Etiquette Faux Pas and How to Fix Them
Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition
Peggy Post, Anna Post, Lizzie Post, and Daniel Post Senning
The Faux Pas: You received a gift, but didn’t send a thank-you note.
“Nothing rankles people more than not receiving a thank-you note after sending a gift. It’s
hurtful and inconsiderate not to let the giver know a gift has arrived and is appreciated. No
matter how long it takes, write that note! Brides and grooms especially, take notice. Aim to
finish wedding thank-you notes within three months of the wedding,” says Anna Post.
The Faux Pas: You RSVP’d to your friend’s dinner party and let her know that you’re
only eating low-carb this week and your husband is experimenting with veganism.
“At least you RSVP’d—that’s the good news,” says Lizzie Post. “So many people fail to even
let a host know whether they plan to attend a party. But don’t expect your host to build a
menu around your dietary whim of the moment. A serious food allergy should be addressed
when the invitation is extended, because it’s a matter of safety. You may offer to bring a
vegan or low-carb dish to the gathering, but your host may have something else planned.”
The Faux Pas: The movie theater parking lot is packed and your friend just noticed a
spot three aisles over. He jumps out and runs over to it, standing there so no one can
take it until you arrive.
“Tempting,” says Daniel Post Senning, “but the right way to earn your parking spot is to
cruise the lot until you find a space and wait for the other car to vacate the spot. Flip the
situation: how steamed would you be to finally get to an open spot. Only to have someone
standing in it?”
The Faux Pas: You’re the boss of a ten-person sales department. You get on
Facebook and send friend requests to all of your direct reports.
“As the boss, it’s not a good idea to become overly familiar with your staff, and Facebook
crosses the line into that area. By issuing a friend request it puts people in the awkward
position of feeling they should accept, but perhaps wanting to keep that part of their life
private, and rightfully so. A more appropriate place to connect online with co-workers and
colleagues is a business-centric site like LinkedIn,” says Peggy Post.
The Faux Pas: Discussing your recent surgery on your mobile phone on the train
“Mobile devices are great—they have made our lives so much easier,” says Anna Post. “But,
there are guidelines we need to follow for using them politely. Think about where you are
and who can hear your conversation. No one wants to hear about your personal health or
relationship problems on their way home from work.”