As a (self-proclaimed) expert in the area of etiquette, I’ve been appalled at the recent decline in basic good manners. After all, just because we are living in a post-civilization world, doesn’t mean we are post-civility, now does it?*
For this reason, I have created the following basic principles (“dos” and “don’ts”, if you will) of successful light conversations.
- Do talk about the weather- This topic is safe, inoffensive and highly dull. Perfect for small talk!
- Do make sure to look the person in the eye– but keep alert for stray Z-heads on the peripheral.
- Do provide meaningful complements- For instance, this morning I had the following conversation with one of the women in my survival shelter, Mrs. Federlin:
Mrs. Federlin: Why, Miss E, I do love that gorgeous ring you are wearing. Is that an heirloom? Wherever did you find it?
Me: Oh, this old thing? Thank you. I ransacked it from an old apartment building a few years ago. The former lady of the house made for a truly frightening ghoul, but she had lovely taste in jewelry.
Mrs. Federlin: Now that is what I call a silver lining!
- Do ask questions about peoples’ day-to-day work and activities – Then, try to feign interest in their responses.
- Do tell epic zombie killing stories – the gorier the better! For instance, everyone loves my epic tale of how I triumphed over a trove the undead using my broom and my wits. People find this type of story highly uplifting.
- Don’t ask about people’s past –This includes questions about love ones lost, former occupations, former residencies, etc. Not only is this indelicate territory, the resulting conversation may actually result in a meaningful connection, which is not the point of small talk.
- Don’t talk about politics –Our current survivor group is currently in the process of deciding our governmental structure. Will Mr. K continue to be the governor of our zone? Should we become democratic? If so, should women be allowed to vote? Discussing these topics is not only gauche; it is also likely to result in a shootout.
- Don’t talk about religion I know it was trendy during the early panic to discuss whether the zombie outbreak was God’s wrath or something predicted in Revelations. But this type of discussion isn’t just depressing – it is tacky! Keep your spiritual speculations – and your elbows – off the table.
Did I forget to mention any “dos” or “don’ts”? Stay tuned for more helpful etiquette tips in forthcoming chapters of our handbook.
Remember always mind your Ps and Qs!
*This is not a rhetorical question.
Have etiquette questions? Need hospitality advice? The Gracious Ladies can help!
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