Protocol Primer


I'm not the most politically adept person.  I have a certain knowledge of basic protocol and am not completely embarassing when left in public, unless of course I'm really hungry!  I firmly believe that people should 'help themselves' when in my house.

Protocol has always eluded me.  I do my best, but there are so many rules!!  Most of them unstated, unwritten or not put in front of me in such a way that I can't ignore them!  For instance, did you know that name tags should be worn on the right side?  Makes sense, that way, when you shake hands, the other person can see your name.  Who'd have thought?!?!?!  But there's more!

While driving home from Christmas vacation I found myself perusing a book "Today's Military Wife: Meeting the Challenges of Service Life" 5th Edition.  Haven't read the entire book yet, so I can't say what other pearls of wisdom I'll find within it's covers - or what I'll find that I may vehemently disagree with - but I did find some great protocol tips!  I love these.   Should mention that I've taken liberal license and switched all to dealing with spouses where the author always puts things assuming a husband as the military member.  Since we are non-gender biased here at SpouseBUZZ, I hope the author (Lydia Sloan Cline) will forgive my edits!

Here's some on Attending Socials:

-  Don't call an older woman by her first name unless she invites you to do so.  When speaking directly to the military spouse, use their title, no matter how informal the occasion.

- Don't discuss medical conditions with doctors, legal problems with lawyers or your quarters issues with the head of the housing office at social affairs.  (I'm so guilty of the first - just so happens I have interesting medical problems to discuss!)

- Bring a hostess gift when you attend a party or dinner at someone's house.  (I really hate this one!  I understand the concept, but it's like receiving party bags from kid's birthday parties!  If I want my friends to bring something to a dinner - I'll ask them.  You have no idea how many bottles of wine I have!)

- Don't discuss controversial or sensitive subjects at socials, and don't gossip.  Don't give anyone, even friends, too much personal information.  You never know how it will be used (often against you).  (WOW!  I thought this was a bit cynical and not a heck of a lot of fun!  Where would we be without sparkling political debates or hot topics?!?!?!? And how does one survive without trusting ones friends?)

- When toasting, take your cues from the toastmaster.  Stand if he or she stands, sit when told.  Join in on all toasts that are not specific to you.  Don't drink a toast to yourself.  The printed program may list all toasts offered that evening and responses expected of the guests.  Also, don't feel obliged to drink alcohol; lifting the glass to your lips is sufficient.

- When arriving at your seat during a formal dinner, don't immediately sit down.  Look to the head table for cues.  A man should assist the woman to his right with her chair. Don't talk or leave your seat during a speech and remain quiet through the Retiring of the Colors.

Regarding Introductions

- A man is presented to a woman (but junior female servicemembers are presented to senior male servicemembers) - The honored or higher-ranking person's name is stated first, then the name of the person being presented.- Young people are presented to older people.- A single person is introduced to a group.- A man rises if seated.  A woman doesn't, unless she's being presented to an older woman or the wife of a senior official.  She should remain standing until the other is seated.  She doesn't rise if being presented to another woman about her own age.- A woman should extend her hand to a man.

She recommends some other etiquette books, which I will now have to look into, but I don't know about the introduction stuff.  I just want everyone to meet, get along and have a great time.  I'm afraid that trying to remember who I'm presenting to whom would kuffuddle me and louse up an otherwise wonderful introduction.  What if the honored/higher-ranking person is a male spouse, does he get presented to someone else?  I guess more research is called for before I become socially acceptable.

Show Full Article

Related Topics


Military Spouse Videos

View more