I have heard that little comment come up on several occasions lately—set in our ways. That is really a scary thought that we are set… like concrete, maybe? Being truthful, I guess we all are set in our ways to some extent. Perhaps there is comfort with the familiar in our lives.
We talked about changes in another blog a couple of weeks ago and how change is occurring every day. Change is disruptive to people that are accustomed to things being constant. I think it becomes a pattern of getting comfortable with what’s familiar, but change is happening regardless of our efforts to remain the same. It is just going to happen.
To me, set in our ways implies that we make a choice to be immovable, planted, rock solid, and unbendable. It actually could be a process that just evolves with time. I know when I have things that come up that go against the grain, so to speak, it really means that it violates my normal routine. For example, do you eat dessert while you are finishing your meal, or do you have it later? Many prefer to never leave the table but to have dessert immediately following the meal. Any suggestion of leaving and coming back is not going to work. Period. Never.
In the South, being set in your ways means you have complied with the rituals of the family—the unchanging social rules that govern our families. They are unchangeable, unbreakable, and totally not negotiable. I have a dear friend that is a real birthday-er. She makes birthdays a really big event. I will never forget one time I was with her when the family was celebrating her birthday. Each birthday in her family has a theme, and the cake is decorated accordingly. I offered to cut the cake, since she was the honoree. After I cut various pieces, I started to cut the final piece. Suddenly, everyone watching screamed, “NO!”
I jumped back in a state of shock as I asked what was wrong. In chorus they all said energetically,
“You never cut through the name until last!”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because that’s the rule.” So I cut around the name and got the last piece on the plate. Rules… I wonder who thought up that one? Now I know, and it will never be forgotten! By the way, this year her family got her petit fours. I haven’t inquired as to how that went.
Don’t you just love it? Set in our ways—that’s what makes us who we are! That’s what gives spice to the world we live in and that gives our friends something to enjoy! Are you set in your ways? I am, so watch out.
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Find the recipe for the Triple-Layer Chocolate Cake pictured above on Victoria’s website.
Oh my goodness…what a delightful list of comments…I agree with everyone…but, I thrive on sharing TRADITIONS…my wonderful Grandmother and Mother always did things so graciously I want to keep them going. When my grand daughters come into the house for a celebration they can’t wait to see what I’ve done for the table and what kind of cake we are having and my grand son says Nana you’re the best…this gives me such joy…so be set in your ways if you are comfortable with them and enjoy the tradition of sharing…and I agree with DK…lighten up but carry on.
Yes, I am set in my ways, but that does not mean I am inflexible. I like my rituals but am willing to alter them if necessary and try to see the positive side of it. For many years on Christmas Eve my family practiced the Polish tradition of sharing an Oplatek, a Christmas communion wafer my grandmother would send to us. After she passed away we had trouble obtaining it so one year my mother chose to use matzoh instead. It turned out to a good choice as it tasted better with the shrimp cocktail appetizer we usually served. Although I did find another source we decided to stick with the matzoh.
I enjoy the uniqueness of people but not at the risk of being inflexible. I have found that being flexible leads to greater joy and opportunities. I like tradition with family…gives us stability. When we consider our values, I think there is something great to be said about “being set in our ways.” It is a good Southern term. My parents used it all the time.
I believe we are all a bit set in our ways and I don’t view it as a bad thing. We all have certain ways we do certain things, rituals we enjoy, and traditions we follow. Honestly, I believe these things are more important now than ever in lieu of our uncertain world. Being set in our ways is our anchor.
I tend to be set in my ways but find I learn new ways from my children or friends. Sometimes making a change is hard but can be a good thing. It’s a fine balance to keep wonderful traditions but also be open to new ways. You have to be you after all!
Thanks for this fun, thought provoking post staged with the most beautiful, delicious looking cake!
I’m a spontaneous, ready-for-anything, “agile” person. My husband is set in his ways. Mondays are for pasta, because he hates pasta and hates Mondays. Tuesdays, fish or soup, because they can be OK but aren’t really worthy of being called dinner, nor is Tuesday an important day. But by Wednesday, meat needs to be at the center of the plate, and the size and complexity of the meals should “crescendo” through the weekend. It has been the bane of his life that our kid has had sport practice on Friday nights for the past few years, and that Friday night is not the TGIF event he thinks it deserves. But he’s retired. I don’t get this obsession with weekends, when they are no different from weekdays.
A routine can be nice. It can eliminate time spent on the mundane, so you can focus on what’s really important. But it shouldn’t close doors to new experiences–those are what keep us young at heart and engaged with life.
I like to save my dessert for later because I enjoy a “midnight” snack before bedtime, while reading or watching TV. If I ate it right after dinner, I would still want something later on and it would mean too many calories!
In regards to being stuck in my ways: Well, I suppose I am!
I always eat dessert first because I don’t like the sweet taste in my mouth. Maybe it’s weird, but that’s just one of my ways of being “set in my ways”.
Perhaps we celebrate “with tradition”, rather than that we are “set in our ways”. Our traditions make us who we are and keep us connected with our loved ones that came before us. May we always cling to tradition!
My mother was set in her ways but we( her kids) said she was steadfast and dependable. My father is set in his ways and we say he is stubborn( which may be helping his longevity). I was set in some ways of doing life until my kids came along. Together, my husband and I learned to be more flexible with schedules and expectations concerning the kids. They have “taught” us that relationship is more important than being inflexible in certain areas of life. And about dessert, we all agree that anytime is a great time to indulge. 🙂
Set in my ways yes but each of us have the ability to be flexible when the occasion calls for it.Being unreasonable is a ticket to being alone. I agree that we need to lighten up
You asked , “is it okay to be set in one’s ways, at least sometimes?
and my reponse is, “Thank heavens, she is asking this question as am finding many people seem to encourage change for the shake of change without realizing that change is not always better.
Maybe I am showing my age, but am finding that being constant and stable provides a refuge in so many loving ways of comfort and understanding of personal needs to be recognized as individuals.
Confusing emotions? Maybe, Or maybe, just …a bit weird and old fashioned, but have come to realize that often the comfort of being the same allows us to have a basis of having an emotional base which allows us to grow.
Thank you for having the courage to ask the question about change!
An sassy oldie of recently 77
You took the words right out of my mouth!
Regarding being set in our ways, sometimes is fine, as long as it’s not about always being in control and having our own way. Traditions, etc., are wonderful and what makes families unique.
Your friend sounds delightful! You are fortunate to have someone in your life who adds so much to your knowledge of etiquette AND provides you with so much material for your blog!!
I knew it was you
I think that I am definitely set in my ways but for all the right reasons. I can be flexible when I need to be but for the most part, I think this has more to do with tradition and as you said, Phyllis, defines who we are. I think this is what makes life fun and these little patterns,repetitions, quirks we have, all make us unique!
The cake is gorgeous….a small piece after dinner and another small slice before bed….with a glass of cold milk!!
I would love to find that recipe! It looks like the sides are traditional frosting and it’s topped with ganache, maybe?
I am a person who is set in my ways. I like to do things on a regular basis.
I stay and have dessert after my meal.
I am set in my ways. I like to tend to the familiar. That chocolate cake looks delicious.
Everyone needs to be pliable… how one does dessert or a meal is not a life and death situation !
Lighten up folks!