Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Savoir-vivre is a French expression used to describe a set of rules of good manners. Savoir-vivre covers many areas: from the rules of behavior at the table, through those prevailing in business, about how to correctly formulate e-mails, to those devoted to clothing or male-female relations. Here are the rules of savoir-vivre

Savoir-vivre- this foreign-sounding term has settled in Poland for good - even if someone does not know what it means, you have certainly heard this phrase somewhere before.

Savoir-vivre: what is it?

Savoir-vivreis a concept derived from French, composed of two infinitives - "savoir" means to know, and "vivre" - to live, so in free translation we can say, thatsavoir-vivreis nothing more than knowledge about life, and more specifically - knowledgeprinciples of good manners .

Savoir-vivre does not have its roots in France, but in ancient Greece, where the power of European culture was being built. The Greeks strove for perfection, and these aspirations were manifested, among others, by in elaborate ceremonies and the practice of courtesy. In the Middle Ages, not so much importance was attached to savoir-vivre - all social strata were distinguished by similar manners.

Again, the emphasis ongood mannerswas returned in the Renaissance, and the trend continued over the following centuries. Only in the 1960s, the attachment to the etiquette regulating human behavior in almost every life situation gradually decreased. The freedom of choice became more important, the ability to do what we think is right.

Nevertheless, savoir-vivre is not completely forgotten - in some situations, knowing the rules of good manners is necessary when we want to make a good impression, present ourselves in the company, and react appropriately in a given situation. So get to know the most important principles of savoir-vivre!

Savoir-vivre at the table

1. Seat style

Savoir-vivre requires us to sit at the table with our backs against a chair. You cannot slouch or put your feet on your feet, because such a positioning of them may just cause our stoop. What's more, we only keep our hands on the table, do not rest our elbows on them, but when we start toa meal, put a spoon or fork directly to your mouth - do not lean your head towards the plate. In order not to spill the soup on ourselves or knock down a piece of meat on the way, take small portions on the cutlery.

2. Before and during the meal

Savoir-vivre instructs you to place a napkin on your lap before eating, below the table line. We do not put it next to the plate or put it on the collar of the shirt.

The rules of good manners also say not to speak during the meal - we can spit on the food we eat at our fellow diners. We always eat with our mouths closed. If we want to start a conversation, it is best with our neighbors on the left and right. You can also negotiate with someone sitting in front of you, as long as you don't have to speak too loudly and lean towards the interlocutor, resting your elbows on the table.

During the meal, we should not wish "tasty", because in this way we suggest that it might be unpalatable.

If we eat fish or meat, put bones and bones on the side of the plate, while for "leftovers" of seafood (eg shells) we will most likely get a separate dish. In an oriental restaurant, we don't have to worry that we can't eat with chopsticks - we can easily replace them with cutlery. Unless it's about sushi, which is better eaten with your hand than with cutlery.

When drinking a drink in a restaurant, you should refrain from eating the piece of orange that crowns it, and while eating compote, take the fruit with a spoon, while the drink itself is also drunk with small spoons - not directly from the glass. Similarly with hot tea - these drinks are to be enjoyed, warmed up, not refreshing. So they don't need to be drunk immediately.

During the meal, we should not leave the table. If a given dish or spice is far away from us, please give it to the neighbor, and then to the next people. We wait until what we asked for is served to us, we do not lean across the table or behind the backs of other eaters.

3. Alcohol

Many rules of good manners can be broken by drinking… and pouring alcohol. It is worth knowing that when pouring wine, do not pick up the glass into which you pour the drink, it must be on the table all the time. We catch the glass in the upper part of the stem and never drink the wine in one gulp. Ladies should remember to clean the lips of lipstick before drinking wine - it is tactless to leave traces of it on the glass.

4. Ending the meal

The signal for the end of the meal is given by the hosts, and we should say when we leave the table"thank you". Only when we finish eating we can take the napkin off our lap and place it on the right side of the plate.

Do you know how to arrange the cutlery?

Many problems are often caused by the correct arrangement of cutlery during and after a meal - you can even say that when using them, we use a special code, by means of which we inform about a specific stage of eating the food we are at. Fortunately, this code is not that complicated.

  • Eating break- if we have a meal on our plate all the time, we signal the break by placing the cutlery in the center of the plate, facing each other - the well-mannered waiter will know this way that he shouldn't have had it yet. If the plate is empty, we "notify" about the break by crossing the cutlery in the middle of the plate.
  • Ending the meal- cutlery - knife and fork - place them parallel to each other. Place a spoon of the eaten soup on a deep plate, which is under the vessel from which we ate the soup.
  • Coffee or tea spoon- always put it completely on the cup support - so that it lies parallel to it. It is wrong to rest the very head of the glass on the stand, as the drops of the drink may drip onto the table.

Savoir-vivre in male-female relations

Savoir-vivre also regulates female-male relations. Today, not as much as before the moral revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, but the old rules of good manners still have many supporters (and also opponents).

Female-male savoir-vivre regulates such issues as:

1. Shake hands or choose a different greeting

Here, the priority is always the woman. She decides whether she will give the newly met man a hand to shake or simply nod to greet him or say "good morning". The role of a man is to accept her choice and answer in the same way.

2. Entering the room

If there is already a man in the room and a woman (not necessarily his partner) enters, the man gets up and does not sit down until the woman is the first to take her seat.

It is also common for the gentlemen to let the ladies in first at the door - meanwhile, the rules of good manners say something else. The man should open the door, but go through it first and hold it in front of the woman. Similarly, with the entrance to the restaurant - the first man enters, because in the past it was assumed that he would take any dangers waiting for a woman there, he would "recognize" the area.

The same is the case with the car - the man should get off first and then open the door to the woman.

3. At the shared table

The rules of savoir-vivre regarding the presence of a woman and a man at the same table are also very complicated. The man should move the woman's chair away and closer each time she gets up and sits down at the table, and gets up when she leaves the table. This rule does not work when a woman departs from her seat at an outdoor table.

Kissing on the hand is not a man's "duty" according to the principles of savoir-vivre.

4. Kissing on the hand

This tradition persists in few countries - both gentlemen do not feel like kissing strangers on the hand, and they often perceive it as a violation of their private space. However, if he really cares about it, he should remember that this activity may only be performed indoors, not outdoors, e.g. in a park. It is the man who bends down to the woman's hand, he does not pull her towards him.

5. Paying in a restaurant

Paying in a restaurant is another troublesome situation in male-female relationships - gentlemen do not always want to cover the cost of the entire bill, since today women support themselves and they do not want to feel dependent on them. The good news is that savoir-vivre doesn't require a man to always pay the bill.

Unless he is the inviting party, but this principle works both ways - if a woman invites him somewhere, then, according to the principles of good manners, she is responsible for paying the costs. However, any innovation is allowed - the couple can agree to pay both of them or one of them does it - neither of these situations contradicts the principles of savoir-vivre.

How do we greet each other?

We present the older person the younger one, the one in the higher position, the one in the lower position, the woman - a man.

Savoir-vivre in business

Savoir-vivre regulates many spheres of our life, including the professional one. Here are the most important aspects of this branch of good manners:

1. Greeting and goodbye

The decision to shake hands when greeted (or choose another form of it) - belongs to the boss. Savoir-vivre proclaims that it is decided by a higher-ranking person. It's a different matter of bowing - being the first person to do so in a lower position. However, it is worth remembering that when we go to a meeting with a client, we bow, because in this situation he becomes our "boss" in his own way. Similarly with goodbye - a signal alwayscomes from the boss.

In business, the boss is the boss, regardless of age or gender. So if, after the meeting, the boss-man and the employee-woman leave the room, the employee should let the boss pass, while when the same situation applies to people of two sexes in equal positions - the man lets the woman pass.

2. Dress code

Savoir-vivre also defines how we should dress for work. The rules for representatives of both sexes say that you should choose the least provocative clothes, always clean and tidy. Clothes with holes or stains from compote are excluded. What else do the rules of good manners say about our clothes?

Savoir-vivre in business - a woman

  • standard set looks like this: white shirt, jacket, skirt;
  • the skirt should end just behind the knee or in front of it - but not more than 6 above it;
  • the shirt should be made of non-translucent, matte material, it is best to choose a nude bra under it;
  • you can also wear a dress with a length such as a skirt in a set with a shirt and necessarily with long sleeves;
  • if you don't like skirts and dresses very much, you can wear a set with pants;
  • avoid flashy makeup, big necklines, flashy jewelry, tips, nail stickers;
  • do not show your bare legs - always wear tights;
  • only wear shoes with covered toes;
  • choose modest jewelry for business meetings, which wearing … does not make a sound;
  • avoid ruffles, zippers and other ornaments;
  • do not wear transparent clothes;
  • do not choose many accessories: a purse, a scarf will be enough.

Avoid multicolored clothes and choose the colors of power - black and gray.

Savoir-vivre in business - man

  • standard set include shirt, tie, jacket and pants;
  • do not wear a short-sleeved shirt (even under a suit) or shorts;
  • the suit should be properly fitted - the pants and jacket must not be too long or short - the correct length of the legs is half the heel of the shoe;
  • pants should be of the same color and material as the jacket;
  • the tie should have as few colors and patterns as possible;
  • wear elegant, e.g. leather shoes;
  • do not come to the business meeting in sports shoes or sandals;
  • socks match the shoes and the whole - do not wear light socks with dark colors;
  • socks must also have the right onelength - reach at least 1/3 of the calf;
  • remember that all buttons on your jacket must be fastened when you are standing, you can undo them when you take your seat and fasten them again when standing up;
  • avoid jewelry - only an elegant watch will be indicated;
  • the belt on the pants is to serve as an element of the outfit, not to adjust the pants - these should be exactly fitted;
  • You can put a pillowcase in the color of a tie and made of the same material into the outer pocket of your jacket, but you shouldn't put e.g. glasses or a tissue in this pocket.

The principles of good business manners also require not to be late for meetings, and not to answer phone calls during the meetings. The phone itself should be muted, and you shouldn't look at it every now and then to check incoming messages.

Give your interlocutors all the attention - speak calmly and politely, and change the tone of your voice as a sign of interest. Maintain eye contact with your interlocutor, but don't look them in the eye continuously as this might suggest you have something to hide.

Worth knowing

Savoir-vivre in communication

We live in the 21st century, when new technologies have become a very important element of our communication. We exchange e-mail messages especially often - both in professional and private relations.

One of the most common mistakes is to start a message by "greeting" a virtual interlocutor. We should definitely not use the phrase "hello" - as a host may greet him in his house, an older younger person, or the boss of a subordinate - this type of greeting is associated with the superiority of whoever greets.

To people we do not know, it is much better to write "Dear Sir / Madam", to those we already know from our cooperation so far: "Mrs. Katarzyna", "Mr. Mark", and to friends simply: " Kasia "," Marek ".

We do not end the e-mail message with "Regards" (unless you are writing to a close friend), but rather "Yours sincerely", "Yours sincerely".

What to say in an elevator and how to … climb stairs?

The rules of savoir-vivre were established in such a way that if we wanted to apply them all, they would accompany us at every step. Even literally, both in the elevator and on the stairs. It was even regulated whether and what to say to people in the elevator after entering it, and rules for male and female climbing the stairs were formulated. They are revealed in the video attached below by Adam Jarczyński, an expert on savoir-vivre.


About the authorAnna SierantEditor in charge of the sections Psychology andBeauty, as well as the main page on As a journalist, she cooperated, among others. with "Wysokie Obcasy", the websites: and, the quarterly "G'RLS Room". She also co-founded the online magazine "PudOWY Róż". He runs a blog jakdzż

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!