How to Not Behave Badly in 2010

Etiquette tips to ring in and practice through the new year

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Shopper chats on cellphone while shopping. Etiquette expert Lynn Swann says you should hang it up when you reach the checkout counter.

    Put it down.

    Whether it's your cell phone or MP3 player,  you don't need to have it glued to your ear all the time, especially when you're interacting with other people, according to etiquette expert Elaine Swann. For example, when you're paying for groceries or ordering your latte, give it up and make eye contact with the store clerk at the checkout line.

    If you're plugged in to your MP3 player, take out both ear buds when talking with another person so that they know you are giving them your full attention, Swann said.

    Another way to ring in the New Year is to be considerate of others. So, Swann said, try not to have the laptop be a barrier between you and the person you're meeting with. The open screen can sometimes be a put-off or give the wrong impression to the person sitting opposite. They might think you're not paying attention or that you're working on something else on the computer rather than the topic of conversation, Swann pointed out.

    Also, be nice to each other. Use kind words often, Swann said.

    Finally, say "thank you" in writing -- not in an e-mail. A handwritten card or note is still appreciated, according to the etiquette guru.