This subject to live an elegant life with manners is dear to my heart.
Something magical happens when you learn proper manners for different situations.
It will give you confidence.
No matter what occasion arises, you will know how to present yourself when you know proper manners.
And there is no better boost to your morale than having the tools to be your best self.
Living an elegant life with manners isn’t something that comes easily.
Or at least it didn’t for me.
You know what you know.
There is a bit of inadequacy you can feel when you feel ill-equipped about how to act at parties or how to look confident even if, on the inside, you don’t.
I didn’t grow up learning some of the things I will be sharing with you.
My parents taught me wonderful lessons in life.
But what I yearned for, after getting married at the young age of 20, was to learn how to be a proper lady.
I wrote a blog post titled “How to Live Like a Victorian Lady in Modern Times.” You can read that here.
There was something inside me that knew I needed to better myself.
I envisioned myself living like a Victorian lady and desired to be elegant with proper etiquette and manners.
Because it was something I lacked.
I still lack many of the etiquette and manners from bygone days.
But the point is there is always room to learn.
And in this post, I am sharing four things to be the best version of yourself.
It’s an ongoing process.
No matter your background, if you desire to live an elegant life with manners, you can.
And by taking some easy steps to become that elegant woman that is inside you, you will become confident, and that is worth all the effort.
Note: You may already know some or maybe all of the manners I’m listing below. I’m excited to share them with you!
No. 1: Greeting people.
With the pandemic and our lack of social encounters, we may not get the opportunity to meet new people as often.
But here are some things to know that will go a long way in proper etiquette when greeting people.
For example, when you are introduced to someone at a dinner party, stand and shake their hand.
If unable to stand, rise a little in your seat.
This shows respect and puts your best foot forward.
Standing up when someone comes into a room was a tradition for men in the Victorian era.
But in our modern times, women also stand up to show respect to their guests or new people they meet.
In a more informal setting, saying “Hello” or “Good afternoon,” for example, without standing, is appropriate.
What stands out when greeting people is body language.
Looking someone in the eyes, standing up straight, and extending a firm handshake is good practice.
Acknowledging someone with a smile, even if you don’t feel like smiling, will make the other person feel at ease.
No. 2: Conversation
Have you ever been in a room with people and you don’t know what to say?
Here are a few ideas to make you feel more comfortable.
- Make eye contact
- Think of what to say before you say it
In a conversation, empty your mind from other thoughts and concentrate on what is being said.
Nod occasionally, make eye contact, and engage that you understand what is being said by saying, “I see,” or “Really?”.
When you don’t understand, ask for an explanation.
If you were interrupted, let them finish what they said and continue finishing your sentence.
Body language matters when in conversation with others.
Chewing gum with mouth open, slumped shoulders, and not engaging in conversation can make others uncomfortable.
Here are some things to remember:
- Keep your back straight whether sitting or standing
- Keep a friendly smile on your face
- Don’t point
I grew up with a teacher that taught her students to sit up straight.
It isn’t an expected practice nowadays.
But it is a wonderful thing to practice even in our everyday life.
It’s good for our backs and adds elegance to our demeanor.
A woman who has good posture and walks elegantly has grace and poise that speaks volumes.
Anyone can achieve that with a bit of practice.
Practicing to sit up straight and walking without slumped shoulders is a mental mind shift.
But over time, it will become a part of you.
Smiling while in conversation comes across as friendly.
But I read in an etiquette book here that overdoing a smile can look fake.
Yikes! I am one of those people that can smile way too much.
But finding a balance and being sincere will come across as welcoming and encourage others to want to talk to you.
Pointing, hand gestures, and fidgeting attract unwanted attention.
Playing with a scarf, tie, or jewelry is distracting.
Pointing at a person who doesn’t want to get unwanted glances or stares is uncomfortable.
Gesturing nonstop is also distracting.
But small gestures while talking are fine and hard not to do.
At least, it is for me.
I didn’t notice how much I use my hands to talk until I learned this.
No. 3: Saying No
With our busy lives, it is necessary sometimes to say no.
And if you’re like me, saying no isn’t easy.
But here are some ideas on how to gracefully say no without being rude or unpolite.
- Take a moment to weigh out whether you can do it.
- Say a positive comment like, “No, but thank you for asking me.”
- Give an honest reason, and don’t feel guilty.
How you can avoid the trap of possibly doing it is by being confident with your decision.
Making up your mind that you can’t do something is easier on the person and you.
When you’re unsure, it can leave the door open.
It’s ok to say no and mean it.
And being polite at the same time is a welcome response
No. 4: Accept yourself the way you are.
You can learn the proper way to hold a fork or how to shake hands at an interview.
But if you don’t have that inner peace inside you that accepts your flaws and imperfections.
Then you are missing the core lesson of proper etiquette and manners.
It will exude from your being when you feel comfortable in your skin.
For no one is perfect.
We are all learning and growing to become a better version of ourselves.
When we accept ourselves, it doesn’t mean we are arrogant or think too highly of ourselves.
It means that we give ourselves a break.
And know that you are ok the way you are.
Once you accept yourself, you will become a different person.
You will have that core strength.
This is what will attract people to you.
They will see your strength and want to be around you.
It’s like a magnet.
And that will carry you through many occasions in life.
Learning manners is important.
But to think good of yourself is far above learning proper manners.
Once you believe in your heart that you are good enough, the fine tuning of living an elegant life will be easier.
These ideas for proper manners while in the company of others are not required.
But they are helpful to know and use when you need them.
We live in a time when manners are slowly dwindling away.
It is never too late to learn them.
I hope you were inspired to be the best you you can be.
Here is a resource that I go to when I need a refresher to learn etiquette and manners. The photo is a link.
In the “Emily Post’s Etiquette” book, you will find many more ideas on how to live an elegant life with manners.
For more inspiration, go here.
And to see my latest home decor blog posts go here.
Thanks for coming by Victorian Lane Farms!