Hello and welcome! Please allow me to introduce Social Graces to you. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have finally launched this labour of love.

Trying to decide how to frame my very first blog post has been challenging – I’ve written and re-written these words in an effort to perfectly describe Social Graces to you. In the end, I settled on a story that kept coming back to me.

During my last visit to London, England I took the opportunity to explore the city. I visited the British Museum, Covent Garden, and Piccadilly Circus and strolled down London’s world-famous Bond Street. One website describes Bond Street as known for “Its wealth of elegant stores, exclusive brands, designer fashion, luxury goods, fine jewels, art and antiques.” To refer to this lovely area as ‘posh’ is a gross understatement and I looked forward to a fun stroll with some wonderful window shopping to end a great day.

With that in mind, allow me to give you just a little background into my personality – I LOVE dogs. I have two of my own pups. If you were to check the pockets of any coat in my closet, I guarantee you will find poop bags. I simply love our four legged friends!

So back to Bond Street. I was enjoying my stroll when I saw a man walking an incredibly cute bulldog. For some reason, the dog veered to the right and the man dropped his leash. Though the pup did nothing wrong, I was horrified when the man kicked the dog so hard the poor animal yelped.

I’m not sure what came over me because my reaction was pure instinct – in fact, I didn’t think at all. I just yelled at the top of my lungs “HEY! YOU DO NOT KICK YOUR DOG, SIR! YOU DO NOT KICK YOUR DOG!!”

The man didn’t turn around, nor did he miss a step – he just kept walking. However, the people he walked past started to get mad at him, too. As I approached these passersby and apologized for yelling, they told me I had nothing to be sorry for, assuring me I’d done the right thing.

Once my heart stopped pounding and I was able to reflect on what had happened, my mind flashed back to my etiquette training. Clearly, everything I had learned had resonated. Of all the names I could have shouted at the man, I called him “Sir”. I can promise every time I flash back to that moment, I call him something else in my head! But in that moment, the only name that passed my lips was “Sir”.

Despite yelling at someone that loudly on one of the most glamorous streets in the world, I was still able to maintain my dignity. Things would have been very different, however, had I called him a host of other not-so-polite names. While finishing school and my subsequent etiquette training didn’t include a discussion about what to do when you see someone kick their dog, what I did learn was how to project confidence and act with poise and grace during any situation.

That is what Social Graces is about- empowering people with the information they need to feel confident in any situation – even if they witness something crazy and upsetting on Bond Street. I am so excited to introduce Social Graces to Vancouver.

With dignity and respect,

Nina Durante, Certified International Etiquette Consultant

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