Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Etiquette is a form of rules without which life would become disordered and chaotic.

Today, manners are confusing and embarrassing.  This is probably because society does not value etiquette and so most people don't know the basic rules.  Back in the day (as they say) when etiquette was taught and valued, people were naturally protected from embarrassment and scandal.  People knew what to say when and how to say it.  They lived by a rule of protecting one's good name and the name of others, a rule of pleasantry, honesty, and gratitude.  It is helpful to study etiquette of course.  Here is brief guide of what to do when, as a Catholic Lady...

-Dinner: A lady is careful of her manners at all times, but especially when eating.  Women used to be taught to always fold their napkin on their lap, eat with the proper utensils, say please and thank you, and all the while maintain a polite conversation.

-Parental and Family roles:  If you are married, never disagree with your husband in the presence of the children.  Let them see that Dad and Mother are both on the same page.  If you can't decide, withdraw to a private place to discuss your verdict, but never appear indecisive before the children.  Set a rule about who will do what, meaning hopefully the mother will be in charge of the housework and the father will be in charge of the money.  (This doesn't mean you can't help each other out once in a while either :)  A functional family has rules and sets a high standard when it comes to good manners and discipline.

-Let men open doors for you.  Yes, it's true that some women actually refuse this kind and chivalrous gesture.  It is a mark of good manners to accept, and what's more, it's a sign of proper ideals.  It is also proper for a gentleman to precede a lady down the stairs and follow her up, in case of a fall.  He should always attend to her needs when they are out as well.

-Public discretion: There used to be a much higher regard for scandal and the desire to avoid at all cost.  It is important to speak quietly when in the streets and to avoid undue attention when at a restaurant or theater or other public place.  Also, it is good manners to avoid topics of conversation relating to personalities, wealth, or the position of others when in mixed company.

-Arrive and leave at the proper time.  The consideration of other people is important, especially when you are the one invited into their home!  If one is attending a dinner party, it is proper to arrive at the time agreed upon or a minute or two after.  It is good advice to read the signs of the host or hostess to determine when is the proper time to depart.  Do not bore or tire your entertainer or they might not invite you back!

-Letter Writing: Years ago people took advantage of the custom of sending messages, thank-you cards, and care packages in the mail.  There is a personal touch that goes along with a hand written note that is not possible when emailing or texting.  Thoughtfulness says much for a person's character.

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