1. Have a good, firm handshake
Many people, especially those in my generation, forget the importance of a good handshake when first meeting someone. My grandpa is a serious, old-fashioned man, and some of his standards were passed down to me through my mother. One of those high standards was about the type of handshake one should give and receive. If you have a strong handshake, it shows character, and more importantly in most cases, professionalism. While shaking hands, you should always look the person in the eye. I had to remind my boyfriend when first meeting my grandpa about this. I knew he’d be judged, and as expected, the only feedback my grandpa gave on my boyfriend later was that he “had a fine handshake”. If he didn’t shake my grandpa’s hand firmly and confidently, he wouldn’t have liked him. That simple. My Mom especially can’t stand meeting a woman who gives her a weak, pathetically delicate handshake. Worse so when a man does. It’s vital to show you’re assertive, secure, professional. It proves you were brought up to show respect. Give a squeeze and look the person in the eye. They’ll remember it, and more likely, you.
2. Never order the most expensive item on the menu when being treated
This is something I learned young and it has never left me. It was all because I went out to dinner with a friend and her parents. My friend and I were probably in sixth or seventh grade. That night we were hanging out at her house, and she was going on and on about filet mignon (for some reason we were 13 year olds discussing steak) and she was shocked to hear I never heard of it. I guess she was really sophisticated for that age? Anyway, she finally convinced her parents to take us out to dinner where we both ordered filet mignon. Later that night when my Mom asked what I had, she was horrified. She knew that I had no clue how much a steak cost, but after that night she warned me when being treated for dinner, never go for the most expensive item(s). It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to just get a house salad and a glass of tap water. Just be mindful and respectful of how much they’re spending, no matter how much they may insist to get “whatever you want”. I’ve witnessed somebody order a $50 lobster tail and a glass of champagne at dinner because the person picking up the tab politely insisted that we could order anything we wanted. Meanwhile there were seven other people eating. Don’t be that clueless person at dinner.
3. Invest in a nice jacket and pair of boots/shoes
I grew up being reminded that these two items are always worth spending a little extra on. If a winter jacket or a pair of fall boots isn’t durable, they won’t last you two seasons of the year. Meanwhile, they’re items that endure the most, and you wear the most. My Mom was never someone who saw the sense in buying say, a pea coat from H&M for $39.99 when the material is cheap and doesn’t last more than 6 months. Jackets of any kind and pairs of shoes, sneakers, or boots should always be good quality and for them to last, you’ll have to spend more.
4. If you hold negativity internally it will affect you externally
My Mom truly believes that if you harvest negative emotions within yourself without dealing with them in the proper way, they will begin to take their toll on you in other ways. Whether it’s exercising, talking to someone, writing – everyone needs a release. If you are not ridding yourself of anxiety and stresses that are silently eating away at you, you can actually make yourself sick. It is your body’s way of telling you to pay attention to it, to nurture it, to heal it. If you don’t take care of your emotions and worries as much as your physical being, it can begin to negatively affect your relationships, the way you treat other people, the way you see yourself. You can become irritable and unpleasant just because there’s something within you that you’re not noticing and taking care of. You can get a cold because you’re ignoring your insides calling for help. You may feel depressed and helpless because you’re not voicing how you actually feel to anyone. It’s important to keep your spirit, your nature, healthy.
5. Space it out
I’m already laughing to myself about this one. After a weekend home from college, I was packing up my car to make the drive back. As I put a thirty rack into my trunk, my mother advised me to “space it out”. Now it’s like a slogan in my house. If someone’s drinking wine: “Hey, hey! Make sure you space it out!” If I’m going out the door to the bar: “Make sure you space it out tonight, Kel!” Whenever I spoke on the phone with my sister at college, her last piece of advice was to “space it out”. Even though it became a joke to us, or more so my sister and I laughing at my mother’s choice of words, it is something very good to remember, particularly in college. If I didn’t space it out (almost) every time I drank, I probably wouldn’t have made it very far most nights.