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CONTEMPORARY COURTESIES

Etiquette column: Greeting is important social skill

Friday, October 26, 2012 - 12:01 am

Times may have changed, but courtesy never goes out of style. In today's world sometimes it's complicated to figure out how to do the right thing. Local etiquette expert Karen Hickman answers your questions or helps solve your dilemmas on Fridays in The News-Sentinel and at www.news-sentinel.com.

Q: Karen, would you please address the subject of greeting people? I find, especially younger people, seem to come and go from a person's home without shaking hands or even saying anything to the host.

A: Our world has become much more casual than it used to be, but it does not mean basic courtesies should be ignored. I consider meeting and greeting people a basic courtesy.

Meeting and greeting people appropriately is very important and something that should be taught at a very young age. If you are a guest in someone's home, it is important to greet the host warmly and extend your hand upon arrival. Children and young people should make sure they greet their friends, but it is also important to greet their friends' parents.

As a host, you would certainly be expected to welcome people at your door, but other members of your family should be prepared to stand and greet people who come into your home, too. Standing is a sign of respect and is especially important for young people greeting adults.

In fact, standing should be a part of any greeting or introduction for adults, as well as young people.

When leaving someone's home or any event where you have been a guest, be sure to thank the host. If it is a large gathering you may need to seek out the host to offer your thanks and to say goodbye.

Young people should thank their friends, but their friend's parents need to be thanked, too.

If you have been the host for the evening, be sure you walk your guests to the door as they leave. Have your children follow suit. This is how they learn and become comfortable with these important social skills.

So, if you are raising children, they should be able to meet and greet people comfortably by the time they go to school. That would include: standing, making good eye contact as they greet people, saying their name and offering a firm handshake.

Karen Hickman is a certified etiquette/protocol consultant and owner of Professional Courtesy LLC. Do you have a question for her? Email clarson@news- sentinel.com, and we’ll forward it to her.