Category Archives: Civility

Well meaning or just mean?

When I teach dining etiquette I often tell a story that my neighbor shared with me. When she was a teenager she went to her boyfriend’s house for dinner. She picked up her bread roll, cut it in half with her knife and buttered the whole piece. Her boyfriend loudly announced that she was eating her bread wrong. My poor neighbor was mortified. She had no idea there was a right or wrong way to eat bread. Perhaps her boyfriend thought he was being helpful. But actually, he made his girlfriend feel very embarrassed. Yes, she will never eat bread that way again, but the fact she shared that story with me tells me she still feels the shame of being told she was doing something “the wrong way.”

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Do you practice these eight social niceties?

We’ve all heard the saying “You don’t know what you don’t know.” I’m reminded of this quote often when people share with me their etiquette annoyances or faux pas stories. So often a person’s misstep is simply due to not knowing that their behavior is inappropriate. Or they aren’t aware of the proper way to do something. For instance, when I was talking to a client she asked me to share in the training that people should not pass in front of others. Apparently, this is something she has experienced when out and about at her work and it annoys her.  So, for everyone out there who doesn’t know what they don’t know, here are some social niceties that will make your social and business encounters a little, well, nicer. Continue reading “Do you practice these eight social niceties?” »

Please stop interrupting me!

“Wait, let me finish . . . what I was trying to say is interrupting other people is rude.”

When you interrupt someone it says to the person talking that what you have to say is more important than what they are sharing. It shows disregard for the person and what they are saying.

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What George Washington knew about etiquette

The concept of etiquette and civility has been around for a very long time. I recently finished a novel called “Rules of Civility” that included mention of George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation. Apparently, at age 16, young George (yes, eventual first president of the United States) copied by hand for a penmanship exercise 110 rules of civility written by French Jesuits in 1590. Those rules were then made into a book by Mr. Washington. Continue reading “What George Washington knew about etiquette” »

Eeek, there’s a bug in my borscht! Answers to common etiquette dilemmas

I first had the thought of teaching etiquette classes when I worked for Washington Mutual. My job at the time was managing sponsorships for non-profit events like breakfasts and lunches. Because the company often received a table at these events I had to fill them with willing WaMu employees. Not always an easy job. Inevitably, there would be a few people at the table who would look panicked at the multitude of utensils, plates and glasses. They weren’t sure which bread plate and glasses belonged to them at the crowded tables or which utensil to use first. I always felt badly for them. I knew if they learned a couple of etiquette tips they could feel more confident and would never be panicked again.

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The year of kindness: Join me on a kindness journey

Kindness is showing love to someone else. I believe that kindness is the cure for violence and hatred around the world.

Lady Gaga

The January 1st Parade magazine edition had an article about making 2017 the year of being kind and included the lovely quote above by Lady Gaga. According to the article, studies have shown that being kind has many benefits not only for the receiver but the giver as well. When you are kind to others it lights up your brain’s reward center. Hospital patients who are treated with kindness and compassion have less pain, anxiety and shorter hospital visits. And conversely, kind doctors are less tired and are more engaged. Neighbors who are social and help each other have tighter knit neighborhoods and are less isolated. Kids who exhibit emotional intelligence, which includes kindness, are shown to have more success in life. Continue reading “The year of kindness: Join me on a kindness journey” »

Online Etiquette: Make Sure Your Child Knows What It Means to be a Cyber Bully

Contribution from Jenny Holt, a freelance writer for several health magazines.

Gone are the days of a single school bully extorting lunch money in the schoolyard. Bullying is no longer confined to school or even physical interactions. Kids have constant access to technology, which has also become a new playground for bullies. Continue reading “Online Etiquette: Make Sure Your Child Knows What It Means to be a Cyber Bully” »

Thanksgiving (and other meals) dos and don’ts

turkeyCan you hear it? It’s the sound of busy hosts shopping, prepping and cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I’m thankful my sister is one of those hosts. She usually hosts Thanksgiving because she has the bigger house and bigger family. The rest of us get to enjoy the gourmet bounty and family gathering in exchange for bringing a dish or two. Lucky us.

Whether you’re hosting or attending the Thanksgiving gathering this year you may be challenged by a few etiquette dilemmas. Let me answer some of the common etiquette dilemmas that apply especially to the holidays but that are also useful for other gatherings. Continue reading “Thanksgiving (and other meals) dos and don’ts” »

How to win favors and influence opportunity

politeness-costs-littleOh the power of “hello,” “please” and “thank you.” When they are used you often get better service, lower prices, maybe even a seat on a crowded plane. When they are not employed, you’re put in the “rude” category and are faced with possible negative consequences.

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