In Others’ Words: Etiquette
“Etiquette — a fancy word for simple kindness.” ~ Elsa Maxwell, labeled the “Hostess with the Mostest” by the press in the mid-Twentieth century, columnist & author
You hear the word “etiquette” and I bet you groan, thinking “rules, rules and more rules.”
- Should I offer my seat to the elderly woman who just got on the subway?
- How do I address someone I just met — formally or casually?
- Should I wait for a man to open the door for me or is that sexist behavior?
But what happens when you substitute the word “kindness” for the word etiquette? Ah, suddenly everything is so, so much easier. Every “what should I do now?” dilemma boils down to kindness.
- It’s only kind to let someone older than me to sit down when it’s easier for me to stand.
- It’s only kind to offer respect to someone I just met. If they tell me to call them by their first name, then I will.
- It’s only kind for that man to hold a door open for me — he’s not insulting me as a woman. And if he doesn’t? Well, I’ll be kind toward him and assume he’s in a hurry — not that he’s being rude on purpose.
I like the way it’s summed up here: Put yourself aside and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourself long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4, The Message)
In Your Words: When has kindness helped you out of an awkward situation — a “what do I do now?” moment?