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How has our social etiquette changed through the decades?

clip_image002There’s no denying it, our social etiquette has changed significantly in the last few decades. British etiquette was quintessential and renowned throughout the world, with the English placing a great deal of importance on good manners. However, here are some courtesies that have been left by the wayside:

1. Gentlemen were expected to open the door for ladies; now if he does this he’s afraid that he’ll be accused of chauvinism.

2. It was suggested in the bygone era that children should be seen and not heard. Now if children don’t scream, shout and cause mayhem people assume that they’re not well adjusted.

3. Cohabitation prior to marriage with another person was considered a sin. In this day and age it’s considered the norm; in fact if a couple are considering marriage and they don’t live together then people think there’s something wrong!

4. Table conversation was considered good manners. Now with our busy schedules, getting everyone to the table for dinner, let alone to have a conversation, is actually considered something of an achievement.

5. Speaking with your mouth full was bad manners, apparently it’s not anymore. However, I have yet to see people encourage this: “David, what have I told you about speaking with an empty mouth?”.

6. When a person said “Excuse me” they waited until they got the attention of the other person. Now “Excuse me” is accompanied with elbows and quite possibly a shoulder shove – a good reason to take up Kung Fu.

7. “May I have that, please?” has been replaced with “Give me that, will you?” When you remind people about the magic word, they look at you as though you’ve suggested jumping off a high rise building for fun.

8. During conversation it was expected that both parties would make eye contact. Now if you insist on eye contact during a conversation you immediately offend the other party as you’ve interrupted their interaction with an electronic device.

Modern life has become a minefield of do’s and don’ts. Whereas once abandoning the fish knife – the height of chic for Victorians – was seen as the ultimate sin, does our lifestyle that’s based around technology determine how we now fit in?

Read our tips to leaving work at the door to take further steps to improve your work/life balance.

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· Managing your work/life balance

· Organising your home

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