Social Etiquette 


Social Etiquette

Courtesy. Demonstrate proper etiquette, civility and respect. “Treat others as you would wish to be treated.” -----Ethic of Reciprocity

 Words Matter.  Please, Thank you, No thank you, You’re welcome, Excuse me, and May I?  -  

 Be generous and use them frequently with everyone you meet, including those who provide you with service.



Dressing appropriately for the occasion or culture is a fundamental responsibility. The Army

 is a conservative organization. Civilian dresses can be elegant, flattering and tasteful. Use good judgement. If too revealing, a great option is to add a wrap or evening jacket. At formal military events, the civilian equivalent for gentlemen is a tuxedo or tailored suit, with collared shirt, tie, socks, shined shoes and good grooming.   Remember, an appropriately dressed guest is a good reflection on you. 



Keep Chivalry Alive.  A Gentlemen --offers his arm to an elder or date. A strong, steady arm is appreciated by females walking in high heels – especially in winter. On the sidewalk, a man walks nearest the street to protect her from hazards. Note: These are guidelines for social etiquette which may differ from business or military etiquette.

Hold the Door. As a woman approaches a door to a building or car, open the door and allow her to enter. In a car, when you arrive at your destination, offer your hand to assist her in getting out.

Introductions. Make eye contact and Always say the Senior person’s name first.   “General Smith may I introduce my Mother, Mrs. Jones.   Mom, this is General Smith.  You introduce the Junior person TO the Senior person.  Remember, “The name of a person is the sweetest sound to him in any language.” -Dale Carnegie. 



Receiving Lines. Accompany your guest to the directed line. Remind your guest that he/she does not shake hands with the line aide. That privilege is reserved for the host. Refer to Bugle Notes. When greeting an officer, offer a firm handshake, make good eye contact, and say, “Good evening, “Rank and Name” (General Smith) Offer a few cordial words, but do not linger and hold up the line behind you. Continue meeting each person and pass gracefully through the receiving line. Note: If a rank and name is forgotten addressing them as “Sir” or “Ma’am” is perfectly acceptable.



Unplug. No one’s company is more important than the person in your presence. Formal receptions, banquets and ceremonies are not the place to be checking your phone and sending text messages.  Please no texting under the table.

Toasts. You participate with the group by raising your beverage glass and joining in the toasts. Ladies, if offered a “Toast to the Ladies” do not drink to yourself. If a solemn toast is offered to Fallen Comrades, be quiet and respectful while raising your glass of water.

Hold the Chair. Gentlemen seat the lady to your right. When a woman first approaches the table or is returning to her seat, assist her by pulling the chair out, then easing the chair forward as she sits down.

Table Manners. You want to shine while you dine. Manners matter and speak volumes about a person. What will your manners say about you? Good table manners are based on respect, courtesy, and common sense.  Knowing changes everything - especially if you’re escorting a VIP or seated at the head table. Need to refresh your skill set? Stop by The Cadet Hostess /Social Development Office for a short dining skills review.

Wait for Everyone to Be Served. Watch your host for cues. Don’t begin eating until everyone at your table has been served. Digging in just because you’re hungry makes you appear selfish and impatient. Dining is a social experience, pace yourself with others and enjoy.

Libations and Limits. If you are 21 or older and choose to drink alcohol, be responsible and know your limits. This is a perfect opportunity to show that you know how to drink like a responsible adult. Intoxicated behavior is a definite CLM (career limiting move) Anyone under the legal age is not allowed to drink alcohol.

Enjoy, Have Fun and Dance!  If you don’t ask your guest to dance, someone else will. Learn to social dance like a poised and polished future officer. If you can’t dance---lessons are offered through The Cadet Hostess/Social Development Office. Come by and sign up.

Excerpts and quotes taken from: Service Etiquette Guide 5th Edition, Bugle Notes, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie, Modern Manners for Millennials and Beyond, and The Army Officers Guidebook.