Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Mind Your Manners

I was originally going to use this post to complain about the degradation of manners in our society. While that may allow me to blow of a little steam, it does not help anybody. After all, if someone agrees with me, it only reinforces a negative perception. And if they disagree, I would come across as being preachy.

So, instead of a litany of complaints, I just wanted to say something simple. When you do not mind your manners, I mind. I probably will not say anything, but poor manners do leave an impression, even if it is only at the subconscious level.

I try my best to exhibit good manners. When people comment on my politeness, I do appreciate it. What is sad to me is that good manners should be considered normal, not even worthy of comment. I am pretty sure there is a quote about manners, but I forget its source and exact wording. It goes something like 'Good manners are the grease that keeps civilization running smoothly'.

Good manners are not passe. They are not a sign of weakness. Good manners are a form of respect that can be afforded to friends, strangers, allies, and enemies. One more thing...Thank you.


At 9:58 AM, Blogger Paula said...

I agree, and I also think it's good for you to be nice. Forex, I feel much better/calmer after slowing down to let someone into my lane, rather than speeding up and pretending to ignore their signal. The latter gets adrenaline going, which is supposed to be unhealthy and clog your arteries or something.

Thank you for your post! :-)

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Levi said...

Manners are a good thing to have, but from my perspective, the more underlying matter is simply respect and consideration for others, which is maybe what you meant by manners rather than some "bad" manners which don't necessarily hurt anyone, but may just seem "uncultured" or whatever.

This is a big pet peeve of mine, but something I usually feel powerless to do anything about except to simply avoid those people who are inconsiderate as much as possible. Then again, I think it's part of human nature, or at least some human's nature, and it takes knowledge and "training" (even self-training) to overcome bad habits. I remember reading How to Win Friends and Influence People when I was a teenager and it was an eye-opener. I was simply not taught how to interact socially with people, but rather it just happened. I don't think I was necessarily mean, but I probably didn't take much interest in others other than as just people to do things with.

Even now, when I'm in a rush and not thinking carefully, I can inadvertantly do something that I soon after regret. These aren't horrible things, but minor stuff like going first at a 4-way stop sign if no one else is moving, instead of thinking, ok, who has the real right of way and motioning for that person to go - or just doing it even without trying to figure out if they do or not. It always feels great to be magnanimous and crappy to feel like you've taken advantage of a situation for your own gain - at least that's how I feel, but often instincts or carelessness can conspire against you, and that's why I try not to get too worked up when I feel "put upon" myself. That person may indeed have some circumstances that caused them to do this which under normal circumstances they wouldn't.

This kind of reminds me of a book I read once which is actually quite thought-provoking along these and other lines. It's called "How To Want What You Have" by Timothy Miller. I'd recommend it for anyone...

At 1:56 AM, Blogger Pug8 said...

I like what you have added, Levi. I would have to say that the difference between manners and respect is a perceived difference. Respect is a gift, one that a person gives to another, and manners are a way of displaying your particular culture.

Certainly,cultures demand respect at varying levels, but manners are a fading trend. Just because someone's manners may not meet another's standards doesn't mean that they do not respect them, only that their perception of decency is different.


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