Be Careful What You Post on the Internet


girls-drinking-Meredith-SweetpeaSocial media is fun. It’s a blast to post everything you’re doing and to get “likes” from your friends and followers.¬†Social media can also be a problem, however, depending on what you post.

The National League of Cotillions* states that, “While it is tempting to create a wild or crazy video of yourself, you need to consider the bigger picture. What if, a few years from now, you send your resume to a large corporation and they do an Internet search as part of their due diligence and up comes an offensive video with you as the star? Well, there goes your job!”

But I Deleted That Picture/Video!

“You may say, ‘Well, I had that deleted.’ Good luck! Continue reading

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How to Be a Good Conversationalist


good-conversationist-between-womenMiss Meredith Sweetpea has noticed a dearth of good conversation lately. It seems people are mostly interested in themselves or have no idea what to talk about–which doesn’t make the best conversation or the best conversational partner. It is becoming increasingly difficult to enjoy social situations when people just don’t know how to have a good conversation any more.

In social groups, put away the cell phones and actually take the time to speak with–and take interest in–others in the room.

Want to be a better conversationalist?
Use these conversation tips:

Continue reading

How Do I Address a Former President?


President_Barack-Obama

Photo by Pete Souza

In the United States, when one leaves an office where they have had a title, such as President of the United States, it often becomes a protocol dilemma on how to refer to them afterwards. Should you still address him (or her) as Mr. President?

The rules of protocol say no.

The rule is that only one living person may hold the title of President at any one time.

While a sitting president should be addressed as Mr. President during their tenure in office, once they leave office, they should correctly be referred to by the title they held previously. For example, President George Washington was referred to as “General Washington” once he retired. President James Monroe was referred to as “Colonel Monroe.”

A deceased President, however, may be referred to using the title “President” before their name, as in “President Washington lived at Mount Vernon.”

This said, many former (and living) Presidents today are addressed as merely that: “Former President,” followed by their name. If, however you are formally addressing them, as in a written correspondence, it is never incorrect to use “Mr.” before their name.

Befuddled by the Flatware at a Formal Dinner?


formal-place-setting-silverwareMiss Meredith Sweetpea loves to attend a formal dinner. All the courses, with their delightful tastes, are just a pleasure to enjoy.

Attending a formal dinner, however, can befuddle some who are not familiar with the array of flatware (a.k.a. silverware) that is set upon the table. Often you’ll see a variety of forks, knives and spoons set beside and above the plate setting, along with a number of drinking glasses.

According to Miss Manners Judith Martin, when it comes to silverware, Continue reading

How to Signal to the Waitstaff That You are Done Eating


proper-fork-and-knife-signal-for-end-of-meal

Fork and knife placement signaling the end of the meal – American style.

Miss Meredith Sweetpea had the rare pleasure of dining out this past weekend with a dear friend. We went to a local Italian restaurant, of the mid-range variety, nothing fancy.

This friend had plenty to talk about, and we were settling into a wonderful conversation as the courses began to arrive, but began to become annoyed by the constant interruption of the server. It seemed whenever we paused and put down our forks, and even while we were eating,¬† someone came over to grab the plate away–even though we obviously were not finished.

At first, the servers reached down to grab the plates and began to remove them without asking. We had to grab our plates back as they swooped past. After a few times of this, they at least began to ask if we were done yet. In addition, at two times, the managers stopped by our table to see how things were going. They too, grabbed at our plates.

At first, we laughed about the constant interruptions. Then they began to irritate us. What then should have been an enjoyable time out together, was spoiled. We took the rest of our meals to go. Continue reading

Socially Speaking about Politics


talking-politicsHere in America you can’t get away from talk about politics. It’s everywhere: on the media, in the workplace, and around the dinner table. 2016 is a highly-charged election year.

All this talk about politics, however, leads Miss Meredith Sweetpea to consider the social rule that politics is one of those subjects not to be discussed in polite social conversation. So how do we talk about it…if we must? Here are several rules to keep in mind:

  1. Keep the conversation light. Don’t get into heavy discussions about whose opinion is right or wrong, or let the conversation escalate into a confrontation.
  2. Respect other people’s opinions. People look at issues through their own backgrounds, experiences and filters, which are always different than your own. Listen respectfully to their opinions and ask why they feel the way they do. It is always enlightening to hear how differently others view the same situations.
  3. Don’t accuse anyone. Just because you are adamant about your own viewpoint doesn’t mean that other people’s views are wrong. Don’t tell them they should feel or think (or vote) the way you do. They are allowed their own choices.
  4. Change the subject. If you are engaging in a lovely dinner party and talk of politics arises, politely change the subject to something more pleasant, like the taste of the butternut squash soup.

In years like this, you simply cannot avoid talking about politics. What you can do is control how and when you do.

 

 

To Button or Not to Button a Men’s Jacket


Poised-for-Success-Jacqueline-Whitmore-book-imageMiss Meredith Sweetpea was at a fancy dinner and noticed a disparity amongst the men at her table. Some men buttoned their jacket when they stood, and some did not.

To answer the question, “which is correct,” I referred to leading etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore’s book, Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities that Distinguish Outstanding Professionals. In it, she writes:

“In my Dress for Success seminars, men often ask if they should button up their jackets whenever they stand up, and the answer is “yes.” The jacket should button comfortably without pulling in front (which, unfortunately, can make a stout man appear as if he’s wearing a sausage casing), but when the jacket is a good fit, the look adds polish and panache. Regardless of whether you’re wearing a two- or three-button suit, remember to leave the bottom button unbuttoned.”

Thank you, Jacqueline, for your buttoned-up advice!

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