Re-gifting Rules

I am not an advocate of re-gifting.  However, I know re-gifting is a common practice during the holiday season.  If you must re-gift, here are a few guidelines to follow:
  1. Don’t re-gift used items.  Gifts must be new and in good condition.
  2. Wrap the gift in new gift wrap with a new gift card.  Torn or wrinkled gift wrap is a clear sign of re-gifting.  Besides, it’s ugly and tacky.  If gift bags are in good condition, it’s alright to reuse the bag, but make sure you’ve removed old gift tags.
  3. Don’t re-gift if you don’t remember who originally gave you the gift.  Wouldn’t you be embarrassed to give the gift back to the person who originally gave it to you?
  4. Make sure the new recipient will enjoy and use the gift.  Perhaps you’re re-gifting because you had no use for the item.  Take the time to find a happy home for the gift.
  5. Don’t re-gift items the original giver will notice are gone.  Even if the giver lives in a different state, they may look for their unique gift item when the come to visit.
  6. Don’t re-gift personal, customized, hand-made, or one-of-a-kind items.  If the original giver might see it somewhere else, you’re busted.
  7. Never tell the new recipient you received the gift and didn’t want it.  This is no different than getting your older sibling’s hand-me-downs.
  8. I do bend a little when re-gifting consumable items such as wine, candles, and bath products.  These items will be used and gone before the re-gifting is detected.
  9. What happens if you do get busted?  Come clean and apologize.  Explain you were grateful for the gift, but couldn’t use it.  Acknowledge it was a wrong decision and you’ll never do it again.
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Give Driving 100% of Your Attention

When we sit behind a steering wheel, we are taking on the responsibility of propelling at least a ton of metal through space.  The higher the speed, the higher the force of impact that ton of metal has on any object it comes in contact with.

Knowing we have such a responsibility as a driver, I find it difficult to understand why people don’t give driving 100% of their attention.  Look around.  Other drivers are texting, phoning, eating, primping, daydreaming, babysitting, reading, and worst of all, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

We never plan to have an accident, but when we do, lives are at stake.  In a fraction of a second, a good day can turn into a nightmare.  That is, if you are fortunate enough to live through it.

Driving etiquette is not an elective.  It must be practiced 100% of the time.  Accept the responsibilities of driving.  Respect and protect others on the road by ONLY driving when you’re behind the wheel.

Posted in Cell Phone Etiquette, Driving Etiquette, Etiquette Tips, Texting Etiquette | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Michelle Obama’s DNC Dress Inappropriate

The dress First Lady Michelle Obama selected to wear to deliver her speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention was absolutely lovely.  It was flattering, well fitted, flowed nicely, and striking in color.

However, the sleeveless choice was not appropriate for the business professional setting of the Democratic National Convention.  In fact, sleeveless clothing of any type is inappropriate in any professional setting.

At a time when the job market is tough, I’m disappointed the First Lady did not set a good example for women looking for a role model  to help them enter the professional workforce.

Mrs. Obama, you’ve worked hard for those fit arms, but please wait to show them off in a social or casual setting.

Posted in Etiquette Tips, Professional Dress, Professional Image | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Match Communication Levels

Always respond to communication with the same or higher level of communication.

For example, if you receive a phone message, respond with a phone call or a face-to-face contact.  Do not respond to a phone call with an e-mail.  It will look as though you are trying to avoid that person.

Respond to an e-mail with an e-mail.  If you would like to take it to the next level of communication, respond with a phone call.

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Ask Permission Before Posting a Photo

Not everyone is thrilled to have their photo posted on a social media site.   Always ask permission before posting a photo of someone.

Social media sites are a great way to share photos, however, save this opportunity for your individual photos.   Share photos taken of others by  sending  the photo directly to the individuals in it.

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Don’t Text in the Movie Theater

You may think texting in the movie theater offers a quiet way for you to communicate without disturbing other audience members, however, the back-light glow from your device is very distracting.

If you must text, leave the theater.  Otherwise, wait until the movie has ended to send your message.  You did pay to see the movie, so sit back and enjoy it and allow others to do the same.

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Flirtation in the Workplace

It is good practice to keep your personal life separate from your professional life.  Resist temptation to flirt with or date a co-worker.

Occasionally, it is difficult for someone to resist the temptation to flirt and their object of attention and/or colleague is placed in a most awkward position.

If you find yourself in this most awkward position, it is important to put a stop to the flirtation as soon as possible.  Be nice, but firm in your delivery.  You might want to say to the person who is flirting with you, “I really enjoy working with you and appreciate your support and friendship, but I do not date co-workers”.

It’s important to draw the line in the sand.  Many people try to ignore the flirtation thinking it will go away, but they are only giving the person in pursuit hope.

If the flirtation continues after a request to stop it, then it is considered sexual harassment.


Posted in Dating Etiquette, Etiquette Tips, Office Etiquette, Professional Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The American “O.K.” Sign – Hand Gesture Etiquette

When Americans form a circle with their thumb and first finger, with the remaining three fingers pointing upward, they are communicating the message everything is okay or good.  This is one of the most recognized hand gestures in the American culture.

However, this same gesture takes on a different meaning in other places throughout the world.  In Japan, it may  symbolize a coin or money.  The French interpretation is zero, nothing, or worthless.  This is also the symbol for a private body part in many countries.

The lesson here is to avoid using this hand gesture when traveling abroad unless you know exactly what the local interpretation is.

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Dayton Daily News – Ideas & Voices Article – 3-11-12

It’s easier to blame others than to look at ourselves
By Sandra Hyde

As an etiquette coach, I am frequently asked if Americans are less civil today than in the past. It’s difficult to answer this question without an accurate means to measure civility over the years.

Are Americans perceived to be less civil today than in the past? Then, I answer with an emphatic yes. The perception of our civility today is the key issue. If we think our society behaves rudely and lacks proper manners, then we need to address today’s civility. The past really doesn’t matter in this instance. What do we presently need to improve our society?

Our perception of civility is reflected in our media. In the past, if someone acted rudely at the annual hometown shindig, only the locals knew about it. Today, the instant an etiquette faux pas is made, the news spreads around the world. Etiquette rules were broken in the past, but we weren’t as aware of the indiscretions as we are in today’s high-tech world.

Media has created multiple avenues of expression to kindle a rhetorical war. We have access to 24-hour news, talk shows, blogs, and social Internet sites. Incivility in every sector of American society is magnified by our inability to unplug ourselves.

Whenever there is discontent, people want to be heard. This can be seen throughout history from religious expression, civil rights movements, troubled economies, to political unrest. The stress and anger generated by such expressions compromise our moral consensus. Constant exposure results in the deterioration of civility. What was once considered rogue behavior is now accepted in the mainstream.

Incivility has permeated all aspects of our society. Our moral filters are voided on social media sites. People say whatever is on their minds. Foul language is used frequently and casually everywhere. Road rage is flagrant. Basic manners, such as a simple “please” and “thank you,” are infrequent. Casual business attire has decreased the structure for proper business behavior.

Unquestionably, elections bring out some of the worst examples of incivility. Politicians criticize other candidates personally rather than the policies for which they stand. I received four unsolicited phone calls at home just this morning demonstrating this. Younger generations are learning by example to publicly berate and criticize others without concern for other people’s feelings.

When and how have we become so desensitized? It’s easy to blame the media and the shock value provided to increase ratings, curse technological advancements for better communication, or point to a poor economy having created stress. It’s difficult to dig deep within and blame ourselves for decreased moral standards.

The cost of incivility is high. It impacts organizations and businesses economically. Productivity decreases, work time declines, and the sense of belonging as a team player is lost. The cornerstones on which America was built are crumbling.

So, where will America stand when it comes to civility? Will we continue to settle for mediocrity or will we strive to create and maintain a society respected worldwide for its civility?    The solution is easy. The process for change is difficult. The change must come from within. We must learn to respect ourselves and others, separate truth from fiction, and understand the consequences of our actions.

The Golden Rule must prevail and begin at home, but be present in all aspects of our society. Every citizen needs to step up to the plate to make change happen.

Good manners need to be a priority because life is more enjoyable when we are surrounded by polite and courteous people.

Sandra Hyde is president of the Etiquette School of Ohio in Beavercreek

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Texting Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

Texting is quickly becoming the standard of choice for communication in our society.   Here are a few tips to make sure you are following your manners when texting and not being rude:

Don’t text while driving.  It’s dangerous.  A quick message is not worth risking a life for.  Many municipalities are passing laws to make texting while driving illegal.

Don’t text while having a face-to-face conversation.  This includes dinner conversation.  How rude.

Don’t text during a meeting, class, job interview, wedding, performance, or funeral.  It’s not only rude, but distracting to others.  Follow the same courtesies you would use for a phone call in these situations.

Do sign your text.  Not everyone recognizes your number.

Do use proper punctuation.  It’s time consuming and we get lazy.  However, if you use texting in a professional setting, you need to use proper grammar.  Don’t trust yourself to be able to switch your writing style as needed.  We become creatures of habit.

Do use “text speak” selectively.  Not everyone is familiar with the abbreviations and may misinterpret the meaning of your message.

Do be patient when waiting for a response.  The recipient may be driving, dining, in a meeting, or attending a funeral.

Do remember texting is not private.  If you don’t want it on the front page of the New York Times, don’t text it.

Do keep your messages short and to the point.  If you need to write several paragraphs, make a phone call, write a letter, or send an e-mail instead.

Remember, not everyone has texting capabilities.  Don’t assume the recipient has this feature on their phone.  Not everyone can afford it or they elect not to have it for various reasons.  Respect their decision for usage.  Always check with the recipient before initiating a text conversation.

Happy and safe texting!


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