I recently did a segment on SA Living and the topic was “What If?” Shelly (Shelly Miles, the host of the show) and I talked about some questions that we had received from viewers, a.k.a. how to gracefully handle awkward moments. After the show, we were flooded with even more questions so we added a second installment last week. I’m posting some of my favorite Part 2 “Commonly Asked Etiquette Questions” below.
- What if I know someone at my office routinely uses the company postage machine?
Regardless of how much or how little, if someone is using company property it is inappropriate. Imagine you working with a cash register—whether you take fifty dollars or fifty cents, it’s still unprofessional and lacks integrity.
- What if a colleague has body odor?
It depends on how close you are to the colleague…if you are friends, it would be an act of kindness to tell him or her. If you don’t know him or her very well, then privately and confidentially discuss it with your supervisor.
- What if you know you were given a “re-gift”?
Say nothing! If the giver wanted you to know it was a re-gift, he or she would have told you where the gift came from originally. There may have been good intentions behind the gift and you don’t want to embarrass him or her.
- What if you don’t want to go to the office holiday party?
You have no option—it’s mandatory fun!
- What if you don’t want to be a bridesmaid?
So many people end up saying “yes” under pressure when they really want to say no. Then they end up resenting the bride and often friendships are damaged. Just tell the truth in a gentle way. Say, “I would rather support you and enjoy the wedding from the pew. I hope you understand.”
- What if you want to break free from the family tradition of Christmas Eve to start you own?
You have every right to start your own family tradition. Sometimes it’s hard to make the decision to be independent from the rest of your family, but if you are kind and offer alternative options to enjoy the holidays, you have no reason to feel regretful.
Here is Part 1, in case you missed it:
“Should you tell some if…?”
- If someone has something in their teeth?
Yes. And preface it with “I’m sure you’d want to know…”
- If you’re talking to a man colleague and his zipper is down?
Yes, just stay focused on his eyes!
- If people are saying negative things about a co-worker and you want to give her a heads up?
Yes. If you are a close friend and want her to be sensitive to something she may be doing that others may misinterpret.
- If you bump another car in the parking lot but it doesn’t do any damage?
Yes, no. If the car moves, it may have damage underneath. If you barely touch it and there is no damage, use your best judgment and remember there are cameras watching you.
- If your friend’s husband is a flirt and you want to let her know?
No. Talk to your friend’s husband about how uncomfortable you feel when he makes inappropriate remarks. If he doesn’t stop, tell your friend or meet her for lunch, alone.
- If you were given too much change back at the grocery store, bank, dept. store, etc.?
Give it back.
- If someone is calling you the wrong name but you don’t want to embarrass him or her?
Gently correct him or her with a smile on your face.
- If you are served something at a dinner party that you don’t care for or are allergic to eating?
If you don’t like it, move it discreetly around your plate while you make dazzling conversation. If you are allergic, privately let your host know that it looks delicious but that you can’t enjoy it because you are allergic and will have an adverse reaction.
Hopefully you will find an answer to a questions that has been resting on your mind and you now know how to gracefully handle awkward moments like these.