What is etiquette and why should I care?

When people bring up etiquette, they often refer to knowing which fork to use and other minutiae and ask why should they bother learning all these silly rules. While it is true there is somewhat of a rule book of details like which fork to use and which way to pass by people in the theater, etiquette is MOSTLY about making people comfortable and smoothing over social situations. So all those silly details come from a place of: if we all know the rules, then you will know what to expect in any given social situation and no one will be awkward or embarrassed. Because left to our own devices, let’s face it, we’re all incredibly awkward.

But in our modern world, the official rules are changing. Tradition is being left behind, while at the same time technology and a widening world have increased the number of kinds of tricky social situations you may find yourself in. There are some official rules, but since not everyone knows them, we aren’t on the same page of knowing what to expect. And to a certain extent, the official rules don’t always take into account the lightning quick ways social expectations can fluctuate in different circles.

We wanted to create this site to introduce people to the official etiquette rules but also provide a reality check about the reasons these rules exist and how you might adapt them or break them to fit your life. As a former art teacher of mine once said “when you know what the rules of art are, then you can break them with a purpose.” It’s the same thing with etiquette: if you fully understand the basics you can choose when and where to break them, and you’ll know why you are doing so, what the consequences are, and why that could actually be a good thing.

Please share your own thoughts and opinions on etiquette in the comments, we would love to see views and experiences outside our own!

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