I spent my early high-school years trying to become Audrey Hepburn, which naturally led me Emily Post and other etiquette guides.
I seem to always find myself in awkward situations, and I like to think that reading these books helped prepare me (just a little) to avoid sticky situations.
1. If you feel the need to compliment someone on their appearances/clothing/jewelry, do so out of earshot from others.
There's nothing more awkward than standing next to your best friend as a group of people compliment her on how pretty she is. Actually, I take that back. It's even more awkward when the strangers realize you're standing there because you are suddenly the "not quite as beautiful" friend.
Also, if you do and try to cover your mistake by complimenting everyone else individually, you come across as insincere.
2. Keep your room/bathroom clean at all times.
Sometimes guests pop in without warning and if you haven't cleaned your bathroom in two weeks (who me? never!), you're definitely going to be embarrassed.
3. Don't gossip.
This really should go without saying, but it's never a good idea to talk about someone when they aren't there. Even if you're among friends, even if you're only joking, even if you're talking about your best friend or worst enemy. Gossiping is never a good idea. Ever.
And it's a hundred-thousand times worse when whoever you were talking about taps you on the shoulder.
4. Butter your bread bite by bite.
I didn't know this when I went to a fancy dinner once, but learned from watching other diners. One google search when I got home confirmed it!
5. Try to use your inside voice when you're inside.
Sure, you have heard it since preschool, but I know all bets are off when I get really excited. Sometimes I even have to remind my mom when she gets going.
This was my favorite etiquette book in middle school! Someone please read the revised copy and let me know if it's any good.