What is etiquette?

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Etiquette refers to a set of social or behavioral rules that can be common and sometimes unique in different social classes and cultures. The way people behave with other people is said to be governed by social and behavioral rules which are commonly referred to as “social etiquette’ or simply “etiquette”.

When speaking about the subject of etiquette, the golden rule is that of kindness.  As many people would say, regardless of culture, society, or social class, “one can never go wrong with kindness”. People simply need to be kind to others and basically have proper etiquette.  The only thing that people need to remember is that the expression of kindness and/or the demonstration of good behavior and etiquette may vary between different cultures or groups of people.  Simple greetings to other people is a sign of good etiquette but there are cultures wherein these greetings are best expressed in different ways like handshakes or taking a bow for example. A person may need to follow certain social traditions and customs like these when in different countries in order to be perceived as having good social manners or etiquette.

Etiquette is a common subject that is taught to children and students.  As young people, they are not yet fully exposed to the complexities of different social groups and cultures. This is the very reason why parents start to teach about proper social behavior and etiquette at home.  Aside from typical social interactions, there are also etiquette or social rules that govern various activities like socially-acceptable behaviors when using cellular phones in public places, offices, or in movie houses.  There are also expected social norms when attending parties, visiting other people’s homes, and dining out with colleagues.  In all these instances, all people can best handle themselves by behaving in the most socially-acceptable manner as possible.

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