You’re finally meeting more people than you ever dreamed of. Whether your motives are personal, professional or a healthy mix of both, making a good impression — not only the first time but throughout the course of your relationships — is, well, just good etiquette. If you find yourself in increasingly new and unusual situations as you venture further out into the world and your respective industries, you’re probably amassing a few questions about “proper etiquette” from time to time. Most of the time, there’s no good place to turn to ask those sometimes awkward or embarrassing questions.
So if you want to avoid your next bout of stress over making a dreadful faux pas, don’t fret. Letitia Baldrige’s book, New Manners for New Times: A Complete Guide to Etiquette should be required reading for us all. Booklist claims it “takes the ignorance and indecision out of all variety of manners-related issues… Baldrige has provided guidance for just about any and every situation that might arise in our fast paced world.”
You may be long past the basics of holding doors open, where to sit when and how to dress, but what do you say to a newly divorced couple? What’s the best wording for a thank you note? And can you send it via email? How much do you tip the housekeeper at a hotel? Baldrige covers a whole range of good-to-know issues from dealing with relationships, rites of passage, entertaining, gift giving, difficult times and communication. As she puts it, “When you’re nice to someone else…that someone else is nice back to you, and suddenly two people feel good about themselves and each other and spread their feelings.” A little idealistic, maybe, but how could any of us argue with that?