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Basic Etiquette

Ashlea MassieChristian Life

I know this blog is to help others out in their Christian walk, but I really feel like basic etiquette, manners, is extremely important for Christians to cultivate too. The opposite of not having manners leaves you with someone who is rude, and how can we accept that title as Christians?

So I want to go over a few things to remember:

1.) If you are invited over to someone’s house for a meal, a meal for a wedding, or anything in general where the host is being generous and paying for you, then it is extremely rude to back out or accept at the very last minute, unless there’s some sort of emergency. I’ve seen this happen to some gracious hosts. They need to know how many people to plan for, and when you back out at the last minute just because you forgot you had other plans or something better came up, you’ve caused them to waste money on your portion. And when you just all of a sudden decide to show up, don’t be surprised if there’s nothing left for you. Your host is not obligated to give you free food at the last minute. Also, don’t be surprised if you get left out of being invited over to someone’s house. Nobody wants a rude guest. If you’ve done this, make amends by apologizing and offering to bring something to the meal next time around for everyone to share. By the way, that’s what needs to be done in the first place!

2.) When you are given gifts, especially at weddings and baby showers, it’s extremely important to say “thank you” and then give them a little thank-you note. Of course, it’s not necessary to do this with small gifts, but when you receive things like cash, it’s rude not to give a thank-you note back. Now that I’m older and give gifts to younger kids and teens, I’m not as happy to hand out gifts knowing that I won’t even receive a “thank you” in return. I especially don’t like sending out gifts in the mail and not even receiving an acknowledgement from the person that they were received. I understand that it may not occur to people to send thank-yous, but once you’re the recipient of an ungrateful person, you realize how important it is. It only takes a few minutes to express your gratitude, and you can be sure that if you did this at your wedding with gifts, people will gladly give you baby shower gifts. If you don’t, you’ll probably see less gifts coming your way.

3.)When you go out with friends for a meal, remember to make it clear that it’s established who is paying for whom. If you want to pay for everyone, let them know up front that the meal is on you. If you want to get together but want each individual to pay for their meal, make that clear. Nobody is going to be upset if they have to pay for their meal, unless you told them you would from the start. I had a friend tell me that her boss told her and her fellow workers that they would go out to eat and she, the boss, would pay for everyone. My friend said that when they arrived for lunch at the restaurant and were gathered at the table the boss said, “I’m sorry, but I didn’t know how expensive it would be to pay for everyone’s meals. I’ll pay for the meals of those who are leaving, but is it okay if everyone else just pays for their own meal?” I was shocked. What were her guests supposed to say? Of course they had to say yes! Never back out of an agreement you’ve made, unless it’s for a legitimate emergency. You said you’d pay for everyone’s meal, you do it, even if you didn’t realize it’d put a dent in your pocket. Your word is important, and keeping it is more important to God. Just look at the Bible verses where Jesus says to let your yes be yes and your no be no and how he tells women to make sure they keep their vows to God. It is honorable to keep your word when you’ve made mistakes.Believe me, it’s not easy, but it’s important. I remember a time when I accidentally sold something for $1 on Ebay. That was not the price I had intended, but it’s the price Ebay listed, so I honored it. It would have been wrong for me to say, “That wasn’t the price I wanted to sell it for!” I should have caught my mistake sooner, so I told my customer that they had gotten the best deal ever, and I earned a happy customer.

And those are just a few pieces of etiquette I wanted to clarify. Hopefully this will help you to remember to think before acting out in public situations. When you think about your future actions, you’re able to determine whether you’re making a rude move or not.

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