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15 Vintage Etiquette Posters That Still Make Sense Today

These 15 vintage etiquette posters set the tone back in the day and serve as helpful reminders today. If history repeats itself, shouldn't advice, too?

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Man holding megaphone in front of face on paper backgroundSEAN GLADWELL/Getty Images

Sound advice for then and now

It’s 2020 and everything is changing, but some things never seem to go out of style. While some “etiquette” rules of the past seem close-minded and antiquated, are there others that stand the test of time?

If vintage is in, what about politeness, strong work ethic, and self-awareness? Maybe sound advice and good manners are always in vogue!

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Maybe think twice, talk once?

While most everyone loves to gossip, few would ever admit to it. This poster reminds us that while gossip can seem fun and harmless, you’re not only hurting those who are the subject of your words, but you yourself! If you find yourself with time to “flap your gums,” maybe you have time to buckle down and get to work.  If you’re looking to stop gossip in its track, try this one magic phrase.

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Nobody likes a know-it-all!

As clever as you may think you are, there’s always something to learn. It’s easy to write off the opinions of others, but you’ll be missing out on a new perspective. In fact, the more you think you know, the less knowledgable you’re likely to become! Take a page out of Socrates’ book and know that you know nothing. Still, if you’re dead-set on sounding smarter, follow these grammar rules.

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Give it a rest! You don’t always know best!

This poster capitalizes on the need for support and positivity in our interactions with others. While constructive criticism is necessary for both the workplace and our everyday relationships, there’s something to be said about giving credit where credit is due! Still, positive thinking can backfire, and keeping a healthy balance is necessary for both productivity and happiness.

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It wouldn’t kill you to pay attention!

While this poster was originally intended to boost productivity (and morale!) in the workplace, it definitely has implications in normal life. It’s pretty common for people to assume and tune out when they’re being given instructions or just having a conversation. Sometimes one might think they know best, or can figure things out for themselves. However, it’s not only rude and disrespectful but potentially dangerous! When you don’t listen and act anyway—it might come back to bite you. It’s hard to get out of your own head, but sometimes listening to people with different views can be good for your mind.

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Team work really does make the dream work

This classic sentiment has been drilled into our heads since kindergarten. Working together will not only help get the job done efficiently but will also lessen the individual workload. Sometimes we all need a little reminder that it’s okay to ask and receive help. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Who wouldn’t want to win together?

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Still applicable?

While this might seem especially poignant in the era of community crusaders and surveillance, there’s still something timeless about shared duty. It seems that the idea of “working for the good of all” should be repurposed into speaking up for injustice, not just penny-pinching. We have a duty to speak up when we see something inherently wrong or unequal, but the good of the business might not be our priority anymore. If you’re worried about speaking up at work, check out these 11 things you should never say.

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The time is now!

We all procrastinate. The idea of putting things off until tomorrow is very tempting. It’s easy to think that tomorrow will be the fresh start we’re looking for—there’s always an excuse to wait. However, if you found an excuse today, you’ll probably be able to find one tomorrow. Today can be the right day if you take it as the new opportunity and fresh start you’ve been looking for! If you’re waiting for a sign, this is it! The time is now! Here are some top tricks to help you stop procrastinating.

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Take a deep breath…

In the heat of the moment, it’s difficult not to say things we might later regret. Whether you’re quick to anger or just pushed past your limit, stress can make us lash out and hurt people without actually meaning to. When we start to get heated, it’s best to take a second, count to ten, and breathe before we say what we were thinking. That way, at least, we can make sure we mean it and aren’t just caught up in our anger.

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Practice makes perfect!

This poster reminds us that we have to learn and grow from our mistakes. Some say Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. In some ways, the poster is encouraging, as it tells us that our mistakes just hone our aim for our future “hits.”

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Do as I say, and as I do

This serves as a helpful reminder that whether we’re aware of it or not, the next generation looks up to previous ones. They watch and learn from what we do. The best way to encourage kindness, productivity, and love is to display it ourselves. If anger begets anger, shouldn’t we try to be the role model of positivity for those after us to follow? If you’re a parent and worried about the example you set, check out these accidental and dangerous parenting moves that even careful parents make.

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Give it your all until the bitter end!

There’s something to be said about working down to the wire. It’s tempting to slack off when the end of the day comes near or to let things go as the project drags on. If you do, however, you’ll be missing out on tons of time to be productive and maybe even feel worse about yourself. The poster said it best, the game is won in the 9th inning. Don’t quit out early, but don’t forget to cut yourself a little slack every now and again.

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A little self-reflection never hurt

Some people can be their own worst critic, but others never seem to be able to take a step back and look harshly at themselves in the mirror. It’s easy to point out faults in others, but much harder to find faults in ourselves. The poster reminds us that no one is perfect and a little self-awareness never hurt anyone. Learning how to give and receive criticism the right way can make all the difference

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Do it right the first time

It stands to reason that doing something right makes it better, but this poster argues that it also makes it easier and quicker. The ways in which we try to delay, lessen, or skimp on our work can sometimes prove to make work for us in the long run than the work itself would have been.  In theory, a straight line is the quickest way from point A to point B, so maybe this poster has a point?

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Everybody needs their beauty sleep

I doubt anyone is getting the recommended amount of sleep 100% of the time. Still, it’s important to remember that we all need to sleep to get ourselves healthy. Though this poster likely wasn’t thinking of shutting down our apps and closing our screens, the idea is perhaps even more relevant today. We can’t succeed if we aren’t healthy and we can’t be healthy if we don’t get enough rest!

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Easily offended?

No one likes to be criticized, but eventually, we all need to learn to handle it. If we can’t take criticism, we won’t be able to grow! Or, even worse, people will stop giving us advice and we’ll continue on our path thinking we’re invincible. The poster said it best, nobody’s perfect, and “everybody must learn from somebody!” If you’re looking for ways to impart some helpful criticism, try these tried and true tips.