Tips on using tradition to impress the masses
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
Ever get the feeling you’re being judged? Usually, it’s because you are. In general, as millennials, we have tried to shun tradition and forge our own paths, but
In most cases, the older generation doesn’t think so, and their opinion matters, because currently the baby-boomers—the post-war generation—are the majority shareholders of economic power in Vancouver. They’re your landlords, your in-laws, and the people that approve or deny your loan applications. So if you want to survive and thrive, it might be a good idea to brush up on your “Miss Manners,” just so you’re ready to impress should the need arise. Here are a couple tips for putting one your most polite face.
- Punctuality. Even in today’s hustle and bustle, nothing says “I respect you” like being on time. This can be a major issue that divides the two generations. A friend or peer will most likely understand the unreliable transit system, or that losing track of time doesn’t necessarily mean laziness—but this is not the case for someone you’re actively trying to impress. It just makes you seem flakey.
- RSVP. For formal invitations—you know, those ones not generated over Facebook—make a conscious effort to accept or decline. Not replying is not the same as declining, and never text your answer to them. Physically call or visit them—they’ll appreciate the effort because it will seem more personal. A good rule is that if the offer was extended via email, then you can reply via email. If it was extended through a mutual friend or colleague, or in person, then actually tell them your reply, either in person or over the phone.
- Leave the phone alone. I know it has become habit to check your phone every five minutes, or to surf twitter while you talk to someone, but most people find it incredibly rude, and they find your dependence on your phone slightly terrifying. Many multi-taskers claim that they can engage and use their cell at the same time, but in order to impress someone it takes more than you simply engaging, you have to LOOK engaged. Focus your attention on the moment and the people around you. If you’re constantly checking your phone, you give the impression that the company around you isn’t good enough, and that would put anyone off.
- No elbows on the table. I know by today’s standards this one seems downright archaic, but there is a method to this madness. Most dining tables are lower than a desk, so placing your elbows on them actually means you’re slouching. Slouching is classic body language for disinterest. It’s a little similar to the phone thing, where it’s more about LOOKING engaged. Sitting up straight makes you seem like you’re actively listening, which will endear the other person to you.
- Gifts. Being invited to someone’s home is a kind of big thing, so never turn up empty handed, especially when it’s someone you don’t know all that well. Even picking up a bottle of wine before you meet your significant other’s parents means that you took the time to think about their gracious invitation. It makes you seem more on the ball, and the people who have invited you will feel like their efforts to host you are appreciated. Everyone likes to feel appreciated.
- Don’t talk and chew. My mother taught me this when I was in elementary school, and how some people still think it’s acceptable is just beyond me. Nothing you have to say is worth trying to identify it behind the garble of half-masticated roast beef in your mouth. You’re not Lassie, listening to you shouldn’t be a game of charades. Swallow, then talk—people will love you for it.