Adulthood, Maturity, and Etiquette: What Your Mother Never Told You About How to Behave
I’ve got tons of friends, but contrary to the way others might approach their friends, I manage my friends with expectations. Some people use categories such as; associates, acquaintances, homies, friends, or whatever other terms they develop to explain their relationship with a person, but I use expectations. For this very reason, there are many times that someone will tell me how someone behaved in a situation and I’ll say, “I can’t raise another man, but I’m pretty sure many of them in our networks do not know how to act.”
There are times when you’ll be called upon to attend certain events that you should have coaching on how to behave. Your mother probably thought she did a great job raising you, but she probably never took the time to finish off the task once you turned 21. Here’s where you need to be in the company of greatness in order to be your best. These are some events that many of us will have to attend but need a little coaching to be our best.
Some of us look at housewarmings as a time to furnish our house, this is the worst possible way to approach this event. Others attend housewarmings and never understand the significance of our attendance at these events. For those who attend housewarmings realize the importance and what’s really going on here, a person is inviting you to their house to turn a purchase into a home. Focus on that. It’s not a time to make an appearance and show off yourself, but to commune at a friend’s or family member’s new purchase to turn it into a home.
For those who are throwing a housewarming, it’s not a time to freeload. Let’s skip the jargon, and move to the meat of the matter. If you are throwing a housewarming, this is your time to show off your house. The correct way to hold a housewarming is to provide food and beverages, and you do not have the housewarming until your house is ready to be seen. You should have decorated and completed every room before you throw the housewarming. When people walk into your home, they should not be completing your bar or kitchen, or collection of art. All of those things should be completed before throwing the housewarming. Yes, a housewarming is expensive, but it is the transition from a house to a home. Make sure you do this right.
When you invite someone to, or are asked to attend someone’s wedding it means something important. For the people who attend your wedding, they are witnesses to the vows you take before God and Family as you embark on a journey for life. Weddings aren’t a time to throw a party, they are a time to exchange vows. If someone invites you to their wedding, they are telling you that they want you to be a part of this journey in their life.
The wedding reception is not a time to “hit the open bar” or “make a scene on the dance floor.” First and foremost, you need to bring a gift. Your gift should at a minimum cover the cost of your party’s plate. But in order to make the right gift, it takes more. Here’s what your gift means, “This is my gift to you, to encourage you to have the best marriage possible.” A cash donation is totally fine, but make it mean something. The cash donation is saying to the newlyweds, “Here’s something to help you make it.” Moreover than the gift, there is how you should behave at a reception. The program is important because the newlyweds and their wedding party would like to do and say the things that are the foundation of their marriage. Pay attention to the program, don’t talk during toasts and don’t miss a toast because you want to get another drink. And never spend time complaining or comparing this reception to another.
The Birth of a Child
The birth of a child is a significant event in anyone’s life. Many of us hope to live forever, but we only have one life to live. The birth of a child is a blessing from God, given to us to enjoy and celebrate. Therefore, when you are asked to witness the birth of a child, you should understand the importance and choose your actions carefully. If this is a close friend of yours, you should be there at the hospital or at the home if a homebirth is chosen. Be a voice of encouragement and also of joy, trust me both parents will need it.
The Christening or selection of Godparents is another event that many of us totally miss. A Christening is much like a wedding, the people that you ask to be there are witnesses to vows. They are there because you have deemed them fitting of being there as you go to God to ask for his blessing and guidance throughout the life of this child.
This next part, I want to be very clear about, the godparents that you select for your child are to be companions in the success of this life, but they must understand and be capable of completing the task if the parents are not. You don’t pick a godparent for your child because they are your close friend and it would be “cool.” You pick a godparent because you want them to be an integral part of your child’s life and they have the capability of raising them in your absence. And if you are selected as a godparent, if you truly feel that you cannot fulfill the responsibility, respectfully decline.
Significant Life Changing Parties
Over the years, there are birthdays, new jobs, reflection moments and retirements. To get the most important piece of advice about parties out the way first, remember this, if you can’t afford to throw the party, don’t throw the party. Nothing irks me more than when someone throws a party and requires that others finance the party. I’ve thrown a successful barbecue every year, I have NEVER asked anyone to bring a thing. I keep the company of friends who don’t show up empty handed, but even if you don’t, take that into consideration. Many of us provide the stage, but don’t finance the show.
When someone asks that you attend an event of significance, you should make it a point to be there. Hopefully, your friends won’t require your attendance at every checkpoint, but only at landmarks. For me, I think that birthday celebrations should happen in the following; 18, 21, 25, 30, 40, and then 50. They go on from there, but those are the intervals for which you make it a big deal for your friends and family to be there. When you take a new job or you retire, your friends should be there. You put a lot into those ventures and your contributions should be rewarded not by only your coworkers, but those who have been soundboards for your many vents and frustrations.
There you have it. Of course, this is just a sampling, I don’t have all the time to upload all my thoughts on behaving the right way under important circumstances. I want to add that I’ve picked much of this up from reading books that aren’t targeted towards a particular race or gender, those would only yield a certain type of result. I also have mentors and friends in my network who have been in rooms that I may not have been in before. It costs nothing to pick up the phone and call them to ask for a minute of advice, in fact, it can be your most prudent decision. I’m interested to hear your thoughts, maybe a personal story, or even recommendations for other events where you have been witness to malfeasance. Cheers.
– Dr. J
“Maybe i’m just different.”