Seems to be the Hardest Word

I’m reading a lovely new book called The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee.  The setting is England, I believe early 20th Century.  It’s lovely to read about a time and place different from our own; and yet, Ms. Atlee’s work also conveys similarities.  The Typewriter Girl, Betsey, became a woman in a male-dominated workplace like many women in the much latter part of the 20th Century.

And it’s also lovely to read about a time and place when etiquette seemed so much more important.  My mother (and grandmother, and great-aunt) always taught me that etiquette was acting in such a way to make others feel comfortable.  This is a lovely definition from mysoutherngrace.com:

Not sure what to think when you hear the word etiquette? Well, etiquette is defined as those rules that govern socially acceptable behavior. Imagine a society where people seek to never offend another, and if they do, try to rectify the offence at the earliest convenience. Then imagine that those who are offended gracefully accept the apology of the offender. That is the goal of etiquette: To make each person of our society comfortable with one another by beginning with oneself. The first rule learned in kindergarten happens to be the first rule of etiquette: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. In the world of etiquette, this brings about harmony and peace in society. Together we can polish our social behavior skills by continuing to learn etiquette concepts. 

There is an art to accepting an apology, much like there is an art to accepting a compliment. One does not say thank you to a compliment and then proceed to insult the complimenting party by denigrating oneself or by over-valuing one’s own self-worth.  That would be in the poorest of taste.

And accepting an apology seems like a lost art as well.  It seems the worst social breach to ask for and be issued an apology and then berate the apologist and belabor the point for which one demanded an apology to begin with.  All that results in is the necessity of issuing another round of apologies.  Or potentially really bad karma.

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Songs for the day:

We’re So Sorry Uncle Albert, The Beatles

Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word, Elton John

I’m Sorry, Brenda Lee

Who’s Sorry Now?, Connie Francis (HA!  Two blog posts in a row by Connie Francis.  Very odd.)

Hard to Say I’m Sorry, Chicago

 

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