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16 Tips for Fitting into Any Social Situation with Ease and Style. . .

While the clothing depicted in this illustration is old-fashioned, how you ought to handle yourself in a social setting is much the same as it was 100 years ago.

Certain things about personal style are timeless, for example the art of meeting people and interacting with them, whether they are old friends or brand new acquaintances.  Here, in no particular order, then, are sixteen tips for average guys, who are making the effort to kick up their everyday style a few notches.  Practice these tips, make an effort to remember them, and put them to good use whenever you get together with others, whether it's old friends of your parents, the extended family, your buddies from college, or that new couple who has recently moved in across the street.  Ready?  Here we go! 

1) Shake hands firmly, but no death grip or damp, clammy hands.

2) Don’t talk about money, religion, politics, or sex right off the bat.  These subjects are best left until you know someone else really well.  And maybe not even then.

3) Pleasant table manners.  That is: Napkin in your lap, both feet on the floor, no elbows on the table, sit up straight with your feet under your chair, chew quietly with your mouth closed, pass items to and from your tablemates, don’t begin eating until all are seated/served, no slurping, burping, etc.   Not really asking that much, is it?

4) Don’t natter on endlessly about yourself.  Less is more as the saying goes and it's far better to say too little than to say too much.  Ask others about themselves instead.

5) On that note, don’t blab your whole life story to new acquaintances within the first five minutes of meeting them.  It’s sad, pathetic, and usually just succeeds in making you seem anxious and uncomfortable.

6) Don’t fidget, pick at your cuticles, bounce your foot incessantly, or bite your nails.  Become the master of your domain. . . Learn to sit still in other words!

7) Look people in the eye when speaking/listening to them.  Nod your head occasionally to signal that you are indeed listening and processing what is said to you.  Be careful not to interrupt others during conversation and wait your turn.

8) Turn off and put away all electronic and digital gadgets!  It’s terribly rude to mess with those when you are in a social setting despite what those under 30 might think.

9) Smile occasionally and at appropriate times.

10) Moderate your voice and laughter.  In other words, don’t be the loudest person in the room.

11) Skip the obscenities altogether.  It just makes you sound ignorant and tacky.  And on that note, it's probably better to save the off color stories and jokes for another time.  Or better yet, just keep 'em to yourself.  Believe it, or not, not everyone finds that kind of thing uproariously funny.

12) Stay abreast of national and word developments.  And we aren’t talking about what passes for news on OMG! or Yahoo News.

13) Read widely.  Fiction and non-fiction.  It helps make you well-rounded and interesting in social settings. 

14) Cultivate a few all-consuming interests.  Ditto.

15) Practice good grooming habits all the time.  Brush your hair before you appear in the morning and again as needed throughout the day.  Brush your teeth, floss, and use flouridated mouthwash twice a day at least.  Bathe or shower in the morning and again after sporting activities or yardwork.  Wash your face in the bath or shower, but don't scrub too hard, which will irritate your skin.

16) Wear clean, pressed clothes and good quality shoes (NOT sneakers or flip-flops) regardless of the level of formality.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

17) Use "please," "thank-you," "no, thank-you," and "excuse me" often, when, and where appropriate.  Don't forget it!

18) Where viewing habits are concerned, it's ok, and even healthy for your mind, to watch  films that don't rely on bathroom humor or an overabundance of shoot-outs, explosions, and car chases.  Try foreign language movies for a change, or even a few of the so called "chick flicks."  There's lots of interesting stuff out there, but you'll notice that I've not mentioned television at all.  And that's on purpose.  Keep the idiot box turned off because, as Bruce Springsteen once sang, there are (more than) 57 channels, and nothin's on.


  1. Stokes: check out a British magazine called "The Chap Magazine"


  2. Thank you for the suggestion, Jim. I have, and I like it a lot. Now, if only I could grow a respectable handlebar mustache!

    Best Regards,



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All opinions are welcome here. Even those that differ from mine. But let's keep it clean and civil, please.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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