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Italian-Inspired Etiquette: 5 Forgotten Niceties Angelinos Should Really Re-embrace

Jul. 1st, 2014 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment   
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Face it, Los Angeles residents have a reputation for coming off as, a tad standoffish, possibly a result of everyone being so incredibly cool (or at least thinking they are). Sometimes all it takes though is a little lesson in the lost art form of etiquette, and few do it better than Europeans. We’ve crossed the ocean to find some great manners and finesse tips straight from Italy that Angelinos can use to make the city a bit friendlier.

handshake

Greet Others Enthusiastically

When meeting a new person, at the very minimum, shake hands and formally verbalize greetings (you know, “hello,” “goodbye,” “nice to meet you,” etc.), rather than nodding casually. Or worse, the half-nod-and-look-away.

Likewise, while I imagine kissing someone on both cheeks is a bit of a stretch for an American greeting, you can still hug family and friends to convey the joy of seeing someone who's a big part of your lives. If nothing else just make sure whoever you are greeting knows you are excited to see them.

gift

Bring a Small Gift

When invited to someone's home in Italy, it is customary to bring a small gift for the host. Nothing extravagant though, the presents are usually more along the lines of flowers, a nice bottle of wine or chocolates. Think of how your beloved friends and family will feel more appreciated. A small token can go a long way in strengthening personal and business relationships all around.

fashion

Take Fashion Seriously

Okay, so we've noticed that some people in Los Angeles have grown accustomed to the laid-back California style, simply throwing on whatever is most comfortable without regard to crafting a great look. Casual is nice, but let's think this through. With multiple shopping meccas (hello, Rodeo Drive) and LA Fashion Week twice a year, the city could step its fashion game up. Maybe it’s time to consider following the footsteps of Milan’s citizens who consider fashion to be everything.

At the very least, Angelinos should dress for where they're heading, we’d advise that every man own a smart jacket and every woman a casually elegant dress to make dressing-up decisions much easier and quicker. Also, stop shopping and dining in yoga pants, it’s time to dress to impress, deal?

conversation

Be Truthful Yet Polite

Los Angeles, it seems that many of the people who dwell within your borders are definitely truthful and direct in their comments and conversations, but they've forgotten how to be polite. In Italy, body language, eye contact and tone can make the difference between appearing rude versus civil no matter what's actually being said. It's absolutely fine to speak one's mind, as long as the delivery is right. Try to always be fair in your critiques, considering the other party’s feelings, and when possible, try to throw in a positive when you can.

dinner

Serve and Order Multi-Course Meals

In Southern California and much of the United States, people have become acclimated to ordering one massive dish to fill up on. Dining in Italy though, means ordering and serving multiple, smaller plates.

The benefits of dining this way are two-fold. First, meals offer a wider array of flavors, which will leave people more satisfied all around. Second, dining with friends and family will last longer and offer between-dish moments to socialize and bond rather than finishing a single dish that held the majority of the eater's attention. Slow down, enjoy La Dolce Vita; Angelinos are always in such a hurry. Make every meal an opportunity to really get to know another person.

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