What would Ted do?

a child holding a red heart in her open handsI’m a bit behind on my TV series watching so I’m just finishing the third season of the highly acclaimed Apple TV series, Ted Lasso. From the very first show in season one I was hooked.

The series is about an American football coach, Ted Lasso, who is recruited to lead AFC Richmond, a fictional English Premier League soccer team, despite lacking any experience in the sport. The new owner, Rebecca Welton, acquired the team after a divorce from her unfaithful ex-husband, Rupert, who loved the team more than anything else. Her hope is that Ted’s inexperience with British football will lead to its demise thus devastating Rupert.

Ted wins over his skeptics with his witty, good-natured, self-deprecating charm. And through the three seasons we are treated to brilliant, funny writing and a show with a really good message. Ted always sees the best in other people even when they hurt him. It is positive and makes you feel good about humanity.

Spoiler alert, if you haven’t watched the third season you might want to skip reading any farther as I’m going to reveal a bit about some of the episodes. In season three, Nate Shelley, Richmond’s former kit man who was promoted to assistant coach was hired by Rupert as head coach of his newly acquired West Ham United football (soccer) team. Nate has a bone to pick with Ted because he didn’t feel he was adequately praised for his winning coaching strategies while with Richmond. He mocks the team and Ted during a press conference arranged by Rupert. But rather than returning insults at his own press event, Ted responds with self-deprecating jokes that charm the reporters.

Later, a video was discovered of Nate ripping in half the revered sign that says “Believe” in the Richmond locker room. Ted’s assistant coaches want to show the video to the team to rile them up and beat #1 Ranked West Ham in an upcoming game. Ted says he doesn’t think it’s a good idea. The assistant coaches later end up showing the video to the team during half time without Ted’s approval which fuels an out-of-control bullying on the pitch against West Ham leading to expulsions and a bad loss for Richmond. Ted never says, “I told you so,” or scolds his staff or team. He sees it as a lesson that doesn’t need explanation.

Those are just two examples of Ted’s kindness, maturity and graciousness. He looks for the good in others. He doesn’t seek revenge or gossip about people. He is the poster person for the essence of etiquette.

I was thinking about situations I face that can make me angry and want to strike out. I find myself asking what would Ted do? Ted wouldn’t return anger with anger or hurt with hurt. He would return love and forgiveness as he did with Nate and others several times. When he found out his ex-wife was dating their couple’s counselor, he shared his feelings with his ex about how uncomfortable he was with that. He didn’t yell or make her wrong, he simply shared his feelings. This is another example of etiquette-like behavior – being open and honest without making the other person wrong.

These are such beautiful traits and I hope I can always ask myself, what would Ted do when others hurt, upset or disappoint me. Because, as we learn from Ted, we are messy, complicated human beings who are all just doing the best we can.

Please note: We have a new method of delivering blog posts to your inbox. If you have previously received these blog posts through Feedburner, please subscribe to receive these blog posts through the form below and unsubscribe to the posts you receive through Feedburner.

Feel free to share:


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 >>

Leave a Comment