News / London

An expert's guide to 21st-century etiquette challenges

She’s incredibly polite, so it’s tough to get her to criticize anyone, but Wendy Mencel of the Canadian School of Protocol and Etiquette gave Metro London a guide to 21st Century politeness pitfalls.

Phones at the dinner table

“Put your cellphone away if you’re having a conversation,” said the expert. “People talking on their cellphones in a nice restaurant very loudly are not polite.”

That counts for at home, too. Many young people simply don’t know they should put their phones away when they eat.

Show respect behind the wheel

“I see some pretty aggressive driving,” Mencel said. “People cut one another off. Try and think about the other driver.

“Try to be polite, and maybe you could let people in front of you.”

Wedding cash grabs

“Something I see a lot now is people asking for money when they’re getting married,” Mencel said. “A lot of brides put ‘Cash only’ or ‘Please donate towards our honeymoon.’ That’s just tacky.”

Metro’s mistake

After considerable persuasion, Mencel eventually agreed to point out a mistake made by Metro’s reporter during the interview.

“You said, ‘No problem.” That’s an etiquette mistake,” she explained. “I’m thanking you, and you should say ‘You’re welcome.’ To say ‘No problem’ means you have been inconvenienced, and you haven’t.”

Point taken.

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