5 Simple Ways to Be More Polite

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5-simple-ways-to-be-more-polite-by-hilary-rose-leather-jacket-lace-midi-dress-and-henri-bendel-bag-austin-fashion-blogger-spring-style-womens-fashion

5-simple-ways-to-be-more-polite-by-hilary-rose-leather-jacket-lace-midi-dress-and-henri-bendel-bag-austin-fashion-blogger-spring-style-womens-fashion

5-simple-ways-to-be-more-polite-by-hilary-rose-leather-jacket-lace-midi-dress-and-henri-bendel-bag-austin-fashion-blogger-spring-style-womens-fashion

5-simple-ways-to-be-more-polite-by-hilary-rose-leather-jacket-lace-midi-dress-and-henri-bendel-bag-austin-fashion-blogger-spring-style-womens-fashion

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Dress | Bag | Jacket | Heels | Necklace | Lip

 Good manners, in my humble Southern opinion, are one of the most important things you can have. You can make lasting impressions, help people out of awkward situations, and gain valuable relationships by being courteous. Some would say it’s a lost art, but I think even the tiniest of gestures can be easy to do in your daily life, and they can make such a difference.

Here are my 5 simples ways to be more polite (taught to me by my mamma):

#1 Cover For People

This, in my book, is THE key to having good manners. People make mistakes, say or do embarrassing things without thinking, or fumble in front of others, and someone who is truly polite will be the first to try to cover for them. Someone without any manners, on the other hand, will bring attention to the mistake, which is such a rude thing to do. This goes for the smallest of things.

It’s hard to explain, but I think a scene from the movie Pretty Woman perfectly describes it. Julia Roberts is all dressed up at a fancy dinner and she doesn’t know which utensil to use for her meal. She turns to Richard Gere and asks where the salad is, which he told her comes after the meal, and she responds with “but that was the fork I knew.” As she looks down at her plate, worried that she will use the wrong fork and embarrass herself in front of these fancy people, a gentleman at the table said to her “I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been able to tell which goes with what” and he picks up the food and eats it with his hands to show her what to do discretely. This man was clearly rich and refined, he definitely knew which utensils to use, but he effortlessly, without drawing any attention to her and making it seem like he was the one who didn’t know what he was doing, covered for her and saved her from an embarrassing moment.

It’s such a small thing, but I think it’s so important to help people and treat them how you would hope to be treated in the same situation.

#2 Girls, Be the First to Grab a Place

Yes, I mean it! Say you’re at a BBQ with your friends and family. All the guys have been talking about being ready for the food to be served, and then when it’s finally there, they all wait to the side for the ladies to grab a plate first, but all the ladies are too embarrassed to look too eager to eat. It’s such a silly dance we do, but it happens every time. So, I think the polite thing to do is if you’re a girl, grab a dang plate and get the ball rolling! The men aren’t going to look at you and criticize your waistline and think you shouldn’t be eating. Instead, they’ll be relieved because they did the gentlemanly thing and they still don’t have to wait forever to eat. Plus, you get to eat first, and you know you wanted that pulled pork sandwich.

Also, if you’re at a party where the hostess prepared a hot meal, you should consider all the work they put in and eat before it gets cold.

#3 Show Your Appreciation

Everyone wants to feel appreciated. It can be really easy to get lazy, especially with the ones closest to you or the people you may never see again, but people really remember when they’re properly acknowledged for something kind they did. I’m not saying you should throw a party every time someone holds the door for you, but it’s important to let them know you’re thankful.

For instance, if you’re shorter and you’re having trouble getting your luggage in the overhead bin and someone offers to help, really show your appreciation. Instead of a timid “thank you”, you should make eye contact with them and say something like “thank you, I don’t know how I would have gotten that thing up there without your help! I really appreciate it.” Seems obvious enough, but I know I have done something for someone and they barely thanked me, and it even made me for a minute wish I hadn’t helped them.

#4 Consider Other People’s Situations

 This is my personal updated rule on the whole “men holding the door for women” thing. Now more than ever, it is so important for women to show their strength and not be passive towards men. While I personally still appreciate if a man holds the door for me (I’m old-fashioned like that) I completely understand and respect where the women who don’t care for it are coming from.

So, with that said, I think we should all consider situations we are in and help if it would be just that, helpful. If someone is holding a bunch of crap and they can’t open the door without struggling, help them. If a pregnant woman is being tossed around on the bus and clearly would be more comfortable in a seat, offer yours. I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman, simply considering the situation another human is in and offering to help if you can is such a small but meaningful thing you can do. Being polite means being kind.

#5 Listen Up and Pay Attention

This is all about conversations, and it can be split up in two subcategories:

A. Actually listen to people when they’re talking. You know the feeling when someone is talking and you’re not really listening because you can’t wait until they’re finished because you have something really great to contribute? Imagine if that was how everyone was thinking when you were talking. It doesn’t feel so good, does it? When I think about it too much, it honestly makes me not want to talk at all. A simple way to be polite is to just take a second and remember that a conversation is supposed to be between two equals, both giving their insights and opinions, and both deserve a listening ear.

B. Pay attention to body language. This is a little deeper, but if you’re ever having a conversation with someone on the heavier side, discussing things like religion, family, or politics, pay attention to their body language. You should never assume someone’s standing on any issue, and it can be really easy to offend someone if you’re not thinking. People tend to retract, like sit further back in their chair or take their hand off the table and put it in their lap, or break eye contact more often than they normally would if they’re feeling uncomfortable, and if you notice this, you should maybe reconsider the topic. The polite thing to do is make sure everyone in the conversation is comfortable.

 

Photos by: Brandon Hill

10 Things a Southern Woman Does

10 things a Southern Woman Does, etiquette tips by Austin Blogger By Hilary Rose
Dress: Bardot | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Heels: Steve Madden

If you’re a Southern girl like me (born in Georgia, raised in North Carolina, Florida, and Texas), there are certain habits, manners, and traits you pick up on or that are passed down to you with intention. While these guidelines exist, a Southern woman also knows that being true to herself is the most important thing she can do, and ignoring a rule is her right. These are a few things that I have found to be true of the Southern women I know and guidelines I try to always follow myself.

  1. You Mind your P’s and Q’s: (A phrase which no one seems to know the meaning of). Manners are everything in the South. If you’re a Southern woman, you say “yes sir” and “yes ma’am”, you have perfect table manners at a sit down dinner (napkin in the lap, no elbows on the table, one hand in your lap when you’re not using it to eat, no slouching, napkin in your chair when you leave the table but are coming back, napkin to the left of your plate when you’re leaving for good), you always say thank you when someone does something for you, you say please when you would like something, and you treat the servers at a restaurant with respect and kindness. Great manners are the best way to make a good first impression and a wonderful way to make everyone feel comfortable. If someone does something embarrassing (whether it be a spill or a joke that offends someone), a Southern woman knows that covering for them is the best thing she can do and never draws attention to the error.
  2. You Send Thank You Notes: There are times when a thank you note is absolutely required (such as when you receive a wedding present) but if you’re a Southern woman, there are other times when a thank you note can be sent. Did someone send your family food or a gift after a hardship? Did someone throw you a lovely bridal shower? Did someone let you borrow their car when yours was in the shop? Did someone bring you flowers to the hospital when you were sick? These are all times when it’s definitely not required to send a note, the person who helped you loves you and wouldn’t want you to have a second thought about it, but it’s a nice way to show someone how grateful you are and that you are happy to have them in your life.
  3. You Know How to be a Gracious Hostess: A Southern woman always makes people feel at home when they visit her. If you are having guests visit you, one way to make sure they’re comfortable is to stay in the guest room one night, that way, you can immediately see what they might need. Are the pillows too soft? Is there an extra phone charger in case they forgot theirs? Is there a spare blanket in case it gets cold? Are there clean towels in the guest bath? These are all good things to check. If you’re just having people over for dinner or a party, make sure you have enough settings for everyone, you’ve accounted for dietary restrictions, and there are non-alcoholic options available for drinks (you never ask someone why they aren’t drinking, and having the option readily available for someone to choose eliminates any embarrassment they might have in asking for it). Always treat others how you would want to be treated if you were their guest, it’s a small gesture that people really appreciate.
  4. You’re a Football Fan: This is a given, but worth mentioning. You proudly sport your team colors, you brave the heat and tailgate, and you shotgun a beer if you feel so inclined.
  5. You Never Chew Gum at a Public Event: It’s really not appropriate to chomp gum when you might be making new acquaintances. If you’re worried about fresh breath, use mints instead and save the gum for hanging out with your close friends.
  6. You Were a Deb and Your Daughter Will be too: I wish I could go back and change the way I did my hair at my debutante ball, but it’s still one of the fondest memories I have from high school. I learned how to waltz, proper table etiquette, and how to mingle with people I’d never met. If I have a daughter, she most certainly will be a deb, and it will be a very proud moment in my life as a mother.
  7. You Wait For an Invitation: Parties, weddings, and other social events require a lot of very careful planning on this host’s part, and you should never attend anything without an invitation. Invitations can range from a “hey we’re having a wine night, come over!” text from your friend, to a Facebook invite, to formal wedding invitation in the mail, but they should all be equally respected. If you’re not invited to a wedding, the bride’s family could be on a very tight budget and simply couldn’t afford to invite everyone they wanted to. If someone doesn’t invite you to a party, maybe your ex will be there and they are saving you from any awkwardness. If someone intentionally is leaving you out, who cares? You don’t want to be around that person anyway! The point is, there is always a reason why an invitation was extended to you or not, and a Southern woman always respects the decision of the host and does not make them feel guilty or embarrassed about their choice.
  8. You Dress Appropriately: There’s a time for that bodycon dress and it ain’t at your niece’s Christening. It’s important to be modest when you should and save your fun, going-out outfits (that you have every right to wear) for nights out with your friends. You also cover your chest at church, you wear a modest black dress to a funeral, and you don’t wear anything too gaudy or show-stopping to a wedding. For more specific style rules for wedding attire, you can check my Southern Lady’s Wedding Attire Guide post.
  9. You Always Respect and Love Your Family: They’re your rock, and they are the most important people in your life. You respect your parents’ wishes, you try not to disappoint them, and your brothers and sisters will always come before any friends or relationships.
  10. You Use Sweet Southern Terms of Endearment: Sugar, honey, darlin’, baby, sweetheart. My favorite is sugar. Even better, someone asking you to “give them some sugar”. My dad has been calling my mom darlin’ as long as I can remember, and it’s just the cutest thing ever.