I have a bit of a fascination with etiquette guides. I think the appeal is that they are guidelines for any number of social situations that could otherwise be overwhelming or intimidating. I have often said that I wish I could go to CAA and get a "trip-tik" for my life. Etiquette guides are a close second.
|Do people use TripTiks anymore?|
That being said, there are so, so many of them out there! There is obviously the classic Emily Post's Etiquette. I've also read Candace Simpson Giles "How to be a Lady", something that my grandmother found hilarious when she discovered (My Nana, of course, was born knowing how to be a lady. It alarmed her to realize her granddaughter was struggling).
I'm also a big fan of the "Rules for the Southern Lady" tumblr. I don't agree with everything she writes, but it is endlessly charming and definitely relevant for the mid-twenties crowd. Last year, I went through a pretty rough patch with school, my relationship, the works. This blog cheered me up immensely and helped me keep my head above water.
There is an argument that etiquette is different than manners. I agree that etiquette can definitely have a classist association, and I would never, ever argue that everyone should have a perfect knowledge of appropriate hostess gifts in order to be classified as having manners. In my mind, manners has a lot to do with consideration. Emily Post says it best:
But there is something very comforting about having certain rules for every conceivable situation (A Lady at the Gynecologist! A Lady Meets the President!). Maybe I feel like if I can memorize all of the little rules, it won''t matter that I feel anxious or out-of-place in any given situation.
I was trying to articulate my love of etiquette guides to a friend who didn't really get it. We were speaking about a mutual friend who had missed a funeral because of fear of who she might run into. Without thinking, I said "Etiquette is a guide for acting in a way you won't regret later." I may not feel like being polite to a salesperson when I'm stressed out and running late, but I will definitely regret my rudeness later. As hard as it may be to face certain situations, putting yourself aside for a moment will be something to be so grateful for later. And by putting yourself aside, you can also put your fears and anxieties aside.
I'm not saying anything new when I say that with the fast pace of our society today, a lot of us have forgotten about little ways to show consideration for those around us. And at it's essence, that's all etiquette is: having respect for the people around you, whether you know them or even like them.
Here are a couple of quotes/pins I've pinned on Pinterest that expressed this a lot better than I can:
|My aunt does this--all of my cousins and I are bad about texting at the dinner table!|
The best part about this post was finally learning how to spell "etiquette"