Manners: refreshingly present at times, lacking in others.
Your party was very fun for me. I enjoyed meeting your friends and the food was scrumptious. I was talking with ___ about how you and your friends are refreshingly more sophisticated than my friends. My friends tend to talk about video games, girls in an immature way, and only the near future i.e. later that week. I hope this is the beginning a worthwhile friendship between us all. Thanks again.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive this message and passed it on to some mutual friends, showing them what 'grace' means. Also there have been instances where had graciousness been introduced, situations would have gone more smoothly. Everyday occurrences such as splitting the dinner bill between 4+ people, organizing potlucks--and making it obvious but not too obvious, striving to be the best hostess and making everybody feel at home, including everyone in conversation, when to know when to change topics of conversation--can be quite challenging. I will include a few examples:
1. Dinner Bill: This has always been a challenge. During the summer, when most meals were shared between 9+ people--it was hard to keep track of who owed whom so splitting evenly is often the best choice even though it could mean Anne who only orders tomato salads subsidizes Mary's hamburger fetishes. Also, if Friend 1 owes Friend 3 dinner and Friend 3 owes Friend 2 dinner...it can become a tangled web. It thus has been become a rule of thumb that in groups of 3+ the bill is split.
2. Potlucks/Dinner Parties: When someone invites you to your home, it is an unwritten rule that unless you are very very close friends with the host/hostess, you usually bring something. Even if it is something as small as candy, or 2 buck chuck from Trader Joes--it is implicit that when someone invites you into their home for dinner, and cooks and cleans after you: you show your appreciation by bringing them a mere token. I have had friends seldom/never bring anything for whatever reason. In most cases however, friends bring wine. Wine is simple, can be less than 4 dollars, and complements food. Potlucks mean potlucks. Not everybody has to bring food, but offering to is at least respectful.
3. When there is an eerie silence, it usually means it is time to break it up, or to change the topic of conversation. Also, you can bullshit (TM) a topic. Last night for example, when someone asked about my pepper spray, I jokingly replied "Oh at least it is not chocolate spray! Chocolate spray can be very dangerous!" I then ran with my corny joke and explained the benefits of chocolate into a new inside joke. It can be hard to know when to stop...and can get you into trouble. Topic-wise, it is best to avoid politics.
This my first and possibly last attempt to write on manners. And my mother was quite the expert according to Nancy.