Etiquette for a Runny Nose

Handle your runny nose with class.
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A runny nose due to allergies or a cold is uncomfortable enough on its own. When you add the glares you get from passersby as you snivel your snot, it becomes even more unbearable. Using the proper etiquette for a runny nose gives you the peace of mind that you are taking the mannerly high road in such situations.

1 Taming the Sniffles

As cute as sniffles sound from a 3-year-old, they are not as becoming in an adult. Blow your nose in private before your meeting, a meal or other in-person exchanges to avoid sniffles when you are able. Keep a handkerchief handy to manage your sniffles quickly in private, such as between conversations at your gathering or during a play intermission.

2 Blowing Your Nose in Public

It is permissible to wipe your nose when it runs during an emergency, particularly when you are eating spicy food at the table. Never blow your nose at the table, however, as this is considered bad etiquette. Excuse yourself to blow your nose in private when others are in attendance, but especially when at the table. In the case of an emergency, you may also blow your nose quietly to the side of the table.

Sara Schmidt has contributed to various print and online publications, including "Valley Scene Magazine" and Daily Kos. She is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University.