Everyone has that one friend who is comfortable in all situations and never makes anyone cringe with his comments or actions. The rest of us aren’t so graceful. (Full disclosure: I am not that friend. Sometimes, I don’t filter well, but I’m working on that.)
According to Wikipedia, Social graces are “skills used to interact politely in social situations. They include manners, etiquette (the specific accepted rules within a culture for the application of universal manners), deportment and fashion.” Basically having good social graces means your boss can take you to a business lunch, you can go on a date to the theater and you can travel abroad without risking your job, love life or sense of adventure.
Some people are seemingly born with an innate sense of reading social situations and acting accordingly. Others are not so lucky. But social grace is a skill that can be learned! Otherwise, why would all those finishing school have existed last century?
A few tips: Be courteous and polite. Don’t be afraid to show your lack of knowledge about a topic, but reiterate your interest. Know when to Google and when to ask. Have a few relevant talking points prepared ahead of time. (Note: this does not mean create a canned speech, but it does mean do some research. If you are going to a charity event, be sure to know a little about the charity. If you are going to a party as a guest, learn a little about your host.)
Still at a loss? Try the Emily Post Institute.