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From Tipping to Gossip and Everything In Between — A Modern Etiquette Ambassador Breaks Down 36 Common Life Scenarios and How to Handle Them With Grace

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BY // 03.27.23

In her recurring column, “Social in Security,” modern etiquette ambassador and Bell’INVITO founder Heather Wiese-Alexander walks us through a list of trusted tips you can rely on. Today’s topic: how modern etiquette differs from modern manners in 2023.  

It’s finally spring! Time to clean it up—etiquette included. While you are donating old clothes and recycling outdated home décor, a habit clean-up is in order. As you acquire new clothes and freshen up living spaces, don’t skip over addressing lackluster social skills. After all of that diligent spring-cleaning work, the last thing you want to be is, to quote a Black Eyed Pea, two-thousand and late. If you missed January’s foundational article for etiquette in 2023, catch up here. If you’re ready to get to more of the good stuff, keep reading.

2023 is a revolutionary year. Living in an age of etiquette enlightenment, mental wellness, and individualism has our attention. The Post Institute released Emily Post’s Etiquette, The Centennial Edition, on the 100-year anniversary of Emily Post’s first edition which laid the foundation of American etiquette practiced today. Last month New York Magazine‘s The Cut released a nitty-gritty, wildly popular list of how-to-act rules applicable in real situations today. The reaction was huge—and very interesting.

 

What Etiquette in 2023 Isn’t

After receiving a barrage of questions referring to this new aforementioned “etiquette article”, I realized that there is a common misperception. I’ll start here: the title and body of the article never claim to be an etiquette reference. It does tell you exactly what it is, which is a compilation of up-to-date rules for acceptable behavior today that is certainly, although not fully, however somewhat New York City-specific. Aside from the search title (anyone familiar with search engines would be remiss to not use the term “etiquette” when posting this type of list), I believe this is the catalyst of the misperception.

This article is a yummy deep dive into today’s much-needed manners. It reminds me a bit of Kelly Williams Brown’s hilarious and quite helpful book titled Adulting. I may have given it as a gift a few dozen times. Both are worth a read. They outline scenario-specific manners that give a what-to-do when faced with any one of a huge number of real-life situations. Frankly, they are more entertaining than most etiquette scenarios. Modern etiquette as most etiquette experts teach is a little different. Sure, it could also be needed daily, unless it isn’t. Let’s talk about that.

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What Etiquette in 2023 Is

Simply put, etiquette is a higher bar. Behaving with manners is expected, however, behaving in a way that communicates that you have expanded experience or higher education regarding a specific scenario is the differentiator between modern manners and modern etiquette.

 

The Most Important Thing

Manners are required to be socially palatable. The practice of etiquette takes one from palatable to admirable. The admirable piece is arguable because a person just went from “nice” status to “in-the-know” status without saying a word. Most importantly, make no mistake, admirable does not exist without palatable. One must begin with consideration, kindness, self-awareness, and respect so that the formalities of modern etiquette don’t fall flat as a show of pretentious elitism.

With that, we jump into 36 common situations, what the baseline is, and what you need to know when a step-it-up moment is upon you.

 

Manners vs. Etiquette by Topic

I’ve said this for years but have never put it into a chart. We are, after all, spring cleaning. It’s the perfect time to simplify and make good choices. You decide what works best.

21st Century Chivalry

 

Punctuality, Body Language, and Other Modern Social Skills2023 etiquette

 

(Fine) Dining Out

Party Gifting 101
2023 etiquette

The Etiquette of Gossip

 

There are so many more situations to dish out. Limiting a list to just 36 was tough. Pick a few. Enjoy the results. I know you will see them. It’s your year to move up, keep learning, and keep expanding. Focus on building better relationships and accomplishment will naturally follow. I think I’ll keep adding to my chart. Send suggestions. I wish you success, prosperity, endless learning, and heaps of fantastic encounters.

Questions? Please reach out to Heather@bellinvito.com for modern etiquette inquiries.

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