Thursday, June 19, 2014

Top 10 Ways to be a Lady Pt. 1

A lot of people have been asking me to give them quick and easy ways to be more ladylike in their everyday lives, so I have written this top 10 list as a starting point. You can read whole books devoted to how to act like a lady, but I think you can boil them down to these few main points. I hope you enjoy and stay tuned for part 2!

Image: here
The Top 10 Ways to be a Lady

10. Smile!

            In a world full of scowling faces and heads buried deep in cell phones, a simple smile to a stranger as you pass can instantly brighten their day and yours. It is scientifically proven that simply making your face smile (without actually being happy) can trick your brain into thinking you are truly happy*. What?!? So if you are looking for an afternoon pick me up, or a great way to start your morning, give the man who holds the door for you or the barista who hands you that double espresso mocha latte a genuine, bright smile. I promise you will feel happier and bring a little happiness to someone else’s day.


9. Always send a handwritten thank you card after any party or weekend stay.

Texting “thx” or just “TY” may be appropriate if your friend just said that she got you a coffee or if your sister says she saved you the last crounut, but when someone invites you into their home, either for a party or to stay for even just a night, a more formal thank you is required. The habit of sending physical, handwritten notes is a dying art in a century with email and Facebook messaging, but there is no better way to express your gratitude for another’s hospitality than with a simple, short thank you note.

You can find really beautiful, inexpensive ones in the Target dollar section or at stores like Joanne’s/Michael's so don’t be rude…send a card!

8. Be a gracious hostess (and guest).

Having people over to your home for any reason, formal or otherwise, can be a stressful endeavor. Planning food, decorations, entertainment, accommodations, and making sure no one will be bored can lead to an exasperated hostessing experience. Nothing ruins a great weekend with friends like the hostess fussing and fretting the whole time. The key to being a gracious hostess is to be flexible and be willing to deviate from the original plan and to enjoy yourself along with your guests. A gracious hostess also anticipates the needs of her guests. There will always be someone who spills wine and needs stain remover and someone who is allergic to nuts, shrimp, dairy, eggs, potato chips, and sunshine. Think about what you have needed at a party you attended and try to have that in reserve since someone at your party or weekend guest will probably need it too.

Being a gracious guest is pretty much the same. Go with the flow, be flexible, and above all, be grateful that someone has made food for you, brought all your friends together, given you a room to stay in, and is entertaining you.

 7. Say "Please" and "Thank you" and "Nice to meet you".

There are very few things more ladylike than remembering to say please and thank you and nice to meet you. Saying thank you acknowledges the work and efforts of others and your gratitude for making your life just a little easier. You can’t ever say thank you enough, even for the small things.

Saying please is like the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down and is doubly effective when combined with #10. Please + smile= winning combination. I’m not saying that simply saying please will magically get you everything you want, but it certainly will set you apart from the demanding tone of society. Doesn’t “Could I please have a Diet Coke, please?” sound infinitely more lovely than “Gimme a Diet Coke!”?

“Nice to meet you” or “It’s a pleasure to meet you” (or any variation thereof) is a simple way of acknowledging that you are you are interacting with a fellow human being and are grateful to at least have learned their name. Even if you’re not particularly thrilled to be meeting this person, you should at least acknowledge their presence and be as gracious as possible.    

6. Clean up your language

I’m not just talking about swearing or crass language. There is a time and place for strong language (a lady knows exactly when this is), but I’m speaking more about the meaningless, repetitive filler words and sounds we use to break the pauses of everyday conversation. If every sentence begins with “So um, you know, like…” you desperately need to reexamine your language and retrain your mouth to stop uttering these useless phrases. You would never catch Audrey Hepburn sounding like a Valley Girl or Princess Dianna ending every sentence with “so um, yeah…” so neither should you. You will instantly distinguish yourself if you have the ability to form a coherent thought without the use of fillers and will sound as sophisticated as the Queen of England. The trick to avoiding these pseudo-phrases is to first, think before you speak (a fantastic life lesson in and of itself) and prepare what you are going to say in your head before you say it. This is difficult in casual conversation when the conversation flows more freely, but it is possible to achieve with practice. Secondly, you must be at peace with natural pauses and the brief periods of conversation that occur naturally. It may seem awkward in a society where there is barely a second of silence in your day, but it is a natural part of conversing with another person and you should need to feel the need to fill the breaks with noise. Silence is much more preferable to nonsense babbling. 


  1. I love it. Definitely applicable to the consummate gentleman as well.

    But Katherine, Katherine, Katherine... Did you really just write "It is scientifically proven" after sharing that article about 10 scientific phrases you need to stop misusing? ;)

  2. I can't wait to see the other 5. I have frequently admonished my students for every single one of these. So much of teaching is simple life lessons! My mom always encouraged us to write thank you notes, but I frequently forgot as a child. Now, as an adult, I am adamant about it. Better late (as in, a whole solid year late) than never! Few things are as appreciated as that hand-written note!

    Perhaps, on that note, you could write a quick post about "how to write a thank you note"? Or or or or would you like a GUEST POST??

    Keep writing. I can't wait.

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