How to Be a Lady: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy

How to Be a Lady: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy

by Candace Simpson-Giles


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A charming reminder of what it takes to be an exemplary woman—someone who is mindful of the effect she has on others and knows how to breeze through an awkward conversation with poise.

Of all the women you know, how many of them would you describe as “a lady”? Naturally, you know women who are kind and intelligent, witty and resourceful; but a lady is an altogether different variety of female. She’s mindful of the effect she has on those around her, and she’s careful not to let her words or appearance betray her true intentions.

How to Be a Lady is a charming reminder of what it takes to be an exemplary woman—someone who knows how to breeze through an awkward conversation with poise, or delicately sidestep the beauty salon gossip. Candace Simpson-Giles delivers a delightful refresher course on what it means to be a lady among women.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401604592
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 01/10/2012
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 391,373
Product dimensions: 4.70(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Candace Simpson-Giles is a wife, mother, and grandmother and the owner of Art Attack Nashville, an original oils and art gallery. She is also the cofounder of Critter Cavalry Rescue in Nashville, Tennessee, a non-profit agency that serves and helps adopt out homeless animals that are abandoned, injured, or left behind in kill shelters throughout the South. She continues to give of her time and resources to the betterment of those who cannot help themselves.

Read an Excerpt



Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2012 Candace Simpson-Giles
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4016-0459-2

Chapter One


A lady is always on her toes; she realizes that every encounter makes lasting impressions.

* * *

A lady knows how to make others feel at ease.

* * *

A lady is gracious and thankful for any gesture of common courtesy directed toward her.

* * *

When a lady is asked to be a bridesmaid, she accepts the request as an honor. If she does not particularly like the dress, she keeps this to herself.

A lady does not use her camera phone in ways that intrude upon the privacy of others.

* * *

A lady understands that if the taking of photographs is prohibited at any concert or other performances or in an art gallery that also means camera-phone pictures or videos.

* * *

A lady doesn't ask dating couples when they are getting married. Likewise, she doesn't ask married couples when or if they are planning to have children.

* * *

A lady never compliments one person when she is in a group setting. She chooses a moment when the two of them are alone to offer her compliment.

A lady knows how to prioritize her life in order to make herself available to family, friends, career, and other important considerations in her life. She also knows when she is feeling stretched too thin and how to pull back and sort out her priorities.

* * *

A lady respects other people's time whether at the office or at home.

A Lady and Her Cell Phone

Although a cell phone is probably the most visible and commonplace tool for communication in today's world, a lady does her best to use her cell phone in the most unobtrusive manner possible. She knows that, while a cell phone may be a necessity, there is no reason she should forget she is a lady when using one. A lady is very careful not to place greater importance on the person on the other end of her telephone conversation than the people in her immediate company. That means that, if she is on the telephone when she pulls up at the dry cleaners, she finishes her conversation in the car and does not attempt to conduct her transaction and carry on a conversation at the same time. That also means that, unless there is an extreme emergency, a lady does not interrupt a personal conversation over lunch to take a phone call.

A lady's telephone conversations, whether business or private, are still personal. She knows that others in her immediate vicinity do not want to hear her close a deal or recount the details of a television show. A lady knows that other people are no more interested in hearing her private conversations than she is in hearing theirs.

If a lady must make or receive a phone call while she is in a public place, she moves to a spot where she will cause the least possible disturbance.

A lady never asks friends who are professionals, such as lawyers or doctors, for free advice in their area of specialty. She makes an appointment to see them at their office and fully expects to pay for the services they provide. Should the friends offer their services for free or for a reduced cost, she accepts their gesture graciously.

A Lady Goes to the Theater

Whether attending the theater on a date or with friends, a lady makes every possible effort to be on time for the performance. Not doing so shows a lack of respect for both the performers and fellow audience members.

If she should arrive late, a lady follows the instructions of the ushers. She realizes her tardiness may result in waiting to be seated during a break in the performance. When that break arrives, she goes to her seat as quickly and quietly as possible.

Because a lady is considerate of others around her, she does not talk during the performance. Likewise, if she must bring her cell phone with her, she turns it off before entering the theater. A well-prepared lady has a cough drop in her purse, whether for herself or the person with whom she attends the performance and, when allowed, a bottle of water. If a lady finds herself surprised by an uncontrollable coughing jag, she leaves the theater both for her own good and for the good of others.

A lady is prepared when she walks up to an ATM machine or is in the drive-thru lane at a bank. If she isn't prepared, she offers to let the person in line behind her go first while she fills out her deposit slip.

* * *

If a lady finds herself in the company of someone who is embarrassing her, she may ask to be taken home. Should her friend refuse, a lady may feel free to leave, even if that means calling a cab or asking another friend for a ride home.

* * *

A lady holds her temper when dealing with customer service representatives on the phone, no matter how indifferent they may seem or what their language may be. She knows that arguing with an anonymous person on the other end of a telephone line will get her nowhere.

* * *

If a lady must excuse herself from the dinner table, she simply says, "Excuse me." No further explanation is necessary.

At the laundromat, a lady never takes another person's laundry out of the washer or the dryer, no matter how long she has been waiting. If she is in a hurry, she asks for the attendant's assistance. If there is no attendant, she chooses another laundromat.

* * *

A lady returns any item she borrows in a timely manner and in the same condition she received it, and if appropriate, a note of thanks is a nice gesture.

* * *

A lady never makes a date out of desperation.

* * *

A lady does not discuss her personal relationship breakups with others.

* * *

A lady never gives the impression she is on the rebound.

A lady never points out the imperfections of her mate to others.

* * *

A lady is very careful about criticizing the mate of anyone, even if she is asked her opinion.

* * *

A lady does not judge others when she learns that a couple has met on an online dating site or in any other manner that might not be her personal cup of tea.

* * *

When walking her dog, a lady always cleans up after her pet.

* * *

A lady treats all animals and pets with the same respect she gives human beings.

* * *

A lady learns how she looks best when being photographed.

A Lady Attends a Funeral

A lady recognizes that a funeral is a time for paying her respects. She wears a conservative dark suit or dress. If there is a wake, a reception, or a visitation with the deceased's family, she arrives on time and waits quietly in the receiving line. She keeps her remarks simple and sincere with words such as "I am so sorry for the loss of your son. He was a good friend to me and I will miss him and his wonderful spirit."

Conversation with others during the service should be limited, and a lady sits where the ushers (if there are any) instruct her. A lady always signs the guest book.

A lady may attend the funeral or service of anyone she has known personally or professionally, at least if they have been on speaking terms. If the deceased person has shown her a particular kindness—especially if she has ever been entertained in the deceased person's home—a lady makes a point to show her respect.

A lady leaves her cell phone in her purse, if at all possible, when she is enjoying a night out on the town.

* * *

A lady always turns off her cell phone when she is attending any type of performance, religious service, or business meeting. If she is on call or expecting an important call, she puts her phone on vibrate.

* * *

Despite the temptation to share, a lady does not text, tweet, Facebook, or send e-mails while she is in the company of others.

* * *

A lady never points out another's bad manners.

* * *

If a lady arrives late for a performance of any type, she waits until there is an appropriate pause and then very quietly slips into her seat.

If a lady arrives late for a church service or a funeral, she waits until there is an appropriate pause and then very quietly slips into the first available seat in the back of the sanctuary.

* * *

A lady makes every effort not to be late.

* * *

A lady stays away from public gatherings (and even work) if she feels that she is contagious or has a fever.

A Lady Goes Through a Checkout Line

A lady is prone to run into many friends and acquaintances on her trips to the grocery store. And while she gladly listens to stories about friends' vacations and newborn babies in front of the fresh pasta (as long as she is not blocking the accessibility of others), once a lady arrives at the checkout line, she is all business.

A lady does not needlessly hold up the checkout line. At the register she has her method of payment ready with coupons in hand. She never goes through the express line when she has too many items. If another shopper engages her in conversation, a lady does not hold up those waiting behind her or the cashier. A lady knows that it is her job to make the checkout lines of life move along.

Whenever possible, a lady excuses herself when she has a sneezing attack or a profusely runny nose.

* * *

A lady does not talk during a performance, a sermon, or a lecture.

* * *

If a lady must talk to someone during a movie, she does so in the quietest whisper possible, so that she does not disturb those around her.

* * *

If a lady arrives at a door first, she opens it for the person entering behind her.

* * *

A lady always says thank you to anyone that holds a door open for her, even if she in in the middle of a conversation with someone she is walking with or on the telephone. A lady is never too busy to acknowledge kindnesses that are shown her.

A lady should always be a good neighbor and offer help when she sees it is needed.

* * *

At a concert or any other musical performance, a lady does not applaud until the end of a complete musical number. If she is unsure, she follows the lead of others in the audience.

* * *

If a lady has left a message for another person—be it on the phone or via e-mail—she does not leave badgering follow-up calls, especially if no deadline is involved.

A lady knows that the gym is her opportunity to get in shape. She should be focused on her workout and dressed appropriately so she is not a distraction to others or even to herself as she jogs or does aerobic movements. A lady is careful to wear clothes that support her bust line and wears tights or shorts that are complimentary to her figure and functional at the same time. She doesn't use the gym for getting dates or catching up on the latest gossip. A lady knows that if she is serious at the gym, it will pay off.

A Lady Takes an Airplane Flight

Almost invariably, the passengers on an airplane have been brought together by a mix of chance and necessity. A lady understands that, in such situations, it is important for everyone to abide by the rules.

In today's world, a lady knows that she must arrive at the airport in plenty of time to get her boarding pass, check her luggage, and pass through airport security without having to rush to her gate. A lady is organized when she reaches the security scanners and removes her shoes, jewelry, and whatever articles of clothing that are required in order to ensure that other travellers are not held up. A lady is pleasant when dealing with security personnel regardless of how unpleasant this activity is for both of them. She brings on board only the amount of luggage that is permitted. She is careful when she stows it overhead to prevent injury to her fellow passengers and to herself. If a bag or parcel is small enough, she stows it under the seat in front of her. She does not intrude on space that is allotted for another passenger's use. She sits in the seat that is assigned to her. If she has sat in the wrong seat and is asked to move, she does not argue about it.

She gets up and finds the place to which she has been assigned. On the other hand, she feels no obligation to give up her rightful seat to another person.

If it is at all possible, a lady stays in her seat throughout the entire flight. A trip to the restroom is almost the only excuse to do otherwise. On extremely long flights a lady does not hesitate to leave her seat for a short time to stretch her legs. When she must leave her seat, a lady excuses herself as unobtrusively as possible, making sure not to step on other passengers' feet.

An airplane flight is one of the few instances in life when it is entirely appropriate for two people to be together for several hours and never speak at all. They may begin the flight as strangers and end it the same way, without anyone having reason to feel neglected or insulted.


Excerpted from HOW TO BE A Lady by CANDACE SIMPSON-GILES Copyright © 2012 by Candace Simpson-Giles. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Chapter One A Lady Experiences Real Life....................1
Chapter Two A Lady Gets Dressed....................25
Chapter Three A Lady Goes to Dinner....................43
Chapter Four A Lady Says the Right Thing....................59
Chapter Five A Lady Gives a Party....................75
Chapter Six A Lady Goes to a Party....................91
Chapter Seven A Lady and Her Friends....................105
Chapter Eight A Lady Goes to the Office....................127
Chapter Nine A Lady Takes Care of Herself....................153
Chapter Ten Extreme Etiquette....................167

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