Etiquette Mistakes That Make You Look Rude

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16. Interrupting without a good reason

Interrupting someone while they’re talking suggests that what you have to say is more important than what they have to say. Sometimes, of course, it might be — if you need to let them know that there’s a fire in the kitchen, say, or that it’s time to hit the road for the airport — in which case interrupt politely. That means saying “Excuse me,” or “I’m sorry to interrupt, but…,” or something similar. It’s also permissible to break into a conversation to prevent somebody from spilling a secret or potentially insulting or embarrassing somebody within earshot, or when somebody just drones on and on forever. Otherwise, wait your turn.

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17. Engaging in public displays of affection

We get it. You’re in love, or at least in lust, and you just can’t keep your hands and lips off him or her or them. Fine — but as the old expression goes, “Get a room” (or at least find a quiet nook somewhere out of sight). Hugs or quick hello or goodbye kisses are fine, of course; beyond that, just show a little restraint until you’re alone together.

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18. Pointing your finger at someone

You should never point at people, it has been said — only at animals and objects or to indicate directions. In fact there’s nothing wrong with sticking out your index finger to indicate somebody from a distance, but pointing at somebody nearby is just not nice. It calls attention to people in a way they may not like, and almost always seems like an accusation (“That’s the thief!”).

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19. Standing in the wrong place

It’s amazing how often people stop to look around or have a conversation or check their phones in inopportune places — like at the top of an escalator, in front of a door, or in the middle of the street. This obliviousness to the flow of traffic is just plain thoughtless (and in the case of that escalator, seriously dangerous). If you’re going to stop, step aside.

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20. Texting when you’re with other people

This might be a lost cause, because almost everybody seems to be texting almost all the time (even, dangerously and sometimes tragically, while driving). That said, like so many other rude behaviours, sending or reading text messages when you’re supposedly engaged with others — at the dinner table, at the office, or wherever — suggests that you have something more important to do than pay attention to them. Maybe you do, in which case go and do it (after excusing yourself politely, of course).