As society races to its exciting conclusion, we’re losing our capacity for courtesy and sophistication. Hunched over our smartphones writing sassy hot takes on the death of empire as we cram app-delivered foods into our slack-jawed mouths, good manners seem like the corny vestige of a bygone era. But etiquette evolves to suit the times. Here are some updated tips to keep in mind for 2018.
If someone lets you merge in Seattle traffic—very rare—the proper display of gratitude is to slow down until you’re alongside them, thump your chest, kiss your fist, then raise it in solidarity.
If a coworker pity-laughs at the lame joke you made during the staff meeting, thus saving you from awkward, defeated silence, the customary show of appreciation is a happy hour meal of midrange sushi including drinks and appetizers.
The following responses are now passable alternatives to you’re welcome: right on, sure thing, no worries, yup yup, mm-hm, true dat and it is what it is.
Despite their popularity as an alternative to the handshake, daps are still considered inappropriate for the receiving lines of funerals, brises and weddings (first marriage only).
It’s now acceptable to curse in any public setting, because have you seen the news lately?
If you’re worried about a friend’s well-being, one discreet way to signal your concern is by responding to all of their Facebook posts with the “shocked” emoji.
It’s okay to put your elbows on the dinner table. And really, why not? Etiquette historians now believe that whole thing started as a 17th-century nobility prank that got out of hand.
It’s no longer customary to include specialty utensils like salad forks and soup spoons in a place setting. However, when hosting a dinner party, you can still use ancillary silverware to rank your guests by status. A single, tiny demitasse spoon beside a plate means “you’re only here because my wife feels sorry for you,” while three serving forks, a wood-handled steak knife, a crab cracker and a ladle signifies “VIP.”
The main thing to keep in mind is that etiquette still matters. Even though our current social norms would seem lax and self-indulgent to some old-timey guy in a top hat, we must hold the line on what’s left of proper comportment as our culture continues its nosedive into the cesspool. Because without manners, we risk losing the most human trait of all: our passion for judging.