• December 19, 2014

‘Social Q’s’ handbook helps readers hone etiquette skills

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Posted: Sunday, December 11, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 9:41 am, Sun Jul 14, 2013.

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

The Bookworm

Every year, you're faced with a quandary.

Missing the office holiday party is not an option. You have to go, no question.

But attending is filled with potential trouble. Will you, in the holiday spirit, say the wrong thing to the boss? What if your beloved makes a fool out of you? If the champagne flows, will regretful behavior follow?

Every year, it's a difficult decision: Go to the office party or plead death and dismemberment? Or just grab the new book "Social Q's" by Philip Galanes and be better prepared, year-round.

Long before you even started school, you learned social skills at your parents' table. They taught you "please" and "thank you," when to say you were sorry, how to play nice with others, and how to say "no" gracefully.

But are the old rules outdated in this new century?

No, says Galanes, but the first thing you need to know is to "forget everything you know!" People are not the same as they were decades ago, and some issues take further finesse to fix than they might have, way back then. Your personality and that of the ettiquettely egregious are both new considerations. It all "requires a mountain of self-control."

Take, for instance, your annoying cubemate. What do you do if hygiene is, well, a little lacking? Can you ask him to ditch the cologne bath every morning?

In this book, you'll learn how to deal with office bragging and office groping. You'll find out how to say "goodbye" to a partner, both business-wise and personally. You'll learn what to do about after-office-party regrets and how to apologize for things you wish you could remember you did.

Finding a few frustrating faux pas at the fax machine? Tired of tiresome co-workers? Or is the etiquette issue more with friends and family this season? No matter what oops you own, "Social Q's" can make things easier to handle.

With a good sense of humorous outrage and an even larger amount of gracious aplomb, author and New York Times columnist Galanes helps his readers safely through the obstacle course of getting along in the 21st century.

If you need to tackle the kind of sticky work-social issues of which your grandparents never dreamed, "Social Q" is the book you want.

Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

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