“Etiquette is just a matter of common sense with a large dose of kindness.”
I do not know who said this, but I fully agree.
Not everybody can be expected to have read Debrett’s, Emily Post or Adolph Knigge and act accordingly, but everyone can be expected to think about what is the appropriate way to act in various social situations. Etiquette isn’t just something you need on formal occasions. It’s about how to behave every day, in different settings, to make interactions between people pleasant. Etiquette doesn’t exist to add a layer of extra rules to life—it’s there to guide us on how to treat each other with kindness and consideration in our personal and professional lives. “Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor.” So much from Emily Post herself and how right she was!
When inviting friends to a dinner party, I don’t normally send out written invitations with a dress code, but I expect them to be dressed in a decent way. I also love to hear back from them after the evening, even if it is not the written Thank-You note of former times (which I actually still love to send to show my appreciation). An email or a phone call is absolutely acceptable. Doing nothing is NOT acceptable.
Being polite to personnel, be it your doorman, the cashier at the supermarket or your secretary, is expected. Or one should at least think so. These people are helping to make your life easier and you should respect and appreciate them for it. As time is passing, the Golden Rules of social behavior must not be forgotten in our every day lives. Using your cell phone in a polite and considerate way is just one of the many new rules. But again – common sense is actually all that you need. Do you like a guest at your dinner party to be shouting into his cell phone incessantly…? If you don’t like it, please don’t do it yourself. Simple, isn’t it?
The future of proper etiquette depends largely on people with children and how they raise them. It is important to give kids rules and a basic knowledge of good behaviour and manners. Make your life easier, the life of your kids more successful and the lives of the rest of us peaceful. You may only break the rules if you know them. And knowing the rules doesn’t take much. Did you know that there are whole chapters on clapping at classical music performances? | Greta Calla
Vienna State Opera House
pictures courtesy Life Magazine, Vienna State Opera House, Creative Commons