- Nancy Mendelson
Does Anyone Care About Etiquette Anymore?
Until I read Sarah Rappaport’s recent article for Bloomberg Businessweek titled “ Emily Post’s Great-Great-Grandson Gives Great Holiday Hosting Advice, I hadn’t heard that name since my mother trained us kids to be well-mannered quite literally by the book, Emily Post’s ETIQUETTE.
Naturally, given our benchmark for good behavior was measured by Emily Post’s philosophy, I was curious to see how her legendary brand of etiquette has managed to stay relevant in a world that often forgets to simply say, “thank you.” So, I visited the Emily Post website and quickly discovered how.
What is the Meaning of Etiquette?
What always seemed like such a highfalutin word, the following definition provides a refreshing and highly relatable perspective, thanks in no small part to the living legacy of the Post family: “The philosophy of etiquette is timeless and everlasting, whereas manners – the outward expression of the underlying principles of etiquette – are ever-changing. Manners, by their very nature, adapt to the times. While today’s manners are often situational, tailored to particular circumstances and the expectations of those around us, they remain a combination of common sense, generosity of spirit, and a few specific guidelines or fluid “rules” that help us interact thoughtfully. And as fluid as manners are, they all rest on the same fundamental principles of etiquette: consideration, respect, and honesty.
As fluid as manners are, they all rest on the same fundamental principles of etiquette: consideration, respect, and honesty.
Consideration, respect, honesty – nothing highfalutin here. More like uncommon sense, these days!
I also learned from the website that the big blue book my mother wielded with all the authority of Emily Post herself, has been reissued. The new centennial edition has been completely rewritten by Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning—the great-great-grandchildren of Emily Post––with up-to-date and comprehensive advice on the need-to-know manners, customs, and best practices of today. Plus, the website itself is a great example of how to keep a “brand” relevant. Worth a visit – lots of great information especially if you give a fig about being a thoughtful human being.
But…“Do manners and etiquette still matter?” asks writer Leonard L. Hayhurst for the Coshocton Tribune “I say yes. Your actions show respect, kindness, and at their most basic level, simply recognize that someone else exists besides yourself.”
Perhaps more than any other time of the year, the holiday season encourages us to open our hearts and celebrate others. “Sometimes the moment overwhelms people, and they forget to focus on the important thing, which is human connection,” says Daniel Post Senning, co-president of the Emily Post Institute and Emily Post’s great-great-grandson, in the Bloomberg piece I mentioned earlier. “The point of etiquette is to focus on relationships, and if you can do that during the holidays, you’ll be in good shape.”
“The point of etiquette is to focus on relationships, and if you can do that during the holidays, you’ll be in good shape.”