What It Takes to Be a Lady

Sometimes it\’s useful to look back at the generation before us and learn from them. When it comes to being a lady, our grandmothers knew what to do. It\’s not about being pompous sticklers for using the fork with the proper amount of tines. It\’s about being considerate and behaving in such as way as to put others around us at ease. Here are six tips:

1)    Be discreet. Now that people live their lives on the Internet, complete with photos, it\’s hard to believe there was once a time when you kept your personal life to yourself. You did not make your every opinion public. You did not wear your heart on your sleeve. Some things are just no one else\’s business and should remain private—especially when they involve family members or friends. Too much broadcasted information can make other people uncomfortable.

2)    Look sharp. A lady maintains good posture, not only because she looks better standing and sitting up straight, but because it\’s best for her wellbeing too. You don\’t have to sit erect with your legs crossed at the ankles anymore, but sprawling in a chair with your legs akimbo is no good either. Be aware of your body language, because it sends a message long before you open your mouth to speak.

3)    Dress appropriately. That means you should think about your body type, your age and the occasion. A lady resists extreme fashion trends and develops a sense of what is best for her. That doesn\’t mean she can\’t be stylish. She just needs to be aware of what works for her as an individual. Décolletage is, indeed, sometimes appropriate. But rarely.

4)    Be a good hostess. Making people feel at home involves using your imagination—what will they want or need? Think beyond the obvious creature comforts of food and drink. Think what they\’ll need to feel at ease. When you introduce them to someone new, make sure to add connecting details so they\’ll have something to talk about. “Your son went to the same university as Sam did.”

5)    Be a good guest. Never go to someone\’s home empty-handed. They are putting themselves out for you. You don\’t have to mortgage your house to buy a gift—a small token of your appreciation will do. And a thank-you note is absolutely required. On nice stationery. With a personal sentiment—not just “Thank you for dinner.” Say something thoughtful about the visit to show you noticed the host\’s efforts. And send it promptly.

6)    Make the extra effort. Call up the friend you haven\’t seen for a while and invite her to lunch. Check in on the elderly man next door. Offer to pick up what he might need at the grocery store. Draw out the shy youngster and engage him in conversation. Let him know he is special in some way. Open the door for the person with packages, no matter the person\’s gender. Go a little out of your way to do something nice for someone else.

That\’s what being a lady is all about—being nice. Being considerate. Thinking of the other person and behaving accordingly. The word ‘lady\’ may conjure up lace and blue hair and pinkies in the air when you lift a teacup. But being a lady has never gone out of style. And being nice never gets old.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: http://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.

 

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