Monday, July 16, 2012

Manners Monday: Sharing Good News

If you follow The Classy Woman Facebook page then you know that I posted about a personal experience I had with a family member last week as it pertains to manners (or in this case the lack thereof). While I was vague in terms of the story itself, there was a good lesson behind it and many of you commented and enjoyed the post and some asked how to best respond to the person lacking in manners in this type of situation. So, I've decided to share it here on the blog too as today's Manners Monday post. :)

Some of you might be reading the title of this post and thinking, "Really, there are certain manners behind sharing good news with someone?" I believe there are because it is always about how we leave others feeling at the end of a conversation or exchange that shows whether or not we used good judgement and manners or left much to be desired.

Last week I was grocery shopping and while waiting in line happened to check my e-mail via my phone, I saw a Facebook e-mail message from a family member who had very exciting news to share. It was truly a surprise to read that she was expecting baby #2 and I was very happy for her, but it was the content and tone of her e-mail that left me feeling a bit hurt in the end instead of overjoyed.

You see, she had immediately dove into her good news and how the technician said the baby looks really healthy and how her first child will be such a a good sibling to the new baby and why and yada yada yada. At the end she threw in a quick "Hope you're doing well". Now, I admit I'm a pretty over-analytical person and I can tend to read into things more than I should sometimes  but this is also not the first time I've received an e-mail like this via Facebook from this person. The other sad detail is that we very rarely speak anymore and we only see each other about once per year in person when I fly back home to Toronto although we were inseparable as kids. While I've tried numerous times to reach out so that we could have some phone conversations and correspond via e-mail, she almost never replies. The only time I really receive a note from her is to hear about the new home they just purchased, their upcoming baby, etc. I can say after several years I do know where I stand with this person and while I will always be cordial and nice to her, I have stopped investing myself into that relationship as I see it for what it is.

When we make a phone call, face-to-face talk, e-mail or written correspondence and it is all about us we alienate others and it tells them that they (nor how they're doing or what they're going through and experiencing in life) don't really matter to us. I think we almost need to eliminate the phrase "I hope you're doing well" from our vocabulary. It takes very little effort to say this. When someone asks me, "So, how's your design business going this summer" or "How was your vacation?" it immediately makes me feel special and as though they truly care what is actually going on in my life. I'm sure you can all relate. Nobody that I know enjoys feeling ignored or as if someone completely glosses over the current topics in their life.

These types of conversations can also happen when someone happens to have really bad news as well such as the sudden passing of a loved one or the loss of a job, etc. In these situations if you're the one sharing the not-so-great news I think it is important to grieve your loss but also understand that others have challenges, loss and problems also. Most will let you grieve and experience what you are experiencing and I believe it's really important and healthy to do so. Good friends give grace to those they love in these times. However, if the conversations become a regular occurrence, every effort should be made to make it a conversation with the other person and not a weekly therapy session or means to vent on your end only.

Here is the key to more meaningful conversation:

Lead in with Questions- You can never go wrong in a conversation (whether verbal or written) when you lead with questions, in fact asking someone something about their life will draw them closer to you and you'll also learn more about them too. Sometimes we have really special news to share but the other person might as well, if you don't ask, you'll never know as some don't choose to highlight all of the news in their life. Always ask how the other person is doing first and also ask specific questions that pertain to the season of their life such as, "Are you having a good summer with the kids?", "How's your new job going?", "How are you enjoying being a mom?", "Did you do anything exciting during the weekend?" There are millions of questions you can ask someone that makes them feel like you actually care and that you're not going into the conversation with an agenda or just to brag.

What to do when someone drops their great news and completely ignores you:

Vanessa from Luxuria Jewellery asked me what I recommend doing when this type of behavior occurs as she too has experienced it many times herself. The best thing to do is this:

Be the Example- It's not easy and it's not always fun however nothing will truly be gained by sharing with someone (especially one you don't know overly well) that you feel they're self-centered or that everything is about them when you are not that close to them or this self-absorption has only happened one time. Be the model for the other person, perhaps they'll catch on. It's not our job to correct everyone's behavior when we feel it isn't suitable (unless they are your small children). If the person in question is very close in relationship and it's an ongoing trend, read the tip below....

You Cannot Correct What You Don't Confront- Please hear me when I say that I'm not suggesting we become confrontational with others, however in certain situations when we are dealing with a very close family member or friend I think it is appropriate to share our feelings. While being polite and ladylike often involves holding our tongue, sometimes doing so hinders a relationship with another and prevents it from blossoming the way it could when one person is feeling as though they are being taken for granted or feel hurt by the other person. I've been in this position before and it didn't feel great in the moment but it was really necessary and the friendship in question actually grew stronger as a result afterwards. Letting the other person know how their words/actions make you "feel" and not merely telling them what you "think" of their behavior, will help soften the impact and they may feel compelled to change their ways in order to become a more well-mannered person and better friend.

*Please note that I chose the above image as I felt her body language fit well with today's post topic. I'm in no way suggesting that women or a classy woman should attempt to be so thin!

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from you! Some of your may have differing opinions from mine and that is completely okay. ;) How do you deal with people like this in your life?


*Photo Credit


  1. Karla .. this was a great post! thank you for sharing your experience (and I'm sorry that it stung, despite you knowing where you stand with this person) and offering an alternative to "hope your doing well". For me this was a great reminder. merci. Hugs, C. (HHL)

    P.S. any plans to come to TO? would love to share a cup of tea. xo

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! :) I tried to click your website from your profile name but it only takes me to Google+.

      I'm so glad to hear that you got something out of today's post! As far as Toronto goes, I'm really hoping to go back sometimes in August or September. It's always a whirlwind trip trying to fit in time to see family and friends over 7 days but if I am able to I would love to meet up with you over tea. XO

  2. Hi Karla,
    You are the best. Glad you shared your experience, many of us have
    had similar experiences before. Karla, I always feel better when I read your posts! You are a kind soul.
    Sometimes trying to set a good example doesn't help. Our dear daughter is married to a guy who lacks manners celebrated their 3rd anniversary with a darling year old daughter (our first grandchild).
    At our granddaughter's birthday party in May, my daugher's mother-in-law was an hour late and spent the other hour in her face taking pictures and playing in the floor with our granddaughter. She would not speak to me, my husband, or my husband's mother at the party refusing to make eye contact.
    Our daughter and son-in-law have been in counseling for the past year and a half (at our encouragement to save their marriage).
    We haven't exchanged any harsh words, etc. strange, it's really sad. If you were around our son-in-law's parents you could understand why our son-in-law acts and behaves as he does.
    We tried to discourage the marriage from the time our daughter and son-in-law were dating. Love is blind and our daughter wanted to get married; now they have a beautiful child. I am so frustrated.
    I bite my tongue around my son-in-law's mother. She has treated
    our daughter terrible I could write a book....
    Yesterday, my daughter tried again to be a nice kind person. Her
    mother-in-law made an appt for picture taking session for our granddaughter at JCP. She called our daughter and asked her to bring some props after our daughter had left her house on her way to the appointment. Her mother-in-law was 20 minutes late for the photo shoot and then told our daughter she would need to pay for the pictures. When our daughter arrived at the session she was told the set up was for baby only and daddy and baby sessions.
    (mother-in-law forgot to tell her son that he should be there).
    By the way, her mother-in-law will not display any photos of my
    daughter. It would be no surprise that she wouldn't want her in this session either.
    Our daughter is a beautiful Christian, well educated, with a nice job, purchased her first home. All her previous boyfriends's mothers just loved her. I can't understand why her mother-in-law acts the way she does? Wish there was a way to make things better.
    Thank you for listening.
    Keep those Manners Monday coming..... Have a great week.
    All the best,

    1. Thanks you so much Anonymous, you are too sweet! I'm so glad you enjoy my post!

      First off, let me just say I appreciate you sharing your daughter's story. This is just so sad really. I think the thing you have to remember is that it is clearly not about your daughter or because of her that the MIL exhibits such behavior. There is something deeper underlying where perhaps she feels that she herself is not good enough? We can never know what goes on in someone's mind or how their past has shaped them as a person.

      The only thing that you can really do in this situation is just pray for the mother-in-law. Let God work on her heart, he'll humble her in his own way and timing. Your daughter sounds like a lovely young young lady based on what you shared. This must be so hard as her mother to sit back and watch. My heart goes out to you and I'll say a little prayer for your daughter. Yes, I will keep the Manners Monday posts coming! XO

  3. I can so relate to this. I have an aunt who just will never acknowledge any of my successes due to jealousy. She was someone I idolized as a child, and it has been so hard to see her for who she really is. But I have been reading articles from the Dalai Lama who talks about feeling sorry for these people, because it is Them with the problem, not you. It is hard to do, but after a while, you need to because you cannot let them bring you down. I am trying to treat those that are good to me the best I can every day, and the others, just let it roll off my back. Easier said than done but working on it every day. Wonderful and interesting post indeed. Thank you.

    1. Rosemary, you are so right! I'm sorry that the woman you once looked up to has now turned into such a jealous person. Envy is an ugly thing to deal with. I agree with you, it is THEIR problem not ours. The only thing you can really do with people that act in such a way is just pray for them. We cannot change them, there is only one who can. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post! :) Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment! XO

  4. Excellent reminder, Karla. Thanks for taking the time to write about it.

    1. Thank you Paula! and thank YOU for taking the time to leave a comment. :)

  5. Interesting post. I question sharing good news (or bad) via a Facebook post especially from a family member. A phone call or visit would be more appropriate and then a follow up on Facabook (maybe). Of course baby news is exciting. In the moment, emotions take over. When your expecting a baby, it's hard to think about anything else. Death is a whole other matter. When I lost my mother, I was so grieved that everything else seemed trivial.

    My point? It's easy to get caught up in your own excitment or emotions that sometimes you don't think of others - at least not immediately. A person has to have certain maturity and awareness in these situations.


    1. Rosemary, I'm totally with you on this. I'm thankful in my case that it was an email via FB and not a message on my wall. However, I agree, a phone call in this case would have been much more appropriate. I so agree, it's really easy to get caught up in our own excitement and emotions sometimes. Maturity is definitely a huge part of being a classy lady! All great points you've stated here! :)


  6. wow..should i praise the dress or the woman or the bag she holds? not to forget the dress as well...Awesome

  7. Just to let you know that although I am a man, I do find the article awesome. I looked up "how to meet classy women" on google. I can relate with the article and I can understand what ladies might be going through. Its a learning experience, and one that I am willing to expand my perspectives on. If its restricted for women only then I apologize, I could not help but to comment on this wonderful piece.

    1. No apologies necessary, Anonymous! While most of my readers are women, I have received messages and e-mails from men too. :) It's a great way to get a better understanding of the kind of woman you want to meet since you are looking for a classy woman. I'm so glad that you found my blog and that you really enjoyed the article enough to comment! ~K

  8. This is a wonderful post. It reminds me of a lot of Dale Carnegie's advice. Being truly interested in other people in the key to success and happiness in your interpersonal relationships. Great blog! Subscribing. :)


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