Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Etiquette for Being Agreeable

It’s never too early for teaching an agreeable attitude, countenance and cordiality to young persons. The ability to converse with ease and fluency needs to be carefully trained and developed.

How to be Agreeable

Very rarely, if ever, young persons acquire the ability to converse with ease and fluency. This implies, first of all, good ideas, clearly and sensibly expressed. An empty mind never made a good talker; remember, “You cannot draw water out of an empty well.” Next in importance is self-possession.

“Self-possession is nine points of the law” — of good breeding. A good voice is as essential to self-possession as good ideas are essential to fluent language. The voice, from infancy, should be carefully trained and developed; a full, clear, flexible voice is one of the surest indications of good breeding; it falls like music on the ear, and while it pleases the listener, it adds to the confidence of its possessor, be he ever so timid.

One may be witty without being popular: voluble without being agreeable; a great talker and yet a great bore. It is wise, then, to note carefully the following suggestions:

  • Be sincere, he who habitually sneers at everything, will not only render himself disagreeable to others, but will soon cease to find pleasure in life. 
  • Be frank; a frank, open countenance and a clear, cheery laugh are worth far more, even socially, than “pedantry in a still cravat.” 
  • Be amiable; you may hide a vindictive nature under a polite exterior for a time, as a cat masks its sharp claws in velvet fur, but the least provocation brings out one as quickly as the other; ill natured persons are always disliked. 
  • Be sensible; society never lacks for fools. If you want elbow room, "go up higher."
  • Be cheerful; if you have no great trouble on your mind, you have no right to render other people miserable by your long face and dolorous tones. It you do, you will be generally avoided. 
  • But, above all, be cordial; true cordiality unites all the qualities we have enumerated.—American Agriculturist, 1888

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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