By Sarah Casha:
I would like to begin by thanking you kindly for reading my article. If you would be so kind as to read on, I will endeavour to enlighten you on the intricacies of why manners are so important to us all, and indeed to our way of life.
As many an etiquette guide would suggest, when you enter someone’s home for a special occasion, you exchange the usual pleasantries.
But what are these elusive gestures of appreciation? Well, they are just that. When we are invited to a function, the host or hostess has been kind enough to consider our company important to them. When an invitation is accepted, it is manners to prepare a dish to take to the gathering, and then help out when we can at the gathering. By the end of the night, not only does the host feel appreciated, but you feel good about yourself for your show of appreciation.
According to Jeremy Dean’s 2010 study, undertaken with 69 people, 66 per cent of those who received gratitude from someone would help them again while a mere 32 per cent of those who received no thanks from them would provide further assistance.
It is important to remember that good manners do not simply begin and end at the dinner table. They relate to how we communicate with others in society, in our family, or in other relationships.
However, in today’s society, rules of etiquette are not so clear cut as they once were. One simply needs to watch a period film like Pride and Prejudice, to note the almost formulaic manner with which men like Mr Darcy would remove their hat in the presence of a woman, and members of both genders would bow to each other as a respectful greeting. The ways in which we show respect to each other may have changed form through the years, but they are no less valued. It is apparent that manners have been ingrained into today’s young adults as much as they were in the previous generation, and their importance upheld.
A selection of young adults were asked the following questions:
The very fact that they responded to my questions was, in itself, an exhibition of their exquisite manners, and their answers were quite encouraging. One young lady, Olivia Maurice, said “manners are important in order to communicate politely with others, and to gain and maintain respect and relationships.”
Her experience of a gentleman opening a door for her at school, and his insistence that she go through first, indicate the respect being shown by young people, through their manners.
Her experience of a peer calling her an idiot for her taste in music, on the other hand, highlights the rudeness that some people choose to convey.
A young man by the name of Dylan Calabrese said ‘”manners are incredibly important to interactions within society. They maintain a level of respect of others’ opinions and viewpoints.”
He also stated that his manners have been influenced by his parents, other relatives, and peers.
The answers shared by Olivia and Dylan are reflective of the responses of their peers, and hopefully of most others around their age as well. Their appreciation of manners highlights how very important they are.
When we need to be able to show our appreciation, be considerate, show respect, and foster and maintain relationships, manners are the key to our ability to do this. Without manners, we would literally be at a loss for words in these circumstances, and we certainly wouldn’t be very good company.
Thank you for reading on, and I sincerely hope that you have learnt a little more about manners and their use.
18th Century Manners
(Lovers and Liars, n.d.).
IMAGE: Vince Boothe