I am of the belief that manners is not optional, but essential for every living person. It is the building blocks of society - but seems to be lost in today's education and I would not be surprised if it has little emphasis in the upbringing of many!
Why are manners important? Manners are like the traffic lights for human interaction - it regulates communication and functions to avoid car-crashes of everyday interaction. Living and interacting with people can be tricky, and by being considerate and taking stock of others we can make life a whole lot more pleasant. Below are some pointers.
1. ALLOW OTHERS TO FINISH THEIR SENTENCES
If someone is speaking to you, try not to interject or interrupt them - allow them to finish their point before you add yours. You may have something incredible to add or to counter what they are saying, but hold your horses - it is annoying when people cut you off!
2. ALLOW OTHERS TO EXIT BEFORE YOU ENTER
This applies to entrances of lifts, shops, trains and any doors to a room that can only accommodate a certain number of people at a time. If you see that the opening is not very large, allow others to exit before you enter. Nobody likes those awkward waltzes you have to perform in order to maneuver through the people impatiently wanting to come in. Plus if you waited for people to exit, your entry is made a whole lot easier.
3. MAKE USE OF PROPER SALUTATIONS
If you see someone that you are familiar with, whether a friend or an acquaintance - acknowledge them by saying "hello" in whatever form you are familiar with. When you are leaving, it does not hurt to say "goodbye" as well. Doing this shows that you value those around you - it is a simple but powerful act. When you are meeting someone of importance or higher social standing, to be safe always use their titles when interacting with them.
4. MAKE USE OF "PLEASE" AND "THANK YOU"
When making a request, always add a "please" - regardless of who the person's status. When something nice is done for you or someone grants you your request, show your gratitude by saying "thank you" - whether the deed was something big or small.
5. MAKE USE OF "EXCUSE ME" AND "SORRY"
Someone blocking your way? Need to get someone's attention? Accidentally drew a lot of attention to your self by letting out a monster sized burp or sneeze? Say "excuse me"! Living in the city inevitably means you will be in spaces where there may be a lot of people, if you bumped into someone - say sorry (and not just stare at them). Made a mistake? Own up - say sorry!
6. WATCH YOUR VOLUME IN PUBLIC
This applies to everything - your voice, your phone, your iPad, your laptop etc. Everybody does not need to hear your conversation or that video you are watching on your tablet. Control the volume of your conversations and use earphones if you are want to enjoy stuff on your device.
NOTE: DO NOT PICK UP A CALL IN THE MIDDLE OF A MEETING OR IN THE CINEMA, GO OUT AND DO IT!
7. DO NOT CHEW WITH YOUR MOUTH OPEN
You may be munching down on the greatest meal of your life - but the flavours are to be contained in your mouth without everyone getting an earful of how scrumptious your food is.
8. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR APPEARANCE
Now I am not saying you must have the flashiest wardrobe, but you should be at the very least presentable. Some simple tips:
- Shower daily, use deodorant, brush your teeth, shave (or trim) facial hair
- Dress for the occasion (Is it an outdoors event? Casual? Smart Casual? Formal? Know the difference)
- Keep your hair tidy
- Always stay hydrated (or make use of mints) - bad breath is a killer!
- For more tips click here.
9. BE SENSITIVE TO OTHERS
Always be sensitive to the feeling of others. Realise that some jokes can go too far and some comments are really not necessary. Avoid comments on someone's appearance and weight, unless it is to compliment them. "Why do you have so many pimples?" "You look like you gained weight." - keep them to yourself.
When meeting people of other cultures, be very conscious of their customs and standards. Certain practices and expectations may not make sense to you, but to some it is their way of life - respect that.
10. BE PUNCTUAL
Seriously - if you tell someone you will be there at a certain time, be there at said time. Being late is basically telling someone that their time is unimportant and is OK to be wasted. Know that traffic is going to be heavy? Parking will be difficult to find? Plan ahead, leave earlier.
Sometimes things come up that can be beyond our control, or we underestimated certain factors which would result us being late: inform that person 15 minutes before. Do not keep someone guessing, and the least you can do is give them ample notice and be apologetic.
The rule of "do unto others what you would done unto you" applies - if you find a certain behaviour or attitude annoying, put a stop to it by not repeating it on others. :) Learning good manners costs you nothing, but ignorance may cost you everything.
- Do not enter someone's home, room or office until invited, or ask for permission.
- When talking to someone, maintain eye contact - put whatever you are doing away.
- When in public, always give other people their personal space if possible - an arms length distance is good.