Twenty-sixteen promises to be a doozy of a year.  With a contentious race for the oval office here in the U.S. and mounting turmoil around the world, there has never been a better time to break out our best manners for goodness’ sake. The days of watching “Downton Abbey” are drawing to an end and so seems our arbiter of all things decent and just. During the Edwardian era, pride and dignity governed every decision and interaction. Discretion, decorum, and modesty were to be maintained at all times. 

Over one-hundred years later, it seems the exact opposite is true.  The more conspicuous, defiant, amplified, arrogant, and crazy/uncontrollable/trainwreck you are, the greater power and influence you yield. Whether you love him or hate him, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is a perfect example of this. He has captivated interest and catapulted in the polls by ignoring the rules and imposing his unfiltered opinions. So have the Kardashians and the Housewives franchise for that matter, gaining attention and popularity by exposing their uncensored, unapologetic selves warts and all.  

These are the times we live in and society is taking note. While celebrities and politicians with public forums have more license with this type of behavior, the rest of us in the real world must adhere to a more humble set of rules to succeed. We need to treat each other with kindness, respect, and consideration in order to build relationships and forge meaningful bonds. 

To get started on the right foot both personally and professionally in the new year, here are 26 must-have manners for 2016. 

1. Greet
people with good eye contact and a toothy smile.  It makes you appear more
approachable and likable.
2. Always
stand to shake someone’s hand.  Extend your right hand, shake web-to-web
with two firm pumps, and then gently release.
to invitations in a timely manner. Be sure to reply even if you know you will
be unable to attend.
4. Express gratitude for gifts received
and other acts of kindness with a well written thank-you note delivered via
5. Practice
the three “B’s” when toasting: begin, be brief, be seated. If
you are the recipient of a toast, do not raise your glass to drink. 
Simply smile and say thank you.
6. Use
the Continental style of dining holding your fork in the left hand and knife in
the right.  Face fork tines down to pierce the food while using the knife
to cut and push the food onto the fork.  Sit up straight and lean in
towards your plate. 
7. Return
all phone and email communications within 24 – 48 hours.  Failure to do so
conveys a message that one is not worthy of your immediate attention.
8. Texting is
the preferred method of communication to let someone know you’re running late,
however a serious relationship cannot be conducted on a smartphone. Place a call
9. Practice the art of articulation.  The more
succinct your message, the better chance others will listen.
10. If
you are invited to someone’s home for dinner, bring a host gift or offer to
contribute to the meal.  A favorite homemade dessert, a nice bottle of
wine or potted plant is always welcome.
11. Place
your cell phone on vibration mode. Go silent in public places. Warn companions
ahead of time if you are receiving an important call. At mealtime, keep phones
off the table.
12. Fold
your napkin in half lengthwise on your lap when eating, rest it on the seat of
your chair to excuse yourself during the meal, and lay it on the table to the
left of the plate once the meal has concluded.
13. Tip the standard 20% for services rendered and you will be
sure to receive excellent service time and again.
14. Email
wisely by typing the content first and then inserting the “Send” address before
transmitting.  This will reduce accidental or incomplete communications.
15. After
a job interview, send a thank-you note the same day, it will increase your
chances of obtaining that position. 
16. Bathe
on a daily basis. Keep hair, nails and skin clean. Use deodorant and only a dab of perfume or cologne.
17. When entering a room, stand up straight like a palm
tree.  You will appear more confident, your clothes will fit better and
you will look taller and leaner.
18. Meet and greet, neat. Ladies must be introduced to
gentlemen, younger people to older people, and regular folk to dignitaries or
VIP’s. At work, observe the hierachy from top to bottom, but remember the client always
comes first.
19. Keep unsightly habits out of sight. Nail-chewing,
gum-snapping, knuckle-cracking, excessive hair play, or grooming of the
extremely personal or unsanitary sort will detract from your overall
20. Be
forthcoming with the magic words. Include please, thank you, you’re welcome,
excuse me, and I’m sorry in everyday conversation to smooth over every
interaction, confrontation or altercation.
21. Dress
according to season, weather or event. When in doubt, a good coat will cover up
almost any fashion crime.
22. Resolve
any conflict by listening and validating the other person’s opinion. If necessary, politely agree to disagree and then make your best efforts to move
23. Never
leave the house without something minty concealed somewhere on your person. The
same goes for tissues or a handkerchief.
24. If
you are in the wrong, express true regret and sincerely apologize. Take full
responsibility for your behavior and clean up your own mess.  You will be
25. Use
social media wisely to enhance your life, not enslave it. Disconnect from the
matrix on a regular basis and reconnect in person with the most important people in your
26. Possess
a positive attitude.  A healthy, grounded and optimistic outlook on life
will garner you more invitations, more opportunities and help you win friends.