Adventuring to Uncomfortable Places…

There are many different places with many different rules, codes of conduct, and expected behaviors that once can find themselves. That’s what makes being confident 24/7 so hard. In one place one thing is expected/acceptable and in the next place you find yourself it’s well…. not at all. It can be overwhelming to keep all these expectations and “rules” in order and straight in your already very busy head. This feeling often results in uneasiness or the feeling of being out of place which in turn sends off a signal to other people around you. A signal that says maybe you aren’t comfortable with who you are, that maybe your confidence could use a boost. This certainly isn’t the case, right? Your just uncomfortable because you aren’t sure what is deemed appropriate or not. You find yourself becoming a little quieter, jumbling the words you do manage to get out, hesitating before you make any movement, and possibly you notice that you are even a little shaky. These are all completely normal reactions to an uncomfortable situation. But why should we let these little cues define who we are in that moment? Just because we feel that way doesn’t mean we need to show it. Just knowing one of two things that are expected of you at any given place will give the person next to you the “wow, this person knows how to act” kind of impression, and that’s just what we want even if we aren’t feeling that same impression ourselves.

Over the next a couple weeks I am going to try to take you places where expectations/behaviors might be a little different from your everyday life. If you just take one thing away from each blog post I promise you will feel more comfortable and confident the next time you find yourself in that place (well, at least the people around you will feel that way). First up is the dreaded hospital. No one likes going to the hospital. It’s often times depressing, sterile, and unfriendly. But at one point or another we will all have to visit someone there whether it be a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, or co-worker. It’s one of those places that sometimes you need to force yourself to go to because it’s the right thing to do. Fortunately, there are some readily available tips and guidelines to help visitors feel more comfortable and well, confident with their visit.

*Don’t be afraid to call ahead. It’s always good to double check if visitors are allowed, what the visiting hours are, and what types are gifts/food are permitted. Every hospital is a little different. This is especially helpful if you aren’t completely sure what the patient’s current health status is or what type of diet they are on.

*Try to avoid visiting in large groups. I know you probably don’t want to go alone so it’s o.k. to  bring a friend of two but your whole pack of 12 girlfriends probably isn’t the best idea. Large groups of people can be very overwhelming to someone trying to recover and get better- it’s just plain tiring. Also not to mention hospital rooms are usually on the smaller side and your visitor might even have a roommate…

*Try to leave any small children at home. I know that sometimes this is impossible to do but try to find a time to visit when someone else is free to watch your children for a while. Hospitals are scary to adults, imagine what they seem and look like in a child’s eye. Children are also unaware of how to act in a hospital setting, their innocence can turn into a disruption to another patient.

*Consciously try to talk in a slightly softer voice than normal. The people you are with or visiting should still be able to hear you at a comfortable distance, no need to whisper, but you need to keep in mind that there are many other people in neighboring rooms or possibly in the same room that are trying to sleep/rest.

*Minimize cell phone usage. Only pick up incoming calls in the case of an absolute emergency while visiting the hospital. If you must make a call step out of the room and go down to the lobby where noise level doesn’t matter as much.

*Keep your visit short. I think the ideal visiting time for a friend or co-worker is 15-20 minutes (trust me, this feels like a lifetime) but for family feel free to stay a little longer if you want. It takes a lot out of a recovering patient to visit with someone and the reality is you probably aren’t the only visitor. Just knowing that you stopped in for a few minutes will brighten that persons day.

*Don’t assume physical contact is o.k. I know it’s a natural reaction to want to hug a friend in need but before you do so ask if it’s alright. You don’t know where the patient is feeling pain or how easy it is to move. Once you get permission- hug away!

*If your the patient, nurse, or doctor asks you to not visit then it’s simple- don’t visit. There is probably a good reason or the patient simply just wants their own privacy. Even if you plan on just stopping in for a few minutes, don’t do it. It’s rude and inconsiderate even with the best of intentions.

*If you are sick, even if it’s the slightest cold, don’t visit someone at the hospital. Even if your sickness isn’t a threat to them, it’s a threat to someone else staying in that hospital. There are a lot of very sick and elderly people in every hospital and the last thing you want to do is spread a nasty germ around.

*If you are visiting while a nurse or doctor comes into the room, politely step outside the room until he or she is done. This creates more room for them to work and gives the patient a feeling that you respecting their privacy and are really just interested in visiting them, nothing else.

*That being said, don’t pry into private questions or test results. If the patient feels like sharing, they will share. But it is good to show an interest. Ask how they are feeling, what their symptoms are, what they are doing to get better, etc. Take an interest in their disease, surgery, etc. It’s nice to know that the people who you care about also care about you as well. Taking an interest in someone else’s life makes them feel important.

*Don’t talk about negative things such as work drama, the failing economy, or huge blowout fight within your group of friends. The patient shouldn’t have to have anything else on his or her mind besides getting better. They will find out who got fired for what or who isn’t friends with who anymore once they get home. But you should talk about how much they are missed or funny things that have happened. It is very easy to start to feel isolated especially with longer hospital stays. If you can make the patient still feel somewhat connected (in a good way) to the workplace or your group of friends that’s awesome.

*Try not to sit on the bed or play with equipment. The bed and it’s settings are made just for the patient. There are often one or two chairs in the room meant for guests. If there aren’t any chairs you can manage to stand for 20 minutes- at least you aren’t the one in the hospital bed. Also be wary of the medical equipment. Try not to bump into it or move it. Even if the patient asks you to press a button or adjust something tell them you would feel more comfortable if a nurse did it and offer to page someone for them. You don’t want to be responsibly for messing something up or administering too much medicine, etc.

Nothing will make a hospital visit easy but they are certainly ways to feel more comfortable and confident with your visit. If you just abide by a couple of these “rules” no one will be able to tell just how nervous and uncomfortable you really are. Half the battle of confidence is knowing how to pretend.

I wonder where next week will take us……….

Beach Bumming

With the holiday and “last” summer weekend upon us the beach has been on my mind. There will be many people heading to some sort of body of water this weekend (myself included) whether it be the ocean, a pool, lake, or pond. Unless you have the luxury of your own private sanctuary you aren’t going to be alone. There will be many other families, friends, and lovers trying to enjoy their long weekend too. I know, the last thing we want to do it worry about other people on our time off but we can’t escape the reality. Wherever you may find yourself this weekend, there will be other people around you and it’s only right to respect their time and space as well. With a few small tips it’s actually pretty easy and it will make yourself look pretty good (and who doesn’t like that?) because unfortunately there are many selfish and oblivious people out there that have no respect whatsoever for others. I put together a quick list of a few guidelines that I try to follow when I’m at the beach, collected after experiencing many annoying and joyless beach trips. Hopefully this will help you vacation with more ease and confidence this weekend and many more weekends to come.

1. Before you stake your spot pay attention to your surroundings. First, try to leave a considerable amount a room between the other people on all sides of you. I understand that some beaches have limited room and even more so on busy weekends but try to make an effort to spread out. There are very few people who like being in arms lengths of people they don’t know, especially for long periods of time. I’m sure you don’t like it either, so why make everyone’s day miserable? People like to feel like they have a space that is all theirs. Have a particular spot that you like? Make sure to get there early to claim your spot instead of trying to squeeze in later. Being closer to the water, bathrooms, or snack bar is not worth the hassle of the huffs and puffs of other people around you. You should also pay attention to the wind and tide. You don’t want to sit too close to the water if the tide is due to come in soon. You can potentially lose your spot and may not find another one, or may need to squeeze somewhere else you really shouldn’t be. The wind direction is very important for those with umbrellas. As you can imagine, its not fun to get smashed in the face with a beach umbrella during a nice afternoon nap, especially if that beach umbrella is not yours. Just be aware and you will be fine.

2. Be cautious. If you are wearing flip flops or any type of sandal/shoe that isn’t secured tightly to your foot you should remove them as soon as you step onto the sand. Most sandals kick up a lot of sand as you walk and no one likes a whole pile of sand to the face- yuck! It’s also important to be cautious when shaking out your towel whether you are packing up or just re-adjusting. You make not realize it yourself but a lot of sand sticks to your towel and will get carried in the wind to the people next to you and maybe even beyond that. Take your towel to an open space and then shake it out.

3. There is no reason to yell- unless there is an emergency of course. Your voice carries on the shore so even if you think you are talking in a normal voice everyone around you can hear what you are saying. I don’t know about you but I really don’t care which muscles are sore, what you ate last night, or how horrible your job is. I go to the beach to relax, not listen to other people’s gossip.

4. If you are using a radio or speakers keep the volume low, just loud enough so the people you are with can hear it. Honestly, the best solution is an iPod and headphones but I realize that for larger groups people want to be able to socialize and hear each other without earphones getting in the way. So, if you do have a radio going just be mindful that other people may not want to hear your music. Also keep in mind what type of music you are playing, especially if you are in a heavy family populated area with children around.

5. Don’t smoke at your towel. The wind carries the smoke and you are in very close proximity to other people. Some people have allergies, asthma, and others just simply don’t like smoke blowing in their face- understandable. If you need to smoke find an empty spot on the beach, go for a walk, or head out to the parking lot.

6. If you want to get some exercise in with a football or frisbee pick your spot wisely. I hate having to constantly pay attention to those playing around me to ensure I don’t get slammed in the face. I want to close my eyes and relax or read a book. I don’t want to go home with a bruised eye or broken nose and I doubt you want to cause that to happen to someone else. Getting some exercise while at the beach is great, just pay attention to where you choose to do it.

7. If you are at a beach where dogs are allowed, keep your dog leashed. Not everyone thinks your dog is cute as you do. Also, don’t feed other animals. This includes other people’s dogs and the seagulls- ESPECIALLY the seagulls!!! If you like getting swarmed by seagulls then good for you but I can promise you that very few other people share that joy.

8. Lastly, clean-up. Before you leave your spot at the end of the day make sure all your trash is picked up and disposed of in the proper place. Beaches are beautiful, wonderful places but they won’t be for long if we don’t take care of them.

See, I told you (women love being right). These are all very simple things that only require minimal common sense. You can still enjoy your vacation the way you want to while respecting other fellow vacationers at the same time.

Enjoy your long weekend, get some sun, and relax. I will see you all next week!

If you enjoy reading this blog, please help me build my Facebook and Twitter following by liking my page (Lipstick Confidence) and by following me: @LConfidence.

Miss Smarty Pants

While browsing the internet on a desperate search for inspiration for this week’s post I came across this article from California Watch. In short, it talks about how women in male dominated majors in college (specifically engineering) struggle with constant confidence issues- many of which end up dropping the major because they feel like they aren’t smart enough or feel like an outcast. One mechanical engineering and material sciences major at UC Berkeley reported that her male classmates didn’t take her seriously and often made comments about her blonde hair. She also always felt extra pressure not a make a mistake because when she did it was often attributed to her gender.

As awful and unfair as this is, it’s a reality that women in college and the workplace are going to have to deal with at some point in their lives. Society is continually making small steps forward, but we aren’t going to see a massive change in gender equality overnight. Therefore, we, as female students and professionals, need to know how to handle ourselves appropriately and with confidence so our male counterparts don’t have anything to complain about.

Success and confidence building all starts in the classroom. Your college or university is a safe place to practice the skills in which you will need once you enter into the workplace. In college, you have a massive support system around you that wants you to succeed. Nevertheless, as demonstrated above, the classroom is also an easy and common setting for sexism.

With August quickly approaching (yikes!) and fall following closely behind, I have outlined some basic classroom etiquette guidelines below. Hopefully, this will help ease some nerves, build a little extra confidence, and make all you smart women out there be taken a little more seriously.

*Just like everything else- be on time. If you are constantly arriving late it gives us the impression that you don’t care about the class or your success. If you happen to be late, take the closest seat to the door that you can find and don’t walk across the front of the classroom.

*Dress comfortably and appropriately- especially for women. You want to be taken seriously so dress to impress. No man (or professor) is going to take you seriously if you show up to class in high heels, a mini-skirt, and tight tube top. All you are asking for is inappropriate attention- save that outfit for the weekends.

*Try to use the restroom before class. Getting up in the middle of a lecture is disturbing to both the professor and other students in the class.

*Once the professor summons the class to begin, cease all conversations. You probably don’t like it when you see other people talking while you are so don’t do it to someone else.

*Turn off your cell phone so you aren’t tempted to constantly look at it or so that phone call from mom doesn’t accidently disturb the whole class- embarrassing.

*Try to take your notes the old-fashioned way- with a pen and paper. Laptops are great but they are also a distraction. If you absolutely need to use your laptop because you are a slow writer or your professor talks really fast it might be a good idea to block your access to the internet and other games you may have on your computer so you aren’t tempted.

*Don’t whip out a book, magazine, or newspaper during class and start reading. It’s just rude. Despite how good you are at hiding it, your professor can easily tell when someone’s eyes aren’t looking at him/her. Also, don’t constantly turn your head to glance at the clock. Unfortunately, the end of class isn’t going to arrive any faster.

*If you are chewing gum, do so softly. Don’t blow or pop bubbles. It’s probably best to just save the gum chewing until after class.

*If you are so tired to the point that you are going to fall asleep in class you probably just shouldn’t go. There is no point in being there if you are just going to sleep through the whole thing.

*Hand everything in when you are supposed to. If your professor usually collects papers at the beginning of class don’t arrive twenty minutes late. Show that you care about your work.

*If you need to leave a class early let the professor know either before the class starts or a few days before. Also, try to get a seat right next to the door so you don’t have to walk across the whole classroom.

*Don’t hurry the end of class by packing up your books and zipping your backpack up a few minutes before class is over. Again, it’s rude and distracting. Plus, you may miss the opportunity to write down some essential information about next class, the homework, or an upcoming exam. Class isn’t over until it’s over.

If you handle yourself with confidence, show that you care, and have a genuine interest in learning and furthering your education you will be taken seriously. Showing your weaknesses gives people an opportunity to beat you down. Do what you love and don’t let anyone (man or woman) scare you away from it.

Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!

Make New Friends, but Keep the Old

No woman is complete without her friends. No matter how successful, intelligent, or wealthy- a girl needs her girlfriends. A friend provides many important essentials: a much needed afternoon break from your hectic life, a dependable second opinion, a shoulder to cry on, or a person to share and celebrate your joys with. When you have a fight or disagreement with a good friend it seems as if your world is going to end. You aren’t quite sure how you would ever survive without them.

Friendship isn’t easy. People, especially women, expect a lot from their friends. Despite our own busy lives we are expected to frequently keep in touch, know the happenings of each other’s lives, and organize a get together every few weeks. Sounds exhausting but we all do it (and it’s totally worth it). Making new friends is just as hard as keeping the old but I have gathered some great tips on how to maintain those priceless friendships. Just follow the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated.

*If you are meeting a friend somewhere- be on time. If you are constantly late, don’t have an excuse, or don’t apologize for your tardiness then it seems like your life/whatever you were doing before is more important than meeting your friend.

*Don’t gossip about friends with other friends (unless you are bragging about all their accomplishments). There’s a very good chance that anything bad you say WILL get back to the other person- especially if you are all in the same group of friends. If you do slip-up and the gossip gets back to your other friend- be honest about it. Don’t dig yourself deeper in a hole. Fess up and explain why you said what you did. Your honesty will be appreciated.

*Listen more than you talk. Show an interest in their lives by asking questions about what they have been up to.

*If you are at a party or large gathering make sure to introduce new and old friends to each other, giving them a chance to form their own friendship. Don’t keep groups of friends separate.

*If you get a phone call while you are with a friend and need to answer it make sure to excuse yourself.  Better yet, if you don’t need to answer it then don’t. It will make your friend feel super important in that moment.

*No matter how boring or pointless, don’t interrupt your friend’s conversation. Let them talk until they are finished then you can politely change the subject. Do not then point the conversation towards you- they are probably just as uninterested as you were. Pick a neutral topic.

*If a friend asks for your opinion or advice- be honest. No matter what you think your friend wants to hear, tell them what you truly think is right. They value your opinion more than you know. You might save them from making the biggest mistake of their life.

*Celebrate their accomplishments and joys by taking them out for lunch or buying them a little gift. Also take part in their sorrows. If they are upset about something or going through a hard time- reach out to them. A friend is someone who isn’t just there for the good times but for the bad as well.

*Every girl has to have someone they tell all their secrets to- we can’t keep everything to ourselves, it’s just in our nature. If you are that person for someone else, live up to the expectations. Keep their secrets safe no matter how tempted you are to run and tell another friend.

*One of the best things about having a friend is that you have a whole other closet to go through. It’s perfectly fine to borrow things from your friends but there are fine rules that come along with it. If something is new, don’t borrow it (even if your friend says you could). Don’t keep anything too long, you never know when your friend is going to need it. Lastly, return everything in the condition in which you got took it in (clean that is).

Friendship is priceless and if you do it right it should last a lifetime. Although a lot goes into maintaining a friendship, if you just follow your heart and do what you feel is right you won’t have any problem making new friends OR keeping the old.

Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!

Claim Your Prize Here

If you are reading this post right now I owe you a sincere congratulations. One, you made it through my last two awfully depressing posts. And two, you survived six months of reading my blog. Therefore, happy six months to me and a big congratulations to you (really- you have no idea how much I appreciate it).

What’s in it for you? Alright, alright don’t get so pushy- I think you deserve a treat too. How about a candy bar? No. An afternoon nap? Nah. A day at the beach? Nope. Jeez, you guys are so hard to please… wait, I got it! How about a nice warm stone massage and facial? DING, DING, DING- we have a winner!

I think you should treat yourself- I really do. You won’t regret it. Spas are for relaxation, a place to de-stress, but not everyone feels that way. The thought of going into a quiet, dimly light treatment room with a complete stranger deters many people from even stepping one foot inside a spa. Have no fear, I’m here to save the day again (hey, I can toot my horn a little today- I’m celebrating!). These few simple guidelines will surely ease your nerves. Speaking from experience, I promise that you will be going back for a second treatment very soon.

*Arrive 15-20 minutes early for your appointment. If it’s your first time, many spas will have a short questionnaire for you to fill out and you will definitely want a few minutes to unwind in the relaxation room while sipping some cucumber water.

*Make sure to be honest about your medical history/any current medical problems. The last thing you want is a nice relaxing spa trip to cause more problems for you down the road.

*When you make your appointment, ask about their cancellation policy. At many spas, if you cancel with too short of notice there will be a fee.

*If you have a particular therapist that you like to see, make sure to tell them that when booking. Don’t assume you can just walk in and request a certain person- they may already have another customer.

*Leave all your valuables at home (they make you take off jewelry anyway) and shower before the treatment whether you take one at home before you arrive or in the locker room of the spa.

*Before you walk in the door, turn off your cell phone. Better yet, just leave it in your car. There is absolutely no reason to bring your cell phone with you, people don’t go to the spa to talk or to listen to other people talk.

*If you are new to the spa, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a quick tour. It’s much better than wandering the halls yourself looking for the locker room and other amenities.

*The biggest problem people have with spas is the nudity. You don’t need to undress completely. If you are comfortable, go ahead. But it’s ok to leave your underwear on (I know I do). Also they will provide you with a sheet to cover yourself when you roll over onto your back and your bottom is always covered with a sheet-nothing is ever exposed.

*If you have a problem area that you would like your therapist to pay special attention to- speak up! They aren’t mind readers so if you don’t say anything it’s your loss.

*Don’t fall for add-ons, unless you want to pay. Sometimes during your massage they will ask if you would like a certain lotion or an extra treatment and most of the time these extras cost something. If you don’t have the extra money, decline politely or if you feel comfortable ask if there will be an extra cost involved (you don’t want to miss out on anything already included in the price you are paying).

*Don’t feel pressure to talk during your appointment. The therapists are usually very respectful and know that people come to the spa to relax. If your therapist is particularly chatty just say that you have had a rough week and really came here to just be by yourself and not have to talk to anyone for an hour. They will understand, they’re used to it.

*You aren’t expected to jump right off the table after you appointment but you should try to move at a respectable pace. There is a good chance that there is someone else waiting to use your room.

*Don’t forget to leave a 15-20% tip (in cash if you can) at the reception desk after your massage.

*When you get home, drink lots of water throughout the rest of the day to rehydrate your muscles and reduce any soreness that may arise in the next couple of days.

Whoever thought of the idea of a spa is a complete genius in my book. There are very few other places where you can go to be in complete relaxation by yourself. Everyone needs that every once in a while. Try it once, you will be happy you did.

Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence,’ this one is easy. Enjoy- you deserve it!

A Duty to Remember

If you made it through the wake (see last week’s post), then you survived the hardest part of the funeral process or at least the most uncomfortable part. The funeral service itself is easy in terms of etiquette but it is often the most emotional part of the process. This is the last time that family and friends will physically get to be with the deceased, making it extremely hard to say the last goodbyes. But we can’t lose sight of the purpose of a funeral- to honor and remember. The deceased deserves to have a rightful passage into the afterlife and it’s the duty of those that are left behind to make sure that happens.

There really isn’t much for you, as an attendee, to do at a funeral service. If you are respectful, sympathetic, and just use your common sense you will do and say all the right things. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

*Dress in darker, appropriate clothing. Many websites that I looked at say that wearing bright colors to a funeral is no longer inappropriate but I personally disagree. People are in the process of mourning and there is no reason they need to be bombarded with a bright pink blouse. Darker colors are respectful and show that you are mourning as well. And again, keep the amount of skin showing to a minimum.

*Don’t feel uncomfortable with tears. Funerals are very emotional. If a family member or friend starts crying as you are talking to them, don’t feel uncomfortable. Let them cry, it’s heathly to openly express emotions. The vice versa applies here too. If you start crying as you are talking to someone else don’t feel embarrassed, it’s perfectly normal.

*When you arrive at the site of the funeral (wherever that may be), it’s appropriate to find family members of the deceased and offer your condolences if you happen to see them. But the same rules apply here too- be brief. Also, if you don’t know the family well, identify yourself and your relationship with the deceased.

*Usually the first couple rows of seating are reserved for immediate family. If you are a friend or co-worker you should sit further back unless you are told otherwise by the family.

*It’s always appropriate to send a memorial gift. Whether you send flowers to the family or something as simple as a mass card or sympathy card. It’s just an extra way to let the family know you are thinking of them and are truly sorry for their loss.

*If there is a register book at the funeral- sign it. Leave all necessary information that it asks for and sometimes it is a good idea to briefly explain your relationship to the deceased so the family doesn’t feel like a bunch of strangers came to the funeral.

*If you are going to be part of the funeral procession to the cemetery, take your proper place behind the hearse and cars of immediate family members and turn on your headlights/blinkers so other cars on the road know you are a part of the procession.

*At the cemetery there may be seats set up around the grave site. These are for immediate family and should be reserved for such.

*The most important part (and the one often forgotten) is to keep in touch with the family afterwards. Especially if you are close with the family, a quick phone call or visit every now and then lets them know that people are still thinking about them. The hardest part of the mourning process is going back to your everyday life without your loved one. People get so wrapped up in resuming their own lives that they often forget about the family. Honor the deceased by extending a helping hand in the months to come.

See? You shouldn’t be scared of the funeral service. As sad as a funeral can be, it’s also a time to remember the good memories and honor the deceased’s accomplishments. Your sincere condolences and support is all the family is looking for. Don’t get wrapped up in acting a certain way- as in all other circumstances, just be your own ‘lipstick confident’ self.

The Circle of Life

Death is a natural part of life- we are all going to experience it at some point. It’s not something that anyone looks forward to but it’s a reality that needs to be dealt with. The worst part is the unexpected, what you’re not prepared for. Sometimes death is predicted (old age or a disease) and other times it seems to come out of nowhere (such as a car accident). Whatever the situation is, we need to know how to handle ourselves. Death is already an uncomfortable and depressing subject to deal with and there is no reason to build up more anxiety because you don’t know what to say, how to act, or what to wear. There is nothing worse than not knowing how to act in a high stress situation, therefore this is something that needs to be talked about despite its depressing connotation.

This week I’m going to talk about wake etiquette (guess what’s coming next week). The wake is possibly the hardest part of the funeral process. My family chose to opt out of the dreaded process when my grandparents passed away. Wakes are uncomfortable and sometimes scary- especially the first time around. But we need to remember the purpose of a wake: to remember and honor the deceased. That’s not so scary, right? Here are a few general tips to help ease your nerves the next time you find yourself at a wake (which I hope is in the very far future):

*Dress appropriately. Wakes aren’t super formal but you still need to look presentable. Don’t wear anything that will call attention to you such as bright colors or anything flashy. Your clubbing attire or exercise clothes aren’t appropriate choices either. If you are comfortable wearing the outfit to work it’s most likely appropriate enough for a wake.

*Before you enter the room, sign the guestbook. It serves as a nice keepsake for the family afterwards and it helps them remember who came because they are very unlikely to remember less than half of the people they see that day.

*Try to keep your emotions in check. Of course, it’s totally appropriate to cry at wakes but try not to sob hysterically- it’s hard enough on family, friends, and guests already.

*While you are in line, talking to the family, or mingling with others afterwards- keep your voice down. Funeral parlors are a place for mourning and remembrance, not loud laughter or banter.

*If it’s open casket you should really try to view the body out of respect (and clearly the family wants you to). But if you absolutely can’t do it without losing your cool than it’s perfectly alright to skip over the viewing and go directly to the family.

*Once you get through the line and reach the deceased’s family, keep your conversation minimal. No matter how well you know the family, try to keep your conversation limited to your condolences and move on. Again, it is very unlikely for them to even remember what you said anyways.

*Mind the crowd. Don’t take too long going through the line and talking to the family. There are other people waiting behind you as well. Don’t draw out the process for the deceased’s family any longer than it has to be.

*If you know people at the wake, it’s appropriate to lightly mingle with them AFTER you paid your condolences. Your conversation should really stay limited to the deceased and their family because well, that’s why your there. If you feel the need to carry on an extended conversation with them go outside or tell them you will call them later.

*Remember that the wake isn’t about you (unless you are immediate family of the deceased). It’s not a social hour or reunion.

*Lastly, this may sound weird, but just be yourself. If you are close enough to the deceased to attend their wake then there is a pretty good chance that his/her family already knows your personality. Don’t over think anything too much, just the fact that you walked through that door to pay your respects is enough. And honestly, people aren’t watching your every move- they have more important things on their mind.

Again, I hope none of you ever have to put any of these guidelines into practice but the reality is that we probably all will. Despite your level of acceptance of reality, we all need to be prepared because unfortunately the hardest experiences in life require the most ‘lipstick confidence.’