Meet and Greet

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One endearing custom regularly modeled on Downton Abbey is the gathering of the household outside the door to welcome guests. The family members and servants wait as the cars approach the house and the guests disembark.

The quiet formality marks the moment, punctuates the arrival.

I like these manners, I guess, because they are familiar. I have my own house rule: when a scheduled guest arrives I want to be outside my house, focused on my guest’s arrival. I want my posture to say, “this—THIS—is the highlight of my day!” The risotto may need stirring, but that’s unimportant compared to a direct look, a smile, a welcoming hug or handshake.

I’m not as careful about rising when a guest/older person walks into the room; I didn’t grow up with this point of etiquette. But it’s not too late to cultivate it.