Reading notes: Emily Post’s Etiquette — Common Courtesies

We learned Emily Post’s Etiquette (18th edition) Chapter 3. Common courtesies at our book club meeting on March 22, 2018.  Below is my reading notes.

Quotes from the book:

“Being courteous means taking personal responsibility for the way our actions affect others, showing respect for the space we share and the well-being of those we share it with.”

“Common courtesy starts with acknowledging those around you pleasantly.”

“• Notice, notice, notice. Say “thanks” when someone does you a favor and give compliments when you can.”

For gentlemen:

“• On the street, a man traditionally walks on the curb side of a woman—shielding her from the hazards posed by passing horse and buggies, now cars, splashing through puddles.

  • A woman precedes a man through a door, on an escalator (unless she needs help getting on or off), or in a narrow outdoor passageway.
  • A man precedes a woman into a dark street or building, down a steep ramp or a slippery slope, on rough ground, and through crowds, taking her hand or arm as necessary.”

Things not to do that I was not too sure before reading this book:

“Holding space in a line for friends who are paying separately from you.”

Some examples given in the book (17th edition, Chapter 4: Dealing with rudeness).  I think they are very helpful to people who are learning spoken English:

(Note: 1. Most of the time people just let it go – it may not worth the emotional energy you’d need to fight back; safety concerns; 2. You can also laugh it off – just chuckle, and switch the topic; 3. Take it to the higher authority instead of dealing with the offender yourself.  If you decide to speak up, be calm and polite.)

“Please don’t shout.  I know the space is tight, and kids will be kids.  But your daughter has been kicking my seat since we boarded.  I’d really appreciate it if you could ask her to stop.  Thanks!”

Reply to a rude comment:

“How kind of you to say so.”

“Many of us are trying to read.  So would you mind lowering your voice?  Thanks!”

“Would you please sit down so I can see?”

“Excuse me, but I guess you didn’t realize this is the express lane.  I’m just letting you know for future reference.”

To someone who cuts you off when a new check-out line is opened:

“I’m sorry but I’ve been waiting longer than you.  Would you mind if I go first?”

To a co-worker who always bring lunch with strong smell:

“Steven, are you trying to drive us all away so you can have a quiet lunch?  The smell of that broccoli just may do the trick!”

To someone who keeps gossiping about a co-worker in shared public space:

“Terrisa, I don’t mean to butter in, but if you want to speak ill of Virginia,  don’t you think you should do it in some place more private?  You never know when she might walk in.”

To someone who gives sarcastic comments on your son’s choice of university major:

“Like me, Jimmy thinks the real reward comes from loving what you do, not how much you make.  And I couldn’t be more proud of him!”

“Excuse me, but I’m not sure that you noticed there are children on the bus.  Could you please watch your language?”

To someone who puts a bag on a seat on a crowded train:

“Excuse me, but would you mind if I sit down?”

“Robert, I assume you’ve smoked in the car so you wouldn’t need  to in the restaurant. Would you mind if we move to the non-smoking?”, instead of “First you smoked in my car, then this (picking seats in smoking area)?”

New behaviours I’ve developed after I came to North America:

Say “Excuse me” when I encounter somebody in a narrow space, have to pass by, or move closer to someone.

Smile at strangers on the street and say “hi”.

Hold the door for people right behind me.

When waiting in line to check out in a grocery store, I learned to put a bar behind my items to make it easier for the person behind me to put his or her items onto the conveyor  counter.  I’d  also let the person behind me to go first if he or she has just a handful of items while I have a lot.

If I can’t make it on time, I’d call to let people know, and give the reason, especially the ETA.

Greet the driver when getting aboard a bus, and say “thank you” when getting off.

Unstrap my backpack when it’s crowded on a bus or subway, and stow it down.

Finally, here are a couple of articles I wrote in both English and Chinese about the cultural differences that are related to some topics mentioned above:

Chinese Saying “Thank-you” /中国人说“Thank You”

甜言蜜语 vs 良药苦口/Sweetened Words V.S. Bitter-sweet Pills

Author: Yang

Minutes: March 22nd, 2018

March 22nd, 2018

Minutes by Eric

Participants: Aaron, Charlene, Eric, Jackie, Jefferey, Michelle, Shengnan, Yan, Yang, Yong

Participants first did their one minute presentations. Aaron talked about his trip to Forest Valley, he learned and watched how maple syrup is made. Yang talked about the blind book clubs she went to, and what they did. Eric talked about the race for technology supremacy between China and America, how China is surpassing America. Michelle talked about his son and some challenges in his school life. Jacky talked about the school shootings happening in the States and he supports having guns for citizens to protect themselves. Shengnan talked about her trip to Yellowknife to see the northern lights. Yong talked about his tools were stolen and he has to buy them. Yan talked about how she has no interesting things to share and she hopes she can do something interesting.

Then participants discussed chapter 3: Common Courtesies in the book Emily Post’s Etiquette. Everyone talked about some things they didn’t know before reading the chapter and some interesting things that they are not sure about. “Being courteous means taking personal responsibility for the way our actions affect others, showing respect for the space we share and the well-being of those we share it with” is what the book describes how to be courteous. You should always observe and try to make other’s lives easier.

For some more details, please see Yang’s reading notes:

Reading notes: Emily Post’s Etiquette — Common Courtesies

EAWLC Workshop announcement: Explore poetic experience and live in each moment!

Anna Yin is Mississauga’s Inaugural Poet Laureate (2015-2016) and Ontario representative for the League of Canadian Poets (2013-2016). She has authored six books of poetry and her poems have appeared at ARC Poetry, New York Times, China Daily, CBC Radio, World Journal etc.  Anna won awards including the 2005 Ted Plantos Memorial Award, two MARTYs, two scholarships from West Chester University Poetry Conference, two grants from OAC and 2013 Professional Achievement Award from CPAC. Her poem “Still Life” was part of Poetry in Transit featured on buses across Canada in 2013. She read her poetry on Parliament Hill and has been featured at 2015 Austin International Poetry Festival and 2016 Edmonton Poetry Festival.  Anna has been interviewed by CBC Radio, Rogers TV and Talent Vision TV, The Toronto Star and China Daily several times.  She teaches Poetry Alive at schools, colleges and libraries. For more information about Anna, you can visit her website:

On Thursday March 29, 2018, Anna will come to the East and West Learning Club to facilitate a workshop —

“Beauty is everywhere. What you need is the eye to discover it. This workshop is designed not only to help one to discover the beauty of nature, but also to discover the inner self, and to live in each moment. At the workshop, I will invite everyone to participate in several enjoyable games. Each participant will have opportunities to reflect their daily life and to express themselves. There are also interesting riddles/short poems that will illustrate how much fun it can be with word playing.  We will discuss the various voices revealed in poetry reading and interpretation. We will also learn the beauty of the combination of different cultures. All in all, I hope to help participants explore the world of imagination, and find a way to express their emotions  through words.”

Workshop schedule:

6:30-7:00 PM  Pizzas, dumplings & social

7:00-8:30 PM  Workshop

Cost: Free (including a simple meal).  A donation of a loonie or a toonie would be appreciated, too.

Venue: Iroquois Junior Public School, 265 Chartland Blvd., Scarborough (near Finch & Brimley; free parking available at the west side of the school building.)

Space is limited to 15 seats.  First come, first served.  Please RSVP at:  Thanks.

Let’s learn, and enjoy writing poems through games.  Everybody can do it because we are all poets, writing our lives with actions, words, or both!

北美职场老将分享: 要不要道歉?

“北美职场上,出了错要不要道歉?”这个问题一再被在北美工作的职场中人提起。它关乎职场文化,也关乎中西方文化的差异。有部分我采访的老师就此提供了自己的看法。我觉得非常有意思, 这里不再进行特别的编辑,直接跟大家分享TA们的原话,以便大家最大程度地获知TA们的心得体会和多方位的视角,对“职场道歉”问题有个心中大概。

Continue reading “北美职场老将分享: 要不要道歉?”