Episode 1: The Yawning and the Pinky
Welcome to the very first episode of the Awesome Etiquette podcast!
Is it okay to yawn at work? Are you just obeying your body’s orders, or are you disrespecting your superiors and co-workers? Until the modern workplace correctly embraces George Costanza’s under-the-desk nap zone, this question will bedevil us all.
Speaker 1: Maybe it's just that you don't know how to use social courtesy that's old fashioned.
Speaker 1: Watch how busy post and damn post center actors host and hostess.
Speaker 1: They know that courtesy means showing respect, thinking of the other person. Really. Friendliness. Welcome
Speaker 2: toe, Awesome etiquette, Part of the Infinite Guest network. I'm Lizzie Post
Speaker 1: and I'm Dan Post Center. It's such a pleasure to be with you. Dan
Speaker 2: and I are from the Emily Post Institute. We are a part of the Emily Post family, and we couldn't be more excited to have you join us for our first podcast. We have been doing the dinner party download once a month for the past two years and absolutely love the show and the host, Rico and Brendan and could not be more excited to get to delve in and have longer sessions with you through our awesome etiquette podcast.
Speaker 1: And I've gotta jump in. And second, the sentiment that my cousin Lizzie just expressed it really is a treat. We've talk to the Emily Post Institute for years about how much we would love to be involved with radio, how much we would love to have an opportunity to really expand the dialogues that we have it. Emily Post about etiquette every day and really invite a larger audience to participate and podcast being the evolution of radio and to really develop this podcast in a way that allows the audience to participate. That's
Speaker 2: the part I want the most. I want the audience to participate like this is all based on the fact that we get questions from the public all the time time and everyone has a slightly different twist. I mean, we can do our best to put out our books and our advice online and in interviews, talk about it till the end of the day. But at the end of the day, there's always someone who has a little caveat, a little twist, a little something that makes their question their situation different. And I think it's the human element. That's true, too. And I think that the thing that Dan and I find so gratifying about our jobs is that we actually get to help people. We get to give them the confidence and take something that is giving them angst or frustration or nerves
Speaker 2: and relieve that. And I'm so glad that they believe us when we say this adviser that it does something for them. But it is one of the best feelings when you get to answer questions. So to sit here and be able to go through and answer a whole bunch of them with you and have you all listen to participate,
Speaker 2: we're
Speaker 1: really excited. It's a treat on as Lizzie's eluding. This will be a question and answer podcast or our idea, our dream. Our vision is toe every week. Answer questions that get sent in. When possible, We're going to try to call back out and engage questioners. So definitely, if you're reaching out to us and you feel comfortable, include a phone number. We'd love to get back in touch with you and follow up. Dive a little deeper if your question warrants it, Um, and also if you have other ideas about the show, things that you'd like to hear us talk about. If you have questions about a traditional etiquette, maybe it's not a personal situation. Or maybe it's about an emerging etiquette or a trend that you see coming in the future. We want to know about it. We want to hear about it. We wanna be your home for all things etiquette.
Speaker 2: I mean, a lot of people ask us. In fact, when I had lunch with one of my really good friends Marissa today and she straight up asked me, She goes, So how do you How do you know? Like what? No, she didn't give me that one. That's another one. So what do you do every day? But no, it was How do you know that? That what you're giving is the right advice, and it's such a good question because, I mean, you could give the arrogant answer of Well, I just know or because because I said so. But the truth is, is that Emily Post etiquette has always been based on the three principles that we really believe. That kind of, um will lead you to having the best relationships with the people around you. And basically, those three principles are consideration, respect and honesty. And if you're using those three ideas those three concepts to guide your actions, you are you know, frankly, it as Emily Post said, it's not gonna matter which fork you use. The
Speaker 1: chances are you're in safe territory. Exactly. Behavior is probably exemplary. It's considerate, respectful and honest, the
Speaker 2: more that you could be aware of the people around you. So when Dan and I get etiquette questions we think about okay, who is involved in this situation, how are they being affected and what's the best outcome for everyone involved? And sometimes that means the person who's asking it might take the hit Other times you wanna take on all sides of the equation. Yeah, it's
Speaker 1: a great place toe to begin this podcast, really talking about the framework that we operate from. And and that is where we look for the solutions when there isn't an obvious answer or there isn't always, ah, specific manner. That's really going to guide what we're talking about. If there is a tradition, we like to reference it. We like to talk about the whys and hows and where's these things can come from. But but but for us, the big picture is the dedicates about human relationships and the relationships built on that framework. Those foundational principles Really, Um, we think they thrive.
Speaker 2: Yeah. Emily Post always said that whenever two people come together
Speaker 2: and their actions affect one another, you have etiquette, and that's exactly what it's all about. Doesn't matter if you're holding a door or if you're getting married. There's some form of etiquette going on between you and you get to choose whether that's going to be something that you helped make a positive situation or whether you choose to ignore it or make it worse. And it's all it's all upto us so
Speaker 1: well. And hopefully this is the start of a beautiful relationship. So thank you for coming for your attention questions without further ado, Um, let's let's dive in a way, you're right.
Speaker 1: There's so much to learn how to dio. Sure, there's a lot to learn, but it's worth it.
Speaker 1: And learning is easy. One way is by watching others.
Speaker 1: So our first question comes to us from one of our newsletter readers.
Speaker 1: Sandy wants to know my stepson and his girlfriend are expecting. I just found out they had their baby shower and we weren't invited after speaking with them. Although hurt, I can see their reasoning, but don't agree. We had planned on getting them some things for the shower. Should we just now wait till the baby is born and just do a gift for them then,
Speaker 2: huh? That is kind of a bummer that you weren't weren't invited, but e I don't mean to laugh. I just like I know that feeling of being like Oh,
Speaker 2: okay, Sure. Um, and I understand that that she might have some bitter feelings, but I like the fact that rather than asking us whether or not she should be angry about this, she's asking when is the best time to now give a gift? And I think when the baby's born and you go to meet that little baby, I say I say bring it then. I don't think you have to send something now.
Speaker 2: In fact, it even could potentially look like you're trying to be like, Well, I wasn't invited, but I'm sending it to you anyway. See how much I'm better than you on. This is
Speaker 1: where I'm of two minds. Part of me thinks that that gift could be almost problematic. There's always the question at the shower of keeping track of who the gift came from and being able to thank appropriate. But if you're doing that, well, it shouldn't be too much of a burden.
Speaker 2: I don't know. I don't think Gifts server. Problematic. Like I don't know. I don't know, e, we've got a mystery, you know, Here. I don't know who it came from. If they send it now. Yeah, so yeah,
Speaker 1: so probably I'm looking for difficulty. There were maybe none lies on, but the same time you've got that that that the other question that you've raised of does it then appear like you're trying to insert yourself into that situation and having already had this discussion, maybe this is one of those times where it's best to step back. Except whatever that answer is that there is some disagreement about
Speaker 1: and exchange the gift when everyone can can really appreciate it
Speaker 2: and be together. Yeah, I think I think Sandy, that's your answer is go for it once, once you go and visit the baby rather than trying to send it in between now and when the baby's born.
Speaker 1: And, um, let's just add on the old classic and say that. Don't worry. If the baby doesn't handwrite the thank you note that gives for future grandchildren, we're gonna have a one year grace period from infancy to the first birthday
Speaker 2: It was so cute is that I had a friend who just had a baby, and she, um she did the baby footprint as the thank you know, And she did she she says, like the baby had its stamp on it. I was like,
Speaker 1: Oh, my gosh, that's so cute. Adorable. And a standard Good luck, little baby.
Speaker 1: No.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 2: Next question.
Speaker 2: This is actually a really a really tough one. I think it's one that a lot of women deal with, and it's one that maybe wasn't as talked about in years past. I'm really glad that we live in a culture today where this is something that people can talk about. So the question is, a friend of mine just lost her baby at 38 weeks of pregnancy. Um, which is incredibly sad. She had received many condolences, yet she doesn't know how to respond. Giving and it's okay is making her uncomfortable because it isn't okay. She feels completely opposite. How can she give a response without giving all the details? I think it's perfectly okay for you to respond how you wish. I mean, I would gauge it on who I'm talking thio, but um one of things I actually love about my cousin Peter is that he He really does tell you how he's feeling at the time. If if you say, hey, how are things and things aren't great. He'll say they're not great, But tell me what's going on with you, And I think that if someone says to you, You know,
Speaker 2: I'm so sorry. I don't think you have to say it's OK, But I think instead what you want to do is acknowledge their condolence and say, Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Um, you can leave it at that. If it's someone your closer to you can say, You know, um, if you wanna if if they're offering to talk about it, you can say I'd love to But now I just don't feel like getting into it.
Speaker 2: Um, you can you can deflect it to a different time. I think it's really important that you not just say it's okay because it isn't just okay. And it's going to drive you nuts to keep saying that. So feel free to say what you need to say either. Thank you for your, you know, thank you for your concern or there. Thank you so much. It means a lot. Um, I don't really want to talk about it right now or
Speaker 2: whatever it is that you do want to talk about around it if you feel that that's the right person to engage it with.
Speaker 2: So here is a question that I have a personal issue with. And that is what's the proper yawning conduct at work? Does a person simply cover their mouth? Or should he stifled a yawn, which doesn't fool anyone? And I appreciate that what our reader or listener is asking is not, um is it appropriate to yawn at work? Instead, they're asking, How should you handle it? Because I had a boss for a very short while, who any time I yawned and let's face it, yawning happens. Your body and your brain needs oxygen, and yawning is the way that it goes about getting it. And the thing that I hated more than anything is that he would say, Oh, my boring you. I was like, This is nothing to do with you. I am, you know, just tired. My brain and my body need a little bit more oxygen I am trying to be polite about. I would turn away. I would cover my mouth. I would excuse myself and every single time. Am I boring you? Can we not keep you awake? Do you need to go home? It was so, so condescending. I just want to just Franklin patronizing bosses aside, This'll is
Speaker 1: one of those questions where my cousin and I have slightly different perspectives
Speaker 2: and go for it. But and then I
Speaker 1: fall in the camp that thinks that
Speaker 1: yes, yawning could be considered involuntary. And you're
Speaker 2: so sensitive. I heard I heard the question.
Speaker 1: I heard the the and I've heard it before. The I need the oxygenate. I've also heard Oh, it's like stretching and I think to myself Well, yes, but you don't always bust out a big stretch when you're in the middle of something, either. And I do think there's some middle ground between obnoxious, patronizing boss and I have no control over my bodily functions, and
Speaker 1: I hear that all the time. This is this is an involuntary action. At
Speaker 2: the same time, we learn how to control
Speaker 1: our bodily functions. We learn how to control lots of them, and I think a yawn is one of them.
Speaker 2: I am so gonna call you out on this. The next time you yawn in front, I want you. I am going to literally say so. Damn. Did you make a conscious choice to yawn? I think it communicates a
Speaker 1: lot. And the way that your boss read I'm boring. This person is something that you need to be really aware of, particularly in professional situations, in context, that that it does some whether you intended to send the message or not, It is oftentimes received as you're sending a very particular message. And while I would I would not like the boss say something every time it's done. I do notice when I'm talking and someone else yawns. And I read it as a sign that what I'm saying is no longer engaging the person. Don't
Speaker 2: you think that that is hyper sensitive of you? You know what yawn is like? Do you really? You really think that you need to be that engaging to a person, that you can't forgive them for yawning in your presence?
Speaker 1: I forgive them for yawning. I don't hold it against them. But I read it as a sign of how engaged they are with what I'm
Speaker 2: can be engaged with you and still need Thio freshen myself that my body might say, Boy, I need Thio perk up here. You know I fall on
Speaker 1: the other side of this one. I think I I'm one of those people that I would say Be aware that there are people out there and whether it's a professional context or whether it's a personal context. I would notice it on a date. If I'm with someone and their yawning. I think that they're not engaged and I don't take it as a slight. I say to myself, I have tow, not talk for so long. I have Thio do something different, say something different. I'm not saying it's their fault. They're problem, but it sends a message. I read it as something when you're with somebody and engaged and participating, you're not yawning. There is a certain element of disengagement that that a yawn communicates to me.
Speaker 2: I don't know. I would love love if any readers have any or listeners any No, no, no. Let me let me finish. If anyone has any scientific evidence studied on yawning and and the indications of what it means for being focused or what it means for the company that you're in. When you yawn in front of someone now to answer, the question does so you it's gonna happen. You're gonna lawn yawn. Excuse me? Do you simply cover your mouth or should you stifle the on which doesn't fool anyone? I I think stifling it is the best thing that you could possibly do. Cover your mouth if if you need to. I don't think that you should just especially at work, have a big gaping. You're You're open. You're so tired. Um, but I do think you know that they happen from time to time. If you can keep your mouth shut and let the yuan past that will help. I have definitely done that. Um, you know, if if your mouth is gonna open, you definitely want to cover it. But turn away. Excuse yourself. If you feel it coming on, that's what I think. E
Speaker 1: think that's a good answer. That's how I'd handle it. Also, something occurred to me is you're talking the yawn catching phenomenal.
Speaker 2: It drives me next. So then are you going to blame everyone else? Because the on is now contagious and going around the room. But to me, that's
Speaker 1: evidence of that. It's communication to my old boss.
Speaker 2: Yes, we're all bored and none of us want to be here.
Speaker 1: And the one other one, I'm gonna put it out on the table when you're presenting and you're looking out at an audience and you start to see the yawns. To me, that's always the message. Get moving. Do something. Mhm.
Speaker 1: Can you tell this is something? I've got a little something,
Speaker 2: Dan. Anytime, anytime Dan and I are in his office and we're hanging out chattin and I Hey, yawns, He always says, Um, it's the hour, not the company. Oh, that's right. And I'm just sitting there going like, excuse. It's 11 a.m. What do you mean it's the hour, not the company
Speaker 1: eso. Besides the question and answer portion of this show, Lizzie and I also want to spend a little time each week touching base with a traditional etiquette or ah, common etiquette problem that we hear a lot about it. The Emily Post Institute. One of the ideas for this segment would be to really investigate the origins or traditions around a particular etiquette that might seem arbitrary or to come from nowhere. But it could very well have some logic behind it or a reason that gets us there. So one of the classic etiquette questions that we get it the Emily Post Institute all the time has to do with Pinky's in the air. It's one of those cliches, oftentimes, what I'm doing trainings. I do a word association game with the word etiquette toe warm up the room to sort of see where people are starting from. And the question of pinkies in the air comes up a remarkable percentage of the time all the time. So what is it about Pinky's in the air? What is it about holding a teacup with the pinky flag that seems to set people off and really raise questions in there? Mind about proper for improper conduct? Just looks
Speaker 2: snobbish, doesn't it? I mean, in my writer and I write, it looks snobbish, like you look a little absolutely.
Speaker 1: That's the perception. The perception is that it comes from somebody who's putting on airs, who's using some some artificial etiquette that's outdated. And, you know, we used to think that this this had no real historical origin or that it was that there was from, from, from some bygone era where where it would be hard toe, ascertain exactly what was going on. Some people speculated that maybe had to do with balance. Yeah, that you hung your pinky out there to balance that very fun. It's really heavy, isn't it? Another guest that I heard at one point was that with small teacups was really fine bone china. There was only room on the handle of the cup for for a thumb in a couple of fingers. But still, then why would that other pinky BB flagged up in the air instead of just down where it would usually casually fall? You know, this is a holdover etiquette. This is Ah,
Speaker 2: So this comes from somewhere. It absolutely. This
Speaker 1: is really It comes from the a netiquette that developed in the transition out of the Middle Ages, when people were just starting to use utensils, and until then, people eating with their hands a lot of the time, if you weren't eating with the dagger, that was by your side. We're eating with your fingers. There was a ladle that came out of a communal or central pot, but there wasn't. There wasn't individual silverware. Flatware for everybody. That was
Speaker 2: sliced. Stews and soups were not popular. Well, exactly
Speaker 1: how drink out of your bowl going. Um, it was one of the marks of having a staff that could help prepare your food that it came cut up enough that you were able to eat it without using your big knife, that you could just pick up the food with your fingers. And
Speaker 2: it was You didn't have to try to tear it off with your teeth. Exactly.
Speaker 1: And if you could just delicately pick that food up with a couple of fingers and eat it, it was it was prepared. It showed that it had come to your table prepared already.
Speaker 2: Okay, but what about the pinky?
Speaker 1: So you would take your pinky finger or your ring finger and hold them up in the air to keep them clean to keep them out of the food. And if you did use a utensil, they would keep those two fingers clean so you would reserve different fingers for different uses at the table. So there were a combination of conventions that were coming into play. One was saving fingers, keeping them clean to use with utensils. Thea other was that you didn't need your whole hand to tear the food apart, but that you could actually pick the food up and just eat the bite sized pieces with one or two fingers instead of really needing toe, tackle it with a knife and a whole hand, or or to use all your fingers to separate your food.
Speaker 2: So the idea is to not get all of your fingers dirty. Just a couple of them dirty.
Speaker 1: Exactly. So that was not sure. I
Speaker 2: get the part about if you're keeping these clean eso your ring finger and your pinky finger are your utensil fingers because I'm trying to picture holding my utensils with my pinky and my ring and my thumb.
Speaker 2: Well, maybe think of picking
Speaker 1: up a cup or a glass. Oh, you got your dirty fingers. Maybe these air my glass fingers. Okay, there you go. And also, don't forget it was also about just you only needed a couple fingers to separate or divide up your food or as opposed to your mouth,
Speaker 2: using your whole fist to rip something
Speaker 1: about tearing apart of local bread.
Speaker 2: That would have been like the equivalent of nowadays where we say, Don't don't grip your fork as if you've just stab something. It was kind of like the crude way to do it. Okay, so just using
Speaker 1: turkey bone, you're chewing meat off the bone.
Speaker 2: So it looked more delicate, more refined if you were just using a couple fingers to hold the food. Exactly. But I mean, this
Speaker 1: is this is a lot of work to eat. This convention did not last long,
Speaker 2: taking a lot of work to think.
Speaker 1: In fact, a soon A silverware and flatware and became more
Speaker 2: common. People stopped doing this. So if you
Speaker 1: held on to this convention it became a sign of your snobbery. It became a sign of your attachment to an old and outdated
Speaker 2: system. Kind of like when you come across people nowadays that, like, I want to leave a calling card at your house and you're like, Really, man, nobody does that anymore. E no. Those okay? The bad example. Those who've come back. Yeah, sure, But But This is something that was, it became so outdated that if you did it, it was like you were trying to be pompous or given. Nod back to how well you knew a former era of dining that
Speaker 1: absolutely. And it shows how quickly times and conventions change and how important it is to be willing to change with, um as well as toe identify what's really important about etiquette.
Speaker 2: It also shows how much we don't like snobbery. Absolutely. It's
Speaker 1: a fascinating question. It comes up all the time. We absolutely love it. So
Speaker 2: I know it is that question where as soon as people find out you're in etiquette expert, which, by the way, is not the easiest thing to say to someone high. What do you dio? I'm an etiquette expert, but it's one of those things that the very first thing people will do is they'll hold up your pink ingo. Oh, you mean like this? And you're like, Yeah, no, and
Speaker 1: I'd be remiss if I didn't mention before we close out our extended thoughts on the pinky that there is a fantastic caricature of Emily Post that appeared in Vanity Fair, and it really is remarkable on git depicts her doing many of the faux paws that she would theoretically advised people, not todo. Give yourself a treat. Google Search Emily Post, Vanity Fair caricature and take a look and one of the things that's depicted in that particular images. Emily with her pinky in the air,
Speaker 2: Dan and I wanna end each show with a segment we call Awesome Etiquette Salute. And we both are such huge supporters of the idea of bringing positivity back to etiquette because it is so easy, especially when you are listening to people's problems to constantly here the negative side of it where it's that, he said. And she said, And I want to tell you you're wrong and what we would love is if you are wonderful, listeners would send us your etiquette salutes moments that you had with someone where you were so grateful that they used good etiquette or that you saw a company or a person or a friend or loved one. You know, do something wonderful, even if it wasn't to you,
Speaker 1: the shining star shining world and it might be a friend, a family member. It might be a coworker, a boss, a celebrity or a sports figure. Whoever it is could really be just about anything, anything that inspires you.
Speaker 2: Whoever it is, nominate them for an awesome etiquette salute. This is a really simple, awesome etiquette salute, but I love that someone chose to do this. It's kind of the Good Samaritan, even though it's it's what the person should have done anyway. It was just one of those moments where you walked outside. You saw this on the car and you were just like, man way to get that right. Um, but I was I was walking outside of my favorite bakery and there was a note on the car next to mine when I when I came out to my car after grabbing my coffee and it said, Dear Sir, we're really sorry. But as we were pulling out of our parking spot, we scraped the back right side of your car with ours. My number is blank. Um, would if you would like to get a hold of us to exchange insurance information sincerely, and I'm going to say his name because we're giving him the salute. Hans Builder and I just think hans way to be that person who took responsibility even though there wasn't the other person to talk to about it. It's that kind of proactive awareness that I think makes a big difference in people's lives. And it's the kind of thing that when it happens to you, you go. Oh, wow. Thank you, Thank you. Because you could have done the opposite and you made a choice. And I think you made the right choice. So Hans builder, you get are awesome etiquette Saluted
Speaker 1: week. Well, wasn't that better? Look at the effect of a little politeness. We wanna
Speaker 2: thank you so much for joining us for our first show. This has been a dream come true. And we truly hope that you come back because the more people that listen, the more we get to do what we love best, which has helped make this world a nicer place.
Speaker 1: Thank you for listening.
Speaker 2: You can find us on Facebook at the Emily Post Institute and on Twitter. We each have our own handles. I'm at Lizzie a post,
Speaker 1: and I'm at Daniel Underscore Post.
Speaker 2: And mine's totally better. So follow me.
Speaker 1: Were very simple. Easy to find. Emily post dot com.
Speaker 2: And please, please, please. The bulk of this show is about answering your etiquette questions, so send your questions to awesome etiquette at Emily post dot calm. We cannot wait to hear from you. Thanks again.
Speaker 1: Thing is awesome Etiquette, Part of the Infinite Guest Network from American Public Media,
Speaker 2: The Infinite Guest Network has all kinds of podcast for you to listen to, including the Splendid Table, Dinner party download and wits. Find them all at infinite Guests or G.