Manners for right now

The world is changing, the way we do nearly everything is vastly different from the way our parents did things. I mean, I can order my groceries online, the online world is so pervasive that I actually never have to leave my house and socialize with other people. And, based on some peoples manners, I think there are many that do just that.

What my grandparents taught my parents about politeness and what my parents taught me was generally unchanged. For generations manners have stayed stagnate, not yielding to societal pressures. Now old school manners have butted into a world were they don’t fit, they’re archaic, and often times a little absurd. However, for those of us who refuse to become complete asses even in this new world there are ways to twist those old rules of decorum so they fit in our new bee-booping digital world.

I’ve got some examples of old manners vs new manners and what you could change, and what you really shouldn’t.

Hand written thank yous. Sure these are a pain in the wrist, but when it comes to certain events handwriting your thank you is a must do. Graduation, engagement, wedding, and baby gifts are all times when you actually do need to sit down and write these bad boys. With a pen, and a piece of paper. People try to get away with e-thank yous, or just a phone call. But let’s break this down, for each of the above listed life events people will typically give or gift you with something in the neighborhood of fifty bucks. If you spent that much on someone wouldn’t you appreciate a little acknowledgement? I sure would.

Wedding gifts. So you’re going to a wedding, or at the very least you’ve been invited. Now weddings are a bit more complicated but here’s how I typically do this.
No-travel wedding: This wedding is within driving distance and you won’t need a hotel to go. If you go you should spend at minimum, (like barest minimum), $50 per person attending, half that amount for children. Family of four? $150 gift.
Hotel night wedding: This wedding is just far enough away you’ll have to get a hotel for one night and drive back the next morning, think 4+ hours away. Now, if you go you should spend at minimum $30 per person attending. Family of four? $90 gift.
Destination Wedding: This shindig is so far away you will have to either fly or spend at least 8+ hours driving to get there. People who have destination weddings *should* understand that because their guests are spending quite a bit to get to them they shouldn’t expect anything. (In fairness, you should never expect a wedding gift, you invited the person, not the gift.) So as a guest to such an occasion $20 per person is more than reasonable. Family of four? $60 gift.
Wedding you don’t attend: For whatever reason, you decide not to go to a wedding. That being the case you aren’t obligated to send anything, you never are, but if you do it should be $100 gift.

Having a wedding: You’re getting married, hurray! Do not be an ass and expect gifts from your guests, they don’t have to give you anything. If you care more about what they might give you than them being there you shouldn’t have invited them. But, as a general rule people will get you gifts and they will typically spend $50 to $100 on them. Knowing this, and being the well-mannered person you are your job is to show them a good time. That means (within the confines of your religious and personal beliefs) good food, great music and dancing, and some form of open bar even if it’s just beer and wine.

Staying at someones house: You’re spending the night, whether it’s the holidays or a special trip to visit friends you’re at someone else’s house for a couple days. As a host/hostess you should have cleaned before your visitors arrival. As a guest you should clean before your departure. Cleaning before you leave would include: stripping the sheets off the bed, bring dirty sheets and towels to the laundry room, cleaning the sink, making sure you didn’t leave hair all over the shower, and wiping off the bathroom counter. ESPECIALLY if you’re visiting someone who just had a baby. They barely have time to shower, let alone clean up your messes, don’t be an ass.

Other bits of good manners that are still prudent in the 21st century…
-When attending a party offer to help clean up thrice, if they really don’t want/need help they won’t decline your third offer.
-If you spill at someone’s house, ask them where their cleaning stuff is-then clean it.
-If you break something of someone else’s, pay to replace it. If it’s priceless, apologize profusely and depending on the monetary/sentimental value give them an gift as such that helps neutralize your guilt.
-When entering someone’s home for the first time, compliment it in some way.
-When receiving a gift, if it has one always read the card first.
-Accept compliments with a simple, “Thank you.” Don’t deny them, or explain why you don’t deserve it.
-Always say please, thank you, and you’re welcome. These little words go such a long way, and they cost you absolutely nothing.

Thank you for reading!

(see, easy, and you feel nice knowing I appreciate you reading my blog. Because I do actually appreciate it.)

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