Sloane Rangers are masters of meaningful chit-chat and witty repartee, and they positively sparkle their way through any social occasion. Many born-and-bred prepsters will have learned these priceless skills from birth, looking up to their socialite parents and absorbing their effortless skills in hosting guests, attending events and entertaining friends with ease and grace. Others acquire their elite social skills a little later in life and do just as well on the social merry-go-round, so we’re here to give you a few pointers on how to rock any social occasion like a total Sloane.
In polite situations and when meeting new people, avoid blurting out ‘pleased to meet you’ which is considered terribly common amongst elite circles, and instead say ‘how do you do?’ if it’s a very formal situation or if you’re meeting elders. Otherwise, a friendly smile and a confident ‘hi, I’m (insert name), how are you?’ is great. Remember, much of this comes down to confidence, so if you’re not naturally brimming with self-assurance, just act like someone who is! While men will shake hands with one another on first meetings and often when meeting up socially with old friends, women go for a kiss on each cheek with new female acquaintances and girlfriends alike, as do men greeting women. Often a ‘how are you?’ or ‘great to see you’ is uttered between kisses, and thus the initial social hurdle is swiftly navigated with success and ease. But bear in mind, any kind of kissing is a big faux pas in business meetings. If you’re uncomfortable going in for the cheek kiss on first being introduced to someone new, just be confident and offer them your hand to shake. If you do this with a big smile and a warm greeting, it won’t be considered rude or passé. Try not to make very over-the-top ‘mwah’ noises when cheek-kissing, and avoid complete air-kissing at all costs. Not cool.
Whether you’re spending a day at the Polo with a bunch of new friends, lunching with the in-laws at their country house or stomping through the fields on a winter shoot, have a store of anecdotes up your sleeve that are appropriate to your audience and situation. For some of us, these little gems come to us spontaneously and we deliver each little tale with perfect timing and delivery. For the rest of us, a little planning goes a long way. Even the most professional prepsters – think the Cambridges, the Delevingnes and the rest of the Brit Fash Pack – have their off days where they have to fall back on tried-and-tested dinner party tales to amuse and entertain their audiences. Before you attend your next big event, have a think about what you’ve seen or done recently that would make a good story or ice-breaker. It’s not a comedy competition so don’t feel it must be a hilarious anecdote, but think about the context you’re entering into and what sort of subjects would be of interest to your acquaintances. Topics always worth avoiding socially, except with very close friends, are idle gossip and religion.
Finally, remember that it’s not all about regaling your companions with tale upon tale from your childhood, work or family life. The most insufferable bores in elite social circles are loud, brash ‘broadcasters’ who fail to listen to or remember what anyone ever says to them. The most interesting people in Sloanie society are those who show real interest and ask good questions. So next time you’re sat next to someone new at the dinner table (remember preppy hosts will never sit you near your partner if you have one) don’t lose your head frantically thinking of something – anything – to say next: ask questions about what people do, where they’ve been and what they think about what’s going on locally and internationally. It’s a great way in if you’re feeling a little rusty, and you’ll soon be coaxing the next Sloanie newcomer into your circle with your witty tales, interesting ice-breakers and conversation-generating questions.
Calling all social butterflies! What are your tips for surviving all occasions? Comment below or tweet us your best advice!
above image via Tatler UK – edited with text by Modern Prep Gazette