The Human Connection
March 13, 2012, 8:22 AM
Filed under: etiquette, Life style

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”

—Emily Post

Have you found yourself saying; “I would never say that,” or “My parents would have never let me do that.”  Or find yourself annoyed by the way the telephone is answered at a business or the way a clerk speaks to someone at a store.  Maybe you have even witnessed someone using a cell phone at in appropriate times.  Most of the times this  behavior can be explained by inexperience.  These people most likely have not been taught the social graces.  Today with so much media in our lives we have lost the human connection we once had.  We have become self-absorbed and selfish, and even entitled.

In the day-to-day rush of life that we have come to know, it seems we are constantly going at full speed and we get easily irritated when others can’t keep our time frame.  We walk around with cell phone attached to our ears, laptops never far from reach, and the I-deserve-this-because-I-work-hard attitude.  And we seek cures for our insomnia, hypertension, stress, and other ailments from a jar or new work out craze that will quickly fall by the waste-side.  We want results to our problems immediately, if not sooner.  Yet with all this I-want-it-now attitude we are spending millions on sleep disorders clinics, therapy, vacations, and spa days.  All in the name of relaxation and peace and serenity.

I have always lived my life in a fast-paced  manner.  I enjoy city life and being on the go all the time.  My husband is always teasing me about never being able to “just rest.”  Even when we entertain, I am constantly on the move making sure everyone is comfortable and enjoying themselves.  We always say, we wish we had more time with our families.  But we do!  Dinner is a perfect time to start.  Slow down and practice good manners with your family.  If you have kids have them set the table.  Make it fun.  Have them ring a dinner bell when dinner is ready.  Turn the tv off, play some music and talk to each other.  Find out what is happening in your lives.  Some of the memories I have are at the dinner table teasing my sister for telling every detail of her day, or hiding vegetables from mom so we could have dessert.

Here are some tips to bringing etiquette into the everyday life.  I will start with meal time etiquette and will explore social graces.  I hope you enjoy this new topic!

Q. Is it considered rude to take a sip of your drink while still chewing?

A. It is considered good manners to wait until you have finished chewing and have swallowed your food before taking a sip of your beverage.

Q. After the completion of a formal dinner, where do you place your utensils?

A. Place the knife and fork parallel to one another across the plate with the knife blade facing inward toward the plate. Position the knife and fork in the position of ten o’clock to four o’clock.

Q. How should I fold a large napkin before placing it in my lap?

A. Large dinner napkins should be folded in half after opening and before placing on one’s lap.

Q. When should the host/hostess of a dinner party be served?

A. The host hostess of a dinner party should be the last one served. If the meal is getting cold, the host/hostess may state something to the effect, “Please begin while the food is still warm”.

Q. At a formal dinner party, how do I properly serve and remove the dishes and glasses?

A. When entertaining formally, dishes are presented or served at guest’s left and removed from the right side. Glasses are filled from the right.

Q. When eating meat, should you cut one piece, put your knife down, then eat the piece, or should you cut all of your meat up first, and then eat the meat?

A. When eating meat, should you cut one piece, put your knife down, then eat the piece, or should you cut all of your meat up first, and then eat the meat? When eating meat, always cut and eat one small piece at a time. If you are eating American style, you may put your knife down, switch your fork to your other hand and eat your bite. If you are eating continental style, you may cut the piece of meat and eat it without putting setting your knife on your plate. Continental Dining Style is becoming more prevalent today and is considered the preferred method of eating.

Q. Is it wrong to stand when a lady excuses herself from the table? What is the proper etiquette when the woman excuses herself and returns?

A. What is the proper etiquette when the woman excuses herself and returns? Answer: In a social setting, it is always appropriate for a male to stand when a female is taking her leave. However, in a business setting, it is not always necessary for a male to rise whenever his female coworker(s) leave the table.

Q. Where are the dessert utensils placed in a formal table setting?

A. When setting the table, the dining utensils (or flatware) used for eating dessert should placed using one of the following options:
1) At the top of the place setting with the fork (handle pointing left) placed above the plate and the spoon (handle pointing right) placed above the fork.
2) The dessert spoon placed to the immediate right of the plate.
3) The dessert fork and spoon placed on the dessert plate along with the finger bowl and presented immediately before the dessert.


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