Saturday, September 19, 2015

Etiquette and Hospitality from Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt, Author and Wife of US President, Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Gracious human contacts are based not upon a material show that accompanies them, but on an intangible meeting of personalities. True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to your guests.  The material aspects of your entertainment should consist of the best within the proper limits of your financial position and general circumstances. Anything beyond this is likely to become ostentation and actually an embarrassment and discourtesy.

If you have a neighbor who can afford to drive a very expensive car and change it for a new model every year, and does so, his custom has no bearing whatever on what you do about your car. If he occasionally gives you a ride to the station in his car, accept it graciously and gratefully. If now and then you give him a similar lift in your eight-year-old, much less expensive car, do not apologize. Your courtesy is as great as his. You would lessen it either by making excuses for your car or by going into debt beyond the dictates of wisdom in order to provide yourself with a car as grand and expensive as his.

I know one gracious home to which friends flock gladly, knowing that when they come they will enjoy the pleasantest of hospitality and friendly companionship.  By chance the woman who has made the home what it is, mentioned that in thirty years of marriage she and her husband had bought only four pieces of new furniture. This woman had undoubtedly the good luck to inherit much of the furniture she really needed and the good sense to realize that good pieces, while they may not be in fashion today, will always come back and be fashionable again. Certainly the atmosphere of a home is more interesting when several generations have lived with certain pieces of furniture than any decorator's buying can create."

True hospitality comes from the heart, and is not the product of ostentatious and expensive material surroundings. You will pay true courtesy to others by giving the best of yourself and by not trying to imitate others who put on a showier front then you are able to do, or than it is in your nature to do."
From Eleanor Roosevelt's, 1962 "Book Of Common Sense Etiquette"

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