15 Etiquette Rules That Changed in the Last Decade
You don’t need us to tell you that things have changed a lot over the past ten years. From technology to fashion, things are evolving.
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Old rule: Elopements weren’t seen as “real” weddings
Back in the day, eloping to get married was often seen as shameful, fringe, or the result of too much alcohol. But then the Great Recession happened and it changed a lot of people’s feelings about extravagant parties of any sort, Parker says.
New rule: Today, elopement is seen as a perfectly reasonable alternative to a traditional wedding and is often encouraged, she says, adding that most often the reasons now are financial.
Old rule: Return a phone call with a phone call
A decade ago, it would be considered rude not to promptly return a phone call but nowadays it’s very common for people to text rather than call back, Grotts says.
New rule: While this isn’t ideal—you lose a lot of context and risk a serious misunderstanding without voice—text replies are no longer seen as a faux pas, she says. That said, if it’s an important call then the best policy is always to call them back, she adds. Thinking of sending a text? Here are 13 texting etiquette rules you should be following by now.
Old rule: If it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen
A decade ago, smartphones and social media were still relatively novel to a lot of people and there weren’t a lot of etiquette rules, says Tara Darby Rasheta, director of JDW Cotillions Talks Etiquette and Manners. Taking a picture of your meal or tagging yourself and your friends immediately at an event was seen as expected or even cute.
New rule: “We should never use a phone at the table for talking, texting, updating social media, or general web surfing,” she says. And always ask permission first before posting about or tagging a friend. Are you guilty of any of these social media etiquette rules that people break all the time?
Old rule: You must always use a prefix when addressing a superior
Even though America has traditionally been less formal with titles than many other places, it was still considered good manners to address people, particularly those in a higher position, as Mr./Ms. or Sir/Ma’am.
New rule: “General codes of conduct do not require such formality in most situations anymore,” Rasheta says. “Still, I think it is a nice, verbal way to show kindness, courtesy, and respect to others.” However, if someone asks you to address them by their first name, then honor their request. Similarly, not all phrases have stood the test of time, like these 16 pleasantries people no longer say (and with good reason).
Old rule: A man would stand when a woman was seated with his group
Traditionally all the men in a party would stand when a woman entered the room or was seated; it was seen as a sign of respect and chivalry. But there’s been a huge cultural shift in the past decade about how we treat the sexes, especially work, Rasheta says.
New rule: It’s fine to keep your seat and acknowledge a woman the same way you would a man. “Though this is generally seen as a gesture of respect, many women today prefer to be viewed as peers and equals first, rather than simply female,” she explains.
Old rule: Putting away your florals and bright plaids after summer
The old “no white after Labor Day” rule has been retired now for several decades but many fashion experts were still advising people to switch to darker colors or more subdued patterns for winter, Parker says. For instance, women were told not to wear brightly colored florals and men were to avoid madras plaids.
New rule: As long as your clothing is appropriate for the weather, wear whatever colors and patterns you like, she says. “Depending on your climate, the fabric is the one thing that should be changed, not the color,” she adds. Next, read on for 50 little etiquette rules everyone should practice.