Constantly complimenting people’s appearance
“Oh, you look so skinny!” “Your dress is gorgeous!” or “Your eyes are the most stunning shade!” may seem like nice compliments at first but compliments about appearance are shallow and may not be received in the same manner you intended, says Bonnie Tsai, etiquette expert and founder and director of Beyond Etiquette. Plus, if you do it constantly, say whenever you meet someone, it can feel overwhelming and insincere. “Offer a sincere compliment on their achievements instead,” she says.
Giving long answers to questions
You may think you’re being extra polite by giving someone every bit of information they might want in response to a question but most of the time people simply want the basic facts, particularly in a professional setting, says business and social etiquette consultant, Maryanne Parker. Long answers run the risk of your listener simply tuning you out, she adds. “Keep your answers short and to the point, they’ll ask follow up questions if they need more information,” she says.
Holding eye contact for too long
Some eye contact is a polite way to let the other person know you’re interested and engaged in what they’re saying. But some people take the “maintain eye contact” rule too far and turn it into an aggressive staring match or an uncomfortable crazy-eyed death stare, says psychotherapist, Jeff Larsen. “Go for a genuine eye-to-eye contact and then look away every once in a while,” he says. It should feel natural. If you’re not sure, ask a friend to practice with you.