LET’S BE LADIES !
-By Oluwatosin Giwa
Part 1 – Manners maketh
Manners, attitudes, and styled dress change over time, so has the conventional understanding of what it means to be a “lady.” Though the term may seem outdated, there are certain aspects of ladylike behavior that are undying: elegance, courteousness, and a sense of respect toward oneself and others.
In all areas of life, I believe being a lady displays self-respect, class, appreciation and etiquette. It also allows you to enjoy the niceties of life with the ease of knowing how to act in all situations. You don’t have to come from wealth or be wealthy in order to conduct yourself like royalty. Here are some lost lady-like etiquette that still applies today.
- MAKE INTRODUCTIONS: If you are talking to one person and another person approaches, introduce the person you were initially talking to the person who has just arrived. In the business world, the order in which introductions are made depends on a person’s level of “importance;” in other words, on his or her level of seniority within the company. In such an example, you would first introduce the person of higher importance to the person of lesser importance, and then vice versa. Remember that the client is always of the highest seniority, regardless of his or her title.
Add a thoughtful detail about the person you are introducing, when possible. Rather than just stating the person’s name, also introduce his or her title, or how you know this person.
Don’t just say, “hello” when being introduced to someone, offer a kind greeting like, “it’s a pleasure to meet you” or “how are you this evening?”
2. Always be gracious: According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word gracious can be defined as, “marked by kindness and courtesy; characterized by charm, good taste and generosity of spirit.” You can practice graciousness in every aspect of your life, whether it’s gently letting down the guy who asked you out, or giving a moment of time to help a stranger.
Give compliments with sincerity and only when you mean it. You do not say things just to say them. Insincerity is easier to read than you think. The utmost gracious act is always in line with following the golden rule and treating others the way you want to be treated. I’ve never heard someone say they regretted being gracious.
3. Be Polite: Say please and thank you. While this may sound like an etiquette cliché, forgetting to say these things (even by accident) will not go unnoticed, and comes across as very rude. •Say thank you anytime somebody does you a favor, however big or small; it will show him or her that you appreciated it.
Hold the door open for others. It doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman, offering to hold the door open for other people is respectful and friendly.
Bringing a small host/hostess gift shows your appreciation for the preparation your host/hostess has done.
Always thank a host/hostess after attending a party or other special occasion at his or her home. Consider sending a “thank you” text, phone call, or email the following day.
Always thank people for gifts they have given you. You may want to consider writing the person a note thanking them.
Don’t abuse the words “please” and “thank you.” Using them excessively will devoid them of their meaning, and make you appear weak. For example, if a waiter pulls your chair out for you, unfolds your napkin, and then pours you a glass of water, then thank him/her one time at the very end of the action, rather than once after each gesture.
Add details when thanking others. Rather than just saying “Thanks” to a friend for talking you through an issue, say “Thank you for being so understanding. It really means a lot to me.” This will come across as more sincere.
4. Decline when necessary: Know when to say no. Being polite doesn’t mean being passive and letting others take advantage of you. It is important to learn how to politely tell people no. If somebody offers you alcohol or a cigarette and you are not interested, then kindly thank the person and refuse. Giving in against your will sends the impression that you are easily impressionable.
Similarly, if a man is attempting to “pick you up” or is getting physically aggressive with you, then stand up for yourself and tell him to back off. If necessary, call or ask for help.
5. Educate yourself: A lady is eloquent and can carry a conversation. This requires being well-read and staying up-to-date on the current events of the world. While this doesn’t necessarily require formal education, attaining the highest possible level of education that you can will be to your benefit. While in medical school, find alternative ways to educate yourself. Read plenty of books (both fiction and non-fiction), read the news, and attend seminars and/or discussions.
Thanks to the internet, most people have free access to an endless array of scholarly articles on various topics at the touch of a button.
6. Be charming: A true lady doesn’t just sit there quietly and let the world pass her by. She engages with other people, carries stimulating conversations, and is a subtle flirt. If you don’t know how to be charming, start off by smiling more at people when you talk to them, and complimenting people more. Make your compliments personal; for example, instead of complimenting a person’s shoes, tell them that you think they have impeccable sense of fashion.
7. When visiting others’ homes, be respectful: When you are a guest in somebody else’s home, allow the host/hostess to tell you where to sit, where to leave your purse, whether or not to take off your shoes, and so on. Remember that some people are more protective over their home environment than others. Use your best judgment to determine how to behave
8. Your mood should never affect your manners: Even if you’re having the worst day ever, you should always keep in mind that the people you’re interacting with might not know this, so you should never take it out on them. If anything put a smile on your face and try to conduct the rest of your day with positivity–this might even elevate your mood. The same goes for people you encounter who are rude and snappy toward you. You don’t know what they’re dealing with, so just smile and be polite. Maybe your positive vibes will rub off on them
9. Stash the smartphone: This rule should go without saying, but we all forget. It’s the absolute worst to be with people who are always on their phones. Make effort to keep your phone completely out of sight when you are with people over 40 years, because usually, older generations find it much more disrespectful to have a engagement than our generation does.
10. To post or not to post? One of today’s most pressing questions. For a woman in modern times, social media is slowly becoming an extension of her existence so it should therefore be regarded with similar etiquette guidelines. Always ask yourself whether or not you think it is a good idea to post something. Don’t post it if you wouldn’t want your grandma to see it. You should keep your audience in mind and always update your privacy settings. Also, social media and alcohol should be avoided together at all costs.
11. Confidence is key: Remember that you are you, and there is no one else who holds your unique attributes; you’re so irreplaceably valuable to the world. You don’t have to fit any specific mould if you don’t want to, but if you’re respectful of those around you, celebrate your talents, and keep a positive mind set, you’ll go places. As a young woman, there can be a lot of uncertainty in your life. You don’t know what you’re having for dinner; never mind where you’ll be a year from now. Just keep your confidence high even if you feel it wavering. If you truly believe you’re going to do great things, you will.