Social Faux Pas – Professional Advice at a Social Event

I would like to address the act of seeking professional advice at a social event. I’m not sure if people do this because it’s an inexpensive means of getting professional consultation or it’s just convenient. Either reason, it places the professional in an awkward situation and distracts them from the social event they’re attending.

In addition to being an etiquette consultant, I am also a ballroom dance instructor. I will frequently decline opportunities to attend dances because people expect me to show them dance steps on the dance floor while my husband and I are trying to share a rare moment to dance with each other.

On one particular occassion, a husband and wife pulled me away from my husband in the middle of a swing and said, “Show us a new step. We’re bored with the ones we already know.” Worse yet, they were not my students.

This is a common situation among other professionals as well. People constantly seek professional advise from doctors or lawyers so they don’t have to pay for it.

A polite way for a professional to handle such a situation is to say, “I would be happy to help you. Here is my office phone number. Please call me tomorrow so we can schedule an appointment.”

It would be most polite if a professional was not put in this situation.

Professionals do not offer their unsolicited advice. I certainly would not lean over to tell you that you are using the wrong fork in a social setting.

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