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How to Be Socially Acceptable in All Situations

Social behavior

Many of the correct behaviors people once considered common sense have gotten lost in the swirling wind of bad advice, outdated manners, rules, and social media that makes it too easy to slip up and be rude. 
There are certain accepted behaviors in all social situations that you need to learn. Putting them into practice can make a big difference in your social life.


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How to Be Socially Acceptable in All Situations

How to Be Socially Acceptable in All Situations


Key Ideas

Social behavior

Many of the correct behaviors people once considered common sense have gotten lost in the swirling wind of bad advice, outdated manners, rules, and social media that makes it too easy to slip up and be rude. 
There are certain accepted behaviors in all social situations that you need to learn. Putting them into practice can make a big difference in your social life.

Social rules

  • Have good manners.
  • Be on time.
  • Personal space. Every culture has different comfort levels of personal space, so before you travel, find out how close you can get to people without being rude.
  • Men’s manners. Be a gentleman. Rudeness is never manly.
  • Women’s manners. You can be a lady and still show strength. It is always appropriate to be mannerly.
  • Teens’ manners. Demonstrate good manners. If you exhibit proper etiquette, you'll earn respect and maybe even more privileges.
  • Children’s manners. Be polite. Be the kid everyone wants to play with. 
  • Host and Hostess Gift. Never show up empty-handed when you're a guest in someone's home.

Learn to communicate

  • Conversation. Learn how to hold a decent conversation with back-and-forth dialogue. Never monopolize a discussion.
  • Never gossip
  • People’s names. Most people appreciate your effort to learn their names if you spend more than a minute or two talking with them. 
  • Cell phones. Use your cell phone sparingly in public.  Think before you hit “send” in an e-mail. Most electronic mail can never be taken back.
  • Social media. Remember that not only can your friends see what you post, others can repost, copy, share, or retweet anything you put out there.
  • Rude questions. There are ways to deal with them and not come across as snarky. 
  • How to Graciously Change the Subject. There are times certain things shouldn't be discussed, and it's up to you to shift the conversation.

Table manners

  • Basic table manners. If having your elbows on the table makes it rock, take them off the table. Put your napkin in your lap, use the flatware starting with the one farthest from the plate, and don't talk with your mouth full.
  • Restaurant manners. Arrive before your scheduled reservation, be polite to your server, keep your voice at a conversational level, and be a generous tipper.
  • Formal dinner party. Know which utensils to use for each course. If you're ever in doubt about which fork goes with each course, look to the host or hostess and follow them.

Manners in business

  • Business relationships. Limit personal conversations at the office on a need-to-know basis. Be a good team player, don't make annoying sounds that might distract others, and offer to assist coworkers if they need help.
  • Proper attire. Know how to dress in any situation.
  • Getting ahead. Show up on time, do a good job, and maintain a positive attitude.
  • Office Cubicles. Be polite and respectful to those who work around you. Keep noise, smells, and any other distractions to a minimum.
  • Shaking hands.  A decent handshake can give someone a good first impression.
  • Business gifts. Make sure your gift is appropriate to the setting and occasion. 
  • Acknowledge others.  Be the first to congratulate someone where it is due. Never take credit for someone else's work.

Etiquette outside your home

  • Commuting. Keep your hands to yourself, don't stare at others, and offer a seat to anyone who needs one.
  • In the air. Don't treat your airplane seat as though it's a recliner in your living room.
  • Weddings. Show good manners while you help celebrate a couple’s union.
  • Funerals. Don’t make a sad situation worse with bad manners. Learn what is expected before, during, and after a funeral.

    Proper business etiquette
    • Be on time.
    • Dress appropriately for an occasion.
    • Address everyone respectfully, such as by their last name.
    • Maintain eye contact, but do not ...
    A confident, relaxed smile is the best way to put other people at ease. 

    Smiling is an important social cue, and that other people will respond to smiles on both a conscious and subliminal level.

    Good Manners basics
    • Language. “Please,” “Thank You,” and “You’re Welcome,” demonstrate to others that you value their effort, thought, and/or generosity.
    • Names. Always address others in business by their title (Mr., Mrs., or Ms.) and their last name, unless they request you use a given name or nickname.
    • Attire and Dress. The way a person dresses can demonstrate their respect for whoever they are meeting.
    • Eye Contact. Most people believe that those who do not make eye contact are lying or avoiding something, or that they lack the confidence to interact effectively with other people.
    • Speaking. A clear, well-modulated speaking voice is an important social tool, and contributes to the ease of communication and a good first impression.
    • Handshake. While the handshake should be firm, too much pressure shows a desire to dominate and can be a negative signal.

    2 more ideas

    Introducing People
    Introducing People

    People no longer have the option to introduce themselves to new people at their convenience (like in an office setting, for example). With the remote setting, the second someone joins an online mee...

    The Waiting Room

    It is advisable to enable the waiting room option for new joiners so that they are made to enter one at a time and provided with a proper introduction.

    It also takes care of the risk of your meeting getting crashed by someone suddenly.

    The Art Of The Pause
    • Video chats with multiple participants have a lot of cross-talk and people talking at the same time. This problem is compounded by dodgy internet speeds.

    • It is possible to listen to only one person at a time, so one has to learn the art of the pause. Stopping and staying silent will allow others to calm down.

    • Zoom also has a raise hand feature, which helps facilitate the meeting in an orderly fashion.

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    5 Steps to become a Better Person

    Be Better, as a person, with these five simple steps:

    • Give more to others
    • Be Polite
    • Embrace Change
    • Clear your mind
    • Find ins...
    Give more to others
    • The secret of receiving is in giving.
    • Success isn't just measured in how much money you have, but how much you've given or helped others.
    • Focus on helping people.
    Be Polite to others
    “I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.” 

    – Albert Einstein

    Kindness, gratitude and even saying thank you makes you a better person instantly.

    3 more ideas

    Be Yourself And Be Ready For Rejection
    Be Yourself And Be Ready For Rejection

    Having charm is not about deceiving others. Keep strong negative feelings to yourself, do your best to reveal who you are and if you disagree with something, do so nicely.

    No ma...

    Be Swift and Sweet

    Keep the conversation moving at a comfortable but somewhat brisk pace. Don’t cut the conversation short if things are going well, but also avoid hitting uncomfortable lulls. So when the pace starts to die down, it's time to make an exit.

    On your way out make sure that the other remembers you. 

    A Simple Touch Can Go A Long Way

    Touch is a physical way of indicating acceptance and if properly timed it can be very charming

    There's nothing wrong with a handshake when you introduce yourself, but beyond that, don't abuse touch. Stick to safe zones like the outside of the arm and upper back, and when in doubt, just stick to those handshakes.

    9 more ideas

    Our desire to be nice

    Our tendency to be “nice” can be separated into two related but distinct personality traits: politeness and compassion.

    Politeness is linked to being fair, while compassion is helping oth...


    Politeness refers to our tendency to be respectful of others and not aggressive. It's about having good manners based on traditional values.


    Compassion refers to our tendency to be emotionally concerned about others and rests on progressive values.

    2 more ideas

    An Unbalanced Life

    We live in a culture where work demands our complete allegiance. At the same time, it can be extremely enriching. You feel challenged by your work, you're attached to it, you're learning new things...

    Redefine Success

    Reconsider how you define success. Workaholics are always aiming to get ahead. But you also need to draw a boundary line that shows respect for your family life, and your physical and spiritual well-being.

    Refocus Your Attention

    After you have redefined success, consider how you want to invest your time and energy. 

    There will always be more work to be done, but make a choice to spend your time elsewhere: with family, friends, or in your community. And when you spend time with your family or friends, do so with undivided attention.

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    The right place for your first rendez-vous

    When choosing the right place for your first date, take into account the risk that things might not work miraculously well from the first try. Therefore, better go for simple places, like pubs, for...

    Keep the conversation going

    If you are planning your first date with somebody, make sure to pay a special attention to the topics you want to engage in throughout the date. Keep the conversation smart and the exchange of experiences alive.

    Shape your mindset

    When going on a first date, make sure your mindset is a positive one, no matter what your previous dating experiences felt like. Embrace the fear of a possible failure while hoping for a pleasant outcome.

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    No One Listens Anymore
    No One Listens Anymore

    Most of us have encountered people around us, friends, family or colleagues, who aren't the best of listeners.

    As the world gets more and more connected and complicated, listening is turning ...

    The 2016 Debacle

    The Political landscapes across the globe were proving drastically wrong forecasts, with improbably wrong polling data.

    The mainstream media, which is relying on social media for most of the data, was misleading because of it, and the political forecasters were not listening to what needed to be listened to.

    Data-Driven Approach Backfires

    By deriving polling data from social media and quoting trending soundbites from Twitter and Facebook, real voices that may not be trending and of any interest to politicians, lobbyists, activists or business interests are losing ground.

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    Fear of rejection

    The main reason why we are having a hard time declining other people's requests is that we are afraid to be rejected. We are afraid that people might think negatively. 

    Stop Saying Yes When You Want to Say No
    • Saying No Doesn’t Mean You’re a Bad Person: Saying no doesn't mean that you are being rude, selfish, or unkind. These are all unhelpful beliefs that make it hard to say no. Learning where these beliefs have come from is a great way to learn to let go of them.
    • Knowing Your Value:  Learning to say no is realizing that you are valuable and choosing your own opinion about yourself over others.
    • Is It Really Worth It?: Learning to say no is also deciding if saying yes is really worth it. Think about the anguish, stress, and resentment that saying yes has caused you. Wouldn't it be so much easier and straightforward to just say no in the first place?
    Helpful Tips for Saying No
    • Be direct.
    • Don't apologize and give all sorts of reasons.
    • Be honest.
    • Don't delay your response.
    • Be polite.
    • Practice saying no. This will get you feeling a lot more comfortable with saying no.
    • Know your worth. Don't mind what other think of you.
    Make note of something pleasant

    "This dip is delicious!" "Nice turnout for this event!"

    There's something positive to say in nearly every situation, so find it...

    Comment on the weather

    The one exception to the no-negatives rule is the weather. 

    If you're in the midst of a heat wave, cold snap, or torrential downpour, remarking on the unusual weather is often a good way to start a conversation.

    Ask for information

    "Excuse me, do you know what time the next session starts?" 

    Even if you already know the answer, asking for information can be a great way to start someone talking with you, because everyone likes to feel helpful.

    8 more ideas