Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Paging Emily Post and Miss Manners
I have a personal beef with etiquette. Also common courtesy. So this isn’t going to be a funny blog. It's going to be a rant. Like Dennis Miller, but not funny. If you’d like to leave, leave now. Go read the porn quickie from earlier. You know if I do 2 in a day, something's up.
I'm going to spend this blog teaching people about what common courtesy is, and will use some examples from my life.
Etiquette Class 101
1. When you receive a party invitation, you must respond in a timely manner to the hostess, via some mode of communication. If you cannot attend, politely decline and offer an excuse or apology. The response 'Not Interested' is not an appropriate party declination. Nor is the word 'No'. Both offend the hostess and will result in your expulsion from her inner circle of friends. You are also not likely to be invited to further events. “I’m sorry, but I’m out of town” is a correct response. If you do not respond at all, that is also considered rude, and insinuates that you not only will not attend, but did not care enough about your relationship with the hostess to respond to her invitation.
2. When you receive a gift, you should respond to the giftor with a thank you. Either in writing or in person. Regardless of the size of the gift. If you do not acknowledge the gift…the giftor will assume it was either not received, or not appreciated. If you are aware someone has a gift for you but you are unable to arrange a meeting to exchange it, it should be communicated to the giftor at minimum that you thank them for the gift, but are unavailable. Requiring a giftor to hold onto a present for you because you are unavailable for months to receive it is rude. If you do not communicate your thanks or reason behind the unavailbility, the giftor has every right to give the gift to someone else who may appreciate it.
3. When you receive communication, either written or email or phone, common courtesy dictates that you reply within 48 hours. If email, possibly sooner. If there is no response in 48 hours, the sender will assume you do not wish to communicate with them, or do not care about what they have to say. This may or may not be considered rude by the caller. If you normally take time responding to someone, they may accept up to a weeks' delay. However, multiple weeks or months before returning a call/email is a lack of common courtesy. If they pose a question such as 'How are you?' and this item is not answered, the sender can only assume that their interest in your life is not desired, and they will cease all communication. If the communication is an invitation such as “Would you like to attend this event?”, please refer to item # 1. If you cannot attend, notification of this is to the host required in a polite and timely manner. To let the event pass without communication is intolerable.
Miss Manners and Emily Post may certainly correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume we all three agree on the general ideas above.
I had a friend who recently decided to ‘Fire’ some of his closest friends for the lack of common courtesy and etiquette. He felt that his offense at their uncourteous actions was warranted, and if they truly cared about him as a friend, they would take his comments to heart, and make an effort to keep the friendship up. Some friends did just this, and vowed to be better friends. Some got angry and confused that he bothered to bring it up. In the end – he got what he wanted. The people who didn’t care were dropped immediately, and the people who did care vowed to make an effort. He got a closer circle of friends that was better than ever.
I am beginning this process now.
So…to all my readers…take this to heart. If you have poor etiquette, or poor manners, you will offend your friends, regardless of your intentions. Best to do what you can to correct this lack of etiquette before it forces them to address it in a huge blog, and publicly humiliate you. It’s common courtesy. Pure and simple. And if you can’t demonstrate common courtesy to your friends – then you shouldn’t be friends with them in the first place, and you also don’t deserve them.
Thus endeth the lesson.