35 Etiquette Tips that Will Make You a Less Terrible Person

Image via Etiquipedia
Image via Etiquipedia

Admit it – when you think etiquette, you probably think of stodgy old ladies gasping in horror over some ‘heathen’ reaching for the wrong fork at a formal dinner. Not a very relatable image. And outdated snippets of advice like this certainly don’t help the cause.

But does that mean we should abandon good manners altogether?

I’m gonna go with… no. Because we all still have to live with each other, and that means trying our best not to be shitty people, doesn’t it?

That’s a rhetorical question. So, assuming you’re on team “don’t be a dick”…

Here are 35 rules you need to follow to be a decent human being in the 21st century.

Hope you’re ready to make your parents proud.


1. Don’t stink up the break room.


Your tunafish sandwich is not an appropriate office lunch. Same for eggs, last night’s fast food, or anything pickled.  Keep that shit out of the microwave, and preferably, out of the office altogether.

Oh, and try not to burn your popcorn.


2. Don’t clog up your colleague’s inboxes.


Reply all and messages that just say “thanks” are a waste of everyone’s time.

As for mixing business with pleasure, don’t. Personal emails should never be sent from a work account. At best, it’s confusing, and at worst, your IT guy is reading every word.

3. Restrict hours for business texts.


Unlike an email, a text is in-your-face and super personal. You can’t not see it right away. So it figures that when you send business texts, it puts the other person in panic mode.

To avoid overstepping bounds, limit business-related texts to an hour before work starts, and two hours after work ends. And even then, use them for emergencies only.

Written by Mary McCaw

Mary is a freelance writer and editor. She's based in San Francisco, but lately, home is wherever her suitcase is. If you really are what you eat, she is at least 50% pizza.