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22 Common Manners Mistakes That Are Subtly Offending People Every Day

Many of us are guilty of committing minor manners mistakes that can either slightly annoy or seriously offend others. Let’s take a look at 25 surprising etiquette blunders you could be committing that are putting people off.

Public Grooming

From nail clipping to makeup application, save your personal grooming for private spaces. Public grooming can be off-putting to those around you and is considered poor etiquette.

Asking About Children

Asking someone if they have children can be a sensitive topic for many. Avoid this question unless the other person brings it up first.

Failing to Introduce People

In social settings, not introducing your friends to one another can leave them feeling awkward and excluded. Make a point to facilitate introductions, breaking the ice and fostering a welcoming atmosphere.

Telling People to Look on the Bright Side

While it’s meant to be encouraging, dismissing someone’s feelings by telling them to “look on the bright side” can feel invalidating. Practice empathy by acknowledging their feelings instead.

Asking for a House Tour

Curiosity about someone’s home is natural, but asking for a tour can put your hosts in an uncomfortable position. Wait for them to offer, and if they don’t, respect their privacy.

Leaving Personal Items on the Table

Placing your purse, phone, or keys on the dining table is not just unsanitary; it also clutters the space. Keep the table clear for dining essentials only.

Showing Up Empty-Handed

Whether it’s a casual get-together or a formal dinner party, bringing a small gift for the host shows appreciation for their invitation and effort.

Hand Signals to Servers

Flagging down waitstaff with hand gestures can come off as dismissive or rude. Instead, make eye contact or wait patiently for them to attend to you.

Ignoring RSVP Requests

Failing to respond to an RSVP request can throw off event planning and shows a lack of consideration for the host’s efforts and resources.

Monopolizing the Host

At parties or gatherings, clinging to the host can prevent them from attending to all their guests. Make an effort to mingle and spread your attention around.

Loud Phone Conversations in Public

Ever been trapped next to someone blaring their life story through their phone in a public space? Not only does it force everyone within earshot to become an unwilling participant in their conversation, but it also invades the public’s auditory space.

Commenting on Someone’s Physical Appearance

While it may be tempting to compliment someone on their weight loss or question their tired appearance, such comments can be invasive and even harmful. Remember, everyone’s body is their own business. It’s safer to steer clear of comments on physical appearances altogether.

Microwaving Smelly Food at Work

The communal microwave is not the place for last night’s fish dinner. Be mindful of shared spaces and opt for less odorous meals to heat up at work.

Insisting on Unnecessary Smiles

Telling someone to “smile more” can come off as dismissive of their feelings. It’s important to recognize that everyone’s emotional state is valid, even if it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Let smiles come naturally.

Interrupting Conversations

Cutting someone off mid-sentence not only disrupts the flow of conversation but also suggests that you value your input over theirs. Practice patience and wait your turn to speak.

Forgetting to Say “Thank You”

The power of a simple “thank you” can sometimes be forgotten. Whether it’s in person or via email, acknowledging others’ efforts and kindness is basic etiquette.

Relating Too Quickly

Jumping in with your own story when someone is sharing theirs can unintentionally signal that you’re not fully listening or that you’re making their experience about you. Practice active listening instead.

Leaving Leftovers Behind

If you’ve brought food or drinks to a gathering, take them with you when you leave unless the host insists otherwise. It’s polite not to assume they want to deal with the leftovers.

Asking for Something Not on the Menu

At a dinner party, asking for condiments or ingredients not already on the table can put your host on the spot. Unless it’s a health necessity, enjoy the meal as it’s presented

Not Offering Your Seat

In public transport or waiting areas, failing to offer your seat to someone who needs it more than you do — such as the elderly, pregnant women, or those with disabilities — is a common oversight that speaks volumes about your awareness and empathy for others.

Not Holding Doors

Not holding the door for someone right behind you can seem inconsiderate in many countries. A small gesture of holding a door can go a long way in showing kindness and respect.

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