I was at a corporate function last week and had the good fortune to meet a woman who adheres to 4 etiquette rules. When she heard that I write thesocialgrace.com, she was kind enough to share them with me, and I, in turn, will share them with you. Her rules were:
1. Never be rude to someone who can't afford to be rude back to you.
Now, I would probably stop at the 3rd word of this edict, but I realize the world is not perfect. There are indeed degrees of rudeness, and undoubtedly the most reprehensible type is that which cannot be reciprocated. Classic cases of this would be ill treatment of a waitress, a person who is in your debt or employ, or anyone who is in a position of weakness or disadvantage. Rudeness to your haughty neighbor who uses every opportunity to criticize your window boxes I can see. Rudeness to her landscaper, never.
2. Always accept a cookie when the tray is offered.
This is sociable, endearing, and unifying. It is rare indeed for people to be unpleasant when they are sharing sweets. Unless you are diabetic, or have some other compelling reason to decline, such as a severe food allergy, take one. Do not be that person who declines in a superior voice, saying, "Oh, dear, I never eat white flour or refined sugar. I'm watching my figure. But how liberating for you that you don't worry about that. Here, you go ahead and have mine, too."
3. Always write thank you notes.
4. Never refuse a breath mint.
This may be offered out of politeness--if I'm digging into the Altoids, I'd certainly offer them around, just as I would with the cookies mentioned in item #2. But it also may be a Gracious way to give you a gentle hint. I'm sure that Caesar salad was delicious for lunch, but its aftermath could be lethal.
So, thanks to my new Gracious Friend for her tips. What are your Rules to Live By?