Mrs. McVeigh's Manners
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Bottom line: Don't cut in line

Not cutting in line is something we learn by kindergarten, but for some reason, adults are still tempted to do it. As your kindergarten teacher probably told you, not only is it rude but also it is unfair to everyone else in the line.  
I experienced this recently when I was picking up my son's school supplies at his school.  He goes to a very large school, and the line to pick up his supplies wrapped around several hallways. I was halfway through the line when a lady came up from an adjoining hallway. Instead of walking in the opposite direction to get to the end of the line, she jumped in front of us. She then had the nerve to invite friends to cut the line as well. 
One of her friends said that she felt bad cutting, but this lady told her that we were all going to the same place, so it did not matter. 
It made me recall another incident when I was in an hour-long line at a retail outlet. A lady said she was in a rush and went right up to the cash register. The sales associate told her she was cutting everyone, but the shopper said she did not have time to stand in line. The sales associate gave in to her and rang up her merchandise. I was in disbelief. 
The bottom line is: it is not appropriate to cut in a line. Even if one person in front of you agrees to it, you are cutting the whole line.
Have some respect for people and wait your turn like everyone else.

Good Manners when you are Late


Being late at anything you do is considered rude, but sometimes is just happens. How to handle different late scenarios can be tricky, but the situation forgivable.   Here are some tips when you are late. 

            Late thank you notes are a common way we are late.  Life is busy and it is hard to find time to write a note, or sometimes we write it, and it gets lost in a paper shuffle, and we find it months later.  If you are late writing the note, thank the person for what you need to, and then the last paragraph you can mention how busy you have been.  An example would be:  “Things have been very busy lately, mostly because I got promoted at work.  Sorry I have not been in touch sooner.  Let’s get together when things slow down for me.”  If you wrote the note and it never got sent, go ahead and mail it right away.  The person will probably figure out what happened.  If they mention receiving the note, then you can tell them that it got lost and then found. If you feel like you need to give the person an explanation, then feel free to call him and explain what happened.

            When I am late with a gift, I always try to make light of the situation.  We all have seen the humorous belated birthday cards. I think people appreciate a birthday card or gift even if it is a late.  I was very late with a baby gift one time, so I wrote a note with the gift saying, “Wanted to get this to Johnny before he went off to college.”  The mother of the new baby was grateful for the gift, and the issue of the gift being late was never mentioned. 

            Lastly if you are late when going to someone’s house or meeting him somewhere, try to call or text as soon as you realize that you are going to be late. Communication about this makes the offense a lot more forgivable then just showing up with no prior explanation. 

Being late is hard to avoid all of the time, so use your best judgment in every situation, and do not make being late the norm in your life.  The saying “better late than never” always applies. 


More is often not merrier when going out with friends

 A topic I teach in my manners classes for young children is called Inviting People.  I tell the children that if they have a friend coming over to their house, do not invite a second friend without consulting the first one.  I explain that the two friends may not know one another very well, or get along. They may end up fighting for your attention. The first friend may have wanted to spend time alone with you.This lesson can also apply to adults.  Have you ever had one of those friends who you ask out to dinner, and suddenly 20 more people are tagging along? Some you are friends with too, a few of them you don’t even know, and a few who you do know, you would rather not spend an evening with them.  This is one of my pet peeves.  When I ask someone to do something, I am clear about if it is couples, a group activity, or just the two of us.  If I want to invite other people, then I think about how the dynamics of the outing may change, and I always get permission before I ask anyone else.

I recall a time that my husband and I had an evening planned with another couple.  A few hours before we were going out my friend called and asked me if I minded if she invited some friends that we did not know.  I was honest with her and told her I was being selfish and just wanted it to be the four of us, since I do not get to go out with her very often.  She said no big deal, and I told her I really appreciated that she asked me, instead of assuming that it was okay.

If a friend invites other people, you have several options.  You can let it go this time, and be very clear and firm the next time. You can tell the friend that you were hoping to keep group intimate, and then schedule a second date with him for just the original group that you wanted to get together. The other option is to “un-invite” yourself.  You can say something such as, “I see you want to go out with Sally and Rob.  We will let you guys get together and let’s schedule another time that just the four of us can go out.”  If you are polite, honest, and firm about the situation, it should not happen again.  

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