Social and Work Etiquette for Teens

Make the Smooth Transition From Teen to Adulthood

Group of smiling teenage girls and boys
Knowing a few etiquette rules can help a teenager develop a healthy social life. Shannon Fagan/Getty Images

Teenagers who want more friends and an enriching social life can overcome the difficulties of peer pressure and fit in by mastering adult skills.

Parents can help their teenagers by listening and answering questions as they arise and without being judgmental. Often, questions teens ask may seem basic to adults, but it can make a huge difference in whatever issues your teen is facing.

The Importance of a Social Life

A teenager’s social life is extremely important because fitting in with peers can make the difference between feeling confident and struggling to find your place in the world.

Learning helpful social skills gives teens resources that will be useful during teenage years as well as later in life. Helpful social skills may include:

  • Conversation and communication etiquette. Teenagers need to learn how to hold interesting conversations while on dates, parties and with friends.
  • Manners for men and women. It is important to apply good manners to social situations.
  • RSVP to events. Following through with an RSVP request shows respect and enables the host to plan parties and events. This is a positive way to build trust and your social calendar.
  • Restaurant do's and dont's. When teenagers learn how to act courteously in a restaurant, it becomes more natural as they grow into adulthood.
  • Sending thank you notes. Writing a thank you note only takes a few minutes and a little bit of effort, and it goes a long way in letting others know they are appreciated. A few ways to practice this skill is to send thank you notes for gifts, after you’ve attended a party or when someone has done something for you.
  • Putting others at ease. When your teen knows how to make other people feel comfortable, they will attract more friends and develop a stronger communication style.

Good Habits for Daily Living

Getting into the habit of following proper etiquette in daily life gives teenagers the advantage of developing maturity and trust.

Parents of friends are more likely to approve of their teens hanging out with someone who exhibits good manners. Knowing basic etiquette rules helps assist teenagers in daily activities, from table manners to time management skills. A few tips may include developing:

  • Table manners. Knowing and practicing proper table manners can give a teenager the confidence to enjoy a meal in a wide variety of settings.
  • How to answer rude questions. Learn how to diffuse questions that nosy people tend to ask and avoid using snarkiness. This will add to a mature personality to develop over time.
  • Time management. Show respect for others by being on time; this is a huge advantage for teenagers and will prevent them from being the person who slows everyone down.
  • Holding a well-mannered behavior. Understanding proper etiquette when watching sports and other events can prevent awkward situations from escalating to something that can be even more uncomfortable or even dangerous. Apply good manners to sports spectatorship and outdoor activities whether in public or at home.
  • Balancing cell phones. Use proper manners when on your cell phone, such as keeping phone calls and text messages short when you are in public with friends.

    Classroom and Job Behavior

    Much of the etiquette rules for the workplace also apply to the classroom. For example, there is a hierarchy where the teacher plays a role similar to a boss and the students are in a position that coworkers often are. Learning proper behavior in the classroom helps develop skills in the workplace when teenagers are ready to get a job. Here are some behaviors to keep in mind:

    • Personal space. Follow the general principles of allowing everyone their personal space, in order to prevent others from feeling uncomfortable.
    • Email etiquette. When you email someone, whether it is a teacher, fellow student or someone you work with, respect their time and sensibilities by exhibiting good manners through electronic communication.
    • School manners. Being confident at school starts with knowing what is expected as well as what is socially acceptable.

    • Acknowledge others. Never take credit for someone else’s work. Not only is it rude, it makes you look unprofessional when it comes to coming up with ideas of your own. By the same token, when someone receives an award, be the first to offer your congratulations. It shows that you are a team player, and it will make others respect you even more in the classroom and on the job.

    • Dress appropriately. Follow school and work dress code. Doing otherwise can be distracting and get you into all kinds of trouble.
    • Job interview rules.  Ensure to follow general interview etiquette tips when interviewing for a job. This will make you stand out as a viable candidate and have the employer look at you with respect.
    • Respect co-workers and students. Apply proper etiquette in relationships with your coworkers and friends at school. You are more likely to get good grades, raises, promotions and letters of recommendation when you show good manners to the people you work with.