To the question: 'Does etiquette matter?', the answer is 'more than ever'.
Watching jeering MPs on television or seeing truly hideous comments by trolls on social media, you might well conclude that we have lost all sense of manners and courteousness in this country - and many others where you see newsclips displaying us all at our worst behaviour.
I gave a TEDx talk called How Afternoon Tea Could Save The World. I absolutely believe that to be true! Indeed, it’s even more important than before that we appreciate and treasure the civility and etiquette of the great British custom of afternoon tea. This tradition embodies the very ‘best of British’, actually the 'best of humanity' and represents us at our kindest and most considerate selves, in rapport, sharing, caring and kind to the needs of others.
Etiquette is not Snobbery!
We must understand that etiquette is not about snobbery. It’s nothing to do with having ideas above one’s station or anything snooty or la-di-dah!
Far from being about ‘class division’, it’s actually all about caring for others - and that’s something everyone appreciates.
At afternoon tea it’s about listening, passing the plates, pouring other people’s tea first, not taking the biggest/best bits but offering them around. It’s about being in rapport and giving your attention, creating quality time with others. Does etiquette matter? If being kind to others matters, then yes!
Little finger out when sipping tea?
Does it matter if you know the actual niceties of whether you hold your little finger out when lifting your cup, if it’s pronounced ‘scone’ or ‘scon’, whether tea or milk should go in the cup first or when you should place your napkin (or is it a serviette?!) on your lap etc?
Well, those things are useful to know about because they can eliminate any concerns about ‘doing it right’ whether you’re with your in-laws, boss, friends or clients.
Of course they are not vital, but if they can give a touch more confidence, then that’s all good. The answers are here by the way, if you’d like to be sure!
However, it will never be old-fashioned to be considerate and able to make people around you known they are cared for and nurtured. It’s a joy to be in the presence of someone who makes you feel that way, right? That’s why, when asked ‘does etiquette matter’, we should all give a resounding YES!