Etiquette for Christian Youth

Courtesy, Decorum, and Manners

  1. This is merely an introductory presentation of a very large and wide subject to make you all think a little.
  2. Your soft skills may contribute more to your success in any endeavor than occupational or technical skills.
  3. There is not enough emphasis or instruction on these subjects today, though they were recently important.
  4. As the world implodes and degenerates morally and socially, proper decorum will appear abnormal.
  5. As Christians, youth must glorify God, adorn the gospel, and aim high maritally and professionally, at least.
  6. Recall recent “C” character traits: cautious, circumspect, conventional, conscious, conservative, classy.
  7. For more scriptural reasons for this study, see here.
  8. First impressions are important for spouses, jobs, good service, influence, and the gospel. Beware of it.
  9. Perception (appearance) is valued over reality (substance), so wisdom adjusts to it (Pr 17:28; Eccl 5:3).
  10. A dull man dressed well is perceived smarter. Which man is hirable? The sloppy or the refined one?
  11. You are youth, with foolishness bound in your hearts, so listening to others, not youthful peers, can save you.
  12. We do not want you to be ordinary any more than you want an ordinary job or spouse. Be extraordinary.
  13. You do not have a right to your own opinions, for others, adults, set proper behavior to be void of offence.
  14. Daniel 1:3-4,8 has four parts of a man: genetic package, academic training, soft skills, and fear of the LORD.
  15. When a person exploits these four parts diligently, the results are outstanding, by God’s grace (Dan 1:17-21).
  16. Joseph, Ruth, David, Daniel, and Esther adjusted to situations and took their various kingdoms! Copy them!


  1. Gracious speech (gentle, kind, cheerful, positive) goes far (Pr 11:16; 22:11; Eccl 10:12; Col 4:6).
  2. Fewer words are better, to save yourself from gaffes and the rule of fools (Pr 17:28; Eccl 10:13-14).
  3. Foolish talking or jesting is not convenient and should be replaced with thanksgiving (Eph 5:3-5).
  4. Never be guilty of backbiting, slander, talebearing, or whispering, and stop others from doing so.
  5. Replace fretfulness and anger in conversation with love, graciousness, cheerfulness, and kindness.
  6. If you cannot say anything kind or edifying, say nothing at all, for silence adorns better than choler.
  7. Do not repeat personal history that others have heard about you – how boring! In fact, never tell it!
  8. Do not hold a private conversation within a small group, especially when eating a meal together.
  9. Do not zone out in a group, if the discussion is not about you e.g. leaving, cell phone, yawn, etc.
  10. Do not answer for someone else in a group discussion, even if you know the answer and could.
  11. Do not correct a person in a group for a minor fact that does not affect the issue being discussed.
  12. Do not talk over others that are talking, even when they are slow and you wish they would hurry.
  13. Do not publicly ridicule anyone, especially siblings, the younger, parents, or anyone not present.
  14. Learn the art of communication, which is less talking and more listening. Ask questions about them.
  15. Too much talking, even about good things, is offensive. Much speaking is the sure mark of a fool.
  16. Share conversation, especially at meals, by allowing others to talk more. Keep your answers short.


  1. Communicate all details clearly. Repeat them periodically. Follow up with confirmation if possible.
  2. Emails are not texting or tweeting, so avoid shorthand or abbreviations successful people do not use.
  3. Use proper letter-writing protocol when writing emails, for it reflects intelligence and education.
  4. Communication skills are one of the most important soft skills – love speech and writing classes!
  5. Those who can communicate clearly, easily, and graciously will advance very fast (Prov 22:11).
  6. Be a good listener, because that is a big part of communication, and will protect you from errors.


  1. Fads and extremes are for fools. Classic clothes say … intelligent, educated, mature, and successful.
  2. Men and women still wear the classic outfits and components they wore 70, 50, and 30 years ago.
  3. Clothing standards are set by mature adults over many years, not by family, you, or especially peers.
  4. Today’s casual, sloppy, rebellious choices are not attractive or becoming. Dress above the rabble.
  5. “Being your own man” and other absurd statements of ignorance and arrogance will take you down.
  6. Girls should learn our female modesty suggestions are followed by much of corporate America.
  7. No matter what the event and the clothing chosen for it, make sure your clothing is clean and fits.
  8. Do not play the peacock looking about you to see how dandy you look in hope others will believe.
  9. Modesty must be observed not only by that which is covered but also by the shape the cloths reveal.
  10. For any job, you should dress like your manager or the job you want, not the job you already have.
  11. Flip flops are for the beach to keep your feet off the hot sand or hot asphalt or for public showers.
  12. Blue jeans were taken from farmer’s overalls, so remember that they do not belong in most places.
  13. An untucked shirt is for going to the beach or bed – it is not fit for any place outside your house.
  14. Comfort does not determine how you should dress – proper behavior is seldom very comfortable.
  15. A sport coat with slacks of the same color does not make a suit. It is shameful. Get yourself a suit.
  16. Never wear a short-sleeved shirt under a sport coat or suit jacket. The bare forearms prove a fool.
  17. Quality is better than quantity or variety; those able to promote or sponsor you know the difference.
  18. Quality clothes based on informed purchases for your situation will also boost your confidence.
  19. Identify the most successful persons in your industry, company, or situation and copy them.
  20. There are websites and books to teach you how to dress for any job, function, or situation. Use them.


  1. Use the utensils from the outside in: appetizer fork, then salad fork, then dinner fork, etc.
  2. Never touch your food with your fingers … unless you are at Bucky’s eating ribs with friends!
  3. Never talk with food in your mouth. If you take proper amounts, your mouth will soon be empty.
  4. Only put in your mouth a small amount to chew so that it may be quickly masticated and swallowed.
  5. Do not look around while drinking, but keep your eyes downward toward the glass you are using.
  6. Be temperate with food and drink – eat too little rather than too much – avoid dullness or elation.
  7. Drunkenness and gluttony are equal sins to be avoided and hated by godly young men and women.
  8. Avoid pensiveness, fretting, anger, or business when eating – keep meals a happy experience for all.
  9. There are specific rules for table conduct, and you should learn whatever else you need to know.
  10. Do not put your elbows or arms on the table. Keep your arms at your side and hands in your lap.
  11. Dress appropriately for any meal, which should be a step or two up from attire for events around it.
  12. Consider the appearance of over-drinking or over-eating and do not allow even the hint at such.
  13. Remember basic courtesy of words, such as please, thank you, excuse me, it is excellent, etc.
  14. Do not begin to eat until the host begins to eat. Do not begin to eat dessert until the host begins.
  15. Do not leave a dinner table without explaining, in proper terms, why you are leaving your company.
  16. Tip generously, but do let it reflect the level of personal and professional service provided.
  17. Never put a knife near your mouth. It is made for cutting only, not for scooping or sliding food.
  18. Do not use toothpicks in public to clean your teeth. Wait until you are in private or at home.
  19. Do not let your teeth touch your silverware. It is annoying. God gave you lips for clearing your fork.
  20. Never take the last portion or piece on a table, unless the host presses you to do so after deferring.


  1. Unless on call for life or death, reduce to vibrate in public settings and check calls later or in private.
  2. Do not call anyone before 9:00 A.M. or after 9:00 P.M., unless circumstances require such a call.
  3. Never receive or send text messages or receive cell phone calls during dinner. Turn it to low vibrate.
  4. Never interrupt a conversation with someone to check your cell phone. Check it later in private.
  5. Texting is a child’s game, unless necessary; you will give an account for every idle word you text.
  6. Texting is a child’s game, unless necessary; adults seeing you at play will discount you as a child.
  7. Since texting allows immediate and private words, how much of texting is slander or whispering?
  8. Tweeting is for the fan club of fools, as nothing important is communicated by the unimportant.
  9. Do not call anyone in the presence of others unless absolutely necessary and understood by the rest.
  10. Cell phones are a recent invention that has added little value and much nuisance. Value them rightly.
  11. Never let your cell phone ring in any assembly or meeting of any kind. Keep the thing on vibrate.
  12. Never flinch or reach for your pocket when it vibrates, for you indicate to others you are distracted.


  1. How many showers in a day would be too many? 4! How many showers in a day are too few? 1!
  2. Body odor or bad breath is unacceptable at anytime for any reason. There are very simple solutions.
  3. Remember carefully, you cannot smell your body odor or your breath before others are offended.
  4. Facial hair should be appropriate to the situation or event, and it should be impeccably groomed.
  5. Bodyweight says more about you faster than anything else and will affect your jobs and a spouse.
  6. Remember that youth have the worst body odor, the greasiest hair and skin, and need showers most.
  7. Parts of your body visible with clothing e.g. hair, face, teeth, hands, etc. must be impeccably clean.


  1. Never touch any body part in public that you do not expose to public view e.g. crotch, butt, etc.
  2. Never touch your hand to your face or hair unless absolutely necessary. It is annoying and childish.
  3. Stand tall and erect without slouching and sit the same way. Walk with head up and shoulders back.
  4. When sitting, feet should be flat on the floor and legs together. Who invented crossing legs? Why?
  5. Never sing, hum, or whistle to yourself in the presence of others. It is annoying and insensitive.
  6. Do not drum with your fingers or tap your feet in the presence of others. It belies boredom.
  7. If you must cough, sneeze, sigh, or yawn, do so in private or in a handkerchief or turn your head.
  8. Never chew or gnaw your nails, especially in public. Keep your nails clean and short. Clip at home.
  9. Do not encroach on another’s space, which is one pace from them. It is offensive for you to enter it.
  10. Do not point with your finger at the person to whom you are talking. Let body language be relaxed.
  11. Details from posture to the content of your car trunk should enhance your character and reputation.
  12. Do not walk too fast – spastic look of the immature; do not walk too slow – slothful look of fearful.


  1. Your house should be as clean and orderly as the hotel or restaurant where you entertain guests.
  2. Your vehicle must be kept clean at all times, in preparation for the angel that needs a ride (He 13:2).
  3. The trunk of your vehicle should be kept clean as well, for the need to haul something for a friend.
  4. Interior decorating is not a fetish of the rich and famous, for the virtuous woman used it wisely.
  5. If you have too much stuff in your bedroom or closet, throw it out before your survivors must do it.
  6. Keep quality and useful items that enhance your life; throw everything else away to be organized.


  1. Do not pretend you are a doctor and give medical advice when visiting a sick person or in a hospital.
  2. Do not try to be a stand-up comic for those cast down or sick, for your contrariness aggravates them.
  3. Make all corrections of another person in private, unless it must be done publicly for good reasons.
  4. Hospitality is a Bible duty and is more than at restaurants. Saints are to be given to it (Rom 12:13).
  5. Seek to have prayer at the beginning and the ending, even meals out, to keep things honoring to God.
  6. Invitations to your home and a restaurant may have starting and ending times to avoid confusion.
  7. True entertainment is more than creating a teen hangout – it is structured with designed hospitality.


  1. Always show cheerful deference without any fretting to both parents, no matter the issue at hand.
  2. Do not wander near others talking – you are eavesdropping. They will invite you, if they want you.
  3. Young men, it does not matter you are male, have absolutely no authority over your female peers.
  4. Your example is greater than your words, so let your conduct do your preaching, not your speech.
  5. A gentleman will give up his seat for a woman or for an older man, if he has any character or class.
  6. When a person older than you enters a room, you should stand up and show them honor (Lev 19:32).
  7. Never wear a hat while eating in any setting or during any prayer. Uncover your heads, young men.
  8. Guys protect girls by giving up their seats, walking next to the street, opening doors for them, etc.
  9. Tip housekeeping for your hotel room, barbers for doing a good job, and other low-level servants.


  1. Unless recovering from surgery, do not oversleep, but establish habits of only necessary sleep.
  2. Smoking cigars is a stinking mess at best, so be considerate of the 98% that despise cigar smoke.
  3. While speaking to your age group and those under it is necessary, prefer the group above you.


  1. Always be early to public assemblies and take your seat before the announced time for it to begin.
  2. Never be early (or late) to a private function unless instructed to be so for a surprise to another guest.
  3. Never assume you are invited anywhere without an invitation – do not boldly tag along with a friend.
  4. Leave a private event when it ends. Do not linger thinking that the host enjoys your extra company.
  5. If you invite a person out to eat, let it be known if you are paying or splitting the tab with your guest.
  6. Do not whisper to the person next to you, unless there is a life or death matter that must be disclosed.
  7. Do not fidget, turn sideways, turn around, look sideways, or any other immature motions of a child.


  1. Know the industry and company and what is expected in employee attire and dress one step above it.
  2. Do not dress two steps above those around you, for that is offensive and will undermine your cause.
  3. Be prepared. You should research the industry and company and prepare answers for all questions.
  4. Follow up. Distinguish yourself from other applicants by classy, gracious, enthusiastic follow-up.


  1. Never offer to pay for something e.g. a meal and then forget to follow through and actually pay.
  2. Do not assume an invitation means they will pay for your meal. Make a full effort to pay yourself.
  3. Do not spend beyond your income, even if you can, because perception of a spendthrift will hurt.
  4. Living within your means is a duty of the gospel, and even an appearance of evil should be avoided.
  5. Repay debts as soon as possible – personal borrowings – by eliminating all discretionary spending.
  6. Make sure in any arrangement involving money that each party fully knows who is due how much.
  7. The more you use a checkbook, debit card, or credit rather than cash the better paper trail you have.


  1. It is for children and fools who have no friends but want to pretend they have a large circle of them.
  2. Your page should reflect the sober, serious, gracious, and edifying content of good Christian speech.
  3. Your posting to your own or other accounts should be weighty and sober, not frivolous and foolish.
  4. If this is a large part of your life, it shows you are a loser. Close it and learn to interact with adults.


  1. Be in your place before church assemblies are to begin for quiet meditation and preparation.
  2. Move forward in your seating to leave back rows available for visitors or those with young children.
  3. Services are short enough to avoid leaving for any reason – it is solved by planning and temperance.
  4. Families sitting together are family worship for best results – youth with youth create temptations.
  5. Coughing, clearing throat, sneezing, yawning are unacceptable and unnecessary. Use inventions.
  6. Greet visitors with a friendly and relaxed greeting. There is no need to press them or question them.
  7. The nursery is to get young children out of the adult assembly. Worship should occur there also.
  8. Ties are always appropriate for a Sunday service, just as they are for an interview or a decent job.

For Further Study:

Note: Most sources are not by Christians; we do not endorse content or intent of any; these sources are to show a generation rejecting manners that they are wrong. These are not in any order, and they are only a suggestion that much more information is available for those that want to polish their image against the rebellious, anti-establishment appearance and conduct now promoted among youth. Adapt practically like Joseph, Ruth, David, Daniel, and Esther to take your kingdom like they did!

  1. Dale Carnegie Leadership Courses
  2. Final Touch Finishing School
  3. Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette
  4. The Art of Manliness: Reviving the lost art of manliness.
  5. The Etiquette School of New York
  6. Young Marine Etiquette
  7. Dining Etiquette at a Glance
  8. Email Etiquette at a Glance
  9. Wikieducator Business Etiquette and Grooming
  10. Etiquette School of Ohio
  11. Beaton’s Classes for High Society (New York and London)
  12. Book Advertisement (BJU): Man in Demand
  13. Book Advertisement (BJU): The New Christian Charm Course
  14. Book Advertisement: Dale Carnegie Updated for Digital Age
  15. Book Advertisement: Choosing Civility
  16. Book Advertisement: Business Etiquette & Professionalism
  17. Book Advertisement: Freakin’ Fabulous
  18. Book Summary: Dress for Success (John T. Molloy’s original edition; 1976).
  19. Typical Website: Dressing for Interviews
  20. Typical Website: Dressing for Interviews