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Social Etiquette and Good Manners/How to create a new & positive impression to people?


Dear Constance Hoffman,

As stated in the subject, may i know how to create a new & positive impression to friends and colleagues? My personality is a like a hermit - lack of smile, weak in socializing & always/ prefer to be alone. Therefore, I've always created an impression that I'm not friendly, cool and unapproachable. People do not dare to come near me and seems always showing "black face" to them. Due to my personality, I'm sad when I feel that I'm the last person to know the news.I feel difficult/ heavy to put a smile on my face and to create closer relationship with friends and colleagues.

Do you have tips or step-by-step method in improving facial expression or impression to others?


Dear Elaine:

I am glad to see that you have an awareness of how you present yourself to the world since that's the first step in making any changes.  The most important trait someone can show if they want to be approachable is to smile.  Without seeing a smile, the rest of us believe you don't want us to bother you.  Practice telling yourself when in public to smile.  You will have to keep reminding yourself to do it until it becomes more comfortable for you.
I also suggest you figure out by either self-examination or perhaps talking to a therapist or close relative why smiling at others is difficult for you.  Is it because you don't trust others?  Have you been emotionally hurt and now protective of yourself?  Were you like this when you were small?  If you can understand the reason for your protectiveness then you have a better chance of coming out of your shell more and trusting others.

Another suggestion that will help with establishing closer relationships with others involves making them believe you care to be with them.  This can only be accomplished if you reach out and ask about them.  When you are with someone, ask how life is treating them, how their project is going, or what they are planning for the weekend. It really only matters that you show them that they are important to you at that moment by reaching out.  If they don't share much in response, then answer your question in relation to you.  You might say, "I plan to visit the flea market on Such and Such street.  Have you ever shopped at flea markets?"  or "There is a new movie coming out that looks like fun and I'm hoping to get to see it.  Have you seen any good movies lately?"  Obviously you would substitute appropriate subject matter but I think you get the idea.  

People tend to ignore others who they don't think are interested in being included.  To show your interest in being kept in the news loop, you have to show your interest.  To do that you have to ask others questions about them and be patient for their responses.  Because you have a history in their eyes of being distant, it will require a much higher level of involvement from you.  But take it slowly because without practice, it will feel uncomfortable to you.  Choose one or two friends to reach out to first - not a whole group.  Go overboard a bit with kindness towards them - help them do something they have to do for which they would accept help, keep a conversation going by following up on previous questions and answers.

This is all a good start and if you would like some one-on-one coaching by Skype I am happy to help you.
Please email me at to set up a time.  Also visit my blog with lots of tips for establishing and building relationships at

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Cynthia W. Lett


Proper manners with friends,family,colleagues,neighbors and everyone else you know.


I have been an etiquette expert teaching and consulting on the subject worldwide since 1983. I started and serve as the Executive Director of the International Society of Protocol & Etiquette Professionals and am considered a leader in the field of etiquette and protocol training and execution. I edited "Etiquette for Dummies" and have recently written "Lett's Talk - Everyday Etiquette Dilemmas and What to Do about Them". My book, "That's So Annoying:An Etiquette Expert on the World's Most Irritating Habits And What To Do About Them" was published in 2009 and is available wherever books are sold. I taught the Business Protocol class to Master's level students at the George Washington University, Washington, DC for seven years I served as Chief of Protocol for MCI Telecommunications for three years.

International Society of Protocol & Etiquette Professionals, ASTD, PCMA, National Speakers Association

I have been quoted over 700 times in the past 5 years worldwide. Publications include Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, NY Times, Washington Business Journal, USA Today, Associated Press, London Times, Newsweek Japan edition, Newsweek US edition and many many more.

I am a Certified Etiquette Professional (CEP) and Certified Protocol Professional (CPP) earned by examination through ISPEP. I have a Master's degree in hospitality law and undergrad degrees in Restaurant & Hotel Management and Public Relations/Interpersonal Communications from Purdue University.

Awards and Honors
Who's Who Worldwide,Who's Who of American Women, Distinguished Darden Professor (Purdue University).

Past/Present Clients
World Bank, United Nations,US Dept. of State, US. Dept. of the Army, Pentagon, Barclays Global Investors,Accenture,Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, The White House, Dept. of State, AT&T,Bank of America,American Association of Clinical Pharmacies,Ritz Carlton Hotels, Hilton Hotels, Marriott Hotels,Starwood Hotels,and many more.

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