When did being Polite become an Anomaly?

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In our overly friendly and casual era, filled with too much personal information, when did simply being polite make you strange?

Yesterday, I tried to give up my chair at a table to someone who had a plate full of food (I was finished eating) and my fellow diners thought this was strange. I thought it was polite. I know how difficult it is to eat standing up, especially knife and fork required conference food. I knew if it was me, I would end up wearing more than half of what was on my plate if I had not eaten at the table.

This encounter got me thinking, I say please and thank you and may I, regularly. Only recently did I notice that these civilities make some people look at me strangely. Someone even commented that I would grow tired of using these civilities. I doubt that will happen. After 27 years, I still wave at everyone I pass, ask, “how are you,” and truly wait for the answer. If this makes me strange, I intend to keep being strange.

Politely Refusing Food at Work

Some people show appreciation with food at work. Birthdays, promotions, new hires and any other mile stone can easily be celebrated with a cake.

But not everyone can enjoy the food part of the festivities. A co-worker might be diabetic or allergic to an ingredient. Another might be trying hard to lose weight and the temptation is too much to even be in the same room as a cake.

This is where politely learning to refuse the offered food comes in handy. You don’t want to offend the person who thoughtfully brought in the cake or other item, but you don’t want to be wasteful either.

The easiest solution is to bring a dish to share that you know you can and want to eat. If the party is a surprise or you just don’t feel comfortable not partaking in the cake, get a small piece and carry it around with you. Feel free to stick your fork in and mash it up a little.

There is nothing wrong with saying you are full or have had enough. Find a solution that works for you and stick with it. Your co-worker will understand in the long run.

Please Stand Up

Image from: http://todaysseniorsnetwork.comIn an office environment and general business, you are bound to meet new people in various situations. You may have people walk into your office while you’re sitting at your desk, you may be the one walking into someone’s office while they are sitting. No matter the scenario, it is always best to stand, introduce yourself and shake their hand.

As a new employee, it is easy to remember this form of politeness, as you’re likely the one to be walking around meeting people. However, you should remember to stand when you meet any new person, especially in a business situation.

Some etiquette experts believe women don’t have to stand when they meet someone or when someone new walks into the room. I disagree. Standing, even if you are short, keeps everyone on the same in the same plane and at eye level. Not to mention, standing keeps you from subconsciously acting like a member of the royal family with servants to kiss your hand.

Working out at Work

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Most of us have desk jobs. We sit for at least eight hours a day. Personally, I noticed a difference in my health and happiness when I went from carefree college student to desk dweller. No more walking to and from class. No more general running around. I had no idea how much that change in activity was going to affect me.

The first step in any process is to acknowledge there needs to be a change. I once worked at a great location that had a locker room complete with shower. That allowed me to run a few miles over lunch and not be too gross to sit next to for the next four hours.

That kind of set up is an anomaly. Sure there are a few places where there’s a gym on site or where one is within super close distance to he office, but that really isn’t feasible for me. I can’t get there, work out, shower and get back in only 60 minutes.

My solution was to make working out after work a priority. It’s made a difference, but there’s still that antsy feeling I get when I sit too long typing away at a computer. We had a walking group for about a week, until the timing didn’t work with everyone’s schedule. I realized it is entirely up to me to try to be active (without sweating) at work.

I brought in a swiss ball. I’ve brought in hand weights and bands. I intend to spend my two allotted 15 minute breaks lifting weights. I hope this helps that antsy feeling. I’ve heard it can also help with concentration and can wake you up more than a cup of coffee.

How do you keep fit (or not) at the office?