Last Friday, October 27, was the 145th birthday of Emily Post. In 1922, she wrote the first edition of her etiquette book, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home which has been updated in 18 editions over the last 95 years.

When I think of etiquette, I think of old-fashioned, proper rules for setting a table or wording an invitation. In reality, etiquette is all about treating other people with courtesy and respect.

The Post family is still doling out helpful advice, now for modern-day social situations. Here are a few issues they’ve tackled recently. What would you do in each of these situations?

  1. Do you turn away teenage trick-or-treaters on Halloween night?
  2. How do you handle it if your child’s soccer coach or the referee makes a call that’s completely unfair?
  3. Is it ok to respond to your friend’s funny social media post with a funny photo or story of your own?
  4. What do you do when you offer a one-time favor that somehow becomes a routine?

You can find answers in The Emily Post Institute blog Advice, Facebook page and podcast Awesome Etiquette.

And by the way, the Institute answers the above questions as follows:

  1. No, but you can choose when to turn your lights off and call it a night
  2. Be a role model of respect
  3. Yes, as long as you’re not spamming
  4. Say a simple, pleasant no (Sorry, can’t tonight) unless you’re comfortable explaining it more explicitly (I don’t mind doing this once in awhile, but I can’t do it all the time)

And of course, the “platinum rule” is the rule the Institute always gives first, before applying any other rules of decorum. Basically the platinum rule says that before you do anything, think about what it’s like to be in the other person’s shoes and how they would want to be treated in that situation.

I don’t know if thumbs up is a gesture of which dear Emily would approve, but I recommend this blog and podcast to anyone who is looking for advice on the kindest, most appropriate way to deal with the tricky situations that arise with at home, at work or with friends.