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A colleague recently had coffee with a friend whom she hadn’t seen for awhile. Afterwards, my colleague shared her feelings of disappointment with their get-together. Over the course of two and a half hours, her “friend” talked at length about herself and her family. Never once did she ask my colleague about her business or her family or her love life. “Now I remember why we drifted apart,” she told me.

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Embarrassing Etiquette Blunders: What Would You Do?

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  • Your colleague extends his arm across the dining table to shake hands with a client to whom he has just been introduced. As he does so, he notices your horrified look as you and your co-workers look down below your colleague’s beltline. He follows your gaze only to discover that he has inadvertently immersed his tie into his glass of water.

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“Etiquette” vs. “Manners”

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Is there a difference? You bet.

Etiquette is a code of polite conduct based on social acceptance and efficiency. Just as there are traffic laws to create smooth transportation flow and prevent collisions, so there are societal rules designed to facilitate positive human exhanges and reduce conflict. When you know the rules of etiquette for any given situation, it increases your comfort, confidence and competence, and by extension, the ease and comfort of people around you.

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