One of the most difficult things to pick up is the nuances of social behaviour that are collectively known as ‘etiquette’. Some imbibe these rules from observing their surroundings; others go to finishing school to learn to mind their P’s and Q’s. Each social setting has different rules of social engagement, so here are a few common social events and the appropriate behaviour for each:Dine and Wine at a Formal Dinner
Formal dinners are held at elegant restaurants, or as formal dinner parties, and therefore require formal dress. That means a two- or three- piece suit for gentlemen and formal dresses for ladies. Depending on the level of formality this can range from modest cocktail dresses to long evening gowns. At table, you will be served with a full dinner service including soup bowls, salad plates, dinner plates, water goblets, wine glasses, and all the accompanying silverware. Start by using the silverware furthest from your plate on both sides and work your way in. Do not begin eating till everyone is seated and served. Do not rise till everyone is finished. If you need to leave the table for some reason, excuse yourself from the host.
Learning Wedding Etiquette
Dress according to the time and venue of the wedding or according to specifications in the invitation. Never try to outshine the bride and groom by dressing better, or more (obviously) expensively, or behaving in an attention- grabbing manner. It is their day after all. If you’re unsure of anything prior to the wedding, call someone from the bridal party or the wedding planner.
The phone numbers are usually provided in the invitation for this purpose. In western cultures, wearing the same colour as the bride is a faux pas, but in countries like Nigeria and India, this is expected as homage to the bride. Buy the newlyweds a gift according to the cultural specification; some cultures give money, while others doesn’t gift anything. If you want to bring something that is not in the registry, or you want to perform a surprise for the couple, always check with family or the wedding planner in Singapore to ensure it doesn’t contradict plans already made.
Netiquette for the 21st Century
The internet is not technically an event but it is such a pervasive influence in our lives that a set of social rules have grown up around it, called “netiquette” (a portmanteau of ‘net and etiquette) by internet users. Respect each other’s opinions online; avoid personal slander and name- calling. Never use racial slurs or demeaning, sexist terms. When commenting, or writing an email, do not use all caps unless absolutely necessary – it gives the effect of shouting. Do not stalk people for fun or download images off the internet without prior permission, especially if they are on personal user accounts on social media. In an internet chat room, private chats may be initiated by anyone, but if the other part doesn’t seem interested, bow out gracefully instead of ranting or (worse yet) calling them out on the public threads. And never, ever use anyone’s wifi network without asking first.