Life… it’s all about good manners, being polite to the person who just pushed in front of you in the queue, and knowing how to greet the Queen properly when you do meet her.

guide to etiquette

With that in mind, William Hanson, the UK’s leading consultant in etiquette and protocol and author of the newly published Bluffer’s Guide To Etiquette, has offered his top five tips on how to be more posh in 2017:

1. Never say ‘Pleased to meet you’. You may think you’re being terribly nice saying this upon greeting a stranger, but those in the know will have mentally clocked that you are not saying ‘How do you do?’ If you don’t know who they are, can you be sure you really are pleased to meet them?

2. Revise your handshake. The last time someone told you how to shake hands you were probably very young. Get a loved one to review your handshake honestly. Try to avoid being a wet fish or a bone crusher. People judge others on the quality of their handshake.

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3. Abandon Pancake Day. For houses of quality, it’s called Shrove Tuesday. Serve crêpes in the evening. Oh, and it’s St Valentine’s Day, also.

4. Avoid attending Facebook parties. If you are invited anywhere by Facebook then don’t go. It won’t be worth it and you’ll probably be served beer in the bottle or be given wine that hasn’t been decanted.

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5. Pudding v dessert. The final course of a dinner (and arguably the best one) is the pudding. Note, it is called the pudding. NOT ‘dessert’! If you call your lemon posset with spun sugar basket a dessert when dining with the hoity toity, then you might as well prepare for a future dining at a Toby Carvery – where you can help yourself to the dessert buffet for the rest of eternity.


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The Bluffer’s Guide to Etiquette is available for Kindle and iPad at and the iBookstore (RRP £4.99)

This article was first published in 2014.

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