[toggle] [toggle_title]Read a Note from Dr. Sara on Etiquette[/toggle_title] [toggle_content]
ETIQUETTE – the conduct or procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life
Over the years I have worked with many individuals and couples who seemed to need very practical advice. They articulate problems that boil down to issues of respect, and how to best demonstrate it. I realized that many people were simply confused. How could they tell if their partners respected them? I believe that any relationship with lasting potential must have a strong component of respect.
Practicing good etiquette is a great way to show respect to your partner. There are certain objective standards that can help you succeed in your relationship in the social and private spheres. By nature, women are more delicate physically than men. I believe in equality between men and women, but not similarity. There are different etiquettes that men and women can practice that affirm their equal but dissimilar statuses.
I think feminism did a great job of liberating women in many respects, but it has also confused some men. Men have told me they don’t want to step on a woman’s independence by opening the door for her or picking her up at the airport. I think this is too extreme, don’t you? The fact is whether or not you agreed out loud, when you enter into a relationship with opposite gender, you agree to certain gender roles.
And so, as you begin 2012, I offer you Etiquette for Couples, Etiquette for Men, and Etiquette for Women that will make your relationship deeper, happier, and more auspicious in the new year.
1. Give him clear instructions. Don’t expect him to figure it out. This is a HUGE mistake that women make often. Don’t set your man up for failure. That’s just mean. When he asks you something, don’t respond with a weak, “Oh that’s ok” or “I don’t know” and then complain, “Well, he should just know! I shouldn’t have to tell him!” This isn’t fair. It’s your responsibility to clearly know what you want and to articulate this to your partner.
2. Let him pay the check, but offer. At least say, “May I?” You need to make a move. Especially if you are not clear if this is a date or not.
3. Don’t share your personal jokes in front of others. Funny nicknames, inside jokes, and other private material will fall flat in front of others. Let these private jokes remain private.
4. Don’t compare him to someone else. Not to your ex, your dad, or your friend. Just take him as he is.
5. Don’t call him daddy. When you have a baby it is often that the woman calls the man daddy or visa versa. Don’t do this unless you want to change your status from being his lover to another one of his children.
6. Don’t drink too much. This is just bad etiquette both in private and in public. You might end up embarrassing yourself or regret it big time later!
7. Stay calm. Shouting, swearing, or throwing things at him or others is bad etiquette, and it is not attractive at all either.
8. Never put someone else down in front of him. It is known that women put other women down in front of their male partners. This does not add to your value and just lowers your class.
9. Don’t interrupt him without acknowledging. This is in private or public. Whether he is talking, watching football, or talking on the phone. It is not very polite to interrupt someone as if they are your genie in the bottle and must be available to your command all the time.
10. Don’t talk him down in front of others. Some women find it amusing or relaxing to vent about their partner to others, be it a friend or a family member. This is not good etiquette, and to be honest, you are bringing yourself down at the same time because you are in a relationship with this person!
11. Don’t hang up the phone. This just shows you gave up. If you really don’t wish to continue the conversation you can simply say something like, “I don’t think this is constructive so I am going to hang up”. Yes, I know what you are thinking: It is not always as easy when you are angry or hurt. But if you are that angry or hurt then you should have left the conversation much earlier!
12. Never stay around to be insulted. This needs to be set at the beginning of the relationship. There are certain boundaries that should never be broken. The reason I mention this here as a part of Wetiquette rather than Metiquette is because if you could get out a situation but choose to stick around long enough to be insulted, then it is your poor judgment.
13. Always carry enough cash. This especially goes for women who go out in the evenings. It is just lady-like to have enough money to get back home from wherever you are, just in case anything goes wrong. You could be in a relationship or not. Always carry enough cash to come back home on your own.
14. Moderation with odors. Be it body smell, perfume, or breath. On a date or in a long term relationship. Doesn’t matter. A lady never attracts someone based on her strong smell. Some perfumes have a pleasant effect on some men, but to be on the safe side, keep that in moderation, too.
15. Don’t talk about yourself too much. This just shows how self-absorbed you are. This goes for people who just started dating or those in long-term relationships. Make an effort to be curious and interested in the other person’s life, day at work, or thoughts on the food that you just had as well.
16. Respect his privacy. This goes both ways, but I have seen women violate this etiquette more often than men. Whether it’s checking his emails, Facebook page, letters, etc. If he wants to do something, he will. You don’t need to lower your level by invading his privacy.
17. Dress appropriately. Nothing is less classy than a woman in inappropriate clothing. Revealing too much is not classy. I have traveled to more than 20 countries, but nowhere have I found this to be praised or appreciated. If this is not convincing, then think about it this way: you need to leave something for his imagination!
18. Be thoughtful with your demands. It is not good etiquette to demand things that you know or suspect your man is not capable of providing or doing. This just portrays you as a difficult and high maintenance person.
19. Never use sex in a power game. People use sex for different purposes, but in my years of dealing with those with relationship and sexual problems, I never saw anyone succeed by using sex as a weapon. Be it in the dating scene or a long-term relationship. It might work in the short-term to keep the person around or to get you what you want, but in long term relationships, using sex as a weapon changes the meaning of sex and reduces its value. Worst than all, it will objectify you rather than gratify you as a woman.
20. Be respectful. He is your partner, date, or husband. Not your doorman, driver, or coat holder. “Please” and “Thank you” goes a long way.
Please take a moment to share your experiences and wisdom with us. Let’s see if we can have a tiny role in helping women to get what they deserve in relationships.
Read on Couple’s Etiquette or Etiquette for Him (Metiquette).