A few Sundays ago in church, I sat next to this lady who I’m still convinced was out to irritate me out of church. This random woman (let’s call her Annoying) did possibly everything one is never supposed to do in church. Annoying, who looked like she was well in her 40s did not feel like scooting over to create room for more people to sit despite having all the space on her side.
She placed her “precious handbag” on the seat while the rest of us placed our “not-so-precious-handbags” on the floor as we still struggled to squeeze our hips to at least fit on the seat. She chewed on her gum mercilessly and even slurped a few times. Some nerve that woman had!
She kept taking off her shoes to admire her pedicure and play with her feet.
Annoying also wouldn’t share her hymn book with me despite noticing that I had missed out on one.
“Whose mother is this?” I kept asking myself every 10 minutes or so.I found myself suddenly worrying for her kids and the people her kids are left to interact with because apples don’t fall so far from the tree. This woman had zero social etiquette skills!
This whole Annoying situation got me thinking about how I was brought up. The Dos and Don’ts that were instilled in me whether verbally or those that I picked up non-verbally from my siblings who of course came before. Etiquette in social settings is something my mama believed in because there was no embarrassing that woman in public (she was such a graceful lady that mama of mine). Below are some more social settings etiquette tips I learnt from my mama.
1.Always bring a gift when you visit someone’s home especially for the first time or when you have been invited over for a meal.It is in such bad taste to visit someone’s home empty-handed when they have gone all out to prepare a meal for you. Hosts like guests who bring a little something with them (especially when they didn’t expect it). Even kids tend to like that uncle or aunt who brings them a little gift whenever they come to visit a little more than that relative who just comes bearing hugs and smiles and nothing else.
Can you imagine how so wrong things look when you always show up to places you’ve been invited to empty-handed and then you end up eating and drinking more than everyone else?
2. Always offer your guest something to drink even if it is just water once they have settled down. Don’t wait for your guest to ask you for something to drink or eat especially if you were expecting them. There are people who will offer you nothing and stare right back at you when you visit them. This always makes the air between you the host and them the guest very awkward and the guest is bound to feel unwelcome (unless that is what you had intended them to feel).
Always mention whatever it is (drink or food) that you have to offer and let the guest be the one to choose whether they will have any of it or not. If they choose not to have anything then at least you know you played your “good host”part.
3. Always prepare enough food to allow for seconds, especially when you have a guest. My mama always said that a guest who ate their fill at yours will leave blessings in your home than one whose food was rationed besides they always say that giving is better than receiving, right? Always aim to leave guests wanting to sing praises of your hosting skills.
4. Never overstay your welcome.
My mama always said that visitors who keep it short and sweet are the best to have over and not the ones who make themselves feel so at home and even dream of moving in with you in the near future. The proper thing to always do when you visit someone’s house is to keep your visit short and sweet so that you don’t impose and disrupt your host’s routine creating very awkward air between the two of you.
5. Always see your guest off!
You will end up looking like you couldn’t wait for that guest to leave if you didn’t see them off . Seeing a guest off to their car, to the gate or even to the bus stop shows that you appreciated their visit and their taking some time off to come and visit you. Some cultures believe that if you see yourself off after visiting someone then chances are you will never come back to that home/house.
6. Never go to see a patient in hospital empty-handed.
Visiting a conscious patient in hospital without bringing them anything is just plain wrong! The main aim of visiting people in hospital is to bring them some much needed warmth and sunshine as they must be in need of some cheering up and positive vibes. A simple smiley card, flowers, a basket of fruits, a cheerful teddy bear (in the case of a young patient) or colorful balloons will do the trick and if you really cannot afford anything then you can always pick up a bunch of weeds from the hospital compound and present them with the hugest possible smile you can make appear on your face.
7. Always bring “something small” with you to a private party even though the host insists that you really shouldn’t. Something here could mean a bottle of their favorite drink as it will sure come in handy some time in the future and who knows, drinks always run out at parties and your bottle might just save the day.
All this also depends on how well you know the host. You can be excused to bring nothing but your party attitude if you don’t know the host too well.
8. Always dress properly and accordingly.
Major cleavage showing in church or at the workplace, skirt suit at a kid’s party, Super tight clothing to an official meeting, a cap and rugged jeans in church, bright red lipstick to meet the future in-laws for the first time, butt crack showing at all are all such huge faux-pas. Always dress properly and accordingly for whatever occasion it is that you are attending and always make sure to look good for you and not for anyone else.
9. Always adhere to the dress code.
It is just plain rude not to! Can you imagine how offended a host would be if they sent out guest invites indicating that everyone wears white and then you showed up wearing purple? Or if you showed up to a Formal gathering in jeans? You would just end up ruining everything and embarrassing yourself and your chances of securing another invite in the future would be slimmer than a MacBook air.
10.Always send out proper heartfelt thank you notes.
Mass thank yous just don’t cut it. People do not usually just sit around waiting to wish you well just for the sake of it. There are always better things to do with time, right? It takes time and effort for people to come see you, attend your party, wish you happy wishes… and so you should also take time to thank them personally. A personal thank you will go a long way and will show that you truly appreciated and are grateful for their effort.