The 10 Most Asked Etiquette Questions of All Time

A lot of people find themselves in situations where they’re unsure if they should or shouldn’t do something in particular. Do you tell the truth? If so, what’s the most tactful way to do it?

No matter what subject you want to know about when it comes to proper etiquette, we’ve got you taken care of.  If you’re looking to word something carefully and/or considerately or maybe you’re not sure how you’re supposed to act; we’ll tackle these top ten most asked etiquette questions of all time. We’ll get to the point straight away and answer some of the most sought out etiquette questions.

1. Should I Tell Someone if They Have Something Stuck in Their Teeth?

The best way to bring it to someone’s attention is to make eye contact with them and slightly nod your head upwards to try to get their attention, and then motion your fingers to your teeth acting as if you were taking something out of your teeth. If they still don’t get the point after this you can try to go over to them in private (or whisper in their ear if there’s no private place to talk to them) and say “I think there might be something in your teeth.” This is a good way to carefully let them know to check their teeth without subliminally suggesting they have bad oral hygiene (saying you have something in your teeth will do that).

2. How Should Toasts Be Handled At a Wedding?

Keep your toast short and simple, 5 minutes or less is perfect. Always face the couple and keep your focus on them. Remember that their parents will most likely be there so avoid any profanity, sexual jokes, or anything else that could be considered risqué. Toasts that can evoke good feelings and emotions (personal, warm, and brief) are often delivered the best.

When thinking of a memorable story, make sure to think of a memory that includes both the bride and groom. Leaving one of them out could make for an awkward and confusing moment at the wedding since they’re sharing their life, it should be about both of them. Stick to all the delightful things related to the newly married couple.

Use common sense; don’t talk about any exes, how expensive the wedding looks, how much your wedding gift cost, and don’t talk about anything they told you in secret.

3. What’s the Difference Between Sympathy Flowers and Funeral Flowers?

Sympathy flowers should be sent to the residence of the person’s family who was recently deceased. They are typically displayed around their house in memory of their long lost loved ones. Sympathy flowers and funeral flowers also look quite different and are sent to different places.

Funeral flowers will be sent to the funeral home, crematorium, or church. It’s always nice to choose the color of flowers that you know were their favorite colors. If you weren’t sure what their favorite color was, you can’t go wrong with white or red roses. The message on funeral flowers should be something along the lines of may you rest in peace, in loving memory, gone but never forgotten, etc.

4. How Do You Handle Someone Abusing Your Hospitality?

Helping a friend or family member by extending your hospitality might not always go as planned. People can take your kindness for granted and treat your home as if they own it, abiding by their own rules and not yours.

If you’ve invited someone over to stay, make sure to make a list of strict house rules that must be obeyed at all times. Let them know that there will be rules ahead of time if you’re able to.  Inform them that any guest caught breaking one of the rules will receive one warning and the next time a guest is caught violating the rules they will be asked to leave immediately. This will set expectations for them and it’s something you can implement before or during their stay.

5. Am I Required to Send a Graduation Gift?

If you receive a graduation announcement that doesn’t necessarily translate to you being invited to the graduation ceremony. You may send a gift if you’d like and if you do, make sure to give it to the graduate on or near the day of the graduation. However, if you’re invited to the graduation party or the commencement ceremony you should always bring a gift along to congratulate them.

6. How Do You Keep a Small Guest List Without Hurting Anyone’s Feelings?

No one wants to feel left out of a get-together, especially when they feel close to you. What I’ve found the best thing to do is, group all the potential invitees into different categories (neighbors, friends, family, coworkers, etc.), then choose just a few of the categories you want to invite. In case some of the other groups end up hearing and inquiring about the party, practice a good excuse to tell them. My favorite thing to say is “We had a really small affair due to the limited capacity at the venue,” or “Unfortunately our budget only allowed us to include a very small amount of people.”

7. Is It Ok To Invite Another Couple to Dinner?

If your significant other and you are planning on going out on an intimate or romantic date and you want to invite another couple along make sure to ask your romantic interest first. Most likely they’ll say something along the lines of “The more the merrier,” but if not, it could lead to an awkward situation as well as a possible fight waiting for you when you get home. Always ask for permission when making any decisions that involve your loved ones. Even the ones that don’t involve them it’s probably a good choice to ask for their permission.

8. How To Politely Tell a Guest It’s Time to Go?

Have you ever had that one friend that overstays their invites whenever they come over? They can’t seem to take the hint when you try to let them know it’s time to leave? The best thing to do is to set expectations before you invite them. Tell them over the phone that you would like them to come over but you’ll need to “start wrapping things up by 10 pm (or whatever time is appropriate)” because you have to wake up quite early the next morning.

9. Should I Prepare Special Food for a Houseguest?

Not everyone enjoys a picky eater but on that same note, not everyone has the same body, digestive system, or beliefs in what they should or shouldn’t be eating. It’s always nice to have someone that takes a person’s needs and wants into consideration whenever they come over as a guest. If you’re hosting someone for dinner (or for the entire weekend), asking them if they have any food allergies ahead of time can save you embarrassment from an awkward dinner together.

Remember that if it’s someone that doesn’t come over all that often, taking the time to spend a little extra money on them could pay huge goodwill dividends. Buying them their favorite vegan ice cream or their bee pollen powder that they swear by could make you their next favorite person and you can rest assured they’ll do whatever they can to repay the favor when they have the chance.

10. How Can I Politely Correct Someone Who’s Wrong?

This can be a tricky subject. No one likes being corrected and feeling embarrassed at the same time. First, think if it’s something that needs to be corrected or not, most likely it isn’t. If the information is portrayed as something that would be irresponsible to withhold by correcting them, then, by all means, offer your suggestion on what you think the correct answer is. For example, if you hear someone giving horrible health advice to another friend, speak up about it. Say something like “I heard you should never mix alcohol and pain-killers and it can cause serious side-effects. Maybe you should consult your physician first just to be safe.”

Summing Up

Knowing how to handle different situations in life is tricky enough on its own. Learning to use the proper etiquette and using knowledge of how to tactfully go about the situation can be an even trickier road to navigate. We want to make sure no one gets their feelings hurt, we don’t embarrass ourselves or make ourselves look stupid when confronted with a new or awkward situation.

Sometimes we’ll need to think ahead of time on how to plan for something that comes up. Other times we need to think of how to act on the spot. If you ever feel like you could end up in a position (like having to give a wedding toast or dealing with those special people in your life that overstay their welcome) where you’ll be tasked with an uncomfortable situation then do a little research ahead of time and see what the best approach might be. This will give you a much better idea of how to react instead of saying or doing the first thing that comes to your head.

Matthew Ryan

I'm Matthew Ryan, one of the guys behind MannersAdvisor.com I am passionate about the world of good manners, etiquette and proper behavior to have on any special occasion. Here I decided to share my passion with you!

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