Wedding Plans in the Age of COVID-19

For couples across the country (and the globe for that matter) who were planning their big days, the COVID-19 pandemic has raised much anxiety and many questions. Should you cancel or postpone? Will vendors refund any deposits? Are guests going to ask for gifts to be returned? How far out do we need to worry? Will hotels allow us to move our blocked room dates?

No one has experienced uncertainty on this scale in the wedding industry (or likely any industry) in recent history. While that can sound scary, and it can seem like there are a million questions to answer, an Emily Post colleague once used a saying that can be helpful: You move mountains one pebble at a time. Let’s move some pebbles.

Let us start by recognizing that we are all in this together. You are not alone. And we are so sorry that this pandemic is affecting you and your loved ones during what should be a time of great joy and celebration.  We understand and sympathize with those for whom this is going to cause financial hardship and strained relationships.

Everyone from vendors to wedding professionals, couples, and attendants is trying to figure out what’s going to be best for all involved.

Let’s look at a few key areas that most people are concerned about.

 

CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS

POSTPONE, CANCEL OR TAKE THE LEAP?

Many couples whose wedding dates are directly affected by the current quarantine and shelter in place mandates have postponed or “canceled until further notice” their weddings, receptions and related parties.There’s also the option of taking the leap and getting married as a few couples have done. You may need to have a number of conversations and even gather quite a bit of information from vendors and sometimes guests before you can make the call for how you will proceed with getting married. One of the best questions you can ask yourself comes from Anna Post’s advice “Do what will make you feel married.” If that big party is it, then work on postponing or cancelling. If doing it now makes sense, finding out if you can get your marriage license made official and whether or not to Zoom in loved ones will be your path. It’s a great guide when having to make tough decisions: What will make you feel married?

Postpone

Postponing, while disappointing, does help the vendors you chose to budget and try to get a handle on what income they can count on once the threat of COVID-19 has reduced enough for gatherings to resume. Postponing is also a form of looking toward the future, and this can have a positive effect especially for happy events like celebrations. Even if you estimate incorrectly and have to postpone again, at this particular time there is a lot to be said for looking forward to such a joyous event.

As soon as you commit to postponing you can post to your wedding website and email and call guests to let them know your new plans or to let them know the wedding is postponed until further notice.

Cancel

For most couples this means canceling this version of their wedding. Maybe it was a destination trip, maybe the date and location needed to be tied together seasonally and the venue has no openings in the next few years. Whatever the reason, couples who need to cancel their wedding until further notice, should spread the word immediately. Postponement for many will mean re-booking tickets and reservations for different dates. Canceling means cancelling this version of the wedding. If you think you’re going to for sure invite all the same guests to the same place at a later but undetermined date, we think of that as postponed until further notice.

Cancelling this version of the wedding means that you’re likely to change the guest list, location and of course the date of this wedding. Cancelling would suggest that you should offer to send back all gifts to the giver. Some guests will accept a returned gift, others will insist you keep it.

Take the Leap

For some the current crisis will inspire acts of (well thought out) spontaneity. For others it might be freedom from a big party that was looming large. Insurance reasons have also practically been noted by many. If you decide to skip the gatherings and get married on your day (or heck maybe earlier!) and either celebrate by sharing photos you take or doing a giant Zoom video reception, we highly recommend letting folks know first that you’re canceling your big day and then follow up announcing that you got hitched or are planning on getting hitched minus the big party for safety’s sake.

Guests are likely wondering what your plans are and while many of them will be thrilled to see your happy news and you are surely to get many many many congratulations, etiquette asks that you remember your duties as a host. As the host of this awesome event, it’s considerate to think of how your guests will be affected by the switcheroo in plans and to get them answers quickly to ease wonder and worry, so they can make or change plans more easily.

 

GETTING THE WORD OUT

One of the things most couples are dreading is getting the word out to their guests that plans are cancelled or postponed. While most guests will be more sad for the couple than upset for themselves, many are under financial strains that could make any losses they take from the postponement or cancelation a harder hit to take. Here are some tips to help make the conversations easier.

  1. Get the word out right away. This gives your guests the best chance dealing with any travel plans and having one less thing to think about. Given the fact that none of us has ever dealt with this situation before it’s hard to tell how your nearest and dearest will react especially when anxiety is high right now for most people. Map out the basics of what you’ll say and then be prepared to listen and sympathize. “I understand, how this would affect our guests was one of our biggest worries in having to do this.” “We are really grateful for your support and we will be in touch as soon as we know more.” “We’re really hoping you’ll be able to come once we’ve figured out the new plan.”
  2. Share all the details you can and share them in any way that you can. Start by posting on your wedding website. This also provides you with an easy link to share via email and text or DM with your guests. We recommend speaking personally with anyone in the bridal party or immediate/close family and friends so that you can talk them through your decision and process together. Update your guests whenever possible. This might be a bit hard right now but for those handling this issue in April or May we might have a better picture of how long this crisis will last.
  3. Magic words are magic. Take a deep breath and remember that HOW you communicate matters just as much as what you are communicating. Calm, positive, understanding and sympathetic tones are a good goal right now. Remembering basics like the magic words: “Please,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” “excuse me,” and “I’m sorry” are going to go a long way to helping communications with your significant other, guests and vendors.

SAMPLE LANGUAGE

Postponing

“We hope this message finds you well and staying healthy right now. Due to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be holding our wedding on April 19th, this year. We instead planto postpone the wedding until April 18th, 2021. We have arranged for the same hotel blocks, venue etc… and should this date work for you, there will be no reason to cancel or change hotel plans. We want to thank you for supporting us, we are really looking forward to celebrating with you when social distancing is lifted.”

Or

“We hope this message finds you well and staying healthy right now. Due to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic we will not be holding our wedding on April 19th, of this year. Instead we are postponing until further notice. As soon as we have more information on hotel room blocks, we will reach out. We are so grateful for your support, and we look forward to celebrating with you when social distancing is lifted.”

Canceling

“We hope this message finds you well and staying healthy. We regret that due to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be cancelling our wedding planned for April 28th, 2020. We are not canceling our marriage, and we are looking forward to a wedding in the future. At this time we are uncertain of what our wedding plans will look like and out of consideration for our guests, we thought it best to cancel this version of our wedding. Thank you for your support. We love you all and are happy to help with any questions or concerns regarding bookings already made.”

Going for it!

We hope this message finds you well and staying healthy. After much thought regarding our wedding plans and the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to go forward with our wedding on April 10th, 2020. In order to comply with safety measures (and encourage them!), it will be just the two of us with an officiant 6 ft away,. We will be hosting the event in an online video chat and would love for you to join us if you can! We plan to hold a party later on once travel and gatherings are safe. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and we are happy to help in the ways that we can with travel bookings. We thank you for your love and support, and we hope that we can join us for a joyous event from a distance!”

GIFTS

If you are postponing your wedding you do not need to send gifts back, even if the postponement is quite far out.

If you’ve cancelled and you’re likely to have the same guest list you just don’t know when, or where you’ll be inviting them, then you make the offer to return the gift. In essence you do a sort of gifting dance. The couple calls the guest and says something along the lines of “Auntie June, Kim and I were so thrilled to receive the gorgeous vase you sent for our wedding! Since we are cancelling the wedding and aren’t sure of the details moving forward we wanted to offer to send the vase back to you if that would be best.” This gives Auntie June a choice to say, “That would be wonderful, you can just send it right back to the store/me. And I look forward to hearing what you two plan to do once you’ve decided on a new plan.” Or “Oh don’t you worry about it at all sweethearts, you just enjoy that vase as an early gift. Be sure to tell us of your plans once you have some.”

 

VENDORS

Before you call, check your contracts with vendors to find out what terms you’ve agreed to. Then, ask your vendors what their preferred course of action is. Try not to put your vendors in the position of asking them to decide  whether to cancel or postpone your wedding. Remember your goal is to find out what is possible (or not possible) from them based on their business sense and then to make decisions that work for you from that information.

 

STAYING POSITIVE

We wish we could give all of you out there managing wedding plans amid the outbreak of COVID-19 a giant hug (asking your permission first of course, smiles and good vibes to those who decline). We wish we could host true virtual versions of your weddings (complete with perfect weather. We wish we could ease every guest and couple who is worried about time and money potentially lost. In the absence of having those magical powers, we want to offer you hope. We don’t exactly know what it will look like, but you and your partner have a beautiful future together because you’re making the choice to spend your lives together supporting and loving one another. And you and your marriage, your wedding, can be the bright light that family and friends are looking forward to celebrating.

 

 

The Etiquette of Social Distancing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We are two months into life in the age of COVID-19 and it’s getting more complicated. Right as many of us were getting used to staying distanced, staying home, and staying in, some states and areas are relaxing restrictions. It isn’t life as it used to be, and it’s inconsistent across the nation. As we all try to figure out what relaxing measures means and what we are comfortable with, we’ve also embraced full on what life via video chat and living six feet apart can be like. Like normal humans, we all have questions, concerns, pet peeves, opinions and of course mute buttons that malfunction.

Before we dive into Etiquette in the Age of COVID-19 we would like to start by saying:

The threat of the novel coronavirus is still present. Until we have a vaccine or until we’ve gotten a handle on this virus’ impact on us, we are going to see requests, and requirements to physically distance ourselves and use personal protective measures like masks and hand washing regularly. It has changed our social behavior and it will continue to change our social behavior as communities find ways to interact safely. These new social measures can feel incredibly awkward and at times impolite, but you are not alone in feeling that way about them. Everyone is learning and figuring this out as we go.

Safety is the guideline right now and measures that we take to protect ourselves and others are right in line with the Emily Post principles of etiquette: consideration, respect, and honesty.

To find more information about the virus, it’s spread and what precautions and measures to take please visit:

The Center For Disease Control website   — https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html  

The World Health Organization website  — https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 

As well as your state or local department of health.

Safety First

When we think about what advice to give, we think first about safety and then about how to be kind and considerate and respectful when trying to be safe. Safety comes before etiquette. This doesn’t mean we toss consideration, respect, and honesty out the window. Far from it, we’ve seen how doing so can lead to tragically bad and completely unnecessary things happening. What it means is that how we interact and what is deemed “polite” or “acceptable” behavior will change during this time. Let’s look at some of the basics to consider here and for specific topics see these articles:

Zoom/Video Call Etiquette for Socializing (coming soon)

Zoom/Video Call Etiquette for Work (coming soon)

Weddings in the Age of COVID19

Navigating Hanging Out Together Apart (coming soon)

 

PHYSICAL DISTANCING

We are all familiar with the term “social distancing” by now. And many are encouraging the use of the phrase “physical distancing” instead which helps people to imagine a less isolated solution. Our goal for physical distancing is that when out and about in public or when socializing with those we don’t live with, we keep ourselves – or our family group – at least 6 feet away from others when possible.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. We’ve all navigated a tight aisle at a store, an elevator or stairwell, or a friend leaning in too closely despite feeling awkward. But what is the right thing to do?

megaphone
megaphone in orange

Speak Up

We get asked, more than anything else through our podcast and media interviews, how do you speak up when something is wrong, or bothering you? It’s not an easy thing to do. How you do it makes a huge difference to how well it’s received, but it’s not a magic key. You can never predict someone else’s reaction, especially that of a stranger. So our first piece of advice is and always will be to seek the help of someone in charge if the scenario provides such a person. A manager, usher, flight attendant, host, or whomever is in charge, can have the authority to help you and can also ensure that you aren’t dealing with someone alone. That being said, you don’t do this as a way to punish someone else, it’s to make sure a concern is raised, or that help or safety can be achieved.

If someone at a store hasn’t given you enough space to pass or reach the item you’d like, then a friendly “Mind giving me just a little more space so I can pass [or grab that item] safely?” You want to have an upbeat tone to your delivery, no edge whatsoever (think that person you know who is always upbeat, or sounds cheerful and if no one comes to mind think: how would Glinda the Good Witch, Dr. Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, the CW’s Superman say it?). If the person scoffs at you, you can either pass anyway keeping as much distance as possible, wait until they move farther away, or go get something else and come back later.

 

Other phrases that are being heard and used when out and about to manage distancing:

Excuse me Sir, the line starts back there, everyone’s just distanced.

(while stepping back) Sorry I’m trying to keep 6 feet away.

Excuse me, I was next.

I’ll wait and catch the next elevator.

After you, please. (said genuinely)

Do you mind giving us just a little bit more space please, (hopefully followed by a: thank you so much)

A little space please.

Flow of Traffic

While following the guidance of the arrows and directions through stores is always important, it’s not worth getting into an altercation over. Either pass, doing what you can keep your distance, or go back the other way if the aisle isn’t crowded. Don’t make a stand when there are other safe options.

Public Outdoor Spaces

When it comes to public outdoor spaces it’s important to respect any distancing guides that have been put in place whether it’s marked areas to lounge or workout in, or directions for flow of traffic. Remember that even though you’re spaced apart from others, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze as well as not coughing, sneezing, singing, or yelling in the direction of others is helpful.

When trying to create physical distance on sidewalks, recreational paths and trails, you’re still trying to aim for six feet (about two adult arm lengths) apart. It’s really thoughtful if you’re a group or family out together to consider dropping to single file when passing others to help make room.

If it’s easy for you to be the person to step off the path or into the street (because you aren’t, using a walking or mobility aid, managing a frisky dog, balancing a toddler and a baby carriage or are on foot rather than wheels) to create space by all means make the move and do so early so that the other person doesn’t even have to guess at it.

HandshakeGreetings

Greetings continue to feel lacking during this strange time. Despite wonderfully bright and cheery waves, mini dances, hops, and skips when we meet, we miss hugs and solid handshakes, high fives, and fist bumps. Greetings that involve touching are still not recommended at this time, so perfect your waves (you know your “professional wave”, your “zoom-meeting wave”, your “I-love-you-Grandma wave”, your “I-haven’t-seen-you-and-I’m-trying-so-hard-not-to-hug-you wave”) and use your tone of voice to match the occasion.

WEARING MASKS

While masks are causing a lot of divisiveness, when combined with physical distancing wearing a mask in public can greatly reduce the risk of spread. Wearing masks may be around for a while so it’s best to try and get used to what it’s like to interact with them on. Since most people are wearing cotton or medical masks and few have clear plastic ones allowing their full face to be seen we are more often than not without many facial cues.

Smiling (anyway), and using your eyes (cue acting skills from every medical show ever for inspiration) and hands to gesture will be the way to connect while wearing masks.

Masks unfortunately also muffle the sound of our voice and so it’s important to get comfortable speaking up, especially when in a noisy store or on a loud street. While you don’t want to shout to the point of sounding unnatural or making the listener uncomfortable, you do need to literally speak up to be heard. If you don’t, often the other person will lean in to hear you, and then you end up stepping back to recreate some space. It’s a odd dance but it happens often.

As we move into figuring out dining indoors and patio dining scenarios be prepared to see people storing their masks in a paper bag or envelope while eating. Some places may place plastic shields between tables or even at tables depending on the restaurant and local requirements.

Wearing masks outdoors is not a bad idea if you’re passing frequently while out on rec paths and trails or in the park or on the sidewalks of your neighborhood. Many choose to “mask when they pass” and let their mask down while on long stretches without others or when there’s more than enough room to pass without any worry. (According to this article in the New York Times, you’re more likely to encounter an issue for yourself if you have prolonged time indoors without masks on than if you pass someone outdoors without a mask on.)

If you’re uncomfortable when you encounter someone without a mask on resist the urge to glare or tsk at them. Do what you can to keep yourself physically distanced and avoid interacting instead. Remember you can only control yourself as best you can. There will be times when it doesn’t go perfectly and even though that can cause stress and anxiety, which often lead to rudeness, arming ourselves with kindness and avoiding judgement of others is good etiquette.

CONTACT TRACING

Contact tracing – tracing the virus’ spread through individuals who have tested positive or been around those who tested positive for COVID-19 – is happening at different rates throughout the country, but early indications show that contact tracing by businesses and through events that we attend may become commonplace. Many places already use your phone number or email address to contact you about tickets or a reservation or even a purchase so it’s not unfamiliar. But to have it be connected to our health when visiting a restaurant can feel very different. While we don’t know yet exactly how contact tracing will impact our personal social gatherings (birthday parties, showers, weddings…) or our public socializing (bars, sports, groups, restaurants…) we are considering the possibility that in the future a host’s to-do list list, or advice for making a restaurant reservation for a work lunch might involve contact info for potential contact tracing follow ups.

 

 

Compassion

BE COMPASSIONATE

We cannot emphasize this enough right now. These are extraordinary times and there are so many ways this virus is impacting all of us. Especially when it comes to how we are mentally handling the longevity of this pandemic. You don’t know what is affecting someone’s life making the current threat even worse (financially, emotionally, physically). It’s important to respect people where they are at, and not blow off their concerns or drive fear where it doesn’t need to be.

Many of us are so fortunate to have so many ways to connect to help get us through this crisis together, but loneliness and anxiety are still huge concerns. Reaching out to one another. Being patient and kind with each other. Listening to one another. Respecting one another. Helping those in need. These are the kinds of attitudes and actions that will carry us through. They often cost us nothing, and yet they can make an impactful difference.

 

Spring Break Travel Tips

Traveling this Spring? Avoid the Stress with Lizzie Post’s Travel Tips

With spring break just around the corner, planes, trains and America’s highways will be more crowded. Sometimes, the road to rest and relaxation is paved with flaring tempers! Not to worry! I have etiquette advice to ease the stress and keep travelers’ tempers in check.

SB FINAL

Try not to let the stress get you down.

There are easy ways to overcome your own inclination to be rude or brusque when travel stress gets to you.

Try these three simple steps to avoiding airport stress:

  1. Eat something: I know I’m more prone to stress and snippiness if I haven’t eaten.
  2. Take a deep breath and remember you’re not alone: everyone has to go through security, everyone has a plane or train to catch.
  3. Smile and don’t gripe. The more you smile, the more others around you will feel calm. Seeing other calm people is infectious.

 

Here are a few common travel situations that can really cause stress! And, my solutions.

Situation: Clunky carry on bags.
Solution: With baggage fees on the rise, carry on luggage is multiplying like bunnies. Simplify! Either choose an airline like Jet Blue or Southwest where your first checked bag is free, or check out your credit card benefits; many cards offer credits toward baggage fees on your airline of choice.

Situation: Reclining your airplane seat.
Solution: Be considerate when reclining your seat. On a four hour flight, it’s fine if you recline for an hour or two, but give the person behind you a break and put your seat up for a while.

Situation: Declining a seat swap request.
Solution: “I’m sorry, I’d prefer to stay in my seat.” That’s all you need to say, just leave it at that.

Situation: You need to charge your laptop and there’s not a power source to be found.
Solution
: Power outlets at airports are more popular than Kim Kardashian’s Twitter feed. When you’re traveling, you always have at least one mobile device in need of a charge. Come on people! Don’t hog the power outlets. Charge your device, then move on. Share the plug if there’s more than one outlet.  Don’t be afraid to ask someone to share the plug. Just say, “Excuse me, may I plug in?”

Situation: Misbehaving child screaming and kicking my seat on the airplane.
Solution:
If the parent is trying to control the child, cut them some slack, but if they aren’t doing anything, here are three options:

  1. Do what you can to block the noise – I love my Bose noise cancelling headphones for exactly this reason!
  2. If you’re not comfortable addressing the parent directly, you can ask a flight attendant for assistance.
  3. If you can do it in a polite way, ask the parent to speak to the child. Try this: “I’m not sure if you noticed, but your daughter is kicking the back of my seat. Could you please ask her to stop? Thanks.”

Situation: Maintaining privacy in close quarters with a nosy neighbor.
Solution:
Install a laptop or cell phone privacy filter, such as one made by 3M. They range from $50-70 and prevent anyone from viewing your screen. This alleviates you from having to worry about private documents or text conversations.

Situation: You’re in the car with a friend (she’s driving) and she starts texting or talking on phone.
Solution:
Safety first! Offer to take over the task for her. Also, double check your mobile services – you might have a talk to text feature which would make the situation safer.

Situation: Radio/music disagreements on the road.
Solution:
Plan ahead of time who will be the DJ and how much authority they have; set time limits and rules before hitting the road. With technology today you can do amazing things. Stream Pandora – a music service that allows you pick a song or artist and then it chooses similar artists and songs to play – it’s like your own personal radio station.

Workplace etiquette: notch it up everyday to improve your success

workplace etiquette in actionNotch up your behavior by practicing good workplace etiquette everyday. People will notice and it will affect you long term success. Remember etiquette is not something that you know, it is something that you do. This requires commitment to good habit forming practicing and maintenance of established successful practices. Keep this simple list of common sense reminders handy as a way to check in. Ask yourself have I actively demonstrated three of these traits today in a way that someone else might notice? Ultimately the true test is not about whether you have internal understanding but about whether you exhibit recognizable behaviors.


  1. Arrive at work early enough that you can get your blog time and coffee and still be in your chair when the day starts.
  2. Try to anticipate certain tasks before they are asked of you, like finding a report you know your boss will ask for, before she does so.
  3. Adhere to your office dress code. Take pride in your appearance, it matters. Make sure clothes are clean and ironed, that your hair is brushed and the your person hygiene doesn’t leave anything to be desired.
  4. Don’t spend your time making personal calls or surfing the web. It’s not what you are paid to do.
  5. Be punctual throughout the day for breaks, deadlines, your lunch hour, as well as for leaving for the day.
  6. Never gossip about co-workers. Not even for out for coffee on the weekend. Hold yourself accountable, if you wouldn’t say it in front of them don’t talk about your co-workers.
  7. Don’t flirt with co-workers or business colleagues (like clients). Others will notice that you are focusing on your personal life rather than the job at hand, and it won’t reflect possitively on you.
  8. Watch your language. This doesn’t just mean swearing, but also how you choose to phrase or present situations, and the tone of voice you choose to use.
  9. Pick your battles. While disagreements may arise and be solved by level heads, being stubborn or argumentative will get you nowhere fast.
  10. Remember to rely on consideration, respect and honesty whenever you find yourself wondering what is the best course of action in a difficult situation.

The costs of incivility are real. Christine Porath and Christine Pearson outline some of the effects in The Price of Incivility at the Harvard Business review.

Remember workplace etiquette: everyday is an interview for the next promotion, raise, client or opportunity you would like to earn.


Toasts and Toasting: Tips you can use Today

Offer a great toast to honor any occasion.

toasting glassesThere are few traditions as sacred as that of the toast. What may have started as a libation offering to the gods became a tradition for honoring guests. Once upon a time, a host drank from the communal vessel to prove goodwill (and the absence of poison) before offering drink to a guest. Now we use the toast to formalize relationships and offer praise at the most elaborate of functions, but never underestimate or forget the power of the informal toast to convey that same honor and goodwill among friends and family gathered with much less formality.



Here are a few modern etiquette tips to help you toast like a pro:

How to Give a Modern Toast:

  1. Set the Stage: The contemporary toast may be offered by anyone for any purpose. A toast is a simple and gracious means of calling attention to shared gifts; whether it is thanking the cook for the meal, family members for attending, team members for hard work, or volunteers for effort. The venue can be a business lunch or a family gathering, but the elements of a simple informal toast remain the same and can be used to great effect.
  2. Fill Your Glass: While you might associate a toast with champagne, don’t be afraid to make each toast your own; fill your glasses with something as meaningful as what you plan to say. You can toast with with whatever you prefer to drink. It is the message you deliver, not the beverage you consume, that gives the toast true meaning.
  3. Get People’s Attention: Stand, raise a glass or hold a meaningful silence long enough to be noticed. Resist the urge to bang on glassware with silver or clear your throat repeatedly. Don’t forget the power of your words, they are magic. “Excuse me, could I have your attention for just a moment? I’d like to propose a toast…”



  4. Speak from the Heart: A successful toast is best kept simple. Be brief and speak from the heart. Keep the attention on the person being honored. Mention the honoree and the reason for the toast, then raise a glass and drink. It really is that simple.
  5. Cheers!: Formally, everyone stands for a toast. In today’s more casual, contemporary world, it is common to remain seated and toasts are not always ‘exchanged’ between the host and their guests. Anyone who feels so inspired may propose a toast and the idea will sometimes catch fire at a gathering. Think about all of the opportunities we have to share food and drink with others. There is usually someone present who deserves acknowledgement.

The Power of a Great Compliment




Give someone a great compliment!
Red Balloon

At the very core good etiquette is the ability to make someone else feel good. There is very little in the world so effective at making someone else feel good as a well-delivered compliment. But what does that sound like? What makes a great compliment great?

The magic is in you. There is no magic word or words that will work in every situation. The magic comes from your sincerity and your genuine good will. Here are some things that will help make that happen.

  1. Stay in the moment. Be present with the person you are complimenting. Look them in the eye. Smile. Let your eyes smile too.
  2. Be spontaneous. Don’t always say the same thing. Notice good work, changes someone has made, or admirable attributes. If you are bringing up something you have planned to mention allow for some spontaneity in how you talk about it.
  3. Use the right dosage. Like all good medicine, too much of a good thing can make anyone sick. Keep the compliment proportional to the specific thing you are mentioning or the situation.
  4. You might try a compliment that acknowledges something difficult someone has achieved or overcame. A struggle can bring out the best in anyone and acknowledgement of that can be particularly satisfying.
  5. Don’t always comment on someone’s appearance. While it might be nice to have someone notice a ‘good hair day’ no one wants to feel like they are being evaluated or judged on their looks alone.
  6. Be generous with compliments. Offer them to friends, family, and colleagues. Try a few on yourself while you are at it. Compliments make everyone feel good and they are free.




How To Eat Soup the Proper Way




gif of soup spoon dipping away showing how to eat soup
How to eat soup

The short answer to “How to eat soup?” is to eat it so you don’t make a mess.

Soup tends to drip off the soupspoon on the way from the bowl to your mouth. You can take two steps to reduce the chances of drips.
1. Dip your spoon into the soup with the spoon facing away from you and then scoop the soup away from you rather than towards you.

2.As you lift the spoon out of the soup, gently touch the underside of the soupspoon to the far edge of the soup bowl. This little tap will remove any soup from the underside of the spoon, leaving the drip on the edge of the bowl and not falling into your lap.

While at first scooping away may seem awkward, you will quickly learned how easy it is to do, and you’ll stop finding soup spots on your blouse or tie.




Slurping is another issue in regard to eating soup. The noise is both distracting and unpleasant for the other people at the table. Generally, people slurp because the soup is hot. Instead of slurping to cool the soup, try gently and quietly blowing on the soup in the spoon before taking it into your mouth. Once cooled, the spoonful can then be put into your mouth without slurping. At a very formal meal, refrain from blowing or slurping. Instead, hold the filled soupspoon low over the bowl for about 30 seconds to cool, and then proceed to eat it.

Is it okay to tip a bowl to get the last tasty spoonful of soup? Of course, it is. Just tilt the bowl away from you (again to avoid spills or drips on you) and do it quietly, without clanking your spoon against the bowl.

Definition of Etiquette




“Consideration for the rights and feelings of others is not merely a rule for behavior in public but the very foundation upon which social life is built.”
― Emily Post, Etiquette 1st edition
Book pages showing a knife and fork in the proper hands as the definition of etiquette
The definition of etiquette

Definition of Etiquette

The philosophy of etiquette is timeless and everlasting, whereas manners – the outward expression of the underlying principles of etiquette – are ever-changing. Manners, by their very nature, adapt to the times. While today’s manners are often situational, tailored to particular circumstances and the expectations of those around us, they remain a combination of common sense, generosity of spirit, and a few specific guidelines or fluid “rules” that help us interact thoughtfully. And as fluid as manners are, they all rest on the same fundamental principles of etiquette: consideration, respect, and honesty.

Consideration

Consideration is being aware of and understanding how a situation affects everyone involved. It is thoughtful behavior, which informs actions that will affect others in a positive way. Consideration prompts us to help a friend or stranger in need, to show appreciation, to offer praise.



Respect

Respect is demonstrated by actions, appearance, and words that honor and value others, regardless of their background, race, or creed. It’s demonstrated in all your day-to-day relations—refraining from demeaning others for their ideas and opinions, refusing to laugh at racist or sexist jokes, putting prejudices aside, and staying open-minded. Being inclusive is a way of being respectful – that is, making an effort to learn about and accept others whose backgrounds and cultures are different from one’s own. We also show respect not just by what we refrain from doing but also by intentional acts, such as being on time, dressing appropriately for the occasion, acknowledging value in the ideas and beliefs of others, or giving our full attention to the person or people we’re with.
Self-respect is just as important as respect for others. A person who respects herself isn’t boastful or pushy, but is secure in a way that inspires confidence. She values herself regardless of her physical attributes or individual talents, understanding that integrity and character are what really matter.

Honesty

Honesty is acting sincerely and being truthful. Honesty compels us to choose to act with integrity in ways that honor and respect others. It eschews the “white lie,” which denies both consideration and respect. Honesty allows us to apply empathy to find the positive truth and act upon it, without causing embarrassment or pain.




Two Other Essential Qualities

Graciousness and kindness are an integral part of courteous behavior. Graciousness is the ability to make other people feel welcome and comfortable in your world. Kindness is much like consideration but it also reflects the warmth in your heart.

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”
― Emily Post

For a sampling of more amazing Emily Post quotes on the definition of etiquette please visit our Emily Post Quotations page or A_Z quotes.