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, thanks’. These are simple expressions that have led to a pleasant second helping across the dinning and prevented a third World War. 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 find yourself and irrespective of who you are with. Good manners show the courteous, more pleasant side of your person. Your relationship with others will take 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 manners, 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 watch your words. It is taught to children that whenever asking for anything they need to say ‘please’ so as not to seem rude, but adults flout this without shame. Adding ‘please’ when requesting for something is courtesy 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. A ‘Thank you’ once a while will do you a lot of good. Even 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 manners, it can also leave open doors 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. In the event 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 and it 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 really ill mannered, while most people have created a bad habit of not introducing those around them to their acquaintance.
Listening is an art to be mastered, one many people are poor at. You should learn how 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. Do not use foul language when discussing with others, some people are genuinely offended by such expressions. Keep your words clean and respectable.
Good manners is not all talk either. We wonder if manners still exist because many people don’t see any value in the roles of the brother’s keeper or good Samaritan anymore, except they are beneficiaries. Most people want to ‘mind their business’ these days. Your actions must show that you are the respectful and courteous type. Be that Girl or Boy Scout everyday. Try to offer some little help here and there. Sometimes, you may not need to ask to help someone. Offering a seat to an elderly person on a bus, or holding the door open for the next person coming in are examples of good manners too.
Some persons lack manners when it comes to respecting the personal space of others. Some emotional intelligence is needed in this regard. Many people don’t pay attention to how others feel around them. Excessive touching and rubbing the body of whoever is with you is not appropriate, it can be very offensive. People are guilty of this and don’t seem to really care. Please learn to study the body language of others and understand when or how they feel uncomfortable around you. Apologise by saying “Excuse me, I’m sorry.”, whenever you violate the personal space of others or bump into them.
Empathise with others and be reasonable in your approach. A few people find it hard to express felicitations with others. This is a lack of manners too. Try to congratulate and encourage others when they do noteworthy things. Do not make things revolve around you, give credit to others while paying no attention to yourself.
Good manners still exist and are practiced by numerous people. Your manners are a part of your personality, respect others and be courteous. Do not be a part of those who lack manners and stand unashamedly in ethical ignorance.