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6 Etiquette Rules We Forgot About

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed there are etiquette rules we forgot as millennials. Some people in my circle of friends and family are very thoughtful about RSVP-ing to events on time, sending thank you cards, and being punctual, but not everyone follows these unspoken etiquette rules.

Perhaps our generation wasn’t trained to model after our elders. Maybe our fast-paced technological lifestyle is to blame. Either way, etiquette goes a long way and some of us have forgotten the importance of it.

Here Are Six Etiquette Rules We Forgot About

1. Always RSVP. 

It really doesn’t matter what type of event you’ve been invited to; it’s always polite to reply to the host and inform him/her of your attendance. Whether you’ve been mailed an invitation to a wedding, virtually invited to a birthday party via a Facebook event, or received a text invitation to attend a baby shower, it’s your responsibility to RSVP.

When you “forget” to RSVP or just don’t think you need to, it sends a message to the host that you aren’t really invested in the relationship you have with that person or the person the event is planned for. Even if your answer is “regretfully declines” or a simple “no,” always RSVP to any invitation you receive.

2. Remember to send a gift.

Piggybacking on the topic of RSVP-ing to events, you should send a gift (or at the very least, a card). Just because you are unable to attend (or perhaps, do not want to attend) the event at hand, it is customary (and sometimes expected) to send a gift. The type of event you were invited to definitely gauges the type of gift you should send.

For example, if you aren’t going to a wedding or baby shower, the couple likely has a registry and you should still plan to order something off of it and mail it to them directly. If there is no registry, consider getting a card and putting some cash inside.

For birthday parties, perhaps a simple birthday card would suffice. Anything that says “hey, I’m sorry I couldn’t be there, but I’m thinking of you,” goes a long way! Remember: even when you RSVP “no,” you should still send a gift their way.

3. Be punctual.

I hate to say it, but there really is no excuse for tardiness these days. We’re all glued to our phones, tablets, smart watches, and computers, which means we always have a handle on the time. Unless inclement weather, road construction, an accident, or an act of God interferes with your commute to an event, meeting, or other obligation, you have no excuse for being tardy.

Give yourself plenty of time to get ready for where you need to be, and even an extra buffer just in case a crisis pops up. (No, your hair being frizzy or you burning you breakfast sandwich is not a crisis and not an excuse for being late.)

4. Always send thank you cards.

My mom taught me the importance of writing people thank you notes at a very young age. She would buy stationary sets for me and every birthday gift, Easter treat, or Halloween candy I received from relatives, I’d be ordered to send a thank you note. Sure, it was annoying to do as a kid, but now that I’m older I understand the importance of it. I can think of a few occasions where I did not receive a thank you card for attending the event and giving the person a gift or money – and honestly, it bothers me to this day.

Even if you feel awkward thanking someone for money, a bottle of wine, or even just for showing up to your event – it’s still the polite thing to do. Let your attendees know how thankful you were that they came. Additionally, remember to send thank you notes to the people who did not come, but still sent a gift. They deserve recognition too!

5. Accept compliments

This might be a weird etiquette rule to consider, but think about it – how many times have you brushed off a compliment someone gave you? Maybe a friend complimented your hair, or a stranger liked your shoes, or a coworker praised you for a job well done. We’re too quick to decline compliments because they make us feel awkward or put on the spot.

But why? There’s no good reason to brush off it off. Try thanking the person for their compliment and accepting what they have to say. (Obviously, I’m not talking about someone catcalling you or being disrespectful. This is only for the compliments with good intentions behind them. Feel free to ignore the ones that feel gross or don’t come from a good place!)

6. Reserve face-time for certain conversations.

It really goes without saying that specific talks should take place in person, but some people seem to have forgotten that. Do your best to have serious, delicate, and emotional conversations with others face-to-face. Breaking up with someone, hashing out a fight, or trying to resolve something serious really should not take place via text or on the phone, unless it’s physically impossible to meet up.

Instead, grab a coffee together or meet at a park and hash it out in person. Texting (and even phone calls) can easily go awry – it’s challenging to detect someone’s intended tone. Being face-to-face ensures you can see each other’s facial reactions and clear the air. Not only is it the polite thing to do – you’ll also find it much easier!

There you have it, folks! There is probably a whole host of other etiquette rules we forgot that we should remember , but here are a few to get you started. Even when it seems like you can get away with ignoring some of these, you really shouldn’t. Do your best to put in the effort and revive these etiquette rules. And if you’re already doing these, good on you!

About the Author

Rachael Warren (Tulipano)

Rachael is a University of Southern Maine graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Sociology. She remotely works full-time as a Senior Content Marketing Specialist for Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. In her leisure time, Rachael enjoys traveling with her husband, finding the next Netflix series to binge, and taking too many photos of her dogs Jax and Kai. Rachael is obsessed with chapstick, favors the Oxford comma, and is a proud Mainer. You'll likely find her exploring New England + beyond.