As you enter your teenage years, you are poised to become a contributing member of society. To put your best foot forward and impress the individuals you encounter, you'll need to display proper manners. Good etiquette extends into every facet of life, from the classroom to the summer job to the dinner table. Teens with good manners appear more mature, self-controlled and ambitious than their poor-mannered peers.
Respect for Adults
Showing respect for adults is the easiest way you can embrace good manners. Since you deal with adults daily, from your teachers to your parents to your friends' parents, you have many opportunities to practice good manners. Proper manners include not speaking out of turn in class and raising your hand when you want to be called upon. You can also show respect to your elders by referring to them as "Mr." or "Mrs." -- not by their first names -- and responding appropriately with "Yes, sir" or "Yes, ma'am."
Around this time, you may be securing part-time or seasonal jobs, which allow you to boost your professional etiquette skills. During interviews, maintain eye contact, offer a firm handshake and avoid speaking out of turn. Respect your supervisor and approach him with questions, not complaints. Be congenial to your coworkers and offer to contribute when needed. Remember that a positive attitude is the mark of a well-mannered employee.
If you're like most teens, you're glued to your cell phone and computer, so you need to understand the basics of electronic etiquette as well. First, avoid hastily written text messages or e-mails that you might later regret. Do not pull out your cell phone at the dinner table, during class or when conversing with others. Silence cell phones during class -- if your school allows you to have them -- and keep your focus on the teacher, not your phone.
As a teen, you are mature enough to understand and apply table manners every time you sit down at the dinner table. These table manners will be especially useful as you start to date. Use silverware to eat, unless the food is specifically designated a finger food. Do not put your elbows on the table, and always place a napkin in your lap. Even with your vigorous appetite, try to eat slowly and neatly, so as not to appear sloppy, especially to a potential boyfriend or girlfriend.
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