Social Sense From Sheryl

This etiquette blog is dedicated to provide readers with the most up to date information on manners and etiquette for all situations.

Cell phones are wonderful, but they shouldn’t take the place of the person you’re with, said Sheryl Trower, founder and president of the Etiquette School of Central Pennsylvania in Lititz.

Paying attention to the people you are with shows them respect and makes them feel comfortable.

Make those people a priority, not your phone. Keeping the phone away cuts down on disruptions and allows you to socialize and enjoy the meal.

“We’re so connected to our technology that we’ve forgotten our manners and respect for the person who’s in your presence,” she says.

Here are her tips for cell phone etiquette during meals.

  • The phone has no place on the table. It’s presence, rings or vibrations is distracting. Keep the phone in your purse, pocket or even your car so you won’t continue checking it.
  • If you are expecting an important call or text, tell the people you are with and put the phone on vibrate or silent and keep it within eyesight. When you get the call, excuse yourself and take the call in a private place.
  • Don’t text under the table. You’re not hiding it from your guests.
  • Don’t answer the phone underneath the table. Out of sight does not mean people can’t hear you.

Elementary Essentials Class  on November 5 4:30-6:30 PM

Ages 6- 11

Cost $75

1824 Colonial Village Lane  Lancaster PA

Youth Culture Class

September 22

Youth Culture Class

4:30-6:30 PM

Title: Elementary Essentials
Location: Homewood Suites Granite Run Drive Lancaster PA
Description: This class is for children age 6-11. Topics covered include introductions, hand shake, conversation and party skills, theater and sports etiquette, thank you notes, phone etiquette, public speaking, dining skills and table manners.
April 15 from 4-6PM
Cost $80 per child
Start Time: 4:00
Date: 2014-04-15
End Time: 6:00

Elementary Essentials Class for ages 6-11 will be held on April 15, 2014 from 4-6PM at Homewood Suites in Lancaster PA. The cost is $80 per child. Please email Sheryl at to register your child.

Sign up your child now for the next session of Elementary Essentials. Classes begin October 3rd from 4-5 PM and run for five weeks. There will be no class Oct. 31 because of Halloween, therefore the final class and graduation dinner will be held on November 7th. Contact me at to register.

House Guests

I am very fortunate to have remained close to many of my sorority sisters from college. Thirty five years is a long time to maintain friendships and after living our separate lives raising our families, we now find ourselves seeing each other more often since our children are grown and out of the house. Because most of us live quite a distance from each other, we take turns hosting groups in our homes.

What makes a guest feel welcome? Is it the crisp sheets and downy quilts or is it breakfast prepared by someone other than yourself? Albeit all those things are wonderful, I have found that it is not just the “stuff” that our host does for us to make us comfortable but it is the company that she provides. A guest knows that they are welcome when the host takes time to chat, sit and have a cup of tea or a glass of wine. At the end of the day, it`s not just good food and accommodations that make a great visit…`s the warm feeling we have while we are there and yearn for when we leave.

In the last month, I have had two polar opposite experiences while visiting doctors. The first one occurred during a check up at a specialist. After waiting one hour and ten minutes, I checked with the receptionist at the registration desk to see how much longer I would have to wait. I was told the doctor was running late and that she really didn`t know how much longer it would be. After waiting twenty more minutes, I got up and left. Why isn`t the patient`s time as valuable as the doctor`s?

My next experience later that week was at a medical facility where I had to get an unpleasant procedure done. Everyone from the receptionist, nurse and the doctor were pleasant, compassionate, understanding, PUNCTUAL and knowledgeable. The entire staff made a dreaded experience so much more tolerable for me by their demeanor and customer service. It does`t take a lot to smile at a nervous patient, to hold her shaking hand or to assure her, she is in good hands.

Two similar situations with two very different outcomes. Kindness and civility really do make a difference in our everyday life encounters.

                                                          LIVE  PERFORMANCES

Several years ago, when my daughter was in high school, I chaperoned her chorus to Michigan for a performance. After the performance, the school treated the students to a symphony in Detroit.  The theater was very old and prestigious. Many of the children had never been to hear a live symphony orchestra and the teachers dutifully prepared them for live performance etiquette. The children used their best manners and were quiet during the event, careful not to take photographs or applaud at inappropriate times. They refrained from eating or drinking during the show and excused themselves to go to the rest room at appropriate times. So needless to say, we were horrified when the gentleman in front of us, obviously severely intoxicated, stood up and proceeded to conduct the orchestra with his air wand from his seat.  When he started singing along to the orchestra, his wife actually got up and left him there.  We, unfortunately, had to endure his antics much longer until some ushers escorted him out of the theater at intermission.

Post Script…..The children enjoyed the music and had a great time on the bus home sharing stories of the fake conductor.  when you think you have seen it all, life surprises you!