Much to my pleasant surprise, my poll from my long weekend post showed me that etiquette is in fact interesting to a lot of people! If I’m being honest, I could probably write a weekly etiquette post but I understand that most people don’t need quite that much etiquette. So, I will be sharing the highlights and big points in key areas of etiquette that we all experience at some point in our lives: day to day life, work/ business, big/ formal events, and travel. Today is an introduction to etiquette in general and where I get my information/ ideas from, mainly Mrs. Emily Post!
Etiquette is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “the customary code of polite behaviour in society or among members of a particular profession or group”. Although many people will claim that etiquette only makes things more difficult, it actually serves to make the largest group of people feel comfortable in a given situation, not to simply formalise things. For people who struggle with difficulty in social situations, being familiar with etiquette can actually help ease concern and apprehension as there is some understanding of what theoretically should happen. I appreciate knowing that when I am planning a major event, I should be sending out invitations 6-12 weeks ahead of time, and not finding that out after the timeline has well passed.
Who is Emily Post?
Technically the question should be, who was Emily Post, as the original Emily Post lived from 1872 to 1960. She began writing on various topics in women’s magazines, and then in 1922 wrote her first book on etiquette. She continued to release updated versions of her book as society and etiquette evolved, and also wrote columns and spoke on the radio offering etiquette advice. In the 1940s she founded the Emily Post Institute which is led by Peter Post, her great grandson, and his wife, Peggy Post. The Institute continues to update her etiquette manual, and promotes the use of good manners and etiquette around the world.
There are countless resources for etiquette, some more broad and some more specific. One reason that I tend to gravitate towards the Emily Post Institute is because they really do show the flexibility in etiquette. It does focus on Western etiquette but they do note when cultural etiquette differs and if you should seek out additional advice. You can purchase Emily Post’s Manner’s in a New World in physical, e-book, and audiobook format if you want to dive in! (It’s quite interesting and is broken up into smaller sections, if you like short reading spurts.) It’s nice to have read it ahead of time before a situation actually occurs but also works well as a reference in the moment.
Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning are the great-great-grandchildren of Emily Post and their Awesome Etiquette podcast is one of my favourite things to listen to in my week! Once a week, this hour long podcast answers listener questions and discusses different etiquette related topics to help us all through this confusing modern world. They are late thirties/early forties, so I think that most of us can relate to them- it really shatters the image of the dodgy old women yelling at you about etiquette.
Here to Help!
The whole point of this series is to hopefully help with etiquette dilemmas and show that etiquette isn’t a stuffy, stodgy, old-fashioned way of doing things but rather a living, evolving set of guidelines to help us all make our way in the world with the least amount of friction. If you have any specific etiquette questions, please feel free to leave them in a comment, use my Contact page, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! And please share any funny etiquette related stories you might have.
The series will be posted every second Sunday, and will cover etiquette related to daily life, work, big life events, travel, and any other areas that you would like covered! (Heads up: I probably won’t be covering weddings. Although I know that a lot of etiquette questions relate to weddings in some way, I’ve no experience with them and I don’t want to advise incorrectly.)
What about etiquette simply baffles you?