Using Manners

The Importance of Good Manners
We all learn from a young age that good manners are important. Simple things like saying “please” and “thank you” become second nature to most of us as we grow up. The Golden Rule and other similar behaviors are drilled into our heads both at school and at home. What doesn’t always make sense is exactly why manners are important. There are situations where certain words or actions are just expected. Growing up, Nanny drummed into us our manners…that it was important to respect one’s elders, look people in the eye when talking to them, keep our elbows off the dinner table… and so many others. However, we never necessarily understood why until we got older. We go through the motions, but what benefits do those motions actually provide?

I was very thankful for my first bike.
In 2020, good manners for kids, and especially adults, have never been more important. The COVID-19 virus crisis is causing continued stress for everyone. That crisis makes it easy for all of us to forget sometimes how a kind word or action can completely change the atmosphere of a situation. Even when there is no crisis, many standard situations can quickly go awry when we don’t use good manners and common courtesy. So, what makes good manners so important?
Good Manners are Socially Necessary
None of us are likely to intentionally surround ourselves with rude people. There is a reason for that. As humans, we are social creatures. We crave positive interactions with friends, family members, and even total strangers. Social cues are all around us, whether they are positive or negative. We all learn how to use them, as well as interpret them. Human beings also have certain ingrained chemical responses to them. For example, science has proven that the use of bad manners triggers pain receptors in the brains of people on the receiving end of rude actions or words. None of us wants to be in pain, so that is all the more reason to avoid inflicting unnecessary pain on those around us. You do this by using good manners as much as possible. Good manners are socially necessary to make day-to-day activities easier in all sorts of environments, including:

  • Home
  • School
  • Work
  • Dates
  • Job Interviews
  • Dealing Effectively with Tenants or Landlords
  • Getting Along with Neighbors

Good Manners are Social Building Blocks for Kids
Our kids are born as clean slates. They don’t know how to be intentionally rude. Children also don’t know how to be intentionally nice. Yet, even before they can talk, our kids can learn behaviors. For example, they can learn that smiling is a positive thing. As they grow, they expand on those concepts, such as when they first learn to share their toys.
Kids are constantly learning from the world around them. They are like sponges, which is often the problem. Kids can learn what we intentionally teach them, but they also keep learning, even when we don’t want them to. That makes practicing good manners as adults as important as teaching them to our kids. Poor habits learned early are all the more difficult to break, whether they are intentionally taught or not. They can negatively affect our children in social situations for years. The use of bad manners can even seep into their adult lives.
Using Good Manners Because “You Never Know”
We have all heard the saying “you never know,” and it applies to the use of good manners in multiple ways. For instance, there is no way to know what kind of day or week another person is having and what impact your words and actions will have on them. A simple thing like saying “thank you” might change their entire disposition. There is also no way to know when we might cross paths with certain people again. This is why leaving good impressions on those around us by implementing good manners is so important. If we practice good manners, it might not make the whole world a brighter place, but it could certainly make someone’s day a whole lot brighter.
So go ahead and say “please” and “thank you.” Hold the door open for someone. Acknowledge your appreciation for a kind gesture, word, or gift.
Ultimately, we are the primary beneficiaries of our own good manners.
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