If you’ve been around this blog for any time at all now you know that I like to have a little fun. So today I thought I’d share with y’all (I love saying that) some of the things I’ve learned about Southern Etiquette from one of my real life Southern blogging buddies Leslie, at Bungalow Nesting. Leslie is one of the first people I met here in the upstate of South Carolina and she is one of the most delightful gals I know! Her fun attitude is contagious and she has become a dear, dear friend.
When I first met Leslie she began right away to fill me in on proper Southern etiquette. Since I’ve never lived in the South before I take these tips quite seriously and I’m sure that the following list of social etiquette will be KEY to making my way in this strange new land.
- The first time Leslie and her husband Mark invited us to their home she told me that when you are invited to a Southerner’s home you always bring a gift. I listened and I brought along a nice loaf of sweet bread. She graciously thanked me and said that each subsequent time you are invited into someone’s home the gift must be bigger and better. I can believe THAT! They have a lot of company and they have a lot of nice things.
- Southern greetings are very friendly. Always smile and remember that a smile is not only on the face but can be seen in the eyes. If your eyes aren’t smiling the other person will know you aren’t a friendly person.
- Men usually shake hands, women embrace (except for church, church men embrace like women). A woman-to-woman embrace often includes a kiss on the cheek. Only woman-to-woman though. Doncha’ dare kiss another woman’s husband!
- When engaging in conversation it is proper to maintain eye contact. Don’t stare too long though because that can be threatening . . . and don’t let your gaze constantly wander because that shows that you aren’t listening. If you are bored listen for awhile and then find something you must suddenly attend to.
- Speaking of eye contact, don’t gawk! This is especially true for men who should only gawk at their own wives.
- Don’t stand too close when conversing with another person. This can cause the other person to feel uncomfortable, not to mention the fact that you might have offensive breath or even risk “spraying” them.
- Be careful what you say while conversing. Remember, the heart of who you are comes out of your MOUTH. If you want to be nice your words must be nice and that is the goal of every Southerner. Being nice!
- When being introduced to another person always smile and say something pleasant like, “It is good to meet you.” Once you know them you can greet them with, “Hey.” Or, “Hey, hey,” if you are a Finnish Southerner.
- When someone offends you or says something you don’t like never argue or get nasty. Simply say, “Bless your heart.” Say it with a smile too because the good book says that showing kindness to those you don’t like is just like heaping burning coals upon their head!
- Never show up at someone’s house unexpectedly. A Southern woman will feel the need to invite you in and will be embarrassed if there is any little thing out of place.
- Never show up to a party early. In fact, don’t show up on time! At least 30 minutes after the party is set to begin is the real start time of any party in the South.
- Always return the favor. Whether it is an invite, a gift, a card, a kind word, always return the favor . . . if you want to continue the friendship. If you don’t want to continue the friendship don’t return the favor.
- Be Words: Be humble. Be Courteous. Be friendly. Be modest. Behave.
- Courtesy Words: “Please,” “May I,” “Thank You,” “You’re Welcome,” “Excuse Me,” “Pardon Me,” “Yes sir,” “No sir,” “Yes ma’am,” “No ma’am.”
- Southern Cuss Words: Ding dangit; Heavens to Betsy; Dag nabbit; Lard bucket; What in the Sam Hill; Oh my land; Yankee; Shoot a monkey; Jumpin Jehosaphat! These words are acceptable outbursts in place of “real” swear words, except in church. No cuss words in church!
Now in case you’re wondering at the title, How to Make Your Neighbors Jealous of Your Front Porch, it should be pretty obvious by now that you should never deliberately make your neighbors jealous of your front porch or any other part of your life. If they happen to become a little green with envy over your modest porch decor simply invite them in for a glass of sweet tea and all peace will be restored.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these rules of Southern etiquette in social situations. There are of course rules for every situation, church etiquette; shopping etiquette; porch etiquette; bathroom etiquette; etc. Too many to touch on them all in one post! Know this: If you follow these rules your popularity will be sure to increase . . . because people like people with good manners. 😉
TheDIYShowoff, LifeOnLakeshoreDrive, NiftyThriftyThings, SilverPenniesSundays, SundaysAtHome
Carole West @ Garden Up Green says
Beautiful Display I’m loving that wreath.
Jonell Harrison says
This post is laugh out loud funny…I have to say in my opinion you could have used the same content without using the SOUTHERN tag..this is good for anyone…but then I’m a Georgia girl, having lived in 8 states including Miss. Alabama, Texas, Florida, Kentucky so what would I know?!! I especially agree with making use of the “Bless Your Heart” phrase.
I have not stopped by for a while…you’ve just reminded me how much I enjoy your blog -I shall return SOON!
Teddee Grace says
Well, I’m just green with envy I’m tellin’ you. What is that beautiful brown vegetation in the wreath with the pumpkins in the last photo?
heather m. says
Miss Patty I’m in love with your witty and TRUE post!! Also slightly jealous of your pretty porch….! I live in VA but my mama’s family is all from NC… safe to say I was very familiar with most of your rules though I do have some new vocabulary words to add to my repertoire in a heated moment! Also digging your blog theme… it’s close to my ♥ So glad I stumbled on your blog!
Dadgum Patti! You’ve got this down already. 🙂
It’s ok to make your neighbors a little envious…just don’t act all haughty about it.
Sometimes men kiss a woman on the cheek and I don’t like it. I don’t want some other man to kiss me but it might just be me.
I say Bless Your Heart or Bless His Heart at least once a day and for me it means a little of everything. Sometimes it’s the equivalent of Oh Brother! and sometimes it really is empathy. 🙂
Cheryl Ann says
Patti, this is all so truuuue! I’m learning to enjoy Southern Ways again. Part of my childhood was spent in the South and then we moved back to Seattle. My husband (a Yankee) always wants to be “on time” when we go to a party…for him that’s 5 minutes before and for me it’s 15 minutes after. I’ve always thought it rude to get to someone’s home too early. We’ve had many “conversations” about this. In the Northwest people were always early and sometimes even brought friends I’d never met and they’d never mentioned. Viva la difference! Cheryl Ann
Cheryl Ann says
I now live in Nashville.
I just loved reading this post while I laughed all the way through!! I’m a southern girl through and through, 12 years as a girl in South Carolina!! Every word is sooo true! Only addition, you ALWAYS offer sweet tea.
Carol Cook says
I’m not from the south, but I have been known to say “Heavens to Betsy” … dag nabbit … what in the Sam Hill … and even Jumpin Jehosaphat!
Ding dangit; Heavens to Betsy; Dag nabbit; Lard bucket; What in the Sam Hill; Oh my land; Yankee; Shoot a monkey; Jumpin Jehosaphat! These words are acceptable outbursts in place of “real” swear words, except in church. No cuss words in church!
Heather C says
That’s the best use for sweet gum balls I have ever seen.
Sharon H says
Patti, even though I grew up in Kansas City, MO, I’ve always used Southern speech….and I still do…..and I had a “southern accent”….seriously, people always used to ask me what part of the South I was from. I joked and said, “South Kansas City”. LOL But I knew deep down in my heart that I was a misplaced Southern Girl. And being from Missouri….pronounced Miz-ZOUR-uh….I was among those who never really knew for sure if we were a Southern State or a Northern State. People today still cannot agree on the exact whereabouts of the Mason-Dixon line if it traveled westward…. and then the Missouri Compromise of 1820….we were actually admitted into Statehood as a Slave State…sad to say.
But I LOVE all things Southern! And if I’m around Southerners very long, my drawl gets really heavy….hahaha, I can hear it myself and I can’t seem to help it! “Hey”, is such a common thing for me to say and now most people close to me say it too….and y’all must know how I often I say, awww….bless yore heart!
I know I come by those things naturally since my maternal grandfather hailed from the Boot heel of MO. And I had a lot of kinfolk from waaay down in the tulies. I got tired of people making fun of me for saying “worsh rag”, and so I taught myself to say “wash cloth”…..hahaha. there are lots more cute phrases them Suth’un folks use….you jist wait’n see…. Girl, I loved this post!
I like that use of sweet gum balls too. 🙂 I’ve always disliked those things, but I love how you put them to good use. Takes a newcomer into the south to see some of the beauties that we native southerners miss, I suppose. 🙂 Welcome to the south. 🙂 Found you on Thought Provoking Thursday this morning. ((blessings))
Ellen Chauvin says
Patti! What a fun post! I’ve been a southerner all my life and I must say, you are speaking truth here! Thanks for sharing! Visiting you today from Thought Provoking Thursday!
Alice Jump says
For twelve growing up years, I lived in Florida during the winter months and New York /Pennsylvania during the summer. So I guess I was a half breed. One thing not mentioned was that children called unrelated adult family friends Aunt and Uncle (this was considered polite behavior) during the fifties there were a Lot of cultural and fashion rules.
Lyli @3dlessons4life.com says
Dag nabbit, I wish my house was as pretty as yours, Patti! xo
Thank you for the laugh, Patti. I remember hearing some of these tips when getting to meet Leslie myself. You two are so much fun.
Karen Del Tatto says
Patti, I enjoyed this post sooo much!!
I’ve always wanted to be from the South. Haha. But it’s true!! I am a Jersey girl now living in New England, and we just seem so much harsher. My husband and I were blessed to visit Kiawah South Carolina not once but twice. We also visited Savanah and Charleston at that time. I just love it down there!
I found these rules of etiquette so fascinating. I wrote a post a couple months back about the Victorian’s Etiquette thinking how sad it is that we don’t have such “rules”, but apparently, some parts of our great country do!
Thanks for such a fun post!
Oh my, I could never live in the south!! Too much to remember! Very entertaining information though. The bigger better gifts each time you visit got me the most!
My MoMa had Southern upbringing and I can relate to what your friend has shared with you!!!
I still, and always will, prefer to go by what my beloved Grandmother taught.
The Golden Rule!!!
Gorgeous front porch decor, dear friend!!!
LOVE those blue/green pumpkins!!!
Wow! Your porch is amazing! I relocated from the freezing north to Texas five years ago and love love love the south. It’s wonderful! Be blessed always. Misty.
Well yes…those are good guidelines for southern etiquette. And if they spread north, so much the better. ha. Looks like your friend clued you in on the important tips.
Patti, this was a delight to read and view! Thank you for sharing this week on the Art of Home-Making Mondays 🙂
JES @ Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth
Elizabeth Ours says
Loved your post! Beautiful front porch and some great tips on how to get along well in the south! 🙂 I am from the lovely Upstate of SC!!! I THOUGHT that was the south — until I moved to South Georgia! Now, that is the DEEP south with a whole culture of its own!! 🙂 I now live on the Georgia Coast and love it . . . .but I”m still a Carolina Girl at heart! 🙂
Jann Olson says
Fun post Patti! I agree, manners are important. I’m thinking my mom had to have a bit of Southern heritage. She used a few of those cuss words. lol! Sounds like a wonderful place to live. Love all of the mannerly rules, except for maybe having to bring a bigger and better gift each time. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
Richella Parham says
Love this! You made me laugh out loud. Welcome to the South, neighbor!
I’m featuring you this week at Grace at Home. Other people need to enjoy this post!
Cynthia - Clockwork Interiors says
Hello! I’m a first time visitor, and I just LOVE your front porch, and enjoyed reading this post! Although it made me homesick for my old house and neighbors in Charlotte, NC. You don’t live in the Weddington / Marvin, NC area do you?! Maybe we had the same builder 😉 Thanks for sharing your beautiful home and Southern hospitality. Cynthia
Thanks for the laugh. I agreed with all of the tips, except the being late to the party one. I’m a Southerner from birth and to the bone, but those in my circle would consider being 30 minutes late to a party as just rude. Around here, if you want your fried chicken hot and your iced tea cold, you better show up on time, unless you had a blowout on the way.
Loved your porch. Its so inviting.