Flower Etiquette

by Claire Valenty on August 15, 2010

in Everyday Etiquette


Is it ok to give your sister a single flower for her birthday?  Is it acceptable to give your Japanese teacher a bouquet of white tulips?  The answers can be found in our article on Flower Etiquette.

Flowers are beautiful, smell wonderful and receiving them can make someone feel really special. But, before you make flowers your go-to gift when you are in doubt of what to give, make sure you know proper flower etiquette!

  • Red roses are reserved exclusively for lovers. There are never any exceptions. Don’t believe me? Send red roses to your boss. See how the office gossip flies!
  • Speaking of colors, if sending flowers to someone from a different culture than you, do some research on color meanings. For example, in Mexico, red casts spells and white lift spells. However, in Asia, red represents happiness and white is a reminder of funeral and mourning.
  • Funeral flower etiquette states that if the family of the deceased have asked for donations to a charity in lieu of flowers at the funeral, you must respect their wishes. However, it is acceptable to send flowers the day after the funeral in addition to your donation to convey your sympathy and best wishes. If you are in doubt as to what type of flower to send, every florist will be able to help you put something personally together or they will have arrangements already made for you to choose from.
  • While not such an issue in the US, in many places, it is considered unlucky to give an odd number of flowers. The exception is giving a lover a single flower.
  • According to the men in my life, young and old, they do not like getting flowers. They may tell you to your face that they do, but, they will hide those things the second you move out of sight. And don’t ever, ever have flowers delivered to their work – they will never live it down!

When you have doubts about flower etiquette, you are in luck – consult your local florist. They have spent a lot of time in the field and know what is socially acceptable for every occasion!

Photo: stock.xchng/Israel Papillon

{ 1 comment }

Being aware of the corporate culture

Being diplomatic is more than just being polite. It requires you to consider and follow some specific guidelines.

Although tact and diplomacy are two different aspects of communicating, both must be brought together to communicate effectively. Being diplomatic requires you to be aware of your organization’s corporate culture. In simple terms, this involves being “political” or “politically correct.” Tact is more about recognizing and being sensitive to the delicacy of a situation and other people.

There are two general principles that should be followed to be diplomatic in the workplace – be aware of the corporate culture of the organization, and be a good coworker.

Being diplomatic requires awareness of the organization’s corporate culture. There are several layers to an organization’s corporate culture. Superficially, corporate culture is the way things are done in an organization. Beneath this, corporate culture is the system of informal, unwritten rules. At a deeper level are the common values that guide these rules, with fundamental assumptions being deeper still.

It’s important to “tap into” the corporate culture, and ensure that what you say and do are consistent with it. Failing to adhere to the way things are done will be particularly obvious to others – and may come across as undiplomatic.

Being a good coworker

Being diplomatic in the workplace is also about being a good coworker. This means that you should develop an awareness of your coworkers. It also means that you give credit where due, and share blame when things go wrong. It’s also important that you don’t make negative comments about coworkers.

Developing an awareness of your coworkers is one of the easiest ways to avoid problems with them. It means making an effort to learn about the pressures they’re under. You can develop awareness simply by watching how they work – knowing what their responsibilities are, what their daily challenges are, and what their busy periods are. It’s also useful to talk to them – simply talking to people instead of speculating on their decisions or actions is the best way to get perspective.

It’s important to give credit to others who’ve contributed to any achievement or success. You should also take your share of the blame or responsibility for mistakes or failures. Taking credit for others’ achievements will cost you dearly in the long term. It’ll badly affect your relationship with others, and make them less inclined to assist or cooperate with you in the future. When speaking of successes that have been a team effort, always use “we” instead of “I” to make it clear that others were involved.

Don’t ever make negative comments about a coworker – or any comment that you wouldn’t make directly to that person. Never make a comment – either oral or written – when you’re angry or frustrated. If you do have to make a critical comment about someone, be sure that you know all the relevant facts before you form – and, in particular, express – your opinion.

Effective communication means communicating with tact and diplomacy. To be diplomatic in the workplace requires you to be aware of the corporate culture of the organization, and be a good coworker. Corporate culture includes things such as the way things are done in an organization; the system of informal, unwritten rules; the common values that guide these rules; and the fundamental assumptions. Being a good coworker involves following some basic guidelines. You need to develop an awareness of your coworkers, give credit where due, and avoid making negative comments about coworkers.


Communicating Tactfully in the Business World

August 30, 2012

Being tactful toward others Tact is recognizing the sensitivity in a situation and making sure that your comment is appropriate. It’s also the ability to be assertive without being offensive. When resolving to be more tactful, bear in mind these principles: assess the best time to initiate a communication, listen effectively, think before responding, plan […]

Read More →

How to Develop Relationships through Diplomacy and Tact

August 30, 2012

The benefits of tact and diplomacy There are two fundamental components to developing a professional relationship: building trust and building rapport. Building trust means developing a reputation for being honest and having integrity. This won’t happen from words or talk alone – it needs to be backed up with action. It means you should keep […]

Read More →

Principles for good Communication in the Workplace

August 30, 2012

Professional conversations in the workplace are the key to success.  Here are some key principles that will help you to understand your work environment and become a better communicator: In order to demonstrate awareness of the corporate culture, you should be aware of the following: the way things are done – The way things are […]

Read More →

Picnics and Country Homes: A Socially Acceptable Return to Our Primitive Nature

September 12, 2011

In 1895 summertime was more than just a reprieve from cold weather or demanding schedules. When the hot days of June, July, and August arrived, polite society allowed itself to relax and ‘return to nature’. Air conditioning had not yet been invented and city life could become unbearable when the mercury rose past 80F, so […]

Read More →

On being Fierce – April 1896

September 12, 2011

A single word can define an era and so it was at the end of the 19th century. Both men and women were told to change their approach to life. Language changes with the times and often reflects our current values and beliefs. On page 19 of the April 1896 issue of “Vickery’s Fireside Visitor” […]

Read More →

Romancing the Autumn Spirits

September 12, 2011

Halloween customs in 2011 are easy to predict. There will be lots of children in store-bought costumes knocking on neighbor’s doors and filling their bags with wrapped candy. We can also count on a huge selection of scary movies and YouTube videos throughout October. Lastly, many of us may be invited to an adult Halloween […]

Read More →

Dining Room Etiquette Rules – 1892

May 18, 2011

Today, casual dining is the accepted norm. Paper napkins and disposable dishes are common even at festive occasions, but things were very different in the early 1890’s. Although meals were not eaten exclusively in the dining room, when they were, certain rules and procedures were followed. Breakfast in the kitchen or a picnic lunch outside […]

Read More →

Etiquette Notes 1899 – Resist an Unauthentic or Loud Appearance

April 23, 2011
Thumbnail image for Etiquette Notes 1899 – Resist an Unauthentic or Loud Appearance

Just where is the line between being real and exploring new styles and trends? Is it possible to be authentic on the inside but not on the outside? 111 years ago the rules of etiquette were straight forward. Putting on airs or trying to be something outside of your status and station was considered distasteful […]

Read More →

Spring Dress Etiquette in the 1900’s

March 17, 2011
Thumbnail image for Spring Dress Etiquette in the 1900’s

Many a mother has advised their daughters to only wear white shoes, linen clothing, straw hats and handbags, and sandals after Memorial Day and never after Labor Day. For many, these rules of summer clothing seem to be set in stone, but what about the spring? Is there a time to put away the winter […]

Read More →

Cupid’s Day 1907 – Love in the Open

March 2, 2011
Thumbnail image for Cupid’s Day 1907 – Love in the Open

Valentine’s Day in the beginning of the 20th century got much more attention than it does today. Most women’s periodicals dedicated full sections to “cupid’s holiday” and many magazine covers carried heart shaped themes. The 14th of February presented a socially acceptable time for both men and women to express their interest in each other […]

Read More →

Top 10 Tips for Addressing Wedding Envelopes

February 20, 2011
Thumbnail image for Top 10 Tips for Addressing Wedding Envelopes

As with every other aspect of a wedding, there is a certain tradition on how your wedding envelopes (and save the dates) should be addressed.  Make sure you do not overlook a thing by reviewing our top ten tips for addressing wedding envelopes! 1)      All abbreviations should be completely written out. For example, instead of […]

Read More →

Water Fountain Etiquette

February 20, 2011
Thumbnail image for Water Fountain Etiquette

As the craze for bottled water and its eight hundred variations has taken over the general public, it is rare to see a water fountain in public.  It is even more rare that you will find yourself needing to use one.  On the other hand, the true etiquette master knows how to do everything right, […]

Read More →

Chewing Gum Etiquette

February 20, 2011
Thumbnail image for Chewing Gum Etiquette

Chewing gum is a great way to keep your mouth free from bacteria and to freshen up your breath between brushings.  By following our top tips for chewing gum etiquette, you will keep classy and winter fresh! Chewing gum is like chewing food – do not do it with your mouth open.  This will help […]

Read More →

Chinese Dining Etiquette

February 4, 2011
Thumbnail image for Chinese Dining Etiquette

No, this is not an article about how to properly eat your take away from Panda Express or how to be on your best behavior when visiting your local Chinese restaurant.  Instead, this article will focus on how to best fit the etiquette needs of dining in China, if you are there for business, for […]

Read More →

The Art of the Napkin

February 4, 2011
Thumbnail image for The Art of the Napkin

We all use (or should use) a napkin several times a day.  Obviously, it is handy for wiping that excess food off the corner of your mouth (if you are lucky enough to be dining with someone who will actually mention it to you), but, what is proper napkin etiquette? Napkins are decorative, as well […]

Read More →

Fast Food Etiquette

February 4, 2011
Thumbnail image for Fast Food Etiquette

Just because fast food is convenient, does not mean you can forget your manners!  Make sure that when you are grabbing a quick bite you are not committing a social faux pas! Just because the atmosphere at a fast food restaurant is casual does not give your kids the license to run insanely around the […]

Read More →

Potluck Etiquette – Something not to be Left to Luck!

February 4, 2011
Thumbnail image for Potluck Etiquette – Something not to be Left to Luck!

At least every two weeks in my office, there is a potluck to celebrate someone’s baby, a promotion, a departure or just because it is a Friday.  Even if you think you are never going to participate in a potluck, sooner or later, you will be forced to.  This is why it is important you […]

Read More →