Thursday, January 20, 2011

Being a Proper Lady in Social Settings

There are so many different rules and protocols when it comes to different social settings, which can become confusing at times. No one wants to be the one to feel out of place, or even worse...actually do something that is considered unacceptable!

I have put together a list of the common "rules" for social etiquette. I have learned these things over many years and would like to share them with you.

Being a proper guest when invited to someone's home or business: (Includes personal meetings and interviews)

Only shake hands if offered. Don't be the first to offer your hand.

Never sit down until the host has sat down. If the host doesn't sit, then wait until you're offered a seat before sitting down. In the case where you are not offered a seat and the host doesn't sit, politely ask if you may have a seat.

If you are greeting the host and there are many people around him or her, be sure to greet the host before greeting the others. Give the others friendly smiles then verbally greet the host first. Verbally greet the others immediately after the host.

When speaking to someone, make eye contact while conversing.

Do not fold your arms or put hands on your hips.

While sitting, do not cross your legs. Sit with your legs together and cross your ankles at the bottom.

When you are the host:

Offer your guest a seat before you sit down.

Offer guest a glass of water or other beverage. (Bring it to them)

Be sure to greet the person as soon as you see him or her.

If there are many people in a large setting, be sure to personally greet each guest that has made eye contact with you in the crowd.

Always walk your guest to the door when leaving.

While Dining:

Place a napkin on your lap before eating.

Do not spit food out into a napkin if it is unappetizing. Remove the food from your mouth the same way you put it in (with a fork, spoon, your fingers, etc.).

Don't talk with your mouth full (I think we all know this one!).

Never put elbows on the table (I think we all know this one too!).

Never slurp (or smack) while eating.

Avoid eating with your fingers and only use utensils when possible. (Even with "finger food")

Never stand and eat if possible.

Other things to remember:

If you are being applauded for any reason, never clap for yourself. If you are in a setting where many people are being honored, clap for the others but stop clapping once your name is called.

Only speak loudly enough for the person next to you to hear. There is no reason to speak very loudly.

Always say thank you when someone opens the door for you or holds the door for you on their way out.

Never curse or use obscenities

If a gentleman offers you his arm to escort you, graciously oblige him.

These are just common rules and are usually valid at all times. However, like everything in life, they may need to be adjusted from time to time due to the situation. If in doubt just do what you feel to be correct. Listen to your intuition which will let you know when something is uncomfortable or isn't right.

Please feel free to share any other rules that you have!

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