Southern Living Magazine said it best when they wrote that Southern hospitality is not a choice, it’s an institution. It’s true! Even people from outside the South have some concept of Southern hospitality. But for outsiders and even some life-long Southerners, learning how to show Southern hospitality can be daunting. Luckily, you don’t have to turn to Mrs. Manners to get the inside scoop. If you follow a few simple traits, you’ll find yourself practicing Southern hospitality in no time.
How to Show Southern Hospitality
Politeness is alive and well in the South, likely because children are taught proper manners at a young age. As a result, saying “excuse me,” “thank you,” and “please” slip off the tongue with ease. This is also why “yes, ma’am,” and “no, sir,” have practically become part of the Southern dialect.
Another possible reason for Southerners’ welcoming politeness is their laid-back schedule. Maybe it’s the heat or maybe they’re just being polite, but the South doesn’t seem to be in a huge hurry like its neighbors on the East and West coasts. Instead, people in the South tend to be chattier. They’ll humor your questions and take time to talk with you even if they have places to be. So if you’re wondering how to show Southern hospitality, start by minding your manners.
It should go without saying that hospitality is another key pillar of Southern hospitality. And as author and owner of Twin Oaks Bed & Breakfast Regina Charboneau says, “What better way to show genuine hospitality than opening your home to someone?” Charboneau goes on to share tips for hosting and preparing a dinner party in an article in The Atlantic called 7 Lessons in Southern Hospitality. As she explains, gathering friends and family for dinner or drinks doesn’t have to be stressful or costly. You can entertain within a budget and keep the menu simple. The real signs of a successful dinner party are the memories made and the traditions that follow.
Not surprisingly, delicious home-cooked food is key to true Southern hospitality. Hearty, stick-to-your-ribs dishes like cobblers, grits, biscuits, collard greens, and fried chicken are staples inside Southern kitchens. And meals are not meant to be enjoyed alone in the South. Good food is meant to be shared with good company, which is why dinner parties, coffee groups, lunch dates, and dessert parties are far from rare in the South.
Much like politeness, kindness has deep roots in Southern hospitality. If you’re expected to respect your elders and mind your manners in the South, you’re also expected to show kindness. This could manifest itself in simple gestures like holding a door open for a stranger or offering directions when someone looks lost. As Michelle Darisaw writes in Southern Living Magazine, “We treat our guests like they’re family in the South. As the saying goes, ‘There are no strangers, just friends we haven’t met yet.’”
If you’re still wondering how to show Southern hospitality, consider helping others. Tied into kindness and politeness, helpfulness is a big part of Southern culture. Neighbors seem more inclined to lend a helping hand, and dinner party guests quickly jump into action to help with dishes or setting or clearing the table.
This one is a given. Southerners are downright charming. They’re welcoming, humble, gregarious, inviting, and chatty. And part of what makes this stretch of the U.S. so darn charming is the regional expressions. If you’ve heard phrases like “full as a tick,” or “worn slap out,” you know you’re in the South. In fact, Southern Living Magazine rounded up the 24 phrases only Southerners use, and if you ask us, they’re all classics.
To learn more about our corner of the South, in Greenville, South Carolina, check out our blog. You might be interested in our posts about upcoming festivals in the Greenville area and the charming street we call home, Augusta Road.
At Waterstone on Augusta, we work hard to connect residents with area activities so they can continue to enjoy their golden years. If you’re interested in joining our premier assisted living and memory care community in the heart of downtown Greenville, South Carolina, check out Waterstone on Augusta. Our welcoming community is relaxing and elegant, and we strive to enhance the quality of life of the seniors we serve through teamwork and unity. To learn more about our amenities and to view our lovely community, please schedule a tour, or call us today at 864-605-7236.