Etiquette Tips 2018-04-17T11:54:50-04:00

Etiquette Tip of the Week:  Are You Happy?

Callista Gould is a certified etiquette instructor and author of the book, The Exceptional Professional, available at Beaverdale Books.

On the road in Philadelphia last week, I stopped into Chestnut Hill College, where I spent the first year and a half of my college career. There were a few more buildings, another ball field and boys. (Previously, it was a women’s college.)

As a freshman from Iowa, I was like an exotic bird the seniors took under wing. Senior class president, Nancy Melnick, used to call out to me, “Hey Iowa…”

One day, she said, “Hey Iowa, are you happy?”

I said, “What?”

She said, “Are… you… happy?”

What a weird thing to ask. “I don’t know. Why? I’m fine. Yes, I’m happy. Whatever.”

She would ask me that question at random, until I began to answer with conviction, “Yes, I’m happy!”

Years later, working for Sony Music in Chicago, I asked our branch manager, “How are you today, Colin, are you happy?”

He said, “What?”

I said, “Are… you… happy?”

He said, “I don’t know. Why do you ask? I guess I’m happy.”

One day, I heard him down the hallway asking someone else, “Are you happy?”

“Are you happy?” used to be a sarcastic retort from someone pushed to the limit. “There! It’s done. Are you happy?”

But Nancy’s “Are you happy?” was more of a welfare check.

I often write that professionalism is about being aware of people and attentive to their needs. That means, check in on them. The client relationship doesn’t end with the scanning of the credit card chip. For forward-thinking organizations, that’s just the beginning.

The same goes for co-workers. Commerce is a team sport and you never know what’s going on in other people’s lives. So, ask.

This week, spread the love. Find someone and ask the question, “Are you happy?” Let me know how it turns out.

More info from Callista Gould here.

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