I have always found matters concerning etiquette fascinating. Different customs, traditions and pillars of decorum vary widely across cultures and I love learning about them. (I guess you could say I’m a closet enthusiast of cultural anthropology. And maybe I’m feeling inspired after having read The Help.) Needless to say, in our need-it-now, “Sorry I’m Facebooking!” I’ll-tweet-you-later world, manners have been left by the wayside. So why should we care? Etiquette makes social situations easier to navigate. Furthermore, having good manners is key to showing and gaining respect. By knowing what’s uncouth, you will be more confident in yourself and likely more adored by others! And who doesn’t want to be liked?
In a nutshell, etiquette is a set of social rules adopted by a society or culture over time (Thanks, Emily Post!). Most rules are simply known, while others are documented.
Remember all those books we read before starting school? “It is not okay to poke your friends in the eye or kick them in the shins as a means of hello.” Most likely, we wouldn’t know this unless we were taught otherwise. The bottom line here is etiquette sets the norm for how people treat each other (and want to be treated). It’s the unwritten “How to Interact with Other People Guide for Dummies.”
I bet you have engaged in a dozen variations of proper etiquette today. For starters, you probably woke up this morning, brushed your teeth and got ready for the day. Proper hygiene and timeliness are both ways you exercise etiquette on a daily basis. You also probably greet friends, family and loved ones with warmth and kindness. There it is again–etiquette lurking… All of our daily interactions are in one way or another based on some standard of decorum. It’s when we come upon new, awkward or uncommon social situations that knowing your manners truly matters: first dates, hugging, interviews, wedding gifts, texting, bridal showers, eating sushi, emailing, even pinning on Pinterest (who knew?)… Every aspect of social engagement requires some level of courtesy to others. Here’s where I come in.
I’m not pointing any fingers. I’m guilty of some of the worst offenses. I text during dinner, I forget to write thank you notes, I’m usually running late… Needless to say, I figured this series would be a fun and informative way for us to learn about the general dos and don’ts of modern life. (Queue Rocko’s Modern Life theme song…now.) Now, I’m not going to tell you how to live per say. I am, however, going to provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to navigate uncomfortable and unfamiliar (and a few basic) social situations with a little finesse.
Over the past few weeks, I have finally tackled my stack of etiquette books and am excited to share all the discoveries with you… Did you know you’re not supposed to take home a doggy bag of leftovers on your first date? Ever. Wish I had known this back in high school… Together we will learn all the laws to being a modern day lady!
If you have any requests, leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to cover that topic.
My first Ladylike Laws post will be about first dates.