Being Polite While Using Your Cell Phone

As a result of the tech-age we currently live in, a lot has changed when it comes to social interactions; however, some things should not change. Being polite during social interactions and being respectful to those around you should always be at the forefront of your mind. Seeing as we use technology, especially our cell phones, in all aspects of our lives, I am breaking down cell phone etiquette into the 3 most prominent settings – Work, Social, and General Public usage.

  1.  At Work
    • Put your phone away when you are arriving and leaving work so you interact and say hello/goodbye to those in your office.
    • Silence your cell phone when you are in the office, especially if you work in an open space or cubicles with other people. Hearing your phone ring or alerts go off can be distracting to those around you.
    • Refrain from using your cell during meetings and other people’s presentations unless you are adding things to your calendar or referring to it in order to review current events. Even with that, be cautious – it may still look like you are texting or not paying attention to the presenter.
    • Take notes with a pen and paper, not on your phone. If you do not have good handwriting, cannot write quickly, or need the information recorded to send-out immediately, use a tablet or laptop to take notes, but be sure not to have any other windows open.
    • If you work in an open space or in cubicles, excuse yourself to take a personal call on your cell phone. It allows you to keep your privacy and also prevents you from distracting your co-workers.
    • If you have a work/company cell phone, use it only for work purposes and never for personal use.
  2. In Social Settings (On a Date, Out with Friends, Visiting Family)
    • Put your phone away and give the people you are with your undivided attention. After all, you are out to be socializing with them and not with other people via your phone or social media.
    • Silence your cell phone. If your phone is continuously ringing and you keep checking it, you will likely offend the people you are with by making it seem like you are too busy to be there.
    • If you are driving with other people in your car and using Bluetooth throughout the car, make sure whoever you are speaking to knows they are on speaker phone. Unless it is an important call, let the caller know you are driving with other people and will call them back.
  3. In Public
    • If you are taking a call in public, use your “inside voice.” No one around you wants to hear your conversation.
    • Do not be on your phone when you are at the check-out counter or while someone in a store is assisting you.
    • If take a call that begins to get emotional, find a private place to use your phone or stay in your car until the call is over and you have collected yourself. This is especially true if you are “getting heated” about something over the phone. It makes people around you feel uncomfortable and quite frankly, you will embarrass yourself.
  4. All the Time
    • Do not text and drive!
    • If you are awaiting an important call and you need to have your phone with you during a meeting, appointment, meal, etc., simply let the people around you/who you are with know. When the calls comes, excuse yourself and take the call in private.
    • If you accidentally text the wrong person, simply send a follow-up text to saying, “I’m sorry, that text was not meant for you. Please ignore it.” Then, be thoughtful and add something like, “But how have you been?” if it is a friend or relative.
    • Lock your phone so you do not accidentally call someone while your phone is in your purse, pocket, etc.

I hope these tips help you to be more “Tech-Proper!”

Cheers, y’all!

AB

Celebrating Holiday Traditions

In the spirit of the holiday season and families and friends (both new and old) coming together, many of us will be sharing, or maybe starting, holiday traditions. From those we have been celebrating with our families for generations to those we have created on our own with friends, they bring us together and make many special memories. The link between traditions and etiquette may not be apparent, but I have a few important thoughts worth sharing:

  1. Participate in the cheesy stuff! You may think you have grown up too much to do the childish activities, but trust me you have not. The smile it will put on your parents’ or grandparents’ faces is well worth it! Plus, it is your job to teach the next generation!
  2. Include others in your traditions. If you have a significant other or friend spending the holidays with you, be sure they are included in the fun. Teach them about what your family does, how it came to be a tradition, and have them fully participate in the festivities.
  3. If you are not able to spend the holidays with your family, ask the people you will be with if you can share your tradition with them. Whether it is eating a certain dish, singing a certain song, or a certain activity you always do, most hosts will welcome your addition. Just be sure not to take over the occasion and be respectful of the traditions already in place.
  4. Be respectful of making changing to existing traditions. If you have an idea of how to “enhance” a current tradition, be sure to speak with those who started it or those who rank “most senior” in the family/group. Perhaps they go about the tradition a certain way for a reason you do not know or they feel strongly attached to the way it has always been done. It is important to speak to everyone involved before making a decision which will effect the entire family/group.

As I get ready to celebrate my traditional Italian Christmas Eve, I know I am blessed to have family, friends, and loved ones celebrate with me. Cherish these moments and enjoy them!

Merry Christmas, y’all!

Alexandra

United Babes & Co.

In honor of Labor Day (aka figuring out how to not work for our whole lives), I am taking a slight departure from my usual Positively Proper posts to share a new passion project, a venture with seven of my friends… United Babes & Co.!

We are eight lucky ladies who were brought together by fate (or something like that) thanks to the common thread of the military being a part of our lives. Now, this is not your usual military connection – we are not military spouses (well, one of us is, but we will get there later!), rather we all worked or volunteered for military based organizations and were lucky enough to be in the same place (shout out to D.C.) while we did. Since that time (2013-16), we have scattered across the country, now world (we will get there a little later too!), but no matter where our lives have taken us, we have stayed together as friends. So, who are we?

Jenn Currently based in Philly. She’s basically the OG of the group and a key player for bringing us all together. Jenn grew up in a military family and married her now husband after meeting him through her job with a military based organization.

Beth Currently based in Colorado. Beth (also from a military family) worked at a military based organization and then Jenn joined the org & her team. The two became friends, then roommates – the rest is history!

Brittney (aka Bert) Currently based in Northern Virginia. Bert (another military child!) volunteered for the organization where Jenn and Beth worked, and lucky for us, she volunteered at the Center which Jenn oversaw… the two became fast friends!

#ThemJohnsonSeesters – Marissa (currently based in Italy) and Taylor (currently based in Northern Virginia) Marissa transferred to the D.C. area for work (a military entity) and ended up working in conjunction with Jenn. They briefly met at a work meeting, and then one day, Jenn, Beth, and Marissa were getting their mail and realized they lived in the same building! At the time, Taylor had just moved to DC and was also Marissa’s roommate. It was basically fate… the group became five and with two apartments in one complex, Babe HQ was born.

Alexandra (aka AB) Currently based in Virginia Beach. Shortly after the first round of introductions happened, AB started working for the same organization as Beth and Jenn (she also grew up in a military family). Beth was her tag team partner on all the programs they oversaw and first introduced AB to the group at country concerts, a Babes’ favorite pastime.

Kaylen (aka Kitty) Currently based in Savannah. Kaylen moved to the D.C. area when her relationship with her now husband (who was in the military) began. Lucky for us, she got a job where Taylor worked and the two instantly hit it off over their mutual love of Disney and Harry Potter. Fast forward a few months, Kaylen and #ThemJohnsonSeesters became roommates (expanding Babe HQ).

Kelly (aka Chirp) Currently based in Pennsylvania. Chirp is Bert’s younger sister and basically got roped into being friends with all of us. And you guessed it, she was part of the military family and ended up working at the same place as Marissa!

That’s us!

From a long string of texts to Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat groups, we talk constantly, laugh with (sometimes at) each other, and manage to stay a part of each other’s everyday lives. The biggest thing is, despite the distance, we continuously show up for each other. From every day laughs to dating fails (and some successes!), as well as personal hardships and the realities of “growing up,” we feel pretty blessed to have each other and that is what we are here to share. So, welcome to our girl squad!

Set It Up, Minus the Netflix Ending

How many of you have been on a date setup by friends? You know, the ones that typically start with your friend saying, “I know someone I think you will like, you two should go out!” Probably a lot of people (me included), but how many people have gone on one of those dates and had it actually work out leading to more dates or even a relationship? (Also, 🙋). I truly hope for everyone who has experienced this success they are now in wonderful relationships! For those of you in the less successful crowd (do not worry, I also join you there, more than once actually.. 😳🤦‍♀️😂), what do you do when you have been setup by friends and it does not turn out successful?

For this, there are a few scenarios… If it was just one date and you do not hit it off, it is a pretty easy situation to handle (see my suggestion in an earlier post) and when handled correctly, everything should be fine! BUT what if the date went great and you actually started seeing each other, doing things with the friends who introduced you, introducing him/her to your other friends, etc. and then things go south? Well…

  • How do you tell the friends who introduced you? It is more than likely one of you knows the friend(s) better than the other. If this is the case, the individual who knows the friend(s) better should be the one to let them know. And yes, you should let them know. It may not be easy to talk about a breakup, and you can even say you prefer not to get into the details, but it is better for your friend to hear it from you rather than word of mouth, social media, etc.
  • Who “gets custody” of the friends? (let’s be real, having humor is the only way to get through these things) This can become a bit of a sticky situation, but my thoughts on this are in line with who should tell your friends about the relationship ending… Whoever came into the relationship with the friendships gets to keep them on the exit. This can be hard to come to terms with because you may have developed friendships on your own aside from the person who introduced you, but the last thing you want to do is put a friend in the middle. If you have formed a good friendship with your ex’s friend(s), I suggest letting the friend(s) reach out to you. If the friend initiates continuing the friendship, then I think it is fair game. One caveat to this – leave your ex out of it, in all ways. Bad mouthing your ex, or even going into personal details of him/her/the relationship, to your mutual friend(s) only leaves you in a poor light and potentially puts the friend(s) in the middle. If you do not think you can handle being friends with the same people without talking about your ex, you may want to reconsider.
  • What about future plans already made? This is where it really gets tough. If you had plans to attend a friend’s (one your ex “won custody of”) gathering together, I highly recommend gracefully backing out. Depending on how close you became with this person, you can send a card with your well wishes but I suggest leaving it at that. Similarly, if you had invited your ex to an upcoming family function, wedding, etc., it is perfectly acceptable to reach out and change your R.s.v.p. You do not have to give details about what happened, you can simply say “_____ is no longer able to attend. I apologize for the inconvenience, but appreciate you making the change.”

So, there you have it. This is never fun, but it happens so it is best to handle things with grace. Keep your head up and definitely keep dating.

Cheers y’all!

AB

Happy Galentine’s Day!

Single this Valentine’s Day? No need to worry! Valentine’s Day can hold a different meaning for everyone so I challenge you to view it from a lens other than that of being in a relationship (even if you are in one!). For example, I love Valentine’s Day because putting love on public display with all the flowers, colorful decor, and heart/love signs everywhere makes me happy!

So, with that in mind, here are my tips on how you can celebrate a fabulous Valentine’s / Galentine’s Day!

  1. Gather your girlfriends together for a night of good food, rom-coms, and laughter!
    • Send out an invitation (e-vites are great for this!), decorate your space, and find some festive serving pieces! With so many ways to celebrate and have a fun evening pick something that fits your group!
  2. Dress festive! *My personal favorite!*
    • Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year (other than my birthday) when wearing an over-the-top amount of pink is publicly acceptable and let’s be honest, who does not want to channel their inner Elle Woods?!
  3. Send valentines!
    • Family and friends will appreciate a piece of happy mail!
      • Tip: Stop by your local TJMaxx, Marshall’s, or Home Goods for a great deal on festive cards!
    • If you give valentine’s to coworkers, ensure the messages are tasteful and friendly to remain professional while spreading cheer. Also, if you add in a valentine treat, check if anyone has a dietary restriction.

I hope these tips get you in the Valentine spirit! I know there are some who struggle with being single, especially at Valentine’s Day, and we can all admit we have been there at some point. For those of us who need a little extra encouragement this Valentine’s Day, I leave you with the wise words a friend sent to me in her Valentine, “Single is not a status. It is a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.”

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and celebrate all the love in your life!

Sparkle on y’all!

AB