Are good manners dead, passé, or just a little forgotten? What do you think?
The great actress Lillian Gish (1893-1993) once said, “You can get through life with bad manners, but it’s easier with good manners.” (Notice she lived 100 years–obviously her philosophy held her in good stead!)
So what are good manners? Is it using the right fork, not chewing with an open mouth, and in all general respects not being rude and uncouth?
According to Emily Post, the guru of both good manners and proper etiquette, “manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” She lived from 1872-1960 and died just shy of 88-years-old, causing us to ponder, once again, whether a life philosophy that involves treating others well may equate to longevity.
So as I see it, good manners are about two things: 1) trying not to offend others with your sensibilities and etiquette (or lack thereof) and 2) treating others as you yourself would like to be treated–extending courtesy and thoughtfulness with liberality.
Arnold H. Glasow (1905-1998, 93-years-old … are you seeing a pattern?) once had this to say, “People with tact have less to retract.” Or as Cordell Hall so eloquantly put it, “Never insult an alligator until after you have crossed the river.”
So it looks like the fruit that you’ll reap from good manners is far reaching, never wasted, and might even cause you to live longer; which is reason enough to make it something to work harder at.
We don’t need to back track in time to Sense and Sensibilities overly cautious way that people related to one another (tip-toeing with gentility to never offend); but it would be nice if we could make more effort to be mannerly and thoughtful, since our culture in general has become very cold and callous. Any thoughts?
Here are five things that YOU can do to have good manners:
- Always hold the door open for anyone walking behind you.
- NEVER throw your gum out anywhere but the trash can.
- Don't interrupt others when they are talking.
- Never monopolize a conversation, be sensitive and let others talk too.
- Don't have double standards...expecting from others what you don't do yourself.
- Always give new employees at least three months to prove themselves. Anything short of that is not only bad manners, but incredibly unfair.
- Permit new employees to have that first week as a "orientation" week, allowing them extra grace to adapt and get used to their new environment and co-workers.
- Never reprimand an employee in front of someone else. Always do it in private.
- Don't demean an employee in front of others, because it makes you look bad and the employee feel bad.
- If you have an employee that is giving you problems or not doing their job properly, then give them three warnings over a period of about one month. This means you'll be operating from the "three strikes you're out" rule, which keeps it fair and means you'll have no guilty feelings about it afterwards.
- Show up for work on time every day and give 100%. Show up looking neat and tidy.
- Have a good attitude and don't complain about your job.
- Never call in sick unless you are sick, and if you do have to call-in, do it first thing in the morning.
- Never talk bad about co-workers. It's in poor taste and will always come back to bite you in the butt.
- Do not take care of personal business at your job. Take care of that on your lunch hour.
- Call if you're going to be late for a date or going home.
- Never leave your messes for the other person to clean up. (You don't have a personal maid, you have a mate!)
- Men, don't check out from a conversation when you know your wife or girlfriend is talking about something that matters to them. FOCUS!!
- Never yell at your significant other or they may find someone else to be significant with. Not too many people can take being yelled over the long haul.
- Don't be over-demanding when your mate is sick or feeling bad. Cut 'em a break!
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You can find the quotes that I used in this article in the book below. I have it in my personal library and it's one of my absolute favorites!
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Lillian Gish on Wikipedia
Emily Post Official Website
Arnold Glasow Quotes on Brainy Quotes