that is where you should hold it.

6. Soup should always be scooped away from you.

7. At the end of a meal, your napkin should be pinched in the middle and is placed to the left of your plate to signify that you are finished.

8. Other than marital or religious jewelry, diamonds should only be worn after 6 p.m.

9. When you send out an invitation, never say "please RSVP" because that phrasing is redundant. RSVP stands for répondez s'il vous plaît, which means "Please respond," so the "please" is already included.

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10. If you need to leave a room, simply say "please excuse me," never "pardon me." Asking for a pardon is reserved for service staff.

For more information on Meier and the Plaza Hotel Finishing Program with Beaumont Etiquette, which recently launched group courses for kids and teens this spring, visit beumontetiquette.com.

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Caroline Hallemann
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