Etiquette in CoronaVirus Times

Etiquette is about knowing how to behave correctly in any given situation. But how does this change when something unknown, such as a potential pandemic, comes along? We take a look which etiquette points we should adjust for now and which ones need to stay the same during this outbreak of the Coronavirus. 

ADJUST  Your Etiquette On These Points

Greeting Etiquette

If you are welcoming home friends and family who are arriving off a cruise ship or have recently arrived back from an international trip, you may want to skip your usual double cheek kiss. Air-kissing and a hug are perfectly acceptable alternatives. Just make sure your verbal greeting is as enthusiastic as usual to compensate. 

There have been concerns by some that handshakes in international business meetings can be risky at this time. While the risk of passing on any form of flu or viruses via a handshake is low, it is essential to respect other people’s concerns. In this case, you could consider opting for a high-five or a fist bump to reduce the touching time. Or, just agree not to shake hands for the time being. Most importantly, don’t be offended if you find a handshake is avoided. Everyone is reacting to this outbreak in different ways. 

Information Sharing About The Coronavirus

Be overly vigilant not to engage in gossip, conspiracy theories or questionable information sharing about the Coronavirus outbreak. The internet is buzzing with sensationalist and alarming content about this virus. This creates a digital pandemic or (mis)infodemic and only heightens public anxiety around this disease with devastating consequences for affected communities and fueling anti-Chinese sentiments. If you are unsure about some information, check on Government sites, WHO, CDC or other official health websites for the most up to date and correct information. 

Daily Schedule Changes

The uncertainty around international responses to the Coronavirus outbreak requires a little more flexibility than usual. As international travel and supply lines become more affected, you may need to reschedule meetings or make adjustments to lead times on projects. Be flexible and accept that this situation can have unexpected impacts on our daily lives. 

Accept a Level of Uncertainty  

Be flexible in this fluid situation. Over the coming weeks and months, the information and advice about how to deal with the Coronavirus will change. Likewise, Government responses will change. Keep up to date with the latest news, follow the official advice, and help others to do the same. Don’t waste your energy getting upset if official information or policies change from one day to the next. 

Send a Personal Note to International Business Connections

It is perfectly acceptable to send a short personal email or message to friends, family or business connections living in the affected areas. Likely they are bored and/or worried about the current situation. A kind word of support can be a welcome surprise for them in this troubling time.

Etiquette That Doesn’t Change 

Hygiene Practises

Common hygiene etiquette will always remain the same. Wash your hands regularly, especially before eating and after using the bathroom. As long as we are all adults and are following normal hygienic practises of washing our hands and sneezing into our elbows, there is no need to go overboard with the sanitiser or by burning our banknotes. 

Common Flu Etiquette

If you are feeling unwell, or have flu-like symptoms, take the usual precautions and stay home while sick. No one is going to wish you were in the office sneezing around everyone. 

Show Understanding

Everyone reacts to risks and fears a little differently. Be understanding if someone in your office or family is feeling worried or anxious about things. Listen to their concerns and help them find information that may help allay their fears. 

Stay polite or don’t respond at all. 

We can get overly concerned when someone is sharing incorrect information online. As always, think before responding negatively to comments online. Reacting with anger or outrage is counterproductive. Instead, consider a polite response using official information and links to refute the false information. Hopefully, this will encourage others to seek out the correct information too.  Read more about this in our post The Online Hate Culture and How to Stay Out of It.

Civil Etiquette

Even in times of extreme unease, discrimination is not acceptable. We cannot let the fear of the unknown take over or give oxygen to racism or discrimination of any kind. We are all in this together. And it is together that we will get through it. 

Help Out

Donate to organisations on the ground who are coping with the full extent of this outbreak. Many great organisations are providing shelter, masks and medical supplies to the most affected areas. 

Show your smile. 

Unless your government has mandated it, there is no need to wear a mask at this current time. Leave the masks for the medical practitioners and for people who are sick. Instead, make the most of being able to show your smile to everyone you meet. 

Finally, remember to always show kindness, tolerance and understanding in your daily interactions; these basic etiquette rules will never change. 

Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water – it will make ripples throughout the entire pond

– Jessy& Bryan Matteo 

Responding Not Reacting – How To Deal With Criticism Like A Stoic

One of the downsides of living in a world that is more connected is that there is little or no buffer of time or space to soften online criticism. We are in the habit of instantly responding to messages, posts or news with the first thought that comes to mind. We feel pressured to react and do not pause for reflection before we write. 

As we become more connected, we have become more critical of each other. We give criticism to people we don’t even know, as though it is our right to do so. We do it instantly, without thought, without pause. All this criticism creates massive amounts of data flowing around our online worlds. Worse, it also creates massive amounts of hurt and anxiety among those on the receiving end. One only needs to scroll to the comments on a few news articles or an Instagram post to find examples of unsolicited advice and criticism of the writer.  

Unfortunately, criticism is now part of our daily lives, and there is no way to put this genie back in a bottle. While we may not like this, we can learn ways to cope better with it. The stoic premise that we cannot control external events; we can only control ourselves and our responses, is extremely helpful when dealing with criticism. Here are some of the key points we can learn from this approach.

Consider the Motives

When we are on the receiving end of some sharp criticism, it can help to consider the motives of the person giving it. Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that they want to hurt you or put you down. Perhaps the person letting you know this concern cares about you and actually wants to help. There can be a hundred positive reasons that someone is sharing criticism of you or your work, so how about keeping in mind the idea that people are innocent until proven guilty, and assume the best, instead of the worst. This way you can respond from thoughtfulness and understanding, which is far more productive than responding from a place of anger and hurt. 

Respond With Care

Criticism, from anyone, feels like an attack. Remember this when you are tempted to dish out some criticism online. When we receive criticism, our natural response is to get defensive. This natural defense can cause us to respond in ways that we would not normally do. We step into the mode of defending ourselves or our work. Before you respond to criticism, pause and consider all the options. Take time to respond instead of instantly reacting. Reacting relies on reflex, using our fight or flight tendencies. There is no need to react on reflex to an online comment. A slow and mindful reply is the most powerful way to respond. Detach yourself from the reaction, take a deep breath, consider the motive of the critic, and then formulate a response. If you can respond carefully, with kindness and understanding, you may turn a critic into a fan, avoid an argument or save a friendship. 

Ignore The Distractions

Don’t be influenced by critics. There comes a point when we must learn to stop caring about what others think or say about us. Don’t be distracted by others, especially if the criticism is not sincere or appropriate. Ask yourself if there is any point engaging with someone who is only trying to put you down. Consider the possibility that you are not obliged to respond at all. Many times the best response is none at all. Getting involved in a pointless argument or trying to explain your point is likely to be a big waste of your time. Let it go, move on and focus on the important stuff. As in the famous quote “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” (Bernard Baruch).

To Err is Human

Our final suggestion for dealing with criticism is to accept that we are all flawed. None of us are perfect or infallible. Understanding this can help us be more balanced in how we receive criticism. Criticism can often come from a misunderstanding of our message. Instead of seeing the critiquer as in the wrong, understand that perhaps your message is not clear enough and is being misunderstood. Being mindful of the message we are sending, and ensuring it is clear can avoid such misunderstandings. 

When we start to deal with criticism in a mindful manner with compassion and kindness, we can do our part to reduce the harm of wild thoughtless criticism that wastes everybody’s time and energy. Let’s instead use our time and energy to focus on creating, learning and building a better world. 

As an antidote to battle unkindness we were given kindness  

Marcus Aurelius

12 International Gift Giving Blunders That Could Ruin Your Christmas

When it comes to giving gifts to friends and family internationally, it is essential to know how to avoid insulting or offending anyone with your well-intentioned gift. Here are 12 of the most important gift-giving blunders to avoid this Christmas.

1. Refusing a Gift

When giving a gift in China, be aware that it is customary for the recipient to refuse the gift three times before finally accepting it. As the giver, you must continue to insist on giving the gift until the recipient agrees to accept it. Don’t fall for the blunder of thinking your friend doesn’t want the gift! 

2. Giving The Gift of Time

In Hong Kong, the gift of a clock is a major no-no. In Cantonese the word for clock ‘sung jung’ sounds the same as the farewell you would say to a dying person. 

3. Red Christmas Cards

In Japan it is essential to avoid giving red Christmas cards as this is the colour of funeral cards announcing a death. 

4. Evoking sadness

In Italy, a gift of a brooch, handkerchief or knives symbolizes sorrow. In Japan white flowers are a symbol of mourning, while in Hong Kong a gift wrapped in blue or white signifies mourning. Do not give a bunch of even-numbered flowers in Russia as these are reserved for funerals. Also, avoid lilies, yellow flowers or carnations. 

5. Inadvertently breaking off a friendship

Sending a gift of knives, scissors or sharp objects in China or Hong Kong indicates that your friendship is over; severed with the sharp gift. In Korea, signing a card or letter with red ink also shows the relationship is over. 

6. Giving the wrong message with your gift:

Beware of giving hats in China as a gift of a green hat to a man indicates his wife has been unfaithful to him. In Italy beware when gifting flowers; red flowers indicate secrecy, while yellow flowers indicate jealousy.

7. Inappropriate Giving

In Kuwait, if a man must give a gift to a woman, he should say that it is from his wife, mother, sister, or some other female relative to avoid inappropriateness. 

8. Don’t take offence

In Saudi Arabia, the recipient of a gift is likely to open it and give it a very close examination. Others in the room may also want to examine it. Don’t take offence; this is the way of showing appreciation for the gift. Likewise, don’t take offence in China or Japan if the recipient does not open your gift. These cultures consider it rude to open a gift in front of the giver. They will open it later when they are alone. 

9. It is not always the thought that counts

In Korea when a person receives a gift, it is customary for them to give another gift of similar value in return at a later time. It is, therefore, essential to give a gift that it is compatible with the recipient’s economic means because if he or she cannot reciprocate, they will feel a loss of face. 

10. Ripping open a gift

In Thailand it is considered the height of rudeness to rip open a gift. Wrapping paper should be carefully removed, folded and put to one side. 

11. Giving a Gift

In Yemen, giving a gift to anyone who is not an intimate friend is so embarrassing as to be offensive. It is also not done to express admiration for something belonging to another as they will then feel obliged to gift it to you.

12. Being too generous

If you are giving a gift in Russia, keep it simple and inexpensive or risk the recipient seeing it as a form of bribe. In Thailand also give inexpensive gifts or risk the recipient refusing it due to embarrassment over the cost. 

The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than its value. 

Nine Fantastic Autumn Fashion Trends That Will Make You Look Forward To The Cold

Although Summer is all but over, we are actually starting to get a little excited about the next season. The reason? We have nine good reasons in the form of Autumn fashion trends that have got us quite excited. Here are our picks of the best trends for the upcoming coming cooler months that we think will make you look forward to the cold too. 

#1 Millennial Purple AKA Lavender

While last season was all about millennial pink, this season lavender is the hue of choice. We love this gorgeous orchid shade which can be used in head to toe monochromatic outfits, to make a statement with a key piece or to add interest by way of accessories. It is bold and beautiful alone or paired with black, white, navy or brown. 

#2 The Cape

The cape makes a comeback in the Autumn fashion trends. These strong shaped outerwear pieces are a fabulous alternative to the trench coat or denim jacket. They look strong, stylish and great. And, dare we say, heroic! 

#3 Satin Blouses

It must be the romantic in us that just goes weak at the knees for a beautifully shaped satin blouse. Paired with a slim-fitting skirt, these shirts are anything but average. While off-white shades are the most obvious hue to wear, Versace showed of satin in neon hues with contrasting lace trims for those of us who like our fashion with a little more edge. 

#4 Super long coats

Longline wool coats that almost skim the floor are the way to make an entrance this Autumn. The style is structured heavy wool coats that fit perfectly and go all the way down to your ankles. Suddenly all our coats feel a little too short and lacking the drama of these statement makers. We all want to go out and immediately buy something much bigger, longer and in a more striking colour like blue, yellow or teal. 

autumn fashion trends argyle

#5 Argyle Knits

Yes, these are the original old man’s golf sweater, but this season they are anything but old fashioned. In fact, they are looking very cool with a cute skirt or fitted pants. The classic diamond pattern showed up in navy and black combinations as well as the traditional forest green and cream. These cosy old fashioned knits are perfect for keeping warm and stylish as the temperature drops. 

#6 Butter Yellow

Yellows of all shades are popping up all over the place in Autumn fashion trends, but our favourite is the buttery yellow hue. Worn in a monochromatic outfit it looks amazing in suiting, evening wear or in one of the aforementioned floor length coats. This colour is perfect for those of us who like to stick to the classics as a nice alternative to black or beige without being too colourful. Butter up your style this Autumn by popping some yellow in your outfit. 

#7 Refined Handbags

Handbags are going back to the classics this season and we are loving the shapes. The trend is for top-handled, sleek-looking handbags that feel ultra ladylike. The vintage vibe is strong with classic frame bags that are large enough for your essentials and classic enough to treasure forever. 

#8 Blazer + Blouse + Skirt Combination

This triple combination is a strong trend this Autumn and we are fans. The formula is a tried and true one that anyone can wear and look great. Satin blouses in cream and off-white are paired with classic blazers in beige, with a tailored midi skirt completing the vintage office wear look. Soft fabrics and hues make this look ultra feminine and give endless possibilities to mix and match all season long. 

#9 Dark Florals 

Summer may be almost over, but this Autumn the florals stick around. This season’s florals are darker, richer and bolder than their summer cousins. Featuring gorgeous realistic blooms in deep wine red, greens and purples that are romantic and a little bit gothic. We love the deep floral midi and maxi skirts that are here for the season and that pair perfectly with boots for cooler days. 

We think the designers this season had a blast while coming up with these looks. They feel fun, romantic, and easy to mix and match. We can tell already that we are going to enjoy this season. So roll on Autumn!  

11 Old-School Etiquette Rules That Still Make The World a Nicer Place

We hope that good manners will never go out of fashion. These 11 old-school etiquette rules are part of a necessary code of conduct that, we believe, makes our world a nicer place to live in. They are the types of rules our grandparents learned in their childhood. And, as the world moves swiftly from one trend to another, these elegant etiquette tips remain a universally recognised standard of behaviour. Old-school etiquette rules maintain a common courtesy that should never be lost and, we believe, they go a long way towards keeping out interactions kind. 


1. Saying ‘Excuse me’ 

When you accidentally bump into someone on the street or in the supermarket acknowledging the other person and quickly apologising for walking into them is the politest thing to do. In return, if someone knocks into you and apologises with an ‘excuse me’ it is polite to acknowledge this without a fuss. Do not be tempted to respond with anger or by accusing them of not looking where they are going. 


2. Please and Thank You.

These two tiny little phrases are essential words in your vocabulary when interacting with others. They show kindness and respect to the other person and soften what could otherwise be interpreted to be a command. 


3. Smile, often and to everyone you meet and interact with.

Some people seem to forget that this expression is free and it is better shared. Smile when you order your coffee, smile as you say hello to someone you pass in the street, smile as you open the door to the postal delivery. Smile and the whole world smiles with you – try it out and see if it is true.


4. Hold the door open for the person behind you.

It doesn’t matter who is behind you; the common courtesy is to hold the door and ensure it does not close just before they get to it. If someone does the same for you, be sure to thank them for showing the courtesy. 


5. Look at the person speaking to you.

Don’t look at your phone to see who just messaged you. This is so extraordinarily important when at the counter in a shop. There is a real person in front of you who is helping you, either to make your coffee or to help you purchase a new item. Give them the respect of looking at them, smile and interact, put that phone away until you are finished.


6. Let someone go ahead of you in line.

This is one of the sweetest random acts of kindness. We all know what it is like to be stuck in a long line at the check-out when you only want to buy one thing. It feels so fantastic when someone ahead of you suggests you go ahead of them in the queue. Do the same for others and see how good it feels to be randomly kind. 

7. Be on time

Being at a place at the time you promised is a sign of respect for the other person. It is not ok to leave someone waiting for you and it is not ok to send a message at the arranged meeting time saying you will be late. 


8. Cut the cussing.

There is no need to sprinkle swear words through our conversations. If you feel you need to swear for impact, please learn a more extensive vocabulary and find a new way to express yourself without using a commonly overused swearword as an adjective. 


9. Wait a day or two to respond to a mean or nasty email or message.

Give yourself time to cool down after receiving an unpleasant message and avoid replying in a way that would not be appropriate. Better yet, don’t respond. Often a non-response sends a far louder message to nastiness than a reply would.


10. Let people off the train, elevator, bus, or tram before trying to get on.

Give passengers room to walk out by politely standing to one side of the door.


11. Welcome a new neighbour.

A small gift of chocolates or cookies is the perfect gift to give a new neighbour when you knock on the door to introduce yourself and welcome them to the neighbourhood. Start this important neighbour relationship with kindness. 

By remembering these old-school etiquette rules and practising them daily, we are showing respect and kindness to others, which is essential in a world where we see division sown by words of contempt and disdainful actions. These rules of conduct help us keep kindness as the standard in our world. And we are all for that!

Seven Sanity-Saving Tips For Dealing With Difficult People

Dealing with difficult people is something we all hope to avoid, but unfortunately, we all must face difficult people whether in our workplace, social life or online. These experiences can be confronting, awkward and just wholly unpleasant. Therefore, we decided to put together our best sanity-saving tips for dealing with difficult people. So, instead of getting frustrated and screaming to the ceiling ‘Why is this person being so difficult?’ you can remain sane and handle the situation with class.

  1. Be The Calm One

When faced with someone being completely difficult, being the calm one allows you to maintain some control over the situation. Being angry or frustrated is likely to inflame the situation further. Breathe. Relax your shoulders and let the tension of the situation go before you respond. Be slower to react, allowing your stress levels to decrease first. By remaining calm you are refusing to let the other person trigger you. If your conflict is happening via email or texting, it is crucial to avoid replying when upset. Rise above the conflict and do not allow yourself to react emotionally.

  1. Practise Engaged Listening

People who will not listen to reason or let you have a say can be the most frustrating type of difficult people to deal with. When you are both intent on getting your point of view across, no one is being heard. Be the one who steps back first and actively listen to all they have to say. Practise engaged listening by ensuring that the other person knows you are really listening. Tilt your head slightly and nod as you listen, these actions give a strong non-verbal cue that you are indeed listening to them. Stepping back can quickly deescalate the tension, and you might actually find you can understand why they are being so difficult.

  1. Seek to Understand

Try to see the situation from the difficult person’s point of view. Ask yourself ‘what could they be trying to achieve by being so difficult?’ or ‘what are they trying to avoid?’. With a different perspective on the problem, you may be able to help them move towards their goal without all the drama.

  1. Get Assistance

If the difficult person is someone you are continually having problems with, it can help a lot to talk with others about the situation. Other people can have a completely different perspective on a situation and may offer some good advice on how to handle the situation better. The key is not to use these times to moan and complain to others about the person, but to try to keep the discussion focused on the actions and reactions triggered when you face this person.

  1. Steer Clear of Contempt

Is it possible that your reactions to the difficult person could be interpreted as disrespectful? Any interaction that has a hint of contempt will be doomed to failure. Be careful that you have not used a put-down or acted arrogantly towards them. Stay respectful, and you may find they follow your cue and change their path of difficulty.

  1. Focus on What You Can Fix

Narrow your focus onto the situation at hand and how you can work together to solve it. Take your focus off your emotional reactions to the actions or words of the difficult person, as these can blind us to simple solutions to the problem.

  1. Remove Yourself From The Drama

If you have done all you can to try to work with a difficult person, but you seem to face the same issues with every interaction, simply reduce your contact with this person as much as possible. Often people will use challenging behaviour as a way to control a situation or person when they feel out of control or insecure. Trust your instincts on this one. If you feel there is no way to amend this conflict, remove yourself. Choose your battles wisely. Remember that not every fight needs to be fought and you get to decide when to engage.

Difficult people are always going to be around and finding good strategies to deal with them is essential. Every interaction with a difficult person should be seen as a chance to learn better skills for dealing with them in the future.

 

Difficult people are the greatest teachers – Pema Chödrön

 

We’re Dreaming of a Green Christmas- How To Go Green This Festive Season

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year to share goodwill and kindness to all. So this year we want to share some ideas for a greener way to celebrate Christmas that is kinder to our planet and all who live on it.

 

Gifts of Kindness

Every year we give and receive gifts for Christmas. Sometimes those gifts are unwanted or wasteful excess stuff that we don’t really need. This year try a gift of time or experience to those you love. Our favourite choices are movie vouchers, tickets or memberships. For those who have everything, consider donating to a charity in their name.

We suggest choosing something from the World Vision Gift Catalogue to donate to a child in need.

If you really want to give an actual wrapped gift, consider gifts that are made sustainably from renewable materials, made locally or made by artisans.

When you are buying for children, consider gifts that are battery-free, as every year discarded batteries end up in landfills and eventually into waterways.

If you do end up with excess or unwanted gifts, please donate them to a charity store. Many unwanted gifts simply gather dust in our closets for years when someone else could be using them. Give them to a charity that will ensure someone who wants them can use them.

 

Wrapped up with love

When wrapping gifts buy recyclable Christmas wrapping paper. The best and simplest is brown paper with ribbons. We love the ideas for wrapping gifts using recyclable materials over at EcoCult

 

Deck the Halls

Every year thousands of trees are used for Christmas, only to be discarded in January on bonfires. Instead, this year go for an alternative Christmas tree. There are many alternatives such as a potted tree that can be planted afterwards or a wooden tree frame that can be reused each year. Eco-Age have the best guide to eco-friendly Christmas trees including some fantastic alternative tree ideas.

 

Decorate your tree and home this year with natural decorations – pinecones, eucalyptus, holly, ivy and dried fruit. Or buy well-made decorations that will last for many years. Look out for beautiful handmade or artisanal items that you can enjoy for many years.

Consider your energy usage over the festive season by putting your Christmas lights on a timer. We love the look of homes decorated in lights, but don’t leave them on all day and night. Set a timer that will turn your lights on for a few hours once it gets dark each evening.

Decorate inside with candles that are made from beeswax, soy or vegetable wax to avoid paraffin wax that comes from petroleum.

 

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

We all love to overindulge at Christmas, but this year, consider reducing the amount of food you prepare. Not only will you do everyone’s’ waistline a favour, you will also cut down dramatically on the amount of unnecessary food waste that is thrown away every Christmas.

Remember to recycle all you can after your festivities. Bottles, plastic, paper – you know the drill.

Plan a vegan or vegetarian dish for Christmas dinner. You know it is better for you and for the planet. Check out some of the great vegan recipes online and get inspired. We love Jamie Oliver’s collection of Vegan Christmas dinner recipes that are guaranteed to inspire you to try something new this year.

 

Send E-cards

By sending all your cards digitally this year you can save paper and fuel for transport. And, bonus, you can leave the task of writing them right up to the last minute before you push send as they will be delivered instantly on time.

 

Enjoy the Season

Lastly, our best tip for a green Christmas is to just slow down and enjoy the season of goodwill. Spend time with friends and family doing things together at home. Christmas is the perfect time of year to gather with friends and family. Spend time cooking together, taking evening walks to see the Christmas lights in your neighbourhood or sitting by the fire playing a board game or watching a Christmas movie with your kids.

Instead of being caught up in the commercialisation of this season, make Christmas a reason to connect to others and share gifts of time, love and goodwill with everyone.

 

Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.

The Grinch

 

Everyday Should Be A World Hello Day

World Hello Day was established in 1973 as an international day of communication in response to the conflict at the time between Egypt and Israel. The aim of World Hello Day was for people to set an example to leaders of the world by saying hello to 10 new people. The point was to encourage world leaders to choose communication rather than force to end conflict. The perfectly simple premise behind World Hello Day a simple hello could spread around the world and help us come together to reduce conflict and build peace.

The official World Hello Day is November 21, but you may be forgiven for missing it, as it seems to have lost much of the momentum it had in the 70s. These days simply saying hello to 10 people doesn’t really sound like a movement that could change the world. Especially when we often interact online with 10 times that number of people daily.

However, we love the bigger idea behind World Hello Day. We love the idea that communication can reduce conflict and bring peace. This is an idea we can really get behind as we think every day we need to be reminded to use the power of communication for good.

We believe strongly in the power of communication to reduce conflict. And, we know that communication is the key to increasing understanding and kindness in a world desperately in need of more compassion, empathy and love. We strongly support the power of communication for these reasons:

Communication reduces the risk of using force in a conflict and therefore contributes to a more peaceful world.

Communication can increase compassion by building a deep awareness of and sympathy for another’s suffering.

Communication spreads kindness by being warm-hearted, considerate, humane and sympathetic.

Communication builds empathy through comprehension and sharing of another’s life, feelings and way of living.

How can we use the power of communication for good every day?

Seek first to understand. When talking with others consider carefully their point of view. How might we see the situation differently from their side?

Listen genuinely without interruption. Taking our time and really listening to the other person is an important key in reducing conflict. Listen before jumping in with your opinion, be courteous and open to hearing what others think and feel. While you may not agree on everything you should be open to letting others have their say.

Avoid escalation. Make a personal commitment to use kind communication to overcome any disagreements. Avoid escalating an argument and instead seek to find a solution by talking it out.

Treat all people with kindness. Every person deserves to be treated fairly and with kindness regardless of his or her race, gender orientation, political views or religion.

Speak up. Do not be afraid to speak out when you see injustice or discrimination. Be the voice that calls out an injustice and encourage others to do the same.

Help share the message of peace. Support local organizations that work towards fighting for equality and human rights for all. Use the power of your words to share their message to a wider audience.

Never Believe That A Few Caring People Can’t Change The World. For, Indeed, That’s All Who Ever Have. – Margaret Mead

How to Recover Gracefully from Common Social Etiquette Blunders

Social Etiquette blunders seem to be increasingly easy to commit. In our haste to get a million things done each day, it can be easy to slip up and make an embarrassing mistake. How does one recover from a social blunder gracefully and with style? We have collated five common social blunders and offer our suggestions on how to gracefully recover from any social etiquette faux pas.

 

The Group Email Blunder

It is a sick feeling when you realise your hasty reply to an email was inadvertently sent as reply-all. And, now your message or personal information has been sent to the entire mailing list of your child’s class or to your entire sports club. In this case, being meticulous in checking your recipient list before pressing send can avoid a lot of unnecessary angst. But, if the deed is done, you can consider sending a quick reply-all and apologise for the slip-up. Here is a great reply:

Subject: Apologies

My apologies – I have just sent an email that obviously wasn’t for you. My sincere apologies.

Best regards,…

 

The Name Amnesia Blunder

This social blunder sneaks up on all of us. It is that moment when you are looking directly at someone you have met many times before, but your mind is drawing a blank on his or her name. To avoid embarrassment all around you can try to avoid admitting you forgot their name. If you find you need to introduce them to someone else simply ask both people if they know each other. Then pause. Hopefully, in this pause, they will reach out to introduce themselves to each other and you are gracefully saved. Alternatively, you are just going to have to own up to having a ‘senior moment’ and have forgotten their name.

 

The Humiliating Public Fall

Tripping on a curb or slipping on a wet floor is one of the most embarrassing social blunders we can make. So, what is the best way to quickly recover from falling on your backside in front of others? With humour mixed with a little humility! Get up, brush yourself off and laugh it off as a silly mistake.

 

The equally embarrassing spillage of food or drink

Knocking over your glass of wine or catapulting your fork onto your lap are just two of a hundred ways we can drip, dribble or spill food and drink in public. And, the only way to recover gracefully is, again, with a mixture of humour and humility. Laugh at the awkward moment to lessen the tension around the table. Apologize to your host and offer to help clean up any mess made. If real damage has been done to carpet or someone else’s clothing, it is polite to offer to cover the cost of any cleaning bills.

 

The Blunder of Forgetting to Respond

You realize the day before an event that you never got around to letting the host know you if you are able to attend their event. We all know it is polite to respond promptly to a formal invitation, and prior to the RSVP date. But, if you have blundered and forgotten to do this, the best thing is to own up and call the host. Apologize for not replying on time. Let them know if you still intend to attend. If you have another important engagement you must attend instead, apologize for the late notice of your absence, thank them for their invitation and wish them a successful event.

 

Gracefully Recovering in Any Situation

1.    Gracefully recovering from any social blunder requires admitting you made a mistake. You can choose to laugh it off or take a more serious and apologetic approach to the blunder. But, don’t pretend it didn’t happen. When we ignore our mistakes we let others draw the conclusion that we don’t care, don’t know better or are trying to hide something. It is better to just own a mistake than have someone form a wrong opinion about your actions.

2.    Acknowledge anyone who may have been affected by our blunder and apologize for any harm it may have caused them. A short simple apology goes a long way.

3.    Accept and Move On. We all make blunders and mistakes at times and we all move on from them. Don’t dwell too long on a blunder once you have apologized and acted to rectify any harm.

4.    Remember to be gracious when someone else makes a social blunder. It can happen to the best of us.

 

When someone does something wrong, don’t forget all the things they have done right!

 

Our Easy Reference Guide to Common Ethical Fashion Terms

At ILNI we believe in the values of ethical fashion and all that it encompasses. However, we also know that it is easy to get lost in the tangle of words, names and terms used in this field. Today we come with help in the form of our easy reference guide to the most common words and phrases in the ethical fashion industry. We hope this simple glossary will be useful in helping you decipher the most common terms and make ethical buying decisions easier. We suggest you bookmark this page for easy future reference.

Artisan

Something made by hand, by a person. Not machine made or mass-produced. Literally made by an artist.

Biodegradable

Something that is able to break down (decompose) rapidly through the action of microorganisms and be reabsorbed into the environment.

Carbon Footprint

A measurement of the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted directly or indirectly by our daily actions.

Carbon Neutral

A product or service that has reduced their carbon footprint to nil through the process of increased efficiency, reduced consumption and recyclable products.

Conscious consumption

An increased awareness of the impact items we buy have on the environment and on the people making them. Conscious consumption includes buying items that support local economies, have been made by fairly paid employees and that are built to last.

Conscious fashion

A term used to describe a movement to buy fashion items that match our values. Basically, that what we wear, matters. 

Cost per wear

Cost per wear is a formula that takes the total cost of an item and divides it by the estimated number of wears. It is a strong argument for buying quality over quantity.

Cruelty-free

Products that contain no animal-material and that have not been tested on animals during any phase of their development.

Eco-chic 

Eco-chic refers to products that are environmentally conscious as well as being stylish or cool.

Eco-friendly 

Something that is friendly to the earth and not harmful to the environment. Eco-friendly products do not add to air, water or land pollution.

Empowerment

The basic principle of empowerment is that each and every person is entitled to equal opportunities. Empowerment in ethical fashion can be seen in action by brands that are offering training and employment to disadvantaged people and communities. Enabling them to permanently lift themselves out of poverty and gain back independence!

Ethical

Being ethical means avoiding activities or organisations that do harm to people or the environment.

Ethical fashion / Ethically made

Ethical fashion refers to the manufacturing of clothing and accessories that maximises benefits to people and communities while minimising the impact on the environment. Ethical fashion brands often employ artisans with traditional skill sets, provide cruelty-free products, use only certified or safe factories and avoid all sweatshop labour.

Fair trade

Fair trade is a global movement for change that advocates for better working conditions and improved terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries. For a product to display the Fair trade Mark it must meet the social, economic and environmental standards set by the certification body Fair trade International.

Fast fashion

Fast fashion refers to the speed that the fashion industry brings new trends to market as cheaply as possible. Fast Fashion encourages a ‘throw-away’ mentality among consumers

Green Fashion

Green Fashion is another name for Eco-fashion. It describes a product that is designed to be environmentally friendly.

Green washing

Green washing describes the practice of using PR and/or marketing deceptively to make an organisation’s products, aims or policies appear more environmentally friendly.

Investment Clothing

Investment clothing refers to items of clothing that cost a little more than you would normally spend, but that you will use for many years to come.

 

Locally Made

Locally made items have been produced locally. In buying locally we can support local entrepreneurs and businesses.

Micro Fibres

Micro-fibres are micro-plastics (less than 5mm in length) that can detach from our synthetic clothes during washing. These small plastics are causing big problems for our environment and our health.

Natural Fibres 
A fibre made from a plant, animal, or mineral. Includes Cotton, Linen (made from flax), Silk, Wool, Cashmere, Hemp and Jute.

Organic

Organic ingredients and materials are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionising radiation.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ( PETA) is an animals rights organisation that focuses its attention on the mistreatment of animals in factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry.

PETA-approved vegan

A brand that is PETA-approved vegan is one that voluntarily commits to using no animal materials in any of its products.

Slow fashion

Slow Fashion prioritises buying quality over quantity. It focuses on well-designed clothing and accessories that are created for longevity, encourage fair trade and fair wages, and are environmentally friendly. It is the antithesis of fast fashion.

 

Sustainable fashion

Sustainable fashion refers to clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible. Produced by brands who take into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects of their production and products.

 

Traceability

Traceability refers to the ability to trace a brand’s products and their components back through each step of the supply chain, all the way to raw materials.

 

Vegan (veganism)

Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purposes. Products labelled Vegan contain no animal products or by-products.

Vegan leather

Vegan Leather is an animal-friendly alternative to real leather. Favoured by those of us who love the look of leather but are committed to a lifestyle prohibiting the use of animal products.

Zero Waste

Zero waste addresses how we live in the world and the impact of our trash by aiming to reduce what we add to landfills and incinerators to zero.

We hope this list of the essential Ethical Fashion Terms is useful in making great decisions about what you buy and why you buy it.

Ethical Fashion means knowing the difference between

what we have a right to do

and

what is right to do