Standing Up

It is always polite to stand when someone enters the room for the first time. Traditionally men got to their feet when women came in and younger people for their elders. It is, however, considerate to stand regardless of age and gender, and a host should always stand to greet guests. All introductions should take place standing and it is discourteous to offer your hand to someone while seated. An exception would be an elderly or infirm person. It is correct to stand when someone is leaving a room.


Children and teenagers may be absorbed in playing or watching television when adults, for example guests of their parents, enter the room. They should know to get to their feet, briefly break off what they are doing, and greet the adults. However, it is not necessary for them to get to their feet if the same adults pass through the room again, though they should stand and say goodbye if the guests are leaving. If the adults stay in the room, it is polite for children to stop what they are doing and offer their seats to the adults.

In Restaurants

Those already seated at a table should get to their feet when someone arrives or leaves but need not necessarily leave their place. It is polite to rise when someone leaves and returns to the table but best to use some judgment, for instance to half rise as an acknowledgment rather than disrupt things and draw attention to the person’s movements by getting right up.

Helping with Coats

It is polite to take people’s coats or bags when they arrive and to help them into coats when they leave, but with judgment, as not everyone likes being fussed over. Hold the coat by the shoulders and position it so that the arms can slip in easily. Lift the coat on to the shoulders, then lift it slightly again.

Entrances and Exits

Avoid turning your back on a room. When entering, close the door behind you while remaining face-on and moving forwards into the room.

On exiting, try to reverse through the door so that the last impression you give isn’t of your back.

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