Many people these days think of formal etiquette as being out of date, like some relic, nothing more than an affectation to the past. Then these same people end up following some sort of etiquette anyway, they just may not acknowledge it. I’m going to give you some reasons to know and follow traditional etiquette, and help develop new etiquette.
Etiquette has been argued and discussed throughout history, and every society has embraced it, at least in the upper classes. Yet, for some reason many in our current society view it as obligation. I’ve often heard people talk about including certain people on a guest list as obligation, not even considering how deeply offended they might be at intentionally not being invited. Which brings me to the first reason you should know and follow formal etiquette;
When etiquette exists, those who know it will expect it to be followed so they’ll likely see it as an intentional insult when it’s not. In fact, some etiquette rules were even created entirely to avoid offending people.
The perfect example is the guest list for an event. There’s often etiquette regarding who should be invited. So, not inviting people, despite the etiquette, is quite insulting. You could even risk destroying relationships, or even dividing families in the most extreme cases.
The second reason you should follow etiquette is that it sets standards. It’s like USB, you rarely even have to pay attention to the connection computer accessories require because there’s that standard. With etiquette, it means you know what you can expect and what you can expect of others. In many cases it can even give you information without it being explicitly stated, like the nature of an invitation.
Image isn’t the most important thing to a lot of people, and that’s just fine, but anyone who respects themselves would rather be perceived better. Following etiquette can help you be seen as more distinguished. We still associate etiquette with the upper class so that’s the type of person we assume follows it.
Most etiquette is primarily about how you treat others. It tells you whether or not you should bring a gift or what you should be sharing with others. When you follow etiquette, what you’re really doing is showing consideration to others. Which brings me to the last reason;
If a king, queen, or president extended their hand to you, would you shake it? Of course, because you respect what they represent. Virtually all etiquette is the same way. Showing people the consideration that etiquette affords them shows them that you respect them.