Former Miss Australia Kate Huessler says we should aim to put these bad habits behind us by 2022
An etiquette coach has criticized people who lie to get out of events, are addicted to their phones and overindulge.
Former Miss Australia Kate Huessler says we should aim to put these bad habits behind us in 2022 and focus on better company in the new year.
The mother-of-one, who also coaches models and has been teaching etiquette classes for five years, spoke to FEMAIL about modern manners — highlighting her hatred of pets.
Using your phone in company
“The first is obvious, your addiction to your phone,” she said.
She says people feel disconnected during a conversation, like their loved ones aren’t listening, when the other person has one eye on their cellphone.
So she wants people to make the effort to put down their phones — and focus on real-life contacts.
“If you’re going to eat at someone’s house, leave your phone in your jacket or purse,” she said.
“Come in, put down your things and give your hosts a hug, ask how their day was and if they need any help.”
She understands that some people want photos of their food or a group photo, but this should be discussed in advance.
Kate thinks it’s important to let go of some bad habits at the end of the year, including your phone addiction
The mother even teaches her daughter not to be obsessed with technology, and not give her phones or iPads to distract her when they go out with friends
“People don’t want to wait for you to take pictures when everything is getting cold,” she said.
Kate won’t even give her young daughter a phone when she’s having dinner with friends.
“My friends don’t have kids, but they know how I raise her, they sit with her and talk. I know I have a 20 minute window and asking her to sit in an adult environment for hours on end is unrealistic.
“I will also ask to meet at a location suitable for children to keep her entertained,” she said.
Lying to get out of something
Kate also beat up people who lie to get out of schemes.
She said it’s too risky in a world where social media captures every moment.
“Getting caught lying, especially when you’re dating someone else, can ruin friendships,” she said.
She understands she wants to cancel in favor of me-time, but says telling the truth is a much better option.
“Some people are okay with it and some aren’t, but telling the truth is the best option — just tell them your social battery is low or you double booked or something happened to your kids,” she said.
Plus, it’s all about balance.
“You can’t do it too often, because you don’t want to come across as flakey.”
Commit to something and not stick with it
You should know yourself and your schedule well enough not to have to cancel anyway, she said, especially on important events or work-related occasions.
“I know my history and trauma make me feel like a much more accomplished person. I would burn myself out before I let other people down,” she said.
“If I’m asked to do something and I’m not sure I can make it work with my projects, I just decline,” she said.
Kate says people should stop committing – that refusing at first is much better than stopping later
Note that if you have agreed to do something for your job, failure to do so may be considered a criminal offence.
“If you don’t have the skills, capacity or resources, just refuse,” she said.
Even occasions with friends should be treated the same way.
“Everyone is still charging from lockdown coming out to heaps of social events,” she said.
“If someone asks you to run their baby shower and you don’t have the energy, ask for help — or tell them you can’t do it even if you love them,” she said.
“Sometimes people chew because of a nervous tick or because they’re trying to quit smoking,” she said.
But she says it shouldn’t be done in company. It’s also unprofessional,” she said.
“If you chew while you talk, it’s rude.
Know the dress code
She said it’s important to always know the dress code – and appearing over or under dressed is tacky and rude.
“You really have to wear what’s on the invite,” she said.
Kate wants people to focus on good manners this year – as well as kicking their bad habits.
The first is to have self-respect, know your needs and be able to articulate them. Set boundaries. Speak up if you have been disrespected.
“I always tell my models to come 15 minutes early so you’re never late. I think this applies to everyone,” she said.
She also wants people to think about how they are dressed because being too casual or too dressed up is tacky and rude
Slowness has become so normalized over the years that people have lost touch with what really counts in business: reliability and respect. If you want to be taken seriously, act like one
Digital detox. Disable, unfriend, unfollow, block people and accounts that don’t serve your peace or future. Follow and befriend those who do. When you are with someone, be present and not on your phone.
Learn to control your emotions or they will control you. Master the art of rejection and be a good loser. I tell my models that you won’t win every job you go for, and that’s the point. Once you realize that setbacks, failures, and mistakes are all part of the journey, you stop taking it so personally. Recognize your own toxic qualities.
Nobody owes you anything. How you feel and what you have been through has undoubtedly been difficult, difficult and traumatic. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings without projecting it or blaming anyone, and take the time you need to grieve, heal, and move forward. As long as you stay in ‘victim mode’ you will not grow.
Know when to stop. There’s an old quote that says “give ups never win and winners never give up” and I disagree. If your project’s strategic direction isn’t working in business, adapt and turn around, and get nimble to make it work – you don’t keep pouring time and money into something that doesn’t work. The same principle applies to the models I coach for their modeling work – if you try the same thing and it doesn’t work – change it or move on.
And she also has some seasonal “good habits.”
Kate likes to send them, as well as thank you notes, postcards and letters. I like to let the people I’ve worked with in the past year know that they are valuable.
She also sends them to her modeling students and even has her daughter take her own to school.
‘I’ve done it every year since I was 18, the list has gotten shorter since then, but they still go to my close friends and family and colleagues.
Bring a plate
Kate says if you come to someone’s house, especially at Christmas, don’t arrive empty-handed.
She said it could be dessert, coffee or wine but to check with the hosts.
“If you bring wine, don’t expect them to open it on the day, treat it as a gift, they’ve probably thought about the wine pairings for their meal,” she said.