Whether you’re in a rush and forget to say “thank you” to the barista making your coffee or you inadvertently grab the wrong fork at a formal dinner, everyone’s guilty of making an etiquette error or two from time to time. And while some etiquette mistakes can be chalked up to youthful ignorance, by the time you’re in your 40s, it’s imperative you not only know the rules, but follow them to a T.
“Everyone needs to be aware of their surroundings and say ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘excuse me,’ and ‘I’m sorry,'” says etiquette expert Karen Thomas, founder of Karen Thomas Etiquette. “Those are the golden rules that need to be followed every day.” But that’s hardly the end of them. If you want to be lauded for your politesse, it’s time to start cleaning up these etiquette mistakes you’re making without realizing it. And if you want to be more polite at the office, make sure you’re avoiding these 40 Things No One Should Ever Say at Work.