Manners are tricky, aren’t they? Whether it’s nailing down the protocol for thank you notes, figuring out exactly how to set a place setting or tending to all the tiny details and formalities of a dinner party they’re just tough. It’s difficult to enjoy a meal or a party, regardless of who’s hosting, when you’re worried about whether or not Emily Post would approve.
This month’s issue of Real Simple Magazine has a terrific article on “old fashioned niceties” that totally deserve to be revived. My mother always taught me to mind my P’s and Q’s but there are some practices that seem to have fallen to the wayside. Here are some wonderful tips for refreshing your repertoire of manners and other far from antiquated habits to pick up.
Send a Note not to say thank you, not to say sorry but just because. Not only will it strengthen your relationship with the receiver and warm their heart, it will also warm yours. Studies have shown the correlation between the movement and reward centers of the brain. A hand-written letter is a great way to brighten your day and someone else’s. Bonus: It’s an opportunity to improve your penmanship.
Thank Often and Then Thank Some More. Real Simple had this really great suggestion to not only send thank you notes after receiving a gift or being hosted at someone’s home, but to also send them to thank someone for their friendship, hospitality or even to re-thank people just because you thought of how wonderful their previous acts of kindness were.
Sit Still while talking on the phone. In their article, Real Simple talks about nostalgia for the landline. I had one of those I’m-so-glad-you-said-that-because-I’ve-been-feeling-the-same-way-too moments. I miss being excited to come home and check my messages on my answering machine and talking on a phone that doesn’t have a giant screen on it, only big rubbery buttons. The mag suggested that when you get a phonecall or plan to give a friend a ring, sit down in one place and really focus on the conversation.
Read Aloud to Your Partner. How lovely does this sound? Dylan and I live just far enough from each other that when he comes to visit normal schedules are usually out the window. We’re both avid readers, but when we finally get into bed it’s usually after a late dinner and we’d rathe spend the time talking (or just plain passing out) than reading. This being said, after reading the suggestion, I’m kind of dying to try it. I think there’s something really intimate about the simplicity of sharing a story with each other.
Are there any old fashioned niceties that you practice? Want more on modern manners? Check out Lizzie Post’s podcast, Awesome Etiquette. She’s the great-grand-daughter of Emily Post so she definitely knows a few things. Here’s some stationery for writing, a thank you note for thanking, an attachment to make phone calls feel a little more like they used to and a book I’d love to re-read with the boyfriend.