A lot of what I write here is not so much to be advice but a bit of ‘hatting’ on life. (Definition for ‘Hat’: the conditions or data to operate a job or post. From the days when one wore a hat(i.e. a conductor on a train) to be recognizable as to a particular function or job).
One of the things that I see missing in the world around us is manners. I really don’t know if the word has taken on a bad meaning or if parents over the last couple of generations have just forgotten or not have had enough time or energy to teach some basic manners to their families.
To me it is all about respect and caring. If anyone ever has the thought that they don’t get respect, I would suggest they improve their manners – they may have to learn some. Similar to learning how to operate a drill press or drive a car if you don’t know how. You will be in big trouble if you try and operate one of those without knowing how. Same with manners.
Like dressing nicely: One of my sons pointed out to me that this is should be done out of respect for the people you are with or visiting. Not so much of ‘hey see how great I look’ as “I respect you and don’t want to look like a slob around you, I would rather help make your space look nicer…”.
There are numerous ‘little’ actions that can make all the difference to the general tone of a society. For example, who should hold the door for whom? And there are hundreds of actions that are completely missing. Like holding the chair at a restaurant for a woman or letting the oldest woman at a dinner table start eating before you start.
I would say the people that don’t care about manners or think they are not important will generally have more trouble in social situations or at work and have more people pissed off at them.
If you are having good manners around others and they don’t respond in kind, should you just stop being good mannered around them? Not at all. Why should you lower your own personal integrity and respect for yourself, because they don’t have manners or respect for themselves or others?
There is a fantastic article on ‘Opening Doors for Women’ on the Art of Manliness website. This article is as important for women to read as it is for men. It covers ‘respect’ and ‘working together’. The article covers those awkward moments and double doors etc.
Read it here: Art of Manliness: Holding the Door for a Woman
But then there is the question of who lets who go first when two people of same sex and different age approach a door…?
There are specific ways to do things in many cases and learning these things is not all that hard. If you are not sure, err on the side of more respect for the other.
Things from saying hello to people. I generally don’t wait for them to originate or say hello first. That kind of falls into a similar category as contacting someone you haven’t heard from in a while. My mum’s view on this was to never, ever wait for someone to get in touch with you. You’ll end up pretty lonely if you do. Write a letter, make a phone call.
I’ll post more on specific areas of manners – what is good and what is not but here is an important one:
When you get an email let the person know you received it. Don’t just read it and move on with the idea you will come back to it. If you find yourself doing this sort of thing a lot then don’t read them until you can take the time to respond. Saves the person who sent you the communication following up to ask if you received it or to get his or her question answered. If the email in question is just an informative one requiring no actual information in return, then just say: ‘Thanks, I got it.’
This is a huge one: When you go to someone’s house for dinner, or they pay for you or someone treats you in some manner or way, you would obviously thank them when you are done, at that time. Well, also, the next day, send a communication thanking them again. Be it a card, an email or a text. This goes doubly for gifts. When someone actually sends you something, ALWAYS acknowledge the gift in some way. For something like this, minimally an email, phone call or text, ideally a card – especially if the person is over 50 years old.
Again, it is all about respect and caring for the other person. Something as simple as listening to the other person when they are saying something can make their day.
And don’t forget, when someone does anything like holds the door, moves out of your way or any such thing, say ‘Thank You”.