Do manners still matter?

Do manners still matter?

It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies by unnecessary and willful incivility is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire. For politeness is like a counter — an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy.  Arthur Schopenhauer. 


Life is short, but there is always time enough for courtesy.  Ralph Waldo Emerson 


‘Yes, please’. ‘No, thank you’. These are simple expressions that have led to a pleasant second helping across the dining and prevented conflicts. As amusing as it might seem, lack of manners and simple courtesy from world leaders have led to the culmination of full-scale wars of which tens of thousands become innocent victims. Between nations and between individuals, manners are an important part of any relationship and communication. It is weird, however, how easy it is to exhibit good manners and how most people still choose to say ‘damn you, courtesy’. This then leads us to ask “Do manners still exist?” 


Good social etiquette demands that you display good manners wherever you are, and irrespective of who you are with. Good manners show the courteous, more pleasant side of your person. Your relationship with others will make a better and healthier turn if you show that you have good manners. Today, many friendships have gone sour, simply because of a lack of good manners. It would seem like the world does not care about courtesy and etiquette until your bad manners create a terrible impression about you at work or with friends. 


Practicing good manners begins with your words. How you talk to other people can give you away as an ill-mannered person, so you need to choose your words carefully. For instance, adding ‘please’ when making a request is courteous enough to make the other person understand that you are not giving a command or making a demand. This way, the person who might be reluctant to help will be mandated to help you out on account of the politeness you have displayed. Thanking the person who fulfills your request is also a way to go, as far as good manners are concerned. Also, when people offer to render small help or friendly gestures, it is best to show your appreciation. This will not only show that you have good manners, but it can also pave the way for future help. 


There are many cultures that place premium on introductions and salutations. It is great to recognise when you are expected to greet others and introduce yourself. When you are meeting with someone for the first time, it is proper etiquette to greet the person, say your name and ask for the person’s name. You should make an effort to repeat the person’s name correctly  this is an endearing behaviour which helps to keep the name fresh in your memory. If the context permits it, you should reach out for a firm and warm handshake. Those who forget to introduce themselves are considered ill-mannered.  


Listening is an art to be mastered, however, sadly, it is one that many people are poor at. You should endeavour to listen to what others have to say without interrupting them. Unnecessary interruptions and poorly timed comments are rude. Not paying attention to what someone has to say is also unacceptable. You should maintain eye contact with the speaker and provide appropriate responses when the time is right. You must not struggle with someone else in speech, even when you start talking at the same time. Give others the liberty to express themselves before you express yourself. When expressing yourself, you must also respond to what others have said before you, to show that you were listening and you value their thoughts. 

The use of foul language is becoming a way of life for many. Avoid using foul language because some people are genuinely offended by such expressions. Keep your words right and respectable. 


Away from speech, good manners extend to actions. Respect and courtesy are portrayed in actions too. Sometimes, you may need to ask to help someone, offer a seat to others, or hold the door open for the next person coming.  


Another key area is respecting the personal space of others, and some emotional intelligence is required in this regard. Many people don’t pay attention to how others feel around them, and this is not great. For instance, an unsolicited touch can be offensive. You might need to pay some attention to the body language of others, and understand when or how they feel uncomfortable around you, and also imbibe the culture of apologising whenever you violate the personal space of others. 


Good manners still matter, and are practised. It is vital to understand that being terrible with manners is not the norm, as many think. It is never trendy to portray bad manners.  




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