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Dos and Don'ts in Photos


King Albert II of Belgium studying an antique map

Point de Vue, March 29, 2006 

Do pay attention to what your hosts show you
King Albert II of Belgium, above, is making a State visit in Lithuania. During it his hosts invited him to the Vilnius University to learn about the historical riches of their country. He carefully followed all the details of their descriptions, paying minute attention to what was presented to him, as shown in this photo.

This close-up is an example of the great politesse that used to be common in the past, but has been largely forgotten nowadays. King Albert shows us how we should pay attention to what our hosts or friends want to show us. Even if we have no interest in the particular point that enthuses them, we should conquer our natural inclination of boredom and display a polite interest in that subject, and say some words of praise.

"Hypocrisy!" one might object. "No, just an old rule of courtesy and Catholic charity," I would respond. Indeed, nothing is more common than to have different tastes in cultural matters, but as guests we should make an effort to adapt our preferences to those of our hosts in order to please them and show them respect. It is also a nice way to repay the favor they are extending by receiving us.

Do pay attention to the things your hosts and friends show you, and praise them.

Elaine M. Jordan
Posted December 13, 2010

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