Keep your elbows off the table….or don’t?


Keeping elbows off the table is an etiquette rule that is often forgotten.

“Keep your elbows off the table.”

“Chew with your mouth closed.”

“Use the correct dinner fork.”

“Hold open that door.”

“Ladies first.”

Everyone has probably heard at least one of these phrases before.

“I know most of the etiquette rules, but probably not all,” junior Tyler Harper said.

What is etiquette? It is conventional requirements as to social behavior; proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion. In other words, etiquette is using manners, and being social. Oddly enough, in today’s society etiquette isn’t as big of a deal as it was 50 years ago. During the 1950’s schools had etiquette classes for students, and having manners was a big concern. If people had no manners, they were looked down upon, and not socially accepted. That was then, and this is now, and it seems that many things have changed with etiquette.

“I don’t think I know all of the etiquette rules,” senior Savannah Fry said. “Although I feel like I use manners most of the time, and I try to always treat others how I would want to be treated. I do believe that etiquette/manners are important.”

Like Fry, the students in today’s society may or may not understand or even recognize all of the etiquette rules. Etiquette should be important no matter what day in age it is.  Some students are well-aware of etiquette, but may not use all of the rules because they could be “made fun of” because “it’s not normal at all.”

“I personally do not understand the etiquette rules that deal with table manners,” Fry said. “For example, the rule that talks about keeping your elbows off of the table; I don’t understand how that is to be considered gross or rude.”

Keeping your elbows off the table is a blast from the past, not everyone knows about that rule, or even accepts it. Most of the etiquette rules used today are simple, like saying please or thank you, saying excuse me and being polite verbally. Some etiquette rules have been forgotten: for example, handshakes, introductions, and always being courteous. A lot of these forgotten etiquette rules deal with the use of technology in today’s society.

“I’m sure that all etiquette rules have their importance; however, some etiquette rules do not apply to everyone’s daily life,” senior English teacher Stephanie Smith said. “General mannerism is simply being polite.”

Common courtesy is used everyday while you are driving, going to school, going to work, etc. Practicing proper etiquette, though rare, is often appreciated and could lead society.