The Allure of Gracious Liveliness

Savannah 1672Yes ma’am. Yes sir. I heard that a lot in the last four days in Savannah, GA.  At first if felt a little strange, then I grew to love it. There were other signs of the gracious nature of the south: like when  the receptionist at the front desk of our hotel greeted us like we were long-lost friends, or the cab driver who obviously loves his city and shook our hands with a big smile when dropping us at the airport.

One of my first experiences was the server at a diner who explained with a smile, “Honey, this is the south. Y’all only get sweet tea”, when unsweetened iced tea was requested at lunch. Though the drink I wanted was not available I felt honored somehow. (Or perhaps it’s the stately gorgeous trees with moss hanging from the branches that invites relaxed and engaging behavior?)

It did not matter that it was 96 degrees with humidity to match, the folks we talked with gave off a feeling of gracious liveliness, whether resident or tourist.  I am not sure which came first.  Did the happy tourists help to create the gracious culture, or visa versa?  I’d wager that the culture came first.  The joyful zest for life that I felt from the people who live in Savannah seems deeper than can be gotten with a few days of vacation.

I don’t think that “yes mam and yes sir” will come across well in New England.  So I find myself looking for ways to treat others with that same feeling of mutual respect that taking the time to say “yes sir” engenders.

Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Listen more fully.  Let the other person complete their sentence, and then pause some more.
  • Let go of trying to figure out my response while the other person is talking
  • Let some cars into the line of traffic ahead of me, or graciously wait for a pedestrian to make up their mind whether they are going to cross the street
  • Remember that it’s okay to have a different opinion than the others, just be gracious and respectful

KC_OverTheHump_Masthead 230x200You might even catch me sneaking in a “yes mam” or “yes sir.”  What are the phrases or actions that make you feel welcome and delighted?  What do you do to help others feel the same way?

Please comment below so that others might benefit from your practices.

My best wishes for your continued success.

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6 thoughts on “The Allure of Gracious Liveliness

  1. Lisa I’ve always wanted to visit that place, it seems exotic and I really enjoyed your descriptions, place and culture! I always enjoy your newsletters too, I’ve been wanting to let you know and am taking the opportunity now. Most people start doing something like this and it soon falls off and is gone. I myself am guilty! But your newsletters are always interesting and helpful, and like clockwork. It’s often my first indication of the day that it’s Wednesday!

    Thanks, Mark

    • Thanks so much Mark! I am really honored by your reading and responding. It’s what keeps me going! I highly recommend visiting the southern cities. After seeing Asheville in North Carolina I wanted to see more. When I travel I like to just wander and so Savannah was the perfect city for that – even at 95 degrees.

  2. While shopping, I often talk to an employee. I make a consious effort to notice their name tag – then I use their first name when I thank them for their help (with a smile). Frequently, I detect a smile from them when I do.

    • I am glad to hear that Dick. I think about it, but don’t want to seem too obvious, so I am glad it is well received!