Tuesday, November 25, 2014

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Bon Appétit posts Thanksgiving Etiquette, the bit about conversation is my favorite:

The highest form of conversation is when, for a time, the entire table discusses one topic. Hosts should gently encourage and orchestrate general conversation; guests should participate, resisting the urge just to turn and gossip with their neighbor.

Read the entire post here.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

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The "thank you" email

Do or don't: the email just to say, "thank you?"

I personally find it a waste of time to send and receive an email just to say, "thank you." Do you?

Read more in the NYTimes.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Create or curate?

There seems to be a new social network popping up every month. When these networks are new, you will usually see some exploratory time when people are figuring out how to use them and what exactly to post. Some networks are made for posting original content, while others are made for finding and re-posting the works of others. It drives me particularly batty when people use the content creation tools to re-post something someone else made. So I've taken it upon myself to categorize some of the major social networks.

Content Creation

  • Instagram (please don't repost photos from other users here, especially not without permission)
  • Vine
  • Facebook (generally these are photos you have taken, and thoughts that are your own)

Re-posting / Curation
  • Pinterest (careful what you pin, many people don't want their images showing up on Pinterest)
  • Svpply (most items that show up here are more than happy to be here, as it drives sales)
  • Google + (for the few that use it, it's generally a collection of interesting links)

  • Twitter (for most this is a place to curate links, but also many people put their own thoughts into tweets)
  • Tumblr (tumblr has a base of power users that create much of the content, but a majority of users are curating / reblogging the work of others)
  • Blogs in general (some people are curators, while others are more journalers)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


More subway gripes

Another incomplete list of things not to do on subways (or buses and other public transit):

  • bite your nails 
  • lean on the poles (mentioned again for good measure)
  • put your bag on a seat
Do always:
  • apologize if you run into someone (it's okay, it happens)
  • let other people exit by letting go of the pole at stops

Saturday, October 27, 2012

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Texting to cancel

What do you think, is using a text message (or email) to cancel plans okay or not? After reading this in the NYTimes, it's a definite "no" to rely on text messaging and email as a way to consistently excuse yourself from obligations. It's probably okay to cancel plans at least an hour ahead of time via text, but not so much if you abuse e-messaging to break plans at the last minute. Many people use electronic communication as a shield, and do things they would never dream of doing over the phone or in person. If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, most definitely do not text it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Emailing for a favor

One tip to keep in mind when emailing to ask a favor is to get straight to the point. It may seem backward, but it's better to go right to the question and save the small talk for the end. If you aren't emailing just to keep in touch, save the "how are you" for last. You should also be as brief as possible and try your very best to keep your email to five sentences. Your friends and acquaintances will appreciate your brevity and straightforward style.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Making a contract for your cell phone usage

This Teenage Cell Phone Contract has several points that are just as applicable to independent adults as they are to teens getting their first mobile phone:

  • During family meals, my cell phone will be turned off or silenced and in my pocket or placed away from the table. I will not check texts or take calls during meal time. 
  • I will practice proper etiquette when using my cell phone in public places, and be conscious of how my usage affects those around me. I will make sure my phone is turned off or silenced when I am in church, restaurants, or other quiet settings, and I will not place or take texts or calls during those times. 
  • I understand that having a cell phone is a means of communication, and is not a replacement for actual face to face interaction with my friends and family members. Therefore, when I am with others, I will make the people I am with my priority.
The last point is by far the most important, as checking your phone while spending time with the people you care about is a sign to them that they are far less valuable than a social media stream, email, or text message.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012



Can we talk about interruptions for a moment?

Since the popularization of email as a main form of communication telephones have taken a backseat. Phones are (and always have been) an interruption at best, and should be treated as such. If you are in mid-sentence during a meeting or other meaningful conversation, a phone call should not be picked up (unless, of course, it seems to be an emergency). Email, in general, is a preferred way of communicating unless a specific appointment has been made for a phone call or you have free time when a call comes through.

As a caller, you should be sensitive to the recipients' schedule and be sure to ask if it's a good time to talk.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Hold the door!

Can we discuss holding doors open for others? It might be the easiest way to show off your good customs, so just do it! Do it when someone else has a big load in their arms, or if they are pushing a stroller, or just do it always.