This is the time of year for social gatherings with friends and family and since this is often just once a year it’s wise to be on your best behavior and remember your manners. Some manners and rules of etiquette are outdated but not all so what are the manners that still matter anymore anyway?
Manners That Still Matter
Society and culture have changed since the prehistoric days of Emily Post or Amy Vanderbilt’s “rules of etiquette”, making it necessary to retire some of the archaic and somewhat sexist rules of proper behavior. Yet there are some rules that should never die that we can all agree on, like “don’t fart in a crowded room.” Here are some more manners that still matter, all ages apply:
Minding your P’s and Q’s
Minding your manners by saying “please” and “thank you” is what most of us were taught this old adage means. While the origin of this expression is debatable some people believe it was originally “mind your pints and quarts”-as in to hold your alcohol. Regardless of the true origin, saying please and thank you is a basic courtesy of acknowledgement.
CYM (Cover Your Mouth)
Unless you intend to share your germs with everyone, cover your mouth please. When projecting phlem, snot, spit, halitosis and crumbs via coughing, sneezing or yawning you are spreading not just love. If you don’t cover your mouth out of habit, your bacteria is all over you all the time-gross Pig Pen! (Don’t pick your nose in the car either, everyone can still see you!)
If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say…
Thinking about what you say before you say it and the impact it may have seems like common sense, but it is a sense not included in our original 5 sense packaging. If what you would like to say does not benefit a conversation, add something valuable or could possibly offend someone (even when they are not present) negative commentary makes you look judgmental and self absorbed.
From the Farm
People are not cows, but some chew like they are straight off the farm, likely you know someone like this, most of us do unfortunately. There’s no excuse for using your sleeve, chair, pants for snot, food, slobber and grime either. Minimally this nasty habit will only end up making you sick and look like a slob. We should all wash our hands more, we touch a lot of icky stuff throughout the day.
Who, What, Where?
There’s a law of physics which states that if you keep making that face it will stay like that permanently. Okay, this was a lie we were told as a child, but one that does work (with children). Making faces at a person unless you’re being silly is incredibly ineffective at any goal, unless you’re Jim Carrey on an audition. Pointing as a means of communication is fine, but should only be exercised when giving the location of something and never directed at an individual.
Take The Caddy For A Cruise
Emily Post interpreted “looking decent for others” to mean dressed to the nines for cooking and cleaning (including wearing heels, make-up, jewelry and hair done) to impress your husband, children and The Jones’. Thankfully, the standard for looking decent has changed dramatically, women can even wear jeans! It’s worth considering that looking good should not just be reserved for just special occasions, it never hurts to dress to impress every once in a while. Just like owning a nice fancy car, what good is a beautiful body with a nice engine if it never gets driven or shown off? Don’t keep yourself parked in the garage.
Because I said so…
Our elders have been here longer and put up with a lot more than anyone younger and therefore have earned a little respect. As the Golden Rule suggests, you should put yourself in their orthopedic shoes before becoming impatient with the elderly. Imagine looking at a young person when you are old, a little respect from the youth would be nice.
Taking a look back, here are three rules of etiquette that don’t really matter anymore, at least here in the US:
- Living in sin is forbidden
- A man must always order the meal for a lady at a restaurant (and pay)
- Wearing white after Labor Day is forbidden
- Children should only speak when spoken to
Some new ones that should be added:
- Don’t talk loudly on your cell phone when shopping and in line (especially about personal matters).
- Don’t cook fish or other stinky foods in the office break room.
- Make eye contact when talking with someone, not looking at your cell phone, and don’t text under the table.
- Don’t use text slang for business communications (i.e. c u l8tr, BRB, AFK, etc.).