‘Manners maketh the man’ – a wonderful age-old, if slightly sexist phrase that is not used very much these days and probably unheard of by some, however rings so true. Manners and etiquette do ‘maketh’ the man and can create a lasting impression, be it a good or bad one.
Manners don’t only equate to being polite, they also incorporate a modicum of respect for others and a consideration of other people’s cultures, traditions, religions and values – a fundamental aspect of successful functioning in today’s global and multi-cultural society.
Good manners and etiquette are learned, generally from one’s parents or guardians, and should be instilled from a young age. While we sometimes see a distinct lack of such deportment in younger generations, being taught good manners and using basic decorum in everyday life tends to have positive outcomes, earning respect, esteem, and likeability.
There are forms of etiquette for various circumstances in life, such as in behavior in public places, etiquette whilst driving, how to act at a dinner party, however basic manners will go a long way in ensuring you are respected and liked by others.
Here are some basics of etiquette that should be used on a daily basis:
- Use please and thank you ALWAYS
- Don’t point – it’s the height of rudeness
- Don’t shout – it disturbs the peace of others
- Don’t interrupt when others are speaking
- Don’t swear – it only serves to display a limited vocabulary
- Don’t smoke or eat in the street – it is common
- Don’t talk with your mouth full – it is disgusting
- Don’t spit – again, disgusting
General Rules of Etiquette
- Punctuality – being late for an appointment is a sign of disrespect. Always be there at least five minutes early
- Respect your elders and those wiser than you
- Give your seat up on a bus or train for the elderly and for women
- Hold doors open for whoever is following you in (or out) – don’t let it slam in their face
- Turn away from people, food and the phone when you cough or sneeze and say ‘Excuse me’
- Do not talk on a mobile phone in a public space – no one wants to hear your conversation in the line at the bank or whilst having dinner in a restaurant. Switch the phone off in a movie theater!
- Respect your neighbors – no loud noise levels at night
- Hygiene belongs at home – brushing your hair in a restaurant or your teeth in a public sink, that’s a definite no-no.