Etiquette Tips for Women

Woman opening gifts at a get-together with friends
Women who know how to behave with others have more friends. Dan Dalton/Caiaimage/Getty Images

Decades ago, being a lady often meant deferring to men. However, today's women can be ladylike while still making their own decisions, without having to consult the men in their lives. Etiquette for a lady is more about showing respect for others than following a list of outdated rules.

Today's women make decision on their own or as an equal part of a couple. They can purchase houses, buy cars, and choose fulfilling careers that enable them to move up the corporate ladder.

When they meet someone new, they can offer a firm handshake and look the other person in the eyes with confidence.

A lady never has to back down when defending her convictions, but she handles adversity with grace and dignity. She doesn't need to get run all over in a relationship, but she does need to remain civil in all social and professional situations.

What Defines a Lady?

A lady should be gracious as she offers a firm handshake and competes for whatever job she wants. She should know how to answer rude questions without insulting someone.

Most women enjoy friendships with other women, and to do that, she should always acknowledge others when they receive awards or achieve their own success. She also knows when to back off and give others the personal space they need.

Learning proper etiquette helps instill confidence in a woman. That alone makes her more attractive than someone who isn’t sure of how to act in any given situation.

When you have good manners, others will follow, and you may find that you have a much more pleasant time wherever you go.

Good Social Manners

Everyone should know and practice common everyday etiquette. This involves understanding the definition and purpose of following certain rules. When someone makes awkward mistakes, know how to clear things up and move on.

There is no point in dwelling on things that have already happened.

Know how to act in public. When you go to a restaurant, follow proper dining etiquette and know which fork to use for each course. Before you leave, tip the server appropriately and with grace.

Be kind to others, both at work and in your private life. If someone needs help on a project that's due soon, cheerfully offer to assist if you are able. When the next door neighbor gets sick, bring a meal or have something delivered.

When a man does something you are capable of doing yourself, smile graciously and thank him. If you don’t want him doing this again, pull him aside and discuss it with him privately. This includes small things like holding doors and holding chairs or more significant things like going to bat for you at the office. Remember that he probably has good intentions while he shows his gentlemanly upbringing.

Try to maintain a positive attitude, but be aware that there are times you must express anger or frustration. Just know the difference and avoid being a drama queen. You don’t want the reputation of not being able to get along with your peers.

Job Etiquette

You are likely to have as many women in your office as men – often more – so find ways to be a team player.

Even if you don’t care for someone else’s tactics or personality, find common ground to maintain a pleasant work environment. Never divulge confidential information, or you may jeopardize your reputation and possibly even your job.

Maintain your strength while exhibiting patience with others. Volunteer to be on committees to make everyone’s job easier and be willing to lead by example. If you don’t know how to do something, take the time to learn.

Take Time to Improve

Everyone can stand to improve something about herself, so try new things and learn to do them to the best of your ability. Don’t be afraid of new fashion, but avoid trying to look like something you aren’t. Take classes to learn new things and have a sense of humor as you bumble through.

Extra etiquette tips and guidelines for ladies:

  • Small Talk – Learn how to make small talk. Doing so will help you in social and professional situations.
  • Show Respect – If you want respect from others, show it to them.
  • Dress Appropriately – Take care to dress for the occasion. Wearing sloppy clothes to work will give you a reputation for not caring about your job or what others think about you. Attending a wedding, party, or other event in inappropriate attire can be embarrassing to you and the host or bride.
  • Have Money – Never go anywhere without enough cash to pay your own way, or you may find yourself stranded somewhere.
  • No Insults – No one should ever have to put up with insults, including you or those you interact with.
  • Stay Sober – Keep your wits about you. Never exhibit drunkenness, or you will likely ruin your reputation. Life isn’t one big “Animal House.”
  • Be Clear with Expectations – Don’t expect others to read your mind. If you want or don’t want something, let the other person know.

Embrace being a woman by acting like a lady. You and everyone around you will be happier.