Former Miss Australia, Kate Huessler, says we should aim to leave these bad habits in 2022
An etiquette coach has slammed people who lie to get out of events, are addicted to their phones and over-commit.
Former Miss Australia, Kate Huessler, says we should aim to leave these bad habits in 2022 – and focus on becoming 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 pet hates.
Using your phone in company
‘The first one is glaringly obvious, your addiction to your phone,’ she said.
She says people feel disconnected in conversation, like their loved ones aren’t listening, when the other person has one eye on their mobile.
So she wants people to make the effort to put their phone down – and focus on real life connections.
‘If you are going to someone’s house for dinner then leave your phone in your jacket or bag,’ she said.
‘Come in, put your belongings down and give your hosts a hug, ask how their day was and if they need help.’
She understands some people might want photos of their food or a group photo – but this should be discussed before hand.
Kate believes it is important to ditch some bad habits as the year comes to a close – including your phone addiction
The mother is even teaching her daughter not to be obsessed with tech, and doesn’t give her phones or iPads to distract her when they go out with friends
‘People don’t want to wait for you to take photos, while everything gets cold,’ she said.
Kate doesn’t even give her young daughter a phone when she’s having dinner with friends.
‘My friends don’t have children but they know how I am raising her, they sit with her and talk. I know I have a 20 minute window and asking her to sit their for hours in an adult environment is unrealistic.
‘I will also ask to meet at a venue which caters for kids, to keep her entertained,’ she said.
Lying to get out of something
Kate also slammed people who lie to get out of plans.
She said it is too risky in a world where social media captures every moment.
‘If you are caught out lying, especially if you are seen hanging with someone else then it could ruin friendships,’ she said.
She understands wanting to cancel in favour 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 that you have double booked or something with your children has come up,’ she said.
Adding that it is all about balance.
‘You can’t do it too often, because you don’t want to come across as flakey.’
Committing to something and not following through
You should be able to know yourself and your schedule well enough not to need to cancel anyway, she said, especially on important events or work-related functions.
‘I know for me my history and trauma give me this sense of being high over achiever, I would burn myself out before I would let other people down,’ she said.
‘If I get asked to do something and I am not sure if I can make it work with my projects then I just decline,’ she said.
Kate says people need to stop over committing – that declining in the first instance is much better than pulling out later
Noting that if you have agreed to do something for work not following through could be considered a fireable offence.
‘If you don’t have the skills, capacity or resources then just decline,’ she said.
Even occasions with friends should be treated in the same way.
‘Everyone is still recharging from coming out from lockdown to heaps of social events,’ she said.
‘If someone asks you to run their baby shower and you don’t have the energy then 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 are trying to quit smoking,’ she said.
But she says it shouldn’t be done in company. It is also unprofessional,’ she said.
‘If you are chewing while you talk, that is rude.
Know the dress code
She said it is important to always know the dress code – and to turn up over or under dressed is tacky and rude.
‘You really need to wear what is specified on the invitation,’ 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 what your needs are and be able to articulate them. Assert boundaries. Speak up when you’ve been disrespected.
‘I always tell my models to arrive 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 as being too casual or too dressed up is tacky and rude
Tardiness has been normalised so much 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 it
Digital detox. Switch off, unfriend, unfollow, block people and accounts that aren’t serving your peace or future. Follow and befriend the ones who do. When you’re in the company of 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, you won’t win every job you go for, and that’s meant to happen. As soon as you realise that setbacks, failures and mistakes are all part of the journey, you won’t take it so personally. Acknowledge your own toxic traits.
No one owes you anything. How you are feeling and what you have experienced I have no doubt has been difficult, hard 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 won’t grow.
Know when to quit. There’s an old quote that says “quitters never win and winners never quit” and I don’t agree with that. In business, if the strategic direction of your project isn’t working, you adjust and pivot, and you become agile to make it work – you don’t keep sinking time and money into something that isn’t working. The same principle applies to the models I coach for their modelling work – if you’re trying the same thing and it isn’t working – change it up, or move on.
And she has some seasonal ‘good habits’ too.
Kate likes to send them , as well as thankyou notes, postcards and letters. I like to let the people who I have worked with over the year know they are value.
She also sends them to her modeling students and even gets her daughter to take her own into school.
‘I have done it every year since I was 18, the list has reduced since them, but they still go to my close friends and family and colleagues.
Bring a plate
Kate says when you turn up to someone’s house, especially at Christmas time, you shouldn’t arrive empty handed.
She said it can be a dessert, coffee or wine, but to double check with the hosts.
‘If you bring wine don’t expect them to open it on the day, treat it as a gift, they have probably thought about the wine pairings for their meal,’ she said.