Several years ago, when perusing through the Harvard Coop, I found and fell in love with Emily Post’s Etiquette. I asked for and received the 18th edition for Christmas that year and have since enjoyed skimming through it here and there and consulting it with particular etiquette questions when they arise. A recent goal of mine has been to read Etiquette from cover to cover, and to hold myself accountable to this goal, I am going to incorporate Monday Manners posts onto this blog. Each post will address a thought or topic that was inspired by what I read in Emily Post’s cream and turquoise beauty.
It took the entire two-page introduction for me to know exactly what I wanted to write my first Monday Manners post about. In her introduction, Emily (I know that my edition of Etiquette is written by Post’s descendants, but I like to pay homage to the Queen of Manners, and also to pretend that we are dear friends, on a first-name-basis) names the fundamental principles of good etiquette: respect, consideration, and honesty. Manners are fluid, but they all rest on these three foundational qualities that enable us to interact thoughtfully with all of the people whom we encounter. In my experience, acting with respect, consideration and honesty is much easier in some situations — and with some people — than in others. Read more