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Knowing what to do before you encounter a situation makes them easier to navigate. Gain the polish of your favorite style icons here and navigate your encounters with style, confidence, and grace.


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By: Maralee McKee Hello and Happy Thursday! “Wait, Maralee.” you say with a reassuring voice because you know I’m confused. Plus, you’re kind. Instead of being angry, you’re worried about the health of my current mental state. ”Today is Monday, not Thursday. You remember! Don’t you? Your posts are called “Monday Manners with Maralee” and this is your post, so today is defintitly Monday.” Well, not to worry. I’m fine! Today is a dress rehearsal for a new feature of the Manners Mentor blog that will happen for you every Thursday starting this week. Allow me to share it with you! Q&A Thursday’s I wanted more time with you, and this will give us quality time. Even though the question might be someone else’s, I’ve found that if one person has a question, half or more of the other people who hear or read it think, “I’ve wondered about that, too.” Especially us, that’s because members of the Manners Mentor blog family have a lot in common. We care about how we treat others, and while we would never allow ourselves to be a doormat for the sake of appearances, (yeah us!) we always start out on the high road. That’s…    Read More …


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A Few of Their 100's of Mother's Rings

  By: Maralee McKee There’s more to opening a door than turning the knob or holding it for the next person. That’s why when you know the five specific manners of opening doors you unlock a lot. “A lot of what” you ask? The answer: goodwill, graciousness, and great possibilities! There’s just something nice about someone holding a door open for you. Don’t you think? And have you ever held the door open for someone, and they didn’t say thank you? It’s the worst. That’s because the person isn’t holding up their end of the unwritten social code we all know (and appreciate): hold the door open for the next person(s) and say thank you when someone does it for you. Not long ago, Corbett, my youngest son, and I were going in Barnes & Noble. Corbett ran ahead a few feet to open the door for several ladies. Each one walked through and never smiled, made eye contact, or said anything to him. “Mama, those ladies didn’t say thank you. I’m not going to hold the door open for anyone else…ever.” he said half in disappointment, half in indignation. “Babe” I tried to encourage him, “You can’t help what other…    Read More …


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By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor As a patient, time moves at an other-worldy pace in the hospital. One day and night in Room 777 at St. Angels of Healing seems five times longer than one vacation day in the Bahamas, and at least twice as long as a bad day at work, or one spent with toddler triplets cranky with colds. When we’re in the hospital we are definitely not at our best. We’re usually scared or at least feeling anxious, and we’re longing for the comfort of the familiar: Our family Our friends Our home. While friends can be a big part of recovery by lifting spirits, bringing the outside world in, and reminding us that we’re loved, there’s a lot more than popping-in for a visit that goes into being a great friend to someone in the hospital. In fact, sometimes, showing up isn’t the right thing to do. To be a great companion, you’ll want to know the Gold Standard of what to say and do to make sure you’re making the patient feel better instead of worse from accidental wear. From knowing when and if you should visit, what gift(s) you should bring, how long you…    Read More …


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  By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor None of us are immune to gossip. We’ve all been guilty of talking about someone who wasn’t in the room, and we’ve all been talked about behind our backs. Some dismiss gossip as harmless chit-chat that pumps a little excitement in the air of a boring office, classroom, or anywhere conversation. However, gossip is a ticking bomb of rumors, innuendos, half-truths, and hurtful truths. We need to stay clear of it to protect ourselves and others from its collateral damage. ~But how do we know if we’re spreading gossip or sharing legitmate news or concern about the other person? ~If someone is spreading gossip or rumors about us, how can we stop the person (whether the stories are true or not)? ~When we hear others gossiping, how can we stop them without being rude? Actually, the answer to all three questions is, “Very easily!” You need two things: to know the manners for protecting yourself and others from gossip and the moral courage to do the right thing. The manners are easy right from the start. The courage to confront someone who’s talking behind your back, or to break up a gossip fest among…    Read More …


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By: Maralee McKee I remember the day well. Actually, too well. I mostly shrug if off now, but at the time it had me shaking even though the woman yelling and berating me wasn’t anywhere near me. She was on the other end of the phone, off air, while I was doing a weekly hour-long radio spot that I hosted for more than five-years. We covered hundreds of topics during those five years. None of then had come close to generating the passion of the topic of pet etiquette. Some callers were defending me. Some wanted to devour me. If you’re like me, you love your pet. You spend time, attention, and money on it. You tend to its needs and wants, play with it, take it on vacation with you when possible, and when not, you have a special babysitter you trust as if he or she were watching your children. You wouldn’t harm your pet for anything. And, when a precious pet dies, we mourn as if we’ve lost a dear friend. Because we have. Your tears flow for months. Your memories last a lifetime. No good parent would disagree that we need to teach our sons and…    Read More …


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By: Maralee McKee Valentine’s Day: the most romantic, lovey-dovey, glorious day of affection, gifts, and expressions of love of the year. Or, a day you wish you could sleep through so you don’t have to look at even one gushing, bouquet carrying, heart shaped chocolate eating, drunk on love person. I’ve been on both sides of the Valentine’s Day love fest, and on both sides feelings are deep and emotions are high. Valentine’s Day came just sixteen-weeks after the death of my first husband from cancer. I was twenty-seven-years-old. I thought, How am I going to survive this every year. The day shattered my already fragile heart into a thousand shards that cut me from head to toe. Three-years later, I was a newlywed. Kent and I enjoyed the most romantic of first Valentine’s. We spent a long weekend in a lush bed-and-breakfast in Savannah, Georgia. My heart was whole and filled with the emotions and feelings that poets try to put into words but fall short. There’s a problem with the way we celebrate Valentine’s Day. It should never hurt, because it should never be an either-or day. Valentine’s Day should be a day that no one feels left out….    Read More …


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By: Maralee McKee You’ve just been handed a gift and are about to open it. All eyes are on you. If what’s in the box isn’t what you would have picked out for yourself, you hope your face will hide your feelings. You don’t want to hurt the gift giver. And, besides, you know it’s the thought that counts and not the gift. You also realize you’re not Meryl Streep or Robert Downey, Junior. You don’t know how convincingly you can act like you adore a gift you’ll never cherish. Not to worry. From now on, you’ve got this! Follow the steps I share in this post and whether the gift is very “you,” or has you wondering, “Really? You thought I would like this? You’re my friend, but do you know me at all?” These seven manners of opening gifts will show you how to receive presents graciously while being authentic. It won’t even matter if the gift turns out to be something you’re going to cherish or try to forget. The 7 Manners of Opening Gifts 1. Know the little known meaning of “thank you.” By definition the word, “Thank you” doesn’t mean you like the gift (or whatever…    Read More …


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  By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor It holds many of the details of our lives and brings the whole world into the palm of our hand! No wonder we’re attached to our smartphones. In fact, if ours is lost we panic. It’s a hard thing to replace from scratch. Its become so essential (and addictive?) that we each need to consider for ourselves “Do we own our smartphone, or is it just smart enough that it owns us?” The answer? It depends. Do we use it as a device to get things done quickly and effecitnely so we can focus on people. Or, do we get lost in it’s labyrinth of apps, email, and texts, and inadvertently elevate its status to a type of DNA-less “human” giving it the gift of our attention that belongs to the persons around us. We probably do get lost in it more than we realize. I’m guilty. My most recent example was last Thursday evening. I was in bed holding a text conversation with a friend while my husband sat beside me watching a TV show he had recorded so that we could experience it together. About twenty-minutes into my texting, Kent said sweetly,…    Read More …


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  By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor I like nice! I want to be nice. I want you to think I’m nice. I want to be around nice people. I bet you feel the same way. Not too many of us want to be thought of as the family, office, or neighborhood grouch. And most of us think that a good way, perhaps even a mandatory element of niceness, is saying “yes” often. “Yes” slips off our tongue before we have the chance to stop it even if internally we’re shouting “No!” and slamming our inner break pedal trying to stop ourselves from agreeing to something we don’t want to do. And yet, there we go again saying “yes” to help out on a project, cause, or program, that even though we might care about, we know it’s going to add more to our crowded schedules and bulging to-do lists. It might be saying “yes” to something that isn’t that time consuming but isn’t right for you in the moment like: babysitting at the last minute, going out after work with coworkers, entertaining a neighbor who shows up unannounced, or giving free advice to someone who’s peppering you with questions at…    Read More …


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  By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor Mr. Rogers sang “Won’t you be my neighbor?” with optimism and delight. But his tune wouldn’t have been half as gleeful, and he might have even conducted personal interviews and mandatory background checks before allowing others to take up residence next to him if he had envisioned they would be his neighbors within the confines of cubicles and open environment offices. The design of these work areas strip away privacy and hold us captive next to coworkers who too often unknowingly drive us to distraction or worse by borrowing things off our desk, crunching away at snacks, constantly checking their chirping, buzzing, and ring-tone rousing smartphones, and doing other things that can hinder our productivity or up our stress level. We can’t change the habits of everyone we work with, but we can set the standard for being the best neighbor in our cubicle-hood and hope that our example will eventually spread through the office as we live out these seven savvy, smart, and other’s sensitive do’s and don’ts. The 7 Manners of Being a Good Cubicle Neighbor 1. Stop the music and remove your headphones or earbuds as others approach. If earphones or…    Read More …


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By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor Christmas has passed. The parties are over. The gifts are unwrapped. And whether the party was memorable or something you’d rather forget, and whether the gift made you sigh with an audible, “Ahhh! It’s perfect!” or a silent, “Why in the world?” the other person deserves a thank you. Sometimes it’s easy to gush over the party or gift we’re writing about. Sometimes we have to think hard to come up with what to write because we’re nicely giving him or her an “A” for effort rather than results. A lot of us have already thanked everyone in person or through text, email, voice-mail, or a phone call. So who’s left to thank with a snail mail card? There are three persons you want to thank with a note before you let too many days in the New Year pass. Doing so builds and maintains your relationships, is a tangible reminder of your gratefulness, and is a key component of living your life by the Gold Standard of actively respecting and honoring others instead of the cultural standard of merely interacting with them. Who are these three people? Let’s find out! But Why A Handwritten Thank…    Read More …


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    By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor Before you know it, there will be Christmas presents lovingly handed to you while the anxious eyes of the gift giver, with his or her fingers crossed, will watch to see if you’ll like what you’ll find. Sometimes you’ll take off the lid of the box, pull back the tissue paper, and gasp in awe. Sometimes you’ll take off the lid of the box, pull back the tissue paper, and do your best to hold in your gasp of, “What in the world….” I’ve been in both situations. I’ve felt your joy, and I’ve felt your disappointment. Yes, yes, we all know…it’s the thought that counts and not the gift. But that’s only half the story. We’re not wrong to feel disappointment if someone close to us gives us something that isn’t “us” at all. You see…every gift has two parts: The first part is the gift itself. The second part is the emotion it stirs within us. One of our greatest needs is to feel that others “get” us. To know that we’re “known.” And when someone we love (spouse, close blood relative, or best friend) gives us a gift that isn’t…    Read More …


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Thank you for being here! Manners Mentor, Inc. is an upbeat blog dedicated to helping you become successful in every part of your life by interacting with ease and savvy, and turning self-consciousness into self-confidence. If you want to be authentically You at Your Best you're in the right place!

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