The countless collection of social graces is constantly growing and changing to reflect the world in which we live. Yet for every self-explanatory etiquette principle (silence your phone at the movies), there’s another seemingly arbitrary one (men should escort women on the left). While these “rules” may seem old-fashioned and are often broken in today’s society, they were once the guidelines for proper manners. I took the courtesy of demystifying five of them.

1. Why You Shouldn’t Point at Another Person

When assisting theme park guests, Disney employees, also known as cast members, are trained to point with two conjoined fingers, index and middle.  The primary explanation is that standard pointing is considered rude in numerous cultures — especially if aimed at another person. A perception that dates back to Shakespeare’s time, pointing brings unwanted attention to the recipient, implying that they’ve committed a wrong. Repeated pointing in Japan can even instigate hostility. Figurative “finger-pointing” is defined as “making explicit and often unfair accusations of blame.” In situations where you feel compelled to point, it is kinder to use an open palm, flight attendant-style.

2. Why You Should Keep Elbows Off the Table

Table manners were originally introduced to prevent mealtime fights, with the knife and fork establishing each eater’s boundary lines. Today, the elbow rule stops people from slouching or accidentally leaning their arms into food dishes. Moreover, when breaking bread with a group, placing your elbows on the table blocks those on either side of you from making eye contact.

3.  Why You Shouldn’t Drink When You Are Being Toasted To

If a loved one or co-worker raises a glass in your honor, break the instinct of joining in on the toast. Since you’re being fêted, etiquette experts would perceive lifting your glass as a vain gesture, like giving applause to your own performance. Instead, practice the role of grateful recipient: Refrain from touching your glass and punctuate the toast with a “thank you.” Another common toast faux pas is clinking glasses to make the good tidings official. Knocking drinks with a tableful of people can require awkward stretching, causing spills or even broken glassware. A more dignified solution? Just hold those glasses overhead.

4. Why You Should Always Pass the Salt and Pepper Together

Seasoned etiquette aficionados often express dismay at the way people pass salt and pepper shakers. Regardless of which condiment a dining companion requests, in America, the polite response is to pass both shakers at the same time. This action conveniences everyone at the table. Think of salt and pepper as a pair of spouses or siblings — it becomes less likely that one will go missing if they stay together. Keeping the shakers in tandem also prevents a person from passing the wrong shaker. In addition, there’s a chance the recipient’s neighbor may need both ingredients, which are now within easy reach.

5. Why You Shouldn’t Respond to “Thank You” with “No Problem”

There’s a common perception that by answering an expression of gratitude with “no problem,” you’re hinting that the effort exerted was or almost became an inconvenience.  Other similar phrases are “no worries,” “don’t mention it,” and “it was nothing.” Despite the negative phrasing, it’s generally understood by Gen-Xers and Millennials as an attempt to be humble. Also, the advent of texting has made the global vernacular less formal. But, at least when speaking, etiquette authorities encourage people to try replies such as “you’re welcome,” “my pleasure,” and “of course.”