What graciousness and heated seats have in common

heated seatsOn my way to yoga class this morning I was willing my heated seats to hurry up and get warm because it was chilly in the car. Despite wanting to get warm, I smiled as I recalled a time shortly after buying my car when my sister-in-law, Beth, was visiting over the holidays.

We were going somewhere in my car and I proudly told her she could warm up with the heated seats. My gracious sister-in-law responded with a smile and enthusiastically said, “Oh how lovely, how long before I’m toasty?”

The reason I grin when I think back to that time is Beth has always driven very nice cars with not only heated seats but all of the other luxury features. She could have responded by saying something like, “Oh yes, I have them in my car, aren’t they great!” But instead, she saw how immensely proud I was to have heated seats for the first time in my life in my used TSX. She made me feel special by letting me have this little braggart moment without telling me that she has had that luxury for many years.

Beth is very gracious. She knows how to let people feel special and she is careful not to eclipse their light. Instead, she adds to it, making others feel even brighter.

When I teach children’s etiquette classes, I talk about why we shouldn’t brag (guess I wasn’t really thinking about that lesson when I pointed out my heated seats to Beth). Instead, I discuss how wonderful it is to let others brag for you. That is, let others point out your accomplishments rather than telling people yourself.

I was training my new associate, Jessica, at my last children’s class, as she will be taking on the children’s program, and I asked her if she could think of an example of pointing out someone’s accomplishments. She said to the kids, “Ms. Clise is very good at coming up with fun activities for manners class.” While I was not intending for her to talk about me, it was a perfect example of shining the light on someone else.

So, two lessons. Try not to brag, instead let others point out your successes like Jessica did, and when someone does brag, think of Beth and let them have their bragging moment. Don’t try to one up them. Your enthusiasm and modesty will make a more positive impression whether you’re interacting with coworkers, friends or family.



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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>


  1. BethBuelow on October 22, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Oh dear, I feel like one of my faults has been revealed! I admit I can get sucked into the “me, too!” type of responses, either motivated by a desire to connect with the person (which feels honest and I’m okay with) or wanting to share in the feeling of superiority (ouch! not okay!).
    Your second point, about bragging, brings to mind one of my favorite Dale Carnegie-isms: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. When introducing someone, or in everyday conversation, call forward his/her strengths and special qualities. Elevate the person in another’s eyes. And to call on another great quote, it’s a win-win, because “the scent lingers on the hand that gives the rose.” 
    Thank you, Arden… you always offer such memorable and meaningful information!

  2. ArdenClise on October 22, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    BethBuelow I love your honesty. Let me just say you’re not alone. I have been guilty of the “me too” syndrome. It’s something I am working on.
    I love the quotes. Dale Carnegie had it all figured out didn’t he?! Such wise advice.
    Thank you for reading my posts.

  3. Debbie Rosemont on October 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    What a wonderful post and great reminder that a little grace and humility can go a long way in helping someone else feel special and heard. I try to remember this when someone else is speaking, sharing something or telling a story – often I can find myself formulating what I will say next in my mind, instead of really listening and being interested in what they have to say – whether it is a “me too”, or a witty response; this distracts me and isn’t my intention. My intention is to be present, be more interested than interesting, and to let the person I’m talking with have their moment. 
    I haven’t met her, but I know I’d like your sister. I have met you and I know that you too display this grace and have a way to elevate those you are around that makes them feel special and heard. It must run in the family 🙂
    Thanks for the thoughtful post and important reminder!

  4. ArdenClise on October 25, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Debbie Rosemont Thank you Debbie, you are very kind. I wish I was more like my sister-in-law, but alas, I do have to work at it. I too have to fight the impulse to say “me too” or to brag back.
    You are so right, that not thinking of what to say next really does allow you to be more present. You embody this. You are one of the most gracious, kind people I know. I’ve never recalled hearing a “me too” response from you.
    Thank you for taking the time to comment.

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