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Chelsey's Rules of Civility

My husband is a history buff. Eats sleeps and talks about American history. Especially the founding fathers. On our recent trip to Massachusetts he picked up a little book called, “George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation.” We read a little of it the other day and chuckled at some and internalized others. I wanted to share a few that stood out to me...

2. When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body, not usually discovered.

(AKA men… don’t itch your crotch. HAH)

3. Show nothing to your friend that may affright him.

(I have shown my friends my makeup less face too many times.)

10. When you sit down, keep your feet firm and even, without putting one on the other or crossing them.

13. Kill no vermin as fleas, lice, ticks in the sight of others. If it be upon the clothes of your companions, put it off privately; and if it be upon your own clothes, return thanks to him who puts it off.


90. Being set at meat, scratch not; neither spit, cough or blow your nose except if there is a necessity for it.

(Please someone wipe little jimmy’s snot face haha)

92. Take no salt, nor cut your bread with your knife greasy.

(Is there a rule for ripping it off with your greasy hands?)

97. Put not another bite into your mouth till the former be swallowed. Let not your morsels be too big. (Me. every. single. meal.)

Sadly it made me realize I am a giant slob. But all funny ones aside there was many I really liked or wished society still practiced…

73. Think before your speak; pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your words too hastily, but orderly and distinctly.

74. When another speaks be attentive yourself and disturb not the audience, if any hesitates in his words, help him not, nor prompt him without desired; interrupt him not, nor answer him till his speech be ended.

89. Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust.


105. Be not angry at the table whatever happens, and if you have reason to be so, show it not; put on a cheerful countenance especially if there be strangers, for a good humour makes one dish of meat a feast.


110. Labour to keep alive in your breast that little celestial fire called conscience.

Times have changed so drastically in good and bad ways in the last 300 years. I sure wish we lived in a society where we treated each other kinder, and with more gentleness. Where we wanted to look more respectable and have better manners. BUT… our world has come so far in good ways too. In one of his rules of civility it was in regards to speaking to someone “higher” than you. We don’t have statuses and for that I am grateful. And women are equals not inferior.

After reading these I got thinking of my own rules of civility! Serious and not so serious. And here they are! I didn’t have enough to create 110… but 16 work nicely too!


1. Put your grocery cart away. For reals. Please do.

2. Everywhere you go have a pleasant face. I am still working on this one, but I feel like it truly changes my experiences and overall day.

3. When breaking wind raise a finger and politely say excuse me. Hah.

4. When people say unkind things have a clever but careful tongue, and a forgiving heart.

5. When making food for others and you get the ugly or cold portion. Eat it and be darn grateful you have loved ones to serve and spend time with.

6. Always talk out loud when waving a car to “go ahead”.

7. Put a fresh new toilet paper roll on the holder. Don’t be a lazy jerk.

8. Don’t give advice freely. Only when asked or when the circumstance calls for it.

9. Sometimes just sometimes people really don’t want to hear about that Netflix, book, or podcast that you are really into. It’s okay… just politely force them to like all the things you like.

10. Listen to Taylor Swift shamelessly in the car.

11. Say thank you daily to your parents for putting up with you as an annoying greasy teenager.

12. Realize that little ache you feel is probably the worst possible illness and you should google it and proceed to have a break down.

13. You’re opinion isn’t the only one that matters.

14. Everyone is going through something. Be Kind.

15. Reach out to someone you love each day.

16. Take a break and take a walk.

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