Firstly, I’d like to apologise that I even need to state that these are traditions we need to bring back because I honestly don’t want to admit that we’re losing them as a society but sadly, we are.
The art of dinner conversation
No, I’m not talking about discussing politics over a dinner table in a country mansion but just having a conversation with friends that doesn’t revolve around checking your smartphone every 5 minutes – put the damn thing away! You don’t need to have it on the table; we all have smartphones, you’re not going to win any ‘expensive phone’ contests by showing it off. If you’re expecting a phone call or text that’s important, keep your phone on vibrate and either leave it in your pocket or bag and discreetly check it.
Your conversation doesn’t need to be ‘important’ or serious; you can discuss anything from TV dramas to the outfit you bought at the weekend but please talk to each other. We don’t make enough time for each other as it is these days as it is, don’t let those couple of hours be dictated by digital words instead of real ones!
I’m not entirely sure when it started dying off but I miss shaking hands when meeting new people, not just when you’re going for interviews or seeing your accountant but when you get introduced to new friends and acquaintances at dinner or parties.
A handshake is an important part of first impressions; it suggests that you’re confident, take initiative and are open to meeting new people. It’s especially important, as a woman shaking hands, that your hands and nails are looking nice. I’m not saying they have to be painted but try not to have dirty hands and make sure that your nails look neat and tidy. As I said, handshakes encompass first impressions and if you’re meeting someone important for the first time, they will think that you don’t respect them (or yourself) enough to look after a basic thing such as chipped nail varnish.
We’ve become a nation of casual dressers. ‘Casual-smart’ seems to be the new ‘dressing up’ and we wear jeans to just about any occasion but why can’t we bring back suits for men and dresses for women? Why does no-one dress smart if they go to the theatre or turn up in jeans and blazers to a wedding? People! Don’t you remember as a child opening that dressing up box at school or at home and feeling amazing that you got to wear plastic jewels or a cowboy hat? (don’t deny you loved being a police man gentleman!).
Trust me when I say that a well-fitted suit can turn an average looking man into a hottie and a classy dress with accessories can make a woman look a million bucks so if we all look so goddam amazing dressed up, why the hell do we not do it more often? Who cares if everyone else turns up in jeans and trainers – make the effort and feel amazing; your self-esteem (and the opposite sex) will most certainly thank you for it!
I’m appalled that I ever have to write this as a ‘past tradition’ but have you noticed that no-one says please or thank you anymore? It’s time to bring it back! Start opening the door for people, be polite to the people behind the supermarket checkout, say thank you when the waiter serves your food; it’s not hard so why do we not do it anymore? I was brought up to believe that manners cost nothing and they don’t; they take 2 seconds to say but can last 2 hours if it makes someone on the receiving end feel better in their day. Why don’t you go one step further and compliment someone in the office for what they’re wearing today or how good their work was? And let’s talk about that phone being out on the dinner table shall we or you not really listening to the person who’s trying to talk to you over a coffee at lunch – pay attention! We all deserve the time.
Moving out of the way
We’ve all been there. We’re walking along the street when we see three people walking towards us. We see them. They see us. We each see that we’ve seen each other. And yet, the closer you get to each other, the less you move. Before you know it, the three friends are still taking up the entire pavement and you’re either forces to stand your ground and make them move or walk on to the road. Can we just move out of the way for each other please? It takes 2 seconds to go to single file on the pavement and allow us to stay safe. Or when you’re having that huge catch up with the lifelong friend in the supermarket, can you just move yourself and your trolleys to the side instead of the middle of the aisle? It’s common sense, manners and courtesy rolled into one and it takes such little effort but is very much appreciated.