I'M GLAD YOU ENJOYED THE FIRST INSTALMENT OF 30 RULES. While I don't want to come off as holier-than-thou, I do think a quick reiteration of some basics is valuable and, it should be said, these are things I remind myself of often. Sending a thank you note is not (as our grandmothers would have us believe) second nature, so try to practise and turn these things into a habit.
11. STOP TWEETING ABOUT HOW "BUSY" YOU ARE. It's so boring. (And obnoxious.) No one cares how full your inbox is. If you owe someone an email (or a very tardy apology) get on with it and keep your transparent excuses off of social media. Furthermore, this kind of admission only serves to demonstrate your flagrant inability to manage your time, which isn't something to gloat about.
12. THE ONLY APPROPRIATE RESPONSE IS: "Just fine thanks," when a coworker or casual acquaintance asks about your current state of being. No more. If you're unsure of your level of friendship, err on the side of caution. There's nothing so uncomfortable as sharing too deeply with non-friends.
13. YOUR HOST ISN'T OBLIGATED TO SERVE ANYTHING YOU BRING TO THEIR HOME. Never assume they will, expect them to, or be offended if they don't. A menu or arrangement of items is planned and in-place before guests arrive, so unless it's a potluck, bring items as gifts, not as contributions to the experience.
15. BAD HOST GIFTS ARE THOSE THAT REQUIRE DISPLAY. Unless you know your host very well, avoid gifts that demand prominent display in their home. Generally speaking, no artwork of any kind whatsoever. Remember function: kitchen gadgets, tea towels, candles, soap or booze are good examples.
16. CHILL YOUR RED WINE. Just slightly, but it shouldn't be room temperature.
17. HALT! HUNGRY, ANGRY, LONELY, TIRED. Never engage in potentially-tenuous conversations when you are any of these things. You aren't operating from a rational emotional state and should shut. it. down. (This one is courtesy of my therapist. She looks like Sally Struthers.)
18. STOCK THE SIGNATURE BEVERAGE OF YOUR TOP 10 FRIENDS. Nothing says good hosting like keeping your friends' preferred booze on-hand. Even if a bottle of spiced rum sits idle for three months, it's a nice touch.
19. NEVER (EVER) USE YOUR CELL PHONE WHILE INTERACTING WITH A CUSTOMER SERVICE PERSON. That's it. Just put it down and look at their face for 17 seconds. It's the least you can do and will make a difference in their otherwise monotonous day. Advanced: Ask "How are you?" because seeing their face light up with surprise will do as much for your mood as theirs.
20. RESENTMENT KILLS. Decide what's more manageable: Harbouring heavy feelings about somebody which cause tension and anxiety, or sitting down with them to spend a few minutes being honest. One is difficult forever, the other only for a second.
SQUAWKING TWEETER Illustration by the on-the-pulse artist, Sandi Falconer. Thanks to her.
Part I (October 10, 2012)