Aunt Dandelion is an advice blog offered to help readers solve simple or perplexing problems related to social and business etiquette. Ask Aunt Dandelion when you have a problem, and check back soon for answers. Send your conundrums to Or follow Aunt Dandelion on Facebook!

What is etiquette, really?

What some people think etiquette is:

  • Stuffy rules that take the fun out everything.
  • Something which only snobs care about.
  • The way people behave in Jane Austen novels (and not since).
  • What little old ladies do over tea and crumpets.
  • Boring, irritating, intrusive, rigid, arbitrary rules.
  • Meaningless prescriptions that cramp personal style.
  • Formal manners that have no relevance in the relaxed modern world.
  • Hyacinth versus Onslow.

And the list goes on.

Aunt Dandelion would like to offer a different perspective. Etiquette really is:

  • Common-sense ways of behaving in public that preserve the comfort and dignity of each individual.
  • A framework for throwing parties and other gatherings that run smoothly and on time, and keep guests happy. 
  • An attitude of kindness and charity towards others.
  • Essential information for anyone who aspires to get ahead in business, society and the community at large.
  • A way of attracting friends and potential intimates with decency and charm.
  • The gift of a sense of confidence when encountering people of any social or financial stratum, however high, low, or unfamiliar.  
  • Making peace. 
  • A sure way out of frat-boy slobbishness, cat-girl cliquishness, wall-flower shyness, Mad-Man brusqueness, and all the other defenses behind which insecure people hide.
I could continue, but hopefully my point is made. The knowledge and application of etiquette adds grace notes to life's everyday experiences and elevates one in the esteem of one's peers and betters. Fundamentally, etiquette is simple manners -- "please," "thank you," "may I help?" and "I'm sorry."

Etiquette is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

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