Notes: No Forced Marches or Feeding

pieHere at Social Arts Atlanta, we receive search engine alerts for articles containing the words etiquette and manners. People around the planet blog about these subjects regularly. Sometimes there are great finds and we repost these to our Facebook page (hope you will like us on FB) and at other times, a review and not a repost is in order. Here is one such review.

An expert was asked to settle a dispute between husband and wife about the behavior of a guest who attended their New Year’s celebration. The guest did not eat much during the event and repeatedly discussed that she was “trying to cut back.” This guest raved about the small portions she consumed but refused dessert. The wife thought the guest extreemly rude to not have eaten more and to have declined dessert. The wife wanted this guest to be removed from the household’s invitee list while the husband was not offended and wanted the guest to remain.

The etiquette expert weighed-in in favor of the wife because the expert felt that it was rude not to eat full servings of offered food and that it was even worse that the guest refused food.


There are two people in this situation that lack consideration for others, the hostess and the guest. But, not for the reasons the expert sites.

As a host, you provide for the possible needs of your guests. The only guarantee you have is their company. Guests do not have to partake in everything that you offer. They may not care to see your garden regardless of how many new varieties of hostas you just planted. Or, they might only drink one bottled water instead of the three that you planned for each guest. No forced marches or feedings allowed.

Now, for the guest. Even with nearly every magazine cover shouting the benefits of a new diet, it is best to keep relatively quiet about yours. When you are offered something that you do not care for, a sincere “no thank you” is all that is required. You may not even need to mention your eating plan. If you repeatedly talk about it, you impose it on others and they are not on your diet.

So, hosts, enjoy your guest’s company and do not count his/her calorie intake. And, guests, be discreet about your regime. It keeps your mouth shut which could possibly help your diet.

News: Intown Social Club: Trees Atlanta First Beneficiary

Trees_Atlanta_Logo_2015Supporting the motto of Friendship, Philanthropy & Fun, Intown Social Club will collect child-size gardening gloves at its next meeting to support the youth education programs of Trees Atlanta. Since 1985, this organization has protected Atlanta’s urban forest through planting, conservation, and education.

Attendees that bring at least one pair of child-size garden gloves will receive $5 off the admission price of $25, $20 for SAA students. The community is welcome to drop off donations of gloves during the event. .

ISC is an event for ages 11 – 13 that includes social dance instruction, music and light refreshment. This event is Sunday, February 22, 2015 from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, 1240 Euclid Ave, 30307. Please visit here for further information and dress code requirements. Registration is not required for this event

News: Availability for Social Arts 101

IMG_1393smThe current session of Social Arts 101 has eight places available for 6-8th graders. Families interested in enrolling their child should contact Social Arts Atlanta as soon as possible, via contact the form, email: or by phone 675-551-3799.

There will be a make-up Lesson 1 on Monday, February 16, 2015 from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Then students will continue on the monthly schedule with lessons on the following Fridays from 7:45 pm – 9:00 pm; February 20, March 27, April 17 and May 15.

Tuition is $295. The registration form can be found here.


Quote: Manners Should be Natural

Good manners aren’t supposed to be awkward, formal or stiff. They should be natural.

– John Daly, founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success.

Mr. Daly’s blog Manners Do Make a Man (or Woman) published January 13, 2015 at is spot on. He points out that manners and manliness are compatible and that good manners should be natural and non-judgmental.

Mr. Daly’s piece is worth your time to read.

Notes: The Buffet

The_BuffetWith gathering and being a guest this season, we are all likely to come upon The Buffet. This is a easy way to serve a crowd but can be unnerving to navigate. As always, a bit of thought and practice before an encounter is  helpful.



  • It is a party, not a race and there is usually more than enough.
  • Wait your turn, be in the moment, speak to those around you, The Buffet is part of the party.
  • Refrain from eating while in line.
  • Serve a modest portion, it will be easier to manage if you have to eat standing up.


  • Hold a plate. Put it in your left hand, with the palm facing up, under your thumb and on top of your pointer finger. This will leave the right hand available for serving and shaking hands.
  • Add a napkin. It should go under your plate. If you know you have to eat standing, open the napkin before tucking it between your middle and pointer fingers securing it with the weight of the plate. This way, you can wipe the figures of your right hand as needed.
  • Now, add utensils. It or they go under your plate using the pointer and/or middle fingers to hold them.
  • Place a beverage glass. It can go in the area of you palm created by holding the plate, secure the glass with your ring and little fingers.
  • Serve food to your plate.

To manage this process with confidence and grace, really does require practice.It is a bit of a juggle. Just like parallel parking or the correct use of its and it’s, managing The Buffet takes repetition. The time, well spent, will allow for the full enjoyment of the company and food.

Note: Be A Good Guest

At the end of the year, we gather. This long tradition is likely linked to the cold and short days. We just cannot do as much work out in the fields.

So young or old, we are likely to be a guest. Whether it is at an office party, a friend’s open house or your great-aunt’s assisted living cafeteria, being a good guest is a good idea and relatively simple.

Think like a host.

  • Make only reasonable requests. What would your reaction be if your employee asked that limbo be added to the agenda of the cocktail gathering?
  • Offer to help. How did you feel when your home-from-college niece offered to unstop the powder room toilet so you could take the souffle out of the oven?
  • Be open to suggestions. When you were not sure how to talk to your best friend’s  eleven-year-old niece, wasn’t it great when she accepted your invitation to play Sorry?
  • Avoid negative comments. How did you feel when your friend talked about how she got heinous food poising from a batch of gingerbread at your first cookie decorating party?

To help both yourself and the young people in your life, take a moment to talk or think about the people you have enjoyed hosting. What make these people enjoyable to be around, what makes you want to invite them back?

Just this small bit of thought and preparation will make you and yours great guests and repeat guests.

Quote: Better to Make Mistakes – Bunce

Don’t make a pronounced attempt at correctness of manners; don’t be vulgar, but don’t on the other hand, show that you are trying hard not to be vulgar. It is better to make a mistake than to be obviously struggling not to make them.

– Oliver Bell Bunce from Don’t: A Manual of Mistakes & Improprieties more or less prevalent in Conduct and Speech first published in 1884

Mr. Bunce’s point should be well taken. Mistakes are going to happen in social situations, trying hard will not prevent them. However, a bit of knowledge, practice and honesty will lesson their frequency and negative impact.