Friday, December 4, 2009

The Birthday Girl Never Pays! And Other Etiquette in Your 20's

This is interesting: The Emily Post Institute now has a post-college section with etiquette tips for those sticky situations that are unique to your  twenties. A lot does change between 22, 23, 24 especially, and I think it's wonderful to have a source to help aid in some of the more sensitive situations.

Hey, it's his party and he'll cry if he wants to.

Everyone hates doing birthday dinners, unless it's your birthday. They're obnoxious, costly, and money can bring out the worst in young women. They can be, however, the most fun you'll ever have at a table if it works out right!

The birthday girl never pays - unless she is the one organizing the dinner! You cannot expect your friends to pick up your tab if you've gathered them all together.

Declining a birthday dinner due to financial issues is fine. The polite thing to say is that you cannot attend, but would be delighted to meet up afterwards to buy her a drink.

I never thought of this until I read the article: Try and keep the shrieking to a minimum. Large groups of girls tend to carry cacklers, screamers, and screechers, so be aware of your surrounding tables. If they have a private room available, request it.

I'm scheduled within an inch of my life these days, and it's hard to work in drinks with some people I simply don't want to have drinks with. Learning to say no is very hard for young professionals because they feel guilty about wanting to please everyone.

If someone asks you to do something, learn to say no, but politely. You can't be expected to devote all your "free" time to others - it's yours for a reason. Decline by saying, "My schedule is packed - I'll call you! I want to put in the time when I have it."

As an alternative, if I promise a bunch of girls individually that we'll do drinks or dinner, I try to pull them all together in one night so everyone can meet each other. We'll be talking about the same things, so I figure why not make it a group adventure? It's worked beautifully for me so far.

Group dinners period can be a big pain in the butt, whether it's 5 people or 15. Again, declining politely is perfectly acceptable, and I've done it before just to save the headache of trying to split the bill when it arrives.

Be prepared to pay. If you go out to a nice dinner, know that you might be paying under/over what you had to eat (most likely over). You're paying for the experience and it will eventually work itself out if it's the same group of people.

Bring cash. I hate when people throw down 8 credit cards; it's inconsiderate. Sometimes, bringing cash gives you the upper hand and you'll end up saving a few dollars and your sanity.

Everyone tips differently: usually, for large parties the gratuity is included. If it's not, do 18% to make both sides happy. You should always tip bartenders 10-15% and never any less than $1.

Oh boy. This happened the other night and, being Southern girls, my friend and I were too polite to make it completely obvious that we weren't interested and we were consequently harassed for quite a bit. 

Always having a drink in your hand makes it hard for someone to offer to buy you a drink. If someone buys you a drink, acknowledge it regardless of whether or not you're interested. If you are, you're a girl - you'll make it known! Men: We'll make it known!!!

That being said, it's probably not a good idea to drink it unless you've seen the bartender make it from start to finish.

If you feel the need to be completely blunt, smile so they know you are well-intentioned and simply say, "I'm not interested."

At this point, I'd hope that you have ample experience with this but just in case things aren't going your way, take these pointers into consideration.

Girls like plans. Make a definitive plan to meet at a specific place and specific time. It shows confidence.

Consider her tastes. It shows your ability to compromise and think about others.

Before you make a move that you're unsure of (ordering for her, for example), ask her if  she's okay with it. 

I happen to have the most wonderful roommate anyone could ask for, but I know that some can be a real thorn in your side.

Rule #1 that everyone preaches: never live with your best friend. I've now learned that the hard way several times, and it's unfortunate that we're no longer friends because of toilet paper fights (among other things, of course).

I've found the best situations including my current one are those that start as acquaintances - you know each other well enough to know you're both good people, but you've still got an elevated level of respect for their space and your shared space.

Communication is paramount. Talk AND listen.

When it comes to stuff, less is more.

The rules of borrowing: rule #1 - DON'T. Rule #2: If you must, ask permission and return it in the same condition. Cant' afford to replace it? Don't borrow it.

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