An evolution of manners
You don’t need us to tell you that things have changed a lot over the past ten years. From technology to fashion, things are evolving – and that includes our manners. That’s a good thing, says Lisa Grotts, etiquette expert and founder of Golden Rules Gal. “As society changes, our manners have to change as we adapt to the world around us,” she explains. “We’ve become much more fast-paced and expect things to be quick and convenient which means that etiquette is moving from being more formal to less formal.” These are the good manners that everyone should commit to memory.
Old rule: Assuming a coworker’s partner is a certain gender
Even just ten years ago, most people would assume their female coworker’s spouse was a man or a male friend’s partner was a woman. But now, not only should you not assume marital status – many people don’t like wearing rings or choose not to get married, even though they’re in a long-term relationship – but you shouldn’t assume gender either, says Maryanne Parker, an international business, social and youth etiquette expert and founder of Manor of Manners.
New rule: Use gender-neutral pronouns until you know what they prefer.
Old rule: Ladies first
No, chivalry is not dead – it’s that the definition of what exactly shows respect to women is changing, Smith says. Things like opening doors and pulling out chairs for women aren’t rude but they’re not seen as necessary anymore, she says.
New rule: If you’re going to do basic niceties, it’s kind to do these gestures for men and women. But one place you should definitely avoid giving women deferential treatment, however, is at the office. “Nowadays we are gender-neutral in the workplace,” she says.