Friday, December 18, 2009

What Is Etiquette?

BEIJING, CHINA - JULY 12:  Volunteers particip...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
In various situations, people are required to behave in a socially acceptable way. From the time you were a child, you may remember your parent teaching you how to chew properly, how to answer the phone and how to act in public events. These are all part of etiquette. There are also several kinds of etiquette, depending on the current situation and the kind of atmosphere present. Here are some more tips about manners.

A Brief Definition

Etiquette is a set of forms and practices that are followed in a wide array of situations. Several individuals consider it as a branch of general social behavior or decorum. Every society has its own unique etiquette. Different cultures in a given society also have their own social norms and rules to follow. Some people may find it very challenging to learn etiquette if they are new to a certain place or culture.

The rules of etiquette will prevail over how people should act or behave. Greeting other people in a respectable manner is common etiquette among different cultures. The expression of respect may vary, but the idea is generally the same. In America, individuals shake hands to greet, while Asians bow as they greet. It is highly important to review or study a bit about etiquette before visiting another country to avoid trouble or embarrassing yourself.

The Lapses

Lapses in etiquette can lead to certain consequences. You may feel embarrassed or awkward after committing the lapse. The other person may also be the one embarrassed about the situation. There may also be more dire consequences to the lapses, such as losing a job or damaging friendship. In some instances, people have lost their lives or belongings because of a serious breach in etiquette. In most cases, however, lapses can still be forgiven, although more serious cases require bigger compensation.

Most of the lapses can be avoided by simply using common sense. If you truly want to be safe, you should study a number of books or search the internet to know more about possible offers that you shouldn't refuse and other special scenarios. You can also talk to someone who lives in the country you plan to visit to give you certain tips and advice.

On Manners

Manners include several social interactions with given cultural norms. A number of individuals consider etiquette to be an uncalled restriction of freedom of personal expression. Lack of manners or failure to respond appropriately can mean disrespect for the freedom of other individuals. To enforce manners or etiquette, establishments usually put signs to inform people, such as "Take off shoes before entering", "No smoking" and "Formal wear required". These will help create a more relaxed atmosphere wherein people can practice their freedom to a certain extent that will seem respectful to others.

Manners are highly dependent on culture. To differentiate manners from etiquette, a good example would be that manners teach you to use a fork while dining, while etiquette teaches you which fork to use while dining.
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  2. Great post on how to be proper. I to have "good" etiquette but often fall short of the chosen idea.