An Intro to Practical Etiquette

Coming from the marvelously quirky Pacific Northwest, a blog about etiquette may seem somewhat misplaced. Proper manners are for the British aristocracy, cotillion balls, and southern belles. These are not things typically found on the left coast.

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But it only takes one bad date, one awkward cocktail party, or one uncomfortable business interview to realize that expectations of etiquette are out there. Many of us can identify when etiquette is lacking (check out our Please Just Don’t social poll), but it can be difficult to know when we are the ones being inconsiderate.

So, this is an exploration of practical etiquette for the rest of us.

From rowdy football fans to high class tea parties, every situation warrants its own rules of decorum on how to act. And, we are constantly being confronted with new situations with unwritten rules: casual dress codes, online dating, texting through emoticons.

The answer to the stickiest of these situations is remarkably simple.

Set others at ease. That is Etiquette.

It’s almost too simple to be true.

Etiquette is not about nitpicking details. Rather, it aims to consider the complexities of any given situation to determine the best outcome for all involved. Sometimes, that may require a lot more courage and strength than simply knowing which utensils should be used for your next course. As the very wise and quotable Emily Post once said:

“Nothing is less important than which fork you use. Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor.”

Throughout this series, we will explore what tools we need to face each new, unforeseen situation with ethics and honor, with confidence and poise, with an intentional focus on how to set others at ease.

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