New Volumes Added to SAA Library

Social Arts Atlanta has added two volumes to is library of books about etiquette, social customs and social dance.

How tow Speak Politely and Why by Murnro Leaf is a young children’s book with whimsical illustrations and examples of how using good language communicates respect and attention. Right is an image of page eight with the “awful little creature” yeah.

The second addition is from the Post family.  Good Manners for Kids includes section of home and school life with tips for bike riding and using cell phones in public.

SAA welcomes questions from our families and followers about etiquette and social dance. Please send these questions to socialartsatl@gmail.com.

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Notes: Goodness! Its Not About the Fork

When the subject of manners and etiquette comes up is seems that the use of cutlery is the main focus. At Social Arts Atlanta, we hear the following a lot:

I never remember what fork to use!

or

I am always scared I am going to use the wrong spoon.

The truth is you do not have to know which fork to use. In fact, you will never know all the “rules” of etiquette. These customs and rules change over time.

However, what we all can learn is that giving attention to others instead of focusing on ourselves will nearly always lead us in the correct direction. Here are some examples:

Responding to Invitations: You may be busy but taking the time to let the host know you are coming or not coming to a gathering will ensure that there is enough food and drink for everyone attending and perhaps even enough places for all the guests to sit down.

Writing Thank You Notes: It is always nice to sent a note of thanks for a kindness. It is particularly important for gifts that are sent and that you do not open in front of the giver. If you do not sent a note or a message in another way, how will they know that you received it?

Cell Phones In Public: Cell phones have become an important part of all of our lives. However, the world should not be a part of every conversation you make. Hearing private information can make people around you uncomfortable and could possibly give information to someone who should not have it. Also, the person checking you out of the grocery or doctor’s office can do so more quickly if you give them all of your attention. This helps not only the clerk but also there person after you.

If you remember the words of Emily Post you will likely always figure out what to do.

Consideration for the rights and feelings of others…, the very foundation upon which social life is built.

P.S. For dining, always work from the outside in. It is your host’s job to consider you and place the utensels in the correct order according to what is being served.

Notes: You Can Shake on It

A very important part of introducing yourself  in our culture is the handshake. Done well, it endears you to the person you have just met. Done poorly, it can make you or your new acquaintance uncomfortable. This ancient human gesture (there are depictions of it in Greek art dating from the 5th Century B.C.E.*) is worth a moment of thought and practice.

When shaking hands remember these three things:

  1. Hands meet web to web – meaning that the fleshy part between thumbs and pointer fingers meet.
  2. Be firm and mindful of your grip – too soft is not confident and too firm causes pain.
  3. Be brief but take your time – two to three pumps at a moderate pace is good.

A confident and welcoming handshake is an asset.

Social Arts Classes practice this important skill at every class. More information about classes is available here.

*Patrick, Bethanne Kelly. An Uncommon History of Common Courtesy: How Manners Shaped the World. National Geographic, 2011. pg 16.

Yes, We Can Welcome Your Family

LearningIntroductionAs we are preparing for this Friday’s start of Social Arts 101, there have been several emails and calls about availability. As of the writing of this post, we are still able to welcome students to the Summer/Fall Semester of Social Arts 101. There are a limited number of places so, please contact us and register as soon as possible.

Social Arts 101 is a series of five monthly hour-and-fifteen-minute lessons that teach and give the opportunity to practice basic social skills and dances. The Summer/Fall Semester’s classes are August 26, September 16, October 21, November 11 and December 9. Tuition is $275 and registration can be completed online or by mail.

Social Arts Classes teach social protocol and social dances. This knowledge leads  to skills which increases confidence. Roll playing and hands-on activities, give each student the opportunity to practice. This not only makes class time active, engaging and fun but also ensures that information is truly learned. Demystifying the what and why and looking to consideration, respect and honesty is the goal of these classes.

Notes: Opening Doors for Others

doorThe custom of a door being held open for a lady by a gentleman can seem dated and sexist in our time. With the evolution of culture, comes the evolution of customs. So can be the case for the kindness of opening doors for others.

It is interesting to explore where this custom started. There are references to Vikings letting the lady go ahead as ambush decoys. Then there are the multiple time periods where women’s skirts reached enormous size, making it physically impossible to get next to a door to open it. Architecture may also have contributed. Doors in some time periods were very large, heavy and may have had studs for protection. It is possible that a woman and even a man, did not have the body mass to get a door moved by him/herself.1

Regardless of its history, how do we keep the curtesy of this practice without it being patronizing?

These two concepts are relatively cut and dry:

First, no matter who you are or who is behind you, it is always correct and courteous to hold a door open long enough so that the person behind you can catch it as they go through.

Second, it is always kind to open and hold a door for anyone whose arms are full with packages, are pushing a stroller or cart of some kind, are elderly or are using a wheelchair or other mobility aid.

Now for the trickier situations:

The basic concept here is that you open and hold a door for your superior. If you and your boss are approaching a doorway, you open and hold and they go first. If you are with your parent or grandparent, you open and hold (if you are the granddaughter, take a moment and make sure your grandfather does not want to take the lead). If you are with an equals, the person on the hinge side should open the door.

Whatever your gender, if someone chooses to open the door for you assume the best, which is he/she is being courteous not disparaging. Being offended by a kindness is not kind.

When you open a door for someone else, position yourself on the hinge side of the door, step ahead, reach across with the hinge-side arm and step back to open the door and allow the person to pass. If you need to switch places, fall behind to do so. It is important that all parties involve take their time, rushing may cause accidents.

At the end of the day, opening and holding a door for another is thoughtful and should have little to do with gender.

1Gentlemen Open Doors. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2016, from http://www.forgetfulgentleman.com/blogs/forgetfulgentleman/6013466-gentlemen-open-doors

Notes: Would You Call a Stranger That?

FriendsIf a label would offend a stranger, don’t use it for a friend.

Language is a powerful tool. Words impart information to others, set the mood and even makes us laugh.

There are also lots of words that are used to make people feel set apart and less than.

Interestingly, many of us that would be angered and offended by a stranger using one of these words, use the very same words for ourselves and friends.

Here is an example that occurs with young women. Most women would not stand for a stranger calling them “whore”, “slut” or “bitch.” Yet will refer to themselves and friends by these labels in texts and group chats, even in person. Some people may respond with, “don’t be so uptight,” “that doesn’t mean anything, it is just a joke!”

Well, maybe, but it normalizes the language bit by bit. Just like that poor frog in the pot of boiling water. The water temperature gradually changes and therefore feels normal to the frog. So, it just gets cooked. Similarly, if you repeatedly hear and use derogatory terms with your friends, how long does it take you to use them for or accept them from those that are not? All the while, there is a trail of the word’s original insulting aim.

Other terms fall into this same pattern include; “fag,” “nigger,” “rag head.” Can they really ever lose all of their mal intention even when they are commandeered by the group that that was first meant to be demeaned?

While it is true that the use of these words can change as time and culture evolve, we can and should choose not to use them for either stranger or friend.

News: Change of Date for Summer/Fall Semester

CalendarRegistration for the Summer/Fall Semester of Social Arts 101 is well underway. We are delighted that five families have already chosen register their students!

Because we have become aware of a  conflict with local school schedules, we are changing the October class for both Social Arts 101 classes from October 12 to October 21.

Social Arts Classes teach social protocol  and social dances. This knowledge leads  to skills which increases confidence. Roll playing and hands-on activities, give each student the opportunity to practice. This not only makes class time active, engaging and fun but also ensures that information is truly learne

Please remember that Social Arts Atlanta limits class size for all of its program to ensure a high quality experience for students. It is recommended that you register for classes as soon as you are able. Social Arts 101 consists of five monthly hour-and-fifteen-minute classes and tuition is $275.