Culture

There’s No Such Thing As a Silly Etiquette Question in Today’s World — Ask PaperCity Anything

If You're Wondering It, We Guarantee Someone Else Is Too

BY Heather Wiese-Alexander // 05.27.22

In her recurring column, “Social in Security,” modern etiquette ambassador and Bell’INVITO founder Heather Wiese-Alexander walks us through a list of trusted tips you can rely on. Because now that we’re emerging back into the world, we want to do it as the best version of ourselves. 

And just like that, it’s been a year…

This conversation-provoking column is one of my favorite things. I’m beyond thrilled that you are reading and responding to this content. Whether or not I’m your personal designer or stationer, getting to be a source that makes your social experiences better is the most rewarding thing I can think of. You’re a huge part of my life. Thank you—with my whole heart.

If you’re just joining the series, we’ve had a great year of topics and friends helping us sort through them. My goal for the Social in Security this year is to get even more real, to hear more of your unique situations, and to give you more answers you can sink into. I want you to feel the support. I’m rounding up more experts and guests you will love. Send your questions and scenarios to [email protected]. Go ahead. I’ll wait here until you’ve hit send.

May of last year, we were emerging — albeit slowly. It felt a little like someone suddenly flipped the lights on after being in a dark room. At a dinner party, one of my close friends put it best, “So far 2021 is just 2020’s bad hangover.” Everyone nodded in agreement with their last bits of energy. But we had hope.

In June, we talked weddings — because they were happening again! Sort of. It seemed like the rules might have changed. Had they really? What kind of etiquette still applies after the social shifts of the past two years? What are the etiquette experts saying now? And of course, getting married is exciting. Then there’s planning the wedding. We touched on how to plan a stellar wedding that doesn’t break you emotionally or financially. This is what I want for you and your friends (because it gives you peace, too.)

We were stepping out to more parties in July. For many of you, it felt invigorating and for some it was anxiety-inducing. We talked about how soon you can hit the bar, what to talk about, what to do with your phone, when to arrive, and how to navigate not going if you simply don’t feel like it.

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holiday party etiquette
Robyn Chauvin at the 2021 Crystal Charity Ball (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

For fall it was travel, tailgating, and of course, those holiday parties. This fall I’m looking forward to your scenarios to discuss. Specific is always helpful. You’d be surprised how many people had the same question but were too afraid to ask. Some of the galas were back on. Some punted. All in all, our social calendars were filling back up. Pacing was a hot topic we didn’t touch on here but was discussed nearly everywhere. Social pacing is real. It’s something to think about and master. More on that this year.

In January, DeMarcus Ware kicked off 2022 giving us some life hacks for the gym and to get our minds geared toward successful self-care. This year was already looking much better! A host of Dallas favorites chimed in for February’s Valentine’s Day audit. That was fun. We polled to get real opinions about the controversial holiday and the answers were enticing! I learned more than a few things from you.

By spring our social roots were regrowing. Our eyes were more adjusted to the bright light of the new normal, so to speak. The frank answer to many of the social conundrums being presented had a common thread. We needed to lay one foundational building block: Emotional Intelligence. It was time to talk EQ. Which, by the way, is nothing new. In short, someone put an official term and loads of brain-bending scientific research behind a very old, well-known unresearched topic. Emily Post said it best in 1922, long before any psychologist or neuroscientist began parsing through data on the subject. You can Google the actual quote, or find it more than once in my writings and social media, but it goes something like this—no one cares which fork you use if you’re a jerk.

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Heather Wiese Alexander, meeting with Bell’INVITO clients. (portrait courtesy of Wiese Alexander)

And now we’re back! We are truly in the thick of it. Our menu-conjuring phones are out at the table. Is that ok? We’ve reassessed what’s important and we have rethought the way we live and how we socialize. In April, I reminded you that your phone, undeniably valuable, now truly has a presence worth intentional treatment. If you hadn’t heard the term “technoference,” you knew all about it by the end of the article. The feedback was swift and abundant. You’re paying attention and you have opinions and curiosity. I love that! We make a great team.

Over the course of the year, it’s apparent that we are more generous as a society. We’re also more tired. We’re looking for authenticity and relatability. We want real answers to real issues. As a trend, we’re collectively focused on kindness, ease, better communication, and consideration. Even better, the new generation is promising! Dinner parties and organized entertaining has made a comeback that seems to be here for a while. Big weddings and social events are focused more on the individual guests’ experiences. Altogether, socially speaking we are more aware and striving to be more educated. I’d say that’s a great path.

 

Have a Modern Etiquette Question? Ask Us Anything

Summer is here. Graduations, travel, summer get-togethers… they are all happening again. We’re creatively entertaining from pool parties to home concerts and wine tastings. If you’re looking for ideas on how to get creative with your social life, you’re in the right place. When the questions arise, I’m here to answer them for you. When you send your situations to PaperCity for Caitlin and me, feel free to be anonymous. We are intrigued by your thoughts and nothing—nothing is a bad question. I promise that if you’re asking, you’ve got an army of curious friends right behind you that are grateful you asked their question too.

Here’s the email again for your questions: [email protected].

Until next month.

Gratefully, Heather Wiese

Part of the Special Series:

PaperCity - Social in Security

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