Southern Manners and Etiquette, Part I

Anyone who grew up below the Mason Dixon line probably has memories of going to cotillion classes. At these classes, we learned how to be proper Southern belles and Southern gentleman. We learned how to eat properly, talk properly, and how to present ourselves in public. Well, if you are like me, most of those manners and etiquette tips need a refresher.

Today’s post begins our four part series of “Southern Manners and Etiquette.” For the next four days, I will be giving y’all some hints and tips on how you can  become the best Southern belle or Southern gentleman possible. For starters, let’s talk about being a great guest and how to keep a conversation going.

To be a great guest at a party, friend’s house, or other outing, there are a few things to remember:

  • Be punctual, but not early.
  • Cancel only if there is an emergency.
  • Make it a point to speak with the other guests.
  • Offer to help the hostess.
  • Wear appropriate attire–if you are unsure, ask the hostess.
  • Do not go anywhere ill.
  • Don’t be the last to leave.
  • Always tell your hostess you enjoyed the evening when you leave.
  • Call your hostess the next day to tell her you enjoyed the evening and write a thank you note immediately.

As for keeping a good conversation going, remember: 

  • Don’t hog the conversation; give everyone a turn to speak. 
  • Keep the talk interesting and light.
  • Never embarrass your hostess.
  • Never ask what something costs.
  • Never use rude or shocking language.
  • Keep personal problems private, especially at another’s expense.
  • Be sincere with your compliments.
  • Correct your spouse’s etiquette, grammar, or behavior in private.
  • Talk with the people on your left and on your right when dining.
  • Be honest.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Be respectful.
  • Learn to compromise.

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow! 



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