I love etiquette books and find the ones that have a focused purpose or audience especially interesting. I am currently reading Essential Manners for Couples by Peter Post, which looks at the ways that etiquette affects the interactions between a couple.
Peter Post acknowledges at the beginning of the book that most people don’t think about etiquette when it comes to their significant other, but it can be a useful tool to help maintain the health of a relationship. After all, etiquette is basically showing respect and empathy for other people, which is the root of any kind of healthy relationship.
I really appreciate that the book is less focused (at least so far) on specifics than on general things to be aware of. It talks a lot about things like communication and ways to make communication productive (don’t let things fester, stay on topic, phrasing things by how you feel rather than as accusations, etc.) and like the factors involved in a compromise so that you can reach equitable or reasonable ones, rather than doing something you call a compromise that really leaves one person feeling resentful.
I’m pleased that this book exists and so far I am impressed with how the topic is being handled. I didn’t pick it up because I feel particularly like this is a flaw in my own skillset or anything, but I also hope that beyond simply being interesting it will get me to think more about what I am doing in some ways or teach me some valuable skills or give me useful ideas.
Relationships are complex and don’t fit into boxes neatly, so I am also finding it intriguing how much of this is applicable to relationships beyond that significant other relationship, which is fascinating. And that is a fascinating aspect to explore, since at the core, the very concept of etiquette is about building and maintaining relationships.
I’m definitely enjoying this book so far and finding it interesting. I’m looking forward to reading more and finding out how else Peter Post applies the concepts of etiquette to relationships.