News and Articles

June 2004
The Daily Home Talladega, Sylacauga-Pell City, Alabama

Manners Matter

Dear Millie,

I have a very important question to ask!? Is it bad manners to correct a person in private or public with out their permission? I was always taught you could only correct a person if they asked. I have an aunt, a retired school teacher who is out of control. She corrects the preacher as he is giving his sermon. When speaking to family members she is so busy correcting no one wants to speak to her. HELP!!!!!!!

Dear Reader,

An important principle of etiquette is thoughtfulness. This implies a concern for the effect of your actions on those around you. Attracting attention to yourself at inappropriate times is objectionable or rude, and is contrary to that basic principle. As a teacher, I want to impart knowledge so that wise decisions can be made. But sometimes I am reminded that using my teacher voice and barking orders and corrections is sometimes not the best way to deliver that message!

Old teachers never die, they just loose their class, and none of us want to lose our class. Just by keeping this one rule in mind, you can save yourself and others embarrassment in many situations. Making people around you feel uncomfortable is indeed bad manners. Unless you are an instructor or teacher in the proper setting, you do not correct others in a public forum where feelings or sensitivities may be hurt. A general rule to remember is the golden rule. Always put yourself in others shoes. If you feel that it would embarrass or hurt you, then it would another person as well.

Dear Millie,

Would you please stress the importance of RSVP to an invitation? Our non-profit organization is honoring our patrons and it is costly when they don't return their reply cards.

Anyone receiving an invitation with an RSVP is obliged to reply as promptly as possible. R.S.V.P. is the abbreviation for the French "respondez si vous plait," which in English means "please reply." It is a sad observation on today's manners that hosts and hostess have to phone their invited guests in order to confirm if they are coming. There should be a response within a week of the receipt of an invitation.

It is inexcusably rude of you to leave someone who has honored you with an invitation with no idea if you plan to attend. When the RSVP is followed by a telephone number, do your best to telephone an answer at once. The Etiquette police will not be coming to your house if you fail to respond, but you may be in this same position some day.

Dear Millie,

I am new to a firm and have many social occasions that my spouse and I must attend with partners and clients. What is the correct way to introduce my spouse?

Dear Reader,

Introductions are very important and remember that the first time you meet someone presents an opportunity to form a lasting impression.

A man introduces his wife: "Mr. Partner, may I introduce my wife --- First name - last name." Or a woman may introduce her husband: "Mr. Partner, may I introduce my husband---first name - last name." According to research conducted by Harvard University, The Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research institution, technical skills and knowledge account for 15 percent of the reason you get a job, keep a job, and advance in a job. Eighty-five percent of your job success in rooted in your people skills. You don't get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Dear Millie,

How do you address a wedding invitation to a husband and wife when the wife is a doctor?

The following are the choices in addressing the outside and inside envelope.

Outside envelope Mr. and Mrs. (Husband's Christian name and surname) or Doctor (Wife's Christian name and surname) and Mr. (Husband's Christian name and surname) Inside envelope Mr. and Mrs. (Surname) or Doctor (Surname) and Mr. (Surname)

Thank you for your questions. Readers with questions on any etiquette situation may write Millie Chastain at 812 Chastain Road, Talladega, Alabama, 35160 or e-mail her at Millie is the director of The Protocol School of Alabama, and conducts etiquette classes and summer camps for students in Talladega, Sylacauga, Pell City, and Anniston June 7, 8, 9, and at Jacksonville State University June 14-18.

"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength."