4 Must-Have Traits to Perfect Your Southern Hospitality
Southerners are known for quite a few things, but our hospitality is one of the most well-known traits! Growing up in the South you are taught from a very young age that hospitality is part of everyday life and something you need to master well before you’re an adult. You learn from the best by watching your family elders guide the youngsters into the sweet little ladies and gentlemen they are intended to be. We’ve included just a few of those hospitality traits here which can be helpful tips or maybe a refresher to keep you on your best Southern behavior. After all, we have a reputation to maintain y’all!
First things first, you gotta use your manners. Whether you’re 6 or 86, you will always benefit from being polite. In a world where we’re often too rushed to show respect for each other, saying “thank you” and “please” will take you a long way! The saying goes “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar” and for a reason! Of course, in the South those manners include using “ma’am” and “sir” behind every yes and no answer.
Something that always stands out in the minds of others when it comes to being Southern is the food! Growing up I watched the women in my family cooking meals to feed an army – which was usually all us grandkids – but also feeding neighbors, friends and anyone else in need of a good, home cooked meal. It was especially important to take over casseroles or easy to reheat meals to families who had just lost a loved one, been in a bad accident or even welcomed a new baby! It’s one of the kindest things we Southerners do since we all know good food feeds the body and the soul. A tip for fulfilling this Southern hospitality trait – take food to others in disposable dishes. The receiving family doesn’t have to worry about who to return something to or manage washing dishes!
Second to our food, our friendliness has paved the way for what makes true hospitality Southern! Whether you receive a wave driving down the road or smile and nod walking down the grocery store aisle, Southerners will always make sure to greet you. If you move into a new neighborhood you’re sure to have a neighbor or two stop by or greet you as they’re walking their dogs to make sure you feel welcomed. There’s no such thing as a stranger to us, just a new friend we haven’t met yet!
You will be surprised at how even the smallest gestures of thoughtfulness and kindness make someone else smile. Holding a door open, offering up your seat, picking something up that was dropped or even giving someone directions are all small ways to show kindness to anyone. Another simple gesture that has a more personal touch is a written thank you note. It doesn’t take long to give written thanks for a gift or a favor but the effects are long lasting! It seems to be a fading trend, but one that should not be overlooked.