• By: OLM Staff

Bette’s Etiquette Beat

Welcome! Bienvenue! Make yourself at home, take your shoes off and have a seat.  Can I get you anything to drink?  Few things are more welcoming than being greeted warmly and sincerely by another.  Emily Post famously said “Nothing is less important than which fork you use. Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything.” Manners and etiquette comprise the foundation of a civilized society and what fundamentally separates us from our animal friends. Both are vital in directing how we interact with others in our day to day to life.

We live in a city, Ottawa, with an international community, where formality and ceremony are a big part of our daily social fabric.  With three levels of government, military and diplomatic populations, in addition to being the Nation’s Capital, Ottawa plays host to millions visitors every year. As a result life can get frenetic, hectic and stressful.   So I ask you, “what better time to be kinder, gentler and more mindful on how we treat each other?”  It is also a good time to be reminded of the role that good manners and etiquette plays in our lives. It is easier to be polite and well mannered when the good times are rolling and life is the proverbial bowl of cherries (minus the pits, of course).

Our biggest etiquette blunders are not using the incorrect fork for our fish, but now are committed via Twitter, Facebook email or texting. I am sure that many of us have “made a call from the stall” or sent an email to someone in BOLD AND CAPS? Or gone out for dinner with that new guy and he keeps his @#* baseball cap on during the meal? (Bald patch or not, that isn’t cool guys, even in 2011). While infractions of the “tech kind” are distasteful enough, it really comes down to how we communicate and interact with each other. The bottom line – we need each other- someone, some thing, and some purpose. “Fine manners need the support of fine manners in others”.   Couldn’t have said it better myself.


Bette’s Etiquette Beat will further explore and examine the relevance and importance of etiquette and manners in the 21st century. Light hearted, cheeky but always candid it is a refreshing view on an age old topic. Allow me to illustrate. Michelle Obama drew sniffs of disapproval in 2009 when she touched Queen Elizabeth’s back in conversation, but gleeful reports of the incident missed what happened next: the monarch returned the friendly gesture. In that simple act, Her Royal Majesty reminded us what is most important, making others feel comfortable and welcome. And there, my friend lays the heart of etiquette.  With the holidays around the corner, there is no better time to start being nicer, kinder, and more mindful of how we treat others.

So pack your bags and come along for the journey- you will be welcomed with open arms…