When was the last time you thanked someone?
Have manners taken a sideline in today’s society?
Manners are the unenforced standards of conduct which show the world that you are proper, polite, and refined. Think of them like laws of human behavior, but they are unlike laws in that there is no formal system for punishing when you break them, other than social disapproval or a stern look from your mother. Manners are what we considered the norm in society, but have we forgotten them?
Subject to change
What is considered good manners is subject to change with time, geographical location, social standing, occasion, and other factors.
Manners do matter is evidenced by the fact that books have been written on the subject, advice columns out there often deal with questions of mannerly behavior, and that schools have existed for the sole purpose of teaching manners.
Politeness is best expressed as the practical application of good manners or etiquette. It is a culturally defined phenomenon, and what is considered polite in one culture can sometimes be quite rude or simply strange in another cultural context. The goal of politeness is to make all the parties relaxed and comfortable with one another.
“Good Manners” display respect, care, and consideration. Everyone has a basic right to help another and feel positive about themselves and others around them.
It’s common sense that people prefer a reasonable amount of respect. If you nurture plants, animals, or other humans, not only will they grow and bloom, but you will as well. Outside of material goods, the basic things we all really own are ourselves and our actions.
Let’s not confuse manners with etiquette. “Etiquette tells one which fork to use. Manners tells one what to do when your neighbor doesn’t”. Etiquette may be enforced in pragmatic ways: “No shoes, no shirt, no service” is a notice commonly displayed outside stores and cafés. Etiquette is dependent on culture; what is excellent etiquette in one society may shock another. Etiquette evolves within the culture. In China, a person who takes the last item of food from a common plate or bowl without first offering it to others at the table may be seen as a glutton and insulting the generosity of the host. In America, a guest is expected to eat all the food given to them, as a compliment to the quality of the cooking.
Want more information on manners? Try Modern Manners Guy or Quick and Dirty Tips.