Manners and Etiquette

Being polite is an important part of being a good friend. Being polite shows people you respect them. This section gives some suggestions for different situations.

When someone is at your house:

  • Before they come over think about some things you can do.

  • Prepare some refreshments that they would enjoy—perhaps tea or a cold drink.

  • Greet them when they come to the door. Help them hang up their coat if they have one.

  • Ask them what they want to do. If they say they don’t mind, suggest some of the ideas you came up with in advance.

  • Don’t watch TV the whole time. Do something that allows you to interact with one another.

  • Don’t leave your friend alone. When you have invited someone to your home it is bad manners to leave them alone.

  • Don’t push people to stay longer than they can.

  • When they leave, see them to the door. Thank them for coming over.

When you are visiting someone else’s house:

  • Try to arrive at the time you agreed on.

  • If you are visiting for dinner or a weekend, try to bring a small gift with you. Cookies or a small plant are good things to bring.

  • Greet each person present with a handshake or a smile. Introduce yourself if you have not met them before.

  • Find something nice to say about their house. People will know you are polite and friendly.

  • You may not have plans for how to spend your time. Let your friend suggest something to do.

  • Don’t leave them alone. They have invited you into their home. It is bad manners not to spend time with them.

  • Leave at the time you agreed on before the visit. Don’t overstay your welcome.

  • Thank them for the visit.

Welcoming Friends to Your Home
Welcoming Friends to Your Home

Jaclyn likes to invite friends over to her house. She plans ahead. She makes sure she has some tea or juice. She makes sure there are snacks to give them. When they ring the doorbell she answers the door. She welcomes them in. She helps them hang up their coats. She introduces friends that don’t know each other. She asks each friend how they are. She asks what they have been doing. She asks if they are planning anything special soon. She tries to make sure everyone has a chance to talk. Jaclyn is a great hostess! Her friends love to visit her!

Ask First!

Marcie liked George, a boy in her grade 11 class. They sometimes said Hello, but she did not know him very well. She wanted to know him better. She wished he were her boyfriend. Marcie put George on her Facebook page. She called him her best friend. When George heard about this, he was very upset. He told Marcie she had embarrassed him. He told her he didn’t want to be her friend at all. He told her to take him off her Facebook page. Marcie should have asked George first.


When you are out in public:

  • Walk beside your friend, not in front of them, even if you can walk faster.

  • Notice if your friend needs help with stairs or doors. Be thoughtful.

  • Pay for yourself unless your friend offers ahead of time to pay for you. If you go to a restaurant, bring enough money for a meal plus the tax and a tip.

  • If you go to a restaurant or a movie theatre, don’t make all the decisions yourself. For example, talk to your friend about where he or she would like to sit.

  • Be a good citizen. Follow basic rules. For example, don’t walk down the middle of the road. Don’t take up the entire sidewalk. Don’t speak too loudly in public places.

When you go out with a group of friends:

  • Find out ahead of time what the plan is for the outing and how long it will be.

  • Bring what you need. For example, if you are going to the beach, bring a towel, swimsuit, change of clothing, and a little money.

  • If you bring some food, share it with the whole group.

  • Introduce yourself to anyone you do not know and make an effort to get to know them a bit.

  • Move around in the group so that you spend some time with each person.

  • If you are walking on the sidewalk, do not take up the whole sidewalk.

  • Stay with the group. When you agree to go out with people it is usually bad manners to not stay with them.

  • If the group starts to do something that you are uncomfortable with, it is ok to leave. Leaving may not be easy. If you have a good friend in the group tell them you want to leave. Ask if they will leave with you.

  • It is always a good idea to have some money. Also, carry a cell phone with you if possible. You can use this to call for a taxi or a ride.

Meeting Friends out in Public

When you see someone you know out in public stop and try to talk to them. This shows that you are happy to see them. “When I see my friend Stephanie at school, I talk to her. We talk about all sorts of things. It makes us both happy!”

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