If I hadn’t seen it for myself, I don’t think I would have believed it. And truth be told, I kind of wish there were a way to unsee it, but there isn’t. It will stay in my memory forever, even though it was more than 20 years ago.

I was at Walt Disney World in Florida having a lovely dinner with a friend. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a woman using her dinner fork, um, incorrectly. No big deal, right? Stop being such a stickler for etiquette, right?

Dining EtiquetteExcept… she was using her dinner fork to scratch her back, in the middle of a public dining room. Not only that, after she was done scratching, she used that very same fork to continue eating her dinner.

A lot of questions may now be running through your mind. I immediately started pondering whether anyone had ever gently mentioned to this woman that there was a more discreet way to deal with her issue, or that there were differences between what was potentially practiced at home and out in public. Did she even realize that what she was doing was drawing attention? Good heavens, had I (previous to my etiquette training) ever done anything equally horrifying in front of others? Is this something you’ve ever worried about?

Perhaps the fear of making as big a faux pas as this woman in Florida is triggering social anxiety, or at the very least, stopping you from enjoying yourself at social occasions or business functions. Just relying on what you may have learned about manners and etiquette as a child isn’t enough in the modern age any more; there may be gaps in what you’ve learned, or you may have inadvertently been guided down the wrong path.

This is why I love my job so much. I love helping people decode the unwritten rules of how to act, especially when they have the self-awareness and smarts to realize that they could be exemplifying more poise and grace. Hearing from clients about how life changing some of the lessons are makes my day – more on that soon.

In the meantime, rest assured that I am certain you have never been as oblivious in public as Scratching Lady, and that with my help, I’m confident you can become an extremely well-polished version of yourself.

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