Social Blunders to Avoid in the New Year

6. January 2020

When it comes to etiquette, Christmas time is usually our biggest test. There is perhaps no other time of the year when we apply our knowledge of this discipline as intensively in practice. For most of us, December is a time of parties, social gatherings, gift-giving, and visits to restaurants with the most formal levels of dining. And we’re sure you agree that all these beautiful experiences have their accompanying stresses stemming from fears of social flubs during introductions, dinners, gifting, dressing properly for the occasion, etc. So, let’s now evaluate for ourselves what didn’t go as it should have for us last year and what we should be more careful about this year. In the next few lines I will try to summarize the important things that must be honored and observed from the perspective of good manners, so that people around us will be happy to overlook the minor faux pas.

Don’t be rude.

It may be an age-old rule, but believe us, it still works best. Courtesy, respect and solid character – these qualities are honored across the rungs of the social ladder. Don’t forget that when someone, albeit even accidentally, offends us, we humans have memory like an elephant. Trust can be lost in a flash, but regaining it takes an unbearable amount of time and effort!

Don’t be late.

By arriving at meetings on time, you show respect for others. In today’s hectic times, everyone is trying to save every minute to have time for themselves and their loved ones. So, if you do not want to risk not being invited next time and losing out on a lot of amazing experiences and great people, simply be on time.

Don’t forget to introduce yourself and others

Remember to introduce people who don’t know each other. If you don’t remember the names of anyone politely say something like, “I’m sorry. I know we’ve met, but I can’t remember your name.” Today, it is also socially acceptable to introduce yourself as well “Excuse me, may I interrupt you for a moment? I’d like to introduce myself.” could be one way. Remember that it is the host who presents guests, superiors to his subordinates, and the man who introduces his wife or partner, and children.

Don’t be distracted by your phone in the presence of others

I’m sure I am not the only one who finds this to be the greatest nuisance of our time. Before taking your phone in hand in the company of someone else, consider whether this is unavoidable. By devoting your attention to your phone, you are showing, albeit for a moment, that someone else is more important to you at that moment than who you are with. So, if your phone requires an immediate response, please make an apology and try to resolve it as quickly as possible. Never chat or send SMS messages while dining.

Confirm your attendance or excuse yourself in a timely manner

R.S.V.P. is the French acronym for “Repondez s´il vous plait”, which in translation means “Please reply”. On invitations, this phrase is asking you to confirm your presence or to excuse yourself. Reply to the invitation as soon as possible. Once you have accepted the invitation, you should not cancel. If for some reason you really cannot attend, excuse yourself sufficiently in advance to give your hosts time to adjust their organizational plans.


Gain favor with the people you care about. This little trick will suffice — don’t just talk about yourself, but be interested in others. Ask them a few questions, and then listen carefully, and if they have questions for you in return, answer with interest. Mutual conversation is always the most pleasant kind of conversation for both parties involved.

Observe proper table manners

If you suffer a bit of self-doubt in this area, it’s time to consult some wise book on dining or sign up for one of our courses. In a nutshell, I would just like to remind you: respect the seating order, do not start eating before the hosts, pay attention to the lady on your right, do not rush while eating, do not speak with your mouth full, don’t forget proper napkin etiquette, do not leave the table while others are still eating, and definitely do not leave before the main guest of the evening.

Say thank you

Always say thank you for a gift, an invitation, or any kindness you have been shown. If possible immediately, don’t forget the magic words, “thank you”. If not, today it is common to send your thanks by e-mail or by phone. In any case, you will achieve the hallmark of luxury and uniqueness if you decide to send your thanks in writing with a thank you card. Everyone will appreciate the time and thought that you’ve thus invested in sending your thanks.