The chances are very good that no one has every really sat down with you and talked about how to behave in social situations. There might have been a few short discussions when you were very small , but most of us cobble something together out of asides and by noting what gets others mocked.
This seems innocent enough, but chances are that it has lead you to conclude that proper behavior in a social situation is doing what other people would approve of. You might also have had people tell you things to that effect, such as “being polite is just about making other people feel comfortable.” This is nonsense!
Many lovely girls have been lead to dark places in the name of “getting along” or “making other people feel comfortable.” They know that this is not what they want to do but they don’t want to make a fuss or be rude. In not teaching you how you should behave you feel like the only thing to do is whatever random nonsense people seem to expect.
I am here to help you fix all of that by explaining how to be a lady. I cannot make you a lady, that - my dear - is entirely up to you. What I can to is give you as much information as possible so that if you do want to be a lady you will have the ability.
While it was originally a noble title and is still used in that sense, that is not the kind of lady I am, nor is it the sort of thing I can offer assistance with.
I am a lady in the sense of being an adult woman who knows how to behave herself. I assure you it gets me far further, and much more romance, than any title ever could.
So let me explain what I mean by behaving myself. It means that I look to my carefully developed internal standards as a reference for how to behave. It does not mean that I do not consider the people I am with*. It does mean that I do not base my behavior on what will make them think well of me, I base it on what will make me think well of myself.
I put this letter first because this is by far the most important thing I can think to say to you. In any situation do not do things that will undermine your self respect. At the end of the day, and when the party is over, the person whose opinion about you matters the most is you.
And that, to me, is what makes a lady a lady. A solid sense of self respect gives you the sort of nobility that has nothing to do with birth and everything to do with class.
*A person who is too formal for the setting is being condescending, a person who is too informal for the setting is being coarse. It does not matter if your manners are otherwise perfect, matching them to the event is just as important as having manners in the first place.
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