Charm School: Pretty Is As Pretty Does

Etiquette, just like fashion sense, may be learned but no amount of learning either one will carry you through if your countenance is always a storm cloud and your tongue known for it's sharpness.  So let us begin now with how to dress that inner woman.

Do you like people?  Do you really like people?  Do you find them genuinely fascinating and generally likable?  If no, then I'll ask you this: do you like people to treat you pleasantly?  Then you must learn to be pleasant in return.  If you do like people, then most likely you have some form of pleasant attitude but as with all things, we can polish up what we have.

We'll address a few areas of etiquette before we're finished with our Charm School but common courtesy is always good etiquette.

What is common courtesy?  It's saying "Please" and "Thank you" and "You're Welcome" to those who provide you with any form of service whether they are paid to do it or simply do it because they are polite.  There should be absolutely no differentiation between your courteousness to a waiter or clerk and that which you give to an acquaintance.  There should be no difference between courtesy shown to friend or family either.  Do you speak sharply to a family member but are all sweetness and sugar to those outside your home?  Then shame on you!  If you want to be considered genuinely charming you must treat everyone with the same kindnesses.

Being courteous is not treating everyone you meet as though they were your kith and kin or best friend.  It is considered uncouth to do so.   It makes people uncomfortable and a charming woman never seeks to make another feel uncomfortable.   While you might well share a confidence with a family member or friend, it's best not to share the same confidence with your hairstylist or the receptionist at the hotel or the cab driver taking you to an event.  Be selective in choosing those to whom you speak pleasantries and those you share your life story with.

A charming woman will never speak ill of her husband before others, neither female nor male.  I say this sincerely, it's uncomfortable to be told all the faults of a man you may well meet the next time you see this same woman.  I suggest a journal or a very trusted female confidante if you must talk over his failings or your hurts but be sure it's the sort of friend who knows your loyalty to your husband and is just as loyal to him on your behalf.  As for sharing his faults with other men, I suggest you just don't.  You will come across as someone seeking solace and open yourself to a world of mess or you will be avoided like you had plague.

Learn to cultivate a pleasant face.  I don't suppose there is one of us who hasn't at some point had a big old messy sob-fest and pity party.  Ugh.  And yes, we will stand before the mirror at some point looking at the horror of a tear stained face and messy mascara. If it was a minor argument or misunderstanding and a hard day that combined to make you look a mess, don't let another see it.  It's perfectly fine to show a clean face and you might well have red rimmed eyes but let that be the only evidence that your world is not perfect at the moment.

We will face genuine heartache and heartbreak.  We don't have to be Suzy Sunshine and act as though we haven't a care in the world at all times, but we need not be Penny Pitiful either.  It's a task to put on a calm face when your world is breaking apart.  I know it is. I've been there.   More than likely whatever is causing you deep pain is not something you want to share with sundry folks far and wide either.  When we had a major upset within our close family, I wasn't prepared to look like death walking and have the world know how devastated I was.  I saved my devastation talk for a very few family members who knew the situation.

How's your attitude overall?  Are you the sort that starts sentences with "Oh I knew it was going to be  a bad day..." which prefaces every thing from the copy machine being out of paper to chipping a nail or snagging your dress.  None of which are exactly world disasters, agreed?  So stop it.  People tend to avoid Negative Nellies.  If you would be known as the charming woman then you'll stop that thing now. 

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  It sounds simple,  but if you're going through a terrible struggle keep a small journal and list things for which you are sincerely grateful every single day.  You'll find that you have a changed attitude once you realize that every day you are blessed with small and large favors of blessing.

Deliver little kindnesses all through out the day.  It's as simple as allowing someone else to take your seat in a crowded room or offering to get a cup of coffee for someone who is obviously going to struggle to get up.  It's asking if anyone would like a drink of water while you're on your way to the kitchen.  It's offering to return another's library books while you're returning your own.  It's just little things but you can sprinkle little kindnesses upon others all through out your day and others will only think highly of you for it.  Never do these things with an eye to anyone repaying you for them.  Just do them and call them random acts if you must. 

I hope that you will be as pretty inwardly as you are becoming outwardly and that you spend just as much time cultivating that inner woman as you do the outer.


Lana said...

During the night last night while I was laying awake I was thinking of how many of the girls from high school who were horrid to anyone they thought was less than them are still single in their 50's. And really all of us are nearly 60. It is sad that their treatment of others has affected them all of their lives.

Lana said...

Another comment-my biggest pet peeve is husband bashing. I hate it in person and I really hate it on blogs because there it is for the whole world to read and it is sort of permanent. Whenever I come across a new blog I really like I am on guard for it and will never go back once I see the husband bashing posts.

Debby in KS said...

Attitude is so important. I used to be a real Debby Downer. I think it was my way to get attention because my parents paid no attention to me. In their defense, my brothers were ALWAYS in trouble. I was the good kid and left alone....probably way too much.
Anyway, I look back at that time and want to slap me!! As with the bathing suit thing, it took seeing another person in that Downer state to snap myself out of it. Inside my head, I called her "Calamity Jane." I'm not kidding when I say she started every conversation with a nasally whine of, "This has been the worst day of my liiiiiife." It took a while to lose that Downer attitude of mine, but I'm over it! I did not want to be seen that way.

My peeve that drives me BATTY is gossip. Especially inside social circles. I've been known to ask people to take the gossip elsewhere, that I'm not interested. I'm a secret fortress. Pity the world if I'm ever given truth serum and asked the right questions lol!!

Diary for July: Week Two

July 7, Shabat Saturday:   So very much I want to chatter over today and perhaps I will...I don't typically write on Shabat, having al...