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Social Etiquettes

You have any question related to social etiquettes and day to day life? Then you have come to the right place. Post in your question and our Miss Manners will answer them for you.

Sufia Shahid an Eisenhower Fellow is a familiar face for us in Pakistan.

She is GM Corporate Events for the Pearl Continental and Marriott Hotels in Pakistan. She is also involved in a number of charitable projects.

This multifaceted and charming lady is a visiting scholar at the Finishing School. As she has a vast exposure with all segments of society.

Here she answers all your queries regarding everyday etiquettes.


I have a colleague who has a problem with body odour. I can’t bring myself to tell her that she should do something about it because I know she will be very embarrassed. How can I tell her to do something about her body odour, without making her feel embarrassed?

Miss Manners:
If you are friends then you can take this issue up jovially. In a funny manner you can touch the topic and when both of you have had a good laugh you can suddenly become serious and quickly say that he/she needs to do something about the body odor. Offer advice of a daily bath with boric powder in the end and help in the selection of some good deodorants. I am positive it'll solve the problem and your colleague would be grateful too.

I am manager in an advertising company. I have many new graduates coming to work under me, but they stay only a few weeks and then leave. I feel that most of these youngsters are very non serious about their jobs and join expecting very high salaries and little work. How can I deal with such employees and ensure that turnover is low.

Miss Manners:
There’s a saying that "employees do not leave employment, but the employers". Although this may not always be true, but there IS a possibility that these 'youngsters' are happy with the job, but not happy with the people they are working with. It won't hurt to check your work environment and attitude of managers including your own, to see if things can be improved there to retain fresh blood at your agency
I have great faith in the young people and their capabilities. If handled well they can become an asset to your workplace and do wonders for your company.

There is a colleague of mine who has an incessant habit of asking me for money, he says he’ll return it in a few days, but takes months to return the money. I understand he is going through a financial crisis, but there are times when I just don’t have enough money to lend. I feel very guilty when I’m unable to lend him money. How can I tell him that there are times when I just can’t lend him money without making him feel bad?

Miss Manners:
I know this is a very annoying habit and a very difficult to put up with. You should not feel guilty about not paying at all. Start talking to him about your own financial problems (we all have some) from time to time. Pre-empt his request by complaining about not having enough money when you feel that he is about to ask you for some more.
In spite of all this if he still manages to ask you next time, tell him candidly that it is difficult for you to share what you earn so painstakingly. Also tell him that you spend under a budget that goes haywire when you take money out for him. I am sure he'll understand.

Ever since childhood my parents have taught me that while in a restaurant the first thing to do after sitting on the table is to unfold the napkin and keep it on the side and when dinner/lunch is served, to place the napkin on the lap. What I’m confused about is that there are times when the napkin is folded in a flower or fan etc, am I still supposed to unfold it and keep in on the side?

Miss Manners:
Well, if the flower is not too big and not hindering your contact with the person sitting across from you, let it be where it is. However, let me emphasize that whatever way the napkin is folded, it is meant to be unfolded and used. So feel free to do what you are comfortable with and remember one rule: when in doubt, follow others.

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