Manners reveal the kind of person you are. People rarely like a harsh and ill-mannered person. But we all admire someone who has impeccable manners, which are practiced out of consideration for the next person. It’s not just about remembering to keep the elbows off the table. Etiquette and traditional manners are very important today, even though the world now is very different from the times when the rules of polite etiquette were set down. Good manners vary in different countries, but some basic rules are the same everywhere, as they lead to a civil and peaceful society. Here are some traditional manners which we should all take care to practice, and teach our children:
Manners which will always be relevant
You lead an extremely busy life, full of stress. But this is not an excuse to be impolite. Being polite, friendly and neighborly, kind and gracious, are manners which must be a part of you. Being able to be a good sport is also good manners. These manners will stand you in good stead and earn you the goodwill of people around you.
Basic etiquette we should practice
Some basic etiquette rules are:
Responding to invitations
Nowadays, people send casual invitations by email or through social media. We somehow don’t seem to take these invitations seriously and fail to respond many a time. But in fact, it’s very difficult for the host to arrange for food etc if the exact count is not known. So do reply to invitations with a clear ‘no’ or ‘yes’ and also teach your children to do so.
Welcoming, greeting and introducing
A welcome smile, a friendly greeting and introducing others are good manners too, as they make people feel included and accepted. Failing to acknowledge someone you know is the height of bad manners.
Simple things like offering your seat to the elderly, disadvantaged and pregnant women and so on, and helping someone to carry heavy things, are things we should remember to do.
Giving a chance to others first
This is what most people find difficult to do these days, as everyone is in a hurry, and everyone has to reach first, or get something first. There would be no cases of road rage if people start to slow down, and start considering others first.
Looking at others
We are too busy checking our phones these days, to even look at other people when they are speaking to us. This behavior is very common in teenagers, who are totally lost in the world of social media. Eye contact is extremely important, and not doing so is too rude, and children should be taught the importance of this.
Switching off the phone
Switching off the phone is a sign of respect in certain situations, for example when you are watching a movie, or attending a lecture or music recital and at funerals. The least you can do is put your phone on silent/vibrate mode, and check your calls later.
Speaking well of others
Gossiping, being sarcastic over a person’s appearance or interrupting someone are also behaviors which are considered to be bad manners.
Expressing appreciation and gratitude
Saying ‘thank you’ is important, as well as sending ‘thank you’ messages and notes, as it will make the person happy, appreciated, and inspire him to make others happy.
Respecting others’ property, privacy and traditions
We should never touch anything without the owner’s permission. We should be respectful towards other cultures’ traditions and rituals and teach our children to do so too. Being tolerant is a part of being polite.
Observe table manners
Chewing with the mouth closed and practicing the proper table manners, just to maintain decorum. You can help your kids learn table manners at home, so that they are not confused when they eat out.
Standing up when introduced
There used to be a custom where women were not supposed to get up when they were introduced to strangers. But rules have changed, and according to modern rules, both women and men are supposed to stand up when introduced to a new person (male or female).
‘You are welcome’, and ‘excuse me’ are other little gems you should teach your kids, so that courtesy becomes ingrained in them, along with all the other traditional manners.