Samstag, 6. September 2014

Liebesbotschaft etiquette, or: 10 examples of proper behavior.

We’re getting down to business today:

hitting the mark, going the whole hog.

A few simple modes of behavior will not only lighten your every day life immensely, but also save you from uncomfortable moments and situations, and others from feeling embarrassed for you. Some have it in their blood, some grew up with it in a home that attached value to decent behavior, others were either never informed or they simply don’t pay attention.

There are just a few, very concrete things – nothing profound, nothing completely unknown, earth-shattering or vital.

All are things that you could call “decent”, to use an old-fashioned word.

are you ready for good manners?

1. When someone gives you a gift, never reply:
"But you shouldn’t have…”

You will degrade yourself instantly.

If the gift was a necessity, it wouldn’t be a real gift, but a way to remediate a defect – which would degrade you (you had a defect), instead of appreciate you.  
You are worthy of receiving gifts.

So be happy about it, say thank you and enjoy.

That’s it.

 When you are at the checkout, when you are waited on in a restaurant, when you buy a burger, when you take your things to the dry cleaner’s, when room service hands you new towels – look people in the eye.
Even if it is just for 2 seconds: LOOK AT THEM.

NOT the belt, NOT the bill, NOT the shirts, NOT the gas station receipt – look people in the eye.  

Yes, you are busy, and yes, maybe you are thinking of something different right now, and yes, this isn’t your day, blabla… - but those are simply lame excuses.

Nothing is more precious than people – you are here because of them!

For the advanced learner: SMILE.

3. When you go for a meal with someone, pay the bill.  
Simply as a basic principle.

There’s nothing worse than having coffee with a man and, when the server asks “Altogether?”, hear him say: “Separate bills.”

Its’ all over after that, believe me.

Don’t ever, ever, never do this.

If you are a man, please internalize it forever: you pay the bill.
(and don’t bother me with your emancipatory spiel).
If you are a woman, pay the bill as often as possible.
If you are a mother/father, drum it into your sons.
Yes, into your daughters, too, but even more so into your sons – they should be as fast as lightning ;).

Do it discreetly, without great hoopla, best to excuse yourself and to pay on the way to the bathroom.

By all means don’t make a fuss.

Remember: you pay the bill.

Generosity is an essential characteristic of a love messenger.
Don’t ask, just do it and enjoy.

 When somebody comes to visit (unexpectedly or not), the question you ask within the first seconds is:
"What may I offer you to drink? Coffee? Tea? A cool drink?”
(not: “Would you like something to drink?” – which would leave that person the option of declining, so as not to “bother you”.)

Do not allow the person having to ask – nothing is more uncomfortable and makes the other one feel more unwelcome.

A custom in Southern cultures: ”Are you hungry? What may I offer you to eat? There’s xy…would you like to try some?” – not necessarily the norm here, but equally nice!
At least nobody ever declined, when I asked ;).

 Upon entering a room, when you are new/unknown/insecure, the basic principle is this:
walk up to people, look them in the eye, reach out your hand, introduce yourself, smile.

This is always the better option to standing in a corner, feeling insecure, or saying “Hello” without any physical contact.


always look people in the eye when saying hello.
Don’t say hello to the ground.
Or your own hand.
Or the horizon.


when you enter a waiting room, an elevator, or a shop, just say hello – no need to shake hands with anyone ;).
But do not enter without saying anything at all either.

6. When you have company, do not check your cell phone
Even when there is a lull in the conversation.

If something is pressingly urgent, check ONCE, and ask your counterpart whether he minds, if you quickly check something important – yes, you need an explanation here.

If you are a man and you check your cell during a date – over and out. Don’t make a person feel as if their presence is of lesser value than a virtual message – you wouldn’t start reading the newspaper or a book either ;).

If you are close friends and spend hours together, and the atmosphere is very casual, it’s a different story – but you are well aware of the difference.

When in doubt always check less.

 When you pay somebody a compliment, don’t package it as an insult.

"I used to think you are arrogant – but you are really quite nice.”

"Your new haircut suits you – your old one made you look so frumpy.”
"At last this dress is something different compared to the jeans you always wear.”

Nobody can feel happy about something like that, it is really below the belt.

And NO: it isn’t honest – it is impolite, hurtful and impudent. You don’t have to like everything, pay compliments left, right and center and adulate, but take this to heart: 
if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

In other words: shut up.

8. Oh, and while we’re at it…

The most horrible replies to compliments:

 - "Yeah, nice jacket, right? It was only 20,-€ !"

(Oh, yes? Who is interested in the jacket’s cost? Or that it was a great bargain?) 
- "You like the skirt? Oh, that old thing…I’ve had it for aaaaages!”

(You question the other person’s ability to judge by calling a garment that he liked on you old (and therefore nothing special). Except when you were asked specifically whether your garment is new ;)).

- "Yes, but I still weigh in at 15 pounds too many, because of the pregnancy.” – as a reply to a compliment on your slim legs, etc.

(Why immediately devaluate and belittle what is beautiful? Just enjoy your beautiful legs and be quiet.)

 Valid not just as part of an etiquette, but also at work (especially in the service sector), in relationships, in the general everyday life interacting with others:
when something hasn’t worked out all that well and you messed it up, simply admit it.

Without inferiority, without hours of justification, without dogma, without never-ending explanations, without hiding behind excuses:

"Yes, I made a mistake. I apologize.”

Stand by it.

Simple as that.
This piece of advice will help you so greatly – and will instantly defuse most awkward situations.

10. When walking through a door, look behind you and hold it open, if someone is behind you.
Oh yes, just do it.

At the elevator you ALWAYS wait, until people have finished exiting it, before entering yourself.

Same goes for busses or trains.
Trying to squeeze in between the exiting people does not only show bad manners – it also shows that you are stressed.

And don’t you know:

If you are in a hurry, you are a footboy.
If you have time, you are a king.

You knew all this all along.

But – free reminder service for the 3 readers who have forgotten ;).



P.s. this post was not intended to get all worked up about other people’s bad manners – but to help you very concretely.

So, if you write ranting comments about how badly others behave, they won’t even be published.
Thanks for your understanding.

This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.

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