November 12, 2011

The Social Whirl

  1. Introductions: The old rule was to present the man to the woman, the junior to the senior, the single to the married, the “less important” to the VIP. Trying to remember all this may make you dizzy, besides some cases are not clear cut. If the status question seems tricky, side-step it altogether with a big smile and a preliminary, “Have you two met, I wonder?  “How do you do?” requires no direct answer on either side – a custom without logic!  But an initial, “How are you?” calls for, “Fine, thank you” or some such cheerful words. It is a bit inconsiderate to   burden acquaintances with your woes unless you are sure they have the time and interest to listen to you.
  2. Crisis-Coping: If you have spilled coffee or tea on someone’s dress, broken a precious glass or knocked over an ornament, the best way to cope is by saying a single sincere, “Sorry”. Offer to help with the immediate “first aid” but keep quiet giving the hostess and everyone around a chance to forget the incident. Next day, apologize to the hostess by phone and certainly offer to pay or replace the article. She will definitely not say, “Yes”.
  3. Boost your hostess’s confidence. If you shower your soup with salt and pepper, you are not showing much appreciation for her cooking. Avoid centering your conversation around food or health at the dining table.
  4.  Don’t waste energy talking if you don’t know all the facts, but do try to learn about some world events from books and periodicals. Don’t argue with technical people. They will ignore you for your foolishness, if they are polite, but you will genrally make a fool of yourself. The best thing is to listen in such cases quietly with interest.
  5. Old folks have habit of talking about ancient events and people long dead. It is very boring for the young ones but politeness pays.
  6. Accept a compliment gracefully. Thanking the giver and smiling get top marks for poise. Don’t say, “You like this? How odd I never cared for this colour”, or “My husband hates it.” This sort of remark, often made out of modesty is really being rather rude about the taste of the complimenter.
  7. A sense of humour is your greatest ally. You can laugh through so much friction and create pleasant situations. You will always be in demand at social gatherings. Be helpful. Talk about topics that are of interst to the listener. 
  8.   Acquire social graces. Belching, yawning, putting up your feet or being improperly dressed is like insulting the hosts who have invited you.
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(Guest Post by Rita)

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