ETIQUETTE? ETERNALLY ELEGANT

Everywhere we turn it’s another social conundrum to solve or settle, so thank goodness for our own culture expert, Ms. Modern Manners Sharon Schweitzer, JD as she weighs in on tipping, Facebook protocol, being interrupted in a conversation and even doing business in Asia

Dear Ms. Modern Manners,
How should I handle a person who consistently interrupts me when I’m talking?
Intrepidly Interrupted

Dear Interrupted Interpreter,
We’ve all been there. If you are being interrupted while speaking, you aren’t truly being listening to, unfortunately. Some interlopers just can’t wait to talk and aren’t aware of social cues. When that happens, allow your social graces to take over and listen calmly for a few seconds, before continuing to finish your sentence. It is best to avoid the temptation to respond with a confrontational hand gesture or comment of will you wait until I finish speaking?

Dear Ms. Manners,
Should I tip my stylist who also owns the salon?
Born Beautiful

Dear Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific,
I vote yes to tipping the stylist owner who takes your hair from drab to fab. Traditionalists believe in no tipping; however the salon owner and staff think differently and that’s who cuts, colors and restores your hair, right? Do you have a good relationship with the salon and get the best personal care? Tipping ranges from 10% on the low end to 25% on the high end with an average of 20%. Do you receive early morning or spur-of-the moment appointments before jetting out of town? Tip the stylist owner and nourish the relationship as well as he or she nourishes your hair.

Dear Ms. Manners,
How shall I handle unwanted Facebook traffic from former high school friends without hurting any feelings?
Socially Savvy

Dear Sociable,
Social media daze indeed. Whether to unfriend or unfollow is the question. Without outright unfriending someone, you can go directly to their Facebook profile page and uncheck the follow button. This button manages whether their posts will appear in your news feed. You can also view and manage your lists of friends within your “News Feed Preferences.” If you have concerns about unwanted tags in pictures or posts to your timeline, you can address these preferences in more detail within your account settings options. Just remember – they’ll likely not notice an unfollow but very well might realize an unfriend. And then continue to take the high road since the view is always better.

Dear Ms. Modern Manners,
Is there a rule for who gets first dibs on sitting in the front seat of a car—especially when kids and adults are involved?
Trip Advisor

Dear Wants To Keep The Peace,
Right, the old calling shotgun. After following all child safety laws, offer the front seat to adults, and especially to seniors to show respect and provide ease of accessibility. Another consideration is offering that prized spot to the person with the longest legs who benefits most from the extra legroom. Other factors include which seating arrangement is best for conversation. If headed to an unfamiliar destination or on a long road trip, consider the best navigator for the perch. On a long haul, rotating children and unruly adults in an organized fashion also has a way of keeping the peace. For short road trips, it is important for children to learn boundaries and settle down in the back seat. Even in Texas, remember shotguns are never involved in seating arrangements.

Dear Ms. Manners,
What’s the most important piece of advice you would give for my travels to Asia?
Flying Eastward

Dear Asian Aesthetic,
Understanding cultural differences is becoming more important in our increasingly interconnected global economy. The most important concept in fast-growing Asia is the notion of Face – think of it as dignity, prestige, honor, respect and status. For example, Westerners tend to make self-deprecating jokes, or jokes at someone else’s expense. These types of jokes are inappropriate in Asia because if you cause a loss of face, you will embarrass yourself and you will also also cause a loss of face for your Asian associate, losing their respect, business and and possible assistance. So be respectful and avoid joking around in a Western way.

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Rossana Leeper

Associate Publisher

phone: (210) 861-3324

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