real life

Five etiquette rules we didn't know existed (and have definitely been breaking).


Etiquette is the worst because no matter how hard you try you’re always doing it wrong.

My etiquette skills aren’t up to scratch at the best of times. My elbows sit on the table because that is where they belong and how else is one meant to sit, I never know how to greet someone so I do an awkward half-handshake-half-kiss on their… ear, and whenever I say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ I’ve thought about it for too long and tried far too hard to make it sound sincere, so it comes out making everyone – mostly the person I’m trying to thank – feel extremely uncomfortable.

And look. Etiquette when it makes sense is fine. It gives us a script for how to behave which is helpful given no one has any f*cking idea what they’re doing.


Sometimes I think etiquette might be taking the piss.

LISTEN: Etiquette might just be my greatest weakness. Post continues below…

Apparently, there are a number of etiquette rules we are all breaking, and a woman named Joy Weaver is not very happy about it.

The author of How to Be Socially Savvy in All Situations, which sounds like the precise opposite of my entire life story, says we are all in need of a crash course in how to be proper. 

Here are the five most UNACCEPTABLE… precisely all of which I have broken.

1. Never cough into your right hand.

… But why?

Weaver says that covering your mouth when you sneeze and/or cough is good manners (PHEW) but for goodness sake, “your right hand is your social hand”.


“It should be available for shaking hands, waving and blowing kisses,” she explains, and I have never in my life blown a kiss.


Your left hand is your “personal” hand for scratching (… ew) and sneezing etc.


2. You're (obviously) sitting all wrong.


I knew slumped over with my chin on my laptop and a leg under my bum probably wasn't...


That's not what she means.

Weaver says that we must be wary of "collisions at the dinner table," (when... when has anyone ever collided at a dinner table?) so we should approach our chair from the left side and exit on the right side.

Also, she says you must NEVER announce to a table of people that you need to go to the bathroom. Instead, "just say 'excuse me,'" she advises.

I personally say "BRB need to wee!" and find it works every time.

Etiquette is the worst. Image via Viacom Media Networks.

3. Never pass the salt without also passing the pepper.


Calm down pls, Weaver says.

"They're like a little couple... you never want to separate them." Even if someone asks just for the salt, they go together.

4. Everyone is entering cars incorrectly.

According to Weaver, you should go bum first, legs second. "It's classy," she explains, and ensures you don't flash your undies at the person behind you.

I go legs first, legs awkwardly separated and bum in the air, every single time. My theory is if someone sees my undies they'll survive and we will all move on with the rest of our lives.

5. Never, ever point at someone.

... Whoops.

I just... what else are you meant to do if someone says, "Oi where's Clare?" other than brace your index finger and point straight at her? Say, "Oh, madame, she is at 3 o clock, just to the left there between the desk... no the high one... yes with the laptop... not that laptop... with the mug..."

"We can point at something but we can never point at someone," Weaver instructs.

She does concede, "you may gesture, but be sure to use an open hand". Like a flight attendant, I guess.

Well - I got zero from five.

Anywho, BRB gotta wee!

Do you think obey these etiquette rules? 

You can listen to the latest episode of Mamamia Out Loud, here.