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50 Little Etiquette Rules You Should Always Practice

These tips will help you mind your manners.

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When to start eating:

If you're seated at a table with eight or fewer guests, wait until everyone is served and for the hostess to begin eating before you dig in. At a long banquet table, it's OK to start when several people are seated and served. Here are more table etiquette mistakes you really need to stop making.

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What to keep off the table:

All items not having to do with food (and decoration) should remain off the table: keys, clutch bags, sunglasses, and especially phones.

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When to text:

"If you're in a situation where you'd excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, you should also excuse yourself before reaching for your phone," writes Farhad Manjoo on slate.com. Don't forget these other cell phone etiquette tips you need to start following.

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What to do if you're not drinking wine:

Don't make a big deal of saying you don't drink. Simply place your fingertips on the rim of the glass and say "Not today, thanks." This implies no judgment of those who wish to imbibe. Make sure your restaurant etiquette is perfect–you might be making these common mistakes.

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How to talk on speakerphone:

Don't use a speakerphone unless you're in your office and holding a meeting that's being attended by someone remotely. Alert the person you're speaking with that others are present, close the door, and definitely don't be a chatterbox while you talk. FYI: Using speakerphone at full volume to go through your voice mailbox is the definition of annoying.

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How to open the door for someone else:

It doesn't matter the gender of either.

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How to handle the work kitchen microwave

Come on. And you shouldn't be heating up these foods that should never go in the microwave either.

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Here's some basic airport etiquette:

And once on board, stow your stuff and get out of the aisle quickly. When claiming your baggage, don't crowd the carousel. Step forward only when you see your bag. Don't miss these other airport mistakes to stop making before your next flight.

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Here's basic email etiquette:

If all you have to say in your email reply is "Thanks!" refrain from sending it. You're just clogging an inbox.

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Try this basic cell phone etiquette tip:

When talking to someone in person, don't glance down at your cell phone to see who's trying to reach you.

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Here's how to be polite in email:

Things not to do when emailing: shout in all caps, use colored fonts or clip-art emoticons, attach large files, forward an email unless appropriate.

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When to send work texts vs. emails:

Work emails can be sent anytime, but business texts should be restricted to one hour before the start of the workday to two hours after it ends, according to The Modern Gentleman.

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Here's the right way to squeeze a lemon into your drink:

Use your hand to shield your lemon as you squeeze it into your iced tea so you don’t inadvertently squirt your dining companion in the eye.

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This is basic napkin etiquette people miss:

If you’re eating and want to take a sip, dab your mouth with your napkin to avoid staining the rim of the glass.

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Here's a major food passing faux pas:

Grabbing a bowl of salad or a saltshaker as it’s being passed to someone who asked for it is the equivalent of cutting in line: greedy and rude. Don't miss these Victorian era etiquette tips that need to make a comeback.

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Here's the proper way to pass food:

But if someone to your left asks for something, you can hand it directly to him.

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Here's the deal with taking home leftovers:

When out with friends or family—even at a fancy restaurant—it’s fine to ask for your leftovers to be wrapped. But don’t do it at a business lunch or dinner.

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When to check your phone in meetings:

Don’t check personal devices during a meeting attended by your boss or anyone else who can make her disapproval your problem.

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How to properly answer the phone:

When answering the phone at work, state your name and place of business: “Widgets, Incorporated. Susan Smith speaking. How may I help you?”

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This is the right way to leave a business voicemail:

When leaving voice mails, state your name, place of business, and number. Succinctly say why you’re calling. Repeat step one; say goodbye.

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How to behave in an elevator:

You should also hold the doors for others before you board. Check out more rules of modern elevator etiquette.

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How to introduce people at work:

For example, “Mrs. CEO, I’d like you to meet the mail guy, Ron.”

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This is the proper way to use your cell at work:

If you leave your cell phone at your desk, turn it off. Particularly if your ringtone is anything Justin Bieber-ish.

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How to handle a sick day:

Your colleagues will thank you.

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How to stand up during a flight:

If you need to get up during a flight, don’t yank the back of the seat in front of you as you do.

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Remember this piece of playground etiquette:

Playground etiquette says that a toy that’s been abandoned is up for grabs until its owner wants it back.

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Here's an essential part of being a good host:

If a guest at your party is drunk, ask him discreetly if he’d like to lie down, if you can arrange for a ride, or even if he’d like to spend the night. Do not let him drive.

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How to handle guests at a wedding:

Don’t ask to bring a guest to a wedding if your invitation doesn’t indicate you may. Check out these wedding etiquette rules that you absolutely can't break.

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Here's a wedding gift rule all brides and grooms should know:

And “no wrapped gifts, please” fools no one.

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Here's the proper way to talk on the sidewalk:

Keep to the right on the sidewalk, and keep moving. Don’t stop to text or check email, especially at a building entrance.

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This is the number-one rule about listening to music:

If you use your iPod with cheap, leaky earbuds, those near you hear your playlist as if it’s being played on the world’s tiniest buzz saw.

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This is sunglasses etiquette many people miss:

Leaving them on is just plain rude.

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This is modern Wi-Fi etiquette:

It’s OK to piggyback on a neighbor’s free Wi-Fi as long as you don’t hog it and do realize it’s not secure.

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Try to follow this cell phone rule:

Don’t talk on cell phones in a waiting room, checkout line, restaurant, train, or (heaven forbid!) bathroom stall. You'll want to see these etiquette rules that the royal family always follows.

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Here's etiquette for digital RSVPs:

Open your email, check your calendar, respond.

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When to email thank-yous:

You can email thank-yous for party invitations and birthday gifts given in person as long as you send each of them separately. (No cc’s.) For mailed gifts, letters of recommendation, and wedding presents, a written note is still preferable.

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How to handle work Facebook friends

It’s OK (and even advisable) to follow your boss on Twitter, but you shouldn’t try to friend him or her on Facebook. Friends implies equivalency; followers, not so.

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This is basic party etiquette:

Bring wine or flowers or dessert. Plus, don't forget these potluck etiquette rules for your next party.

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How your answering machine greeting should sound:

Still own an answering machine? Make sure the outgoing message isn’t annoying or twee.

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Follow this instant messaging etiquette:

Be respectful of other peoples' time.

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This basic dog walking etiquette is timeless:

No matter where you are. Here are more etiquette tips every dog owner should know.

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Here's diaper-changing etiquette new parents must know:

Change the baby away from other people and not on a table where someone might eat. At someone's house? Ask where is a good place to do your dirty work.

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Here's the proper way to enter a cab with colleagues:

When getting into a cab with your boss, go first so she doesn’t have to scooch across the seat.

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How to handle a dropped call:

If a cell phone call is dropped, the person who initiated the call should redial—even if you’d wrapped things up.

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Here's the right way to converse with someone with an accent:

If you chat long enough, it will come up naturally in conversation. Here are more secrets you'll learn in etiquette classes.

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Follow this basic RSVP etiquette:

Don't assume that not sending in an RSVP is the same a responding "no."

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Here's a basic rule for social media posts:

Don't post sensitive personal information on social media, especially if your co-workers can see what you post. Here are some things you should never post about your relationships on social media.

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Keep this cell phone rule in mind during a bad connection:

Even if you can't hear the person on the other end very well, that doesn't mean they can't hear you.

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Here's a basic rule for pet owners:

Your dog Snickers may be very cute, but don't assume that everyone wants your pet in their home (or store). Check out these British etiquette rules that Americans should adopt.

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Here's the hard truth about punctuality:

Letting the person know you're running late doesn't make it acceptable. Show others you value their time! Don't miss these business etiquette tips to help you get ahead at work.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest