Self-Improvement

42 Social Etiquette Rules a Lady Should Know

By DeAndrea Douglas
Updated:
etiquette tips for women

Etiquette isn’t just about proper table manners and doing things perfectly all the time. It is about showing respect to those you are interacting with and others around you. In today’s world crassness and rudeness seem to be the mannerisms and attitudes du jour. A lady can stand out in a good way by being respectful, polite, and thoughtful. Attending finishing school will absolutely help polish you into a diamond very quickly, but if you are low on funds or have a lot of time to spend learning you can get a similar result. Here are 42 simple social etiquette rules a lady should know.

be on time

1. Be On Time

Show them you value their time by being on time. It isn’t polite to assume that they will or want to wait for you.

2. Look At The Person Speaking To You

It is tempting to look at your phone or out of a window, but looking at the person talking to you lets them know that they have your attention.

3. Use Your Turn Signal

This lets other drivers and pedestrians know where you are about to be. It’s one of the best ways to avoid an accident.

smiling black woman

4. Smile

People like happy people. It doesn’t matter if they don’t smile back or not. Spread a little sunshine.

5. Be A Good Dinner Guest

If someone has invited you over for dinner it’s okay to let them know you have a food allergy ahead of time, but announcing you don’t like something and expecting the host to accommodate you on the spot is in poor taste.

6. Wipe Down Gym Equipment When You’re Done

The next person will greatly appreciate not having to touch your sweat.

knock before entering

7. Never Use Your Phone At The Table

This is one of the rudest things you can do. Talk to the people at the table with you.

8. Push In Your Chair

When you leave the table push in your chair. Don’t make anyone else have to do it.

9. Knock Before Entering

No one likes the bad kind of surprise entrance.

use your inside voice

10. Say “Please” and “Thank You”

It takes 2 seconds and is simply a nice thing to do.

11. Put Up Your Shopping Cart

The next person will appreciate not having to get out to move your cart before they park. Plus, you’re doing a small favor for the employee that has to come to collect them.

12. Use Your Inside Voice

A lady will rarely need to shout. Only increase your volume if someone says they cannot hear you. Even better, move closer to them.

don't groom in public

13. Mind Your Table Manners

Chew with your mouth closed, napkin in your lap, and no elbows on the table while food is being served or eaten.

14. Hold the Door for the Next Person

The only exception to this rule is when courting. A man should always hold the door for you. No matter who is holding the door for you, say “thank you”.

15. Do Not Groom Yourself In Public

Don’t clip your nails, brush your hair, pick your nose, or floss your teeth in public. That’s gross. Your

move your shopping cart

16. Don’t Block The Aisle With Your Shopping Cart

This leaves room for people to pass you if they need to.

17. Ask Before Bringing A Plus One

Or a pet. Or your kids. Never assume your whole crew is invited no matter who is extending the invitation.

18. Cover Your Mouth When You Cough and Your Nose When You Sneeze

No one wants to inhale your droplets.

weep with those who weep social rule for women

19. Clean Up After Yourself

No matter the place, leave it cleaner than you found it.

20. Weep With Those Who Weep

Reach out to people who are grieving. Don’t act like nothing happened and business is humming along as usual. A simple “sorry for your loss” will do if you don’t know what to do.

21. Learn People’s Names

It’s the sweetest sound any of us hear. Learn their name and use it often.

be a good good hostess

22. Ask Permission Before You Post

Not everyone likes being active on social media. Ask someone if they want to be posted before you click share.

23. Be A Good Hostess

Anytime someone is coming inside your home be sure to at least offer them a beverage.

24. Graciously Accept Compliments

When someone compliments you, just say thank you. Don’t downplay it like it’s not important.

watch your language social etiquette for women

25. Watch Your Language

Curse words are for those without robust vocabularies. Use them incredibly sparingly.

26. Be A Good House Guest

Make the bed, don’t take over the bathroom (unless it is solely for your use), and be helpful. Make sure you thank your host with a gift. You’re certain to get an invitation to come back if you’re considerate.

27. Before You Get On An Elevator Let The Others Get Off

It is much easier for those wishing to exit to get off first than them having to maneuver around you to get to their destination. Be patient and wait for them to leave before boarding. The same goes for buses, subways, and trains.

hostess gift social rules for women

28. Give A Firm Handshake

No one likes holding a dead-fish hand. And make eye contact when you do it.

29. Never Show Up Empty Handed

If you’re visiting someone’s house a hostess gift is in order. Keep a few on hand so you’re never caught off guard.

30. Thank Veterans For Their Service

They have made a sacrifice to serve their country that helps you afford the lifestyle you have.

take calls outside good etiquette

31. Greet Everyone When Entering A Room

No one likes to feel ignored. Let people feel seen by you.

32. Take Your Phone Calls Outside

If you absolutely must take the call, step away from other people. No one likes being trapped hearing one side of a conversation.

33. Sit Like An Aristocrat

The “Cambridge Cross” favored by Kate Middleton or the “Sussex Slant ” favored by Meghan Markle are the classiest ways a lady can sit. The Cambridge Cross is done by crossing your legs at the ankles with your heels planted on the floor. The Sussex Slant is done by keeping your knees and ankles together and slanting your claves to make a zig-zag shape.

social rules learn to apologize

34. Always RSVP

Let people know whether or not they can expect you as soon as possible. You don’t want to forget.

35. Help Someone Who Is Clearly Struggling

The next time you see someone struggling to reach or carry something, lend them a hand. The same goes for if you notice someone struggling with a skill you’ve mastered.

36. Learn To Apologize

If you have erred say you’re sorry. Being the bigger person is often necessary to maintain the relationship.

dress for the occasion social etiquette rules

37. Give People Grace

If someone has a funky attitude give them a pass. You have no idea what is happening in their life.

38. Dress for the Occasion

Know what to wear and when. Sometimes a more modest look is required and there are times to show a little skin. Loungewear and pajamas are for indoors only.

39. Always Wash Your Hands After Using The Bathroom

In a post-covid world, this should go without saying. Not doing this is just plain gross.

send thank you notes social skills for women

40. Lead By Example

Always mind your manners no matter the environment. You never know who is watching, especially if there are children around.

41. Steer Clear Of Controversial Topics At Dinner or Parties

Never ask someone why they don’t have kids or if they’re planning on having them. Let them offer that information. No politics, religion, or weight loss/gain conversations. We’re here to have fun not spark debate.

42. Send Handwritten Thank You Notes

If someone took the time to give or send a gift take a moment to show that you care and send a note.

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45 Social Etiquette Rules a Lady Should Know | The Lady Loves Living