My mother tried to teach me good manners. Most of us were probably taught many of these same lessons. The following is an excerpt from an article written by Jenna Mahoney. It is well worth reading and then adhering to the precepts therein. The life lessons therein are “what you should do” to help you become a better person. —
“In today’s world of online bullying, insults hurled via Twitter, and more time spent looking at a phone than the person across the table from us, we can all use a few reminders on what it means to be—well—human. These super simple tweaks to everyday habits may have some people thinking you spent years at finishing school.
Do the basics
Seems simple, but it all too often needs repeating, say “please” and “thank you.” “These very simple phrases go a long way,” says Sharon Schweitzer, a cross-cultural and etiquette expert. “By asking someone to complete a task with a ‘please,’ will show kindness and sincerity. By simply telling someone ‘thank you,’ will show sincere gratitude,” she explains further.
No this isn’t a fancy-font Instagram saying, this is real life. Staying engaged with your current situation shows respect. “Whether you are speaking to someone at the front desk, or asking for directions, it is rude to be on a simultaneous phone call, or disengaged in any way to the person you are speaking to,” says David Leo Yarus, an etiquette expert. “Be present, be sincere, and engaging at all times,” he adds. Doing so, and being genuine enhances any relationship big (family, possible love interest) or small (barista, Uber driver), says Yarus. Here are some other tips for practicing mindfulness in your daily life.
Maintain eye contact
“While speaking with someone, it’s important to maintain eye contact,” says Schweitzer. “By doing so, you’re letting them know you’re fully listening,” she explains.
It costs nothing, it’s easy, and it brightens anyone’s day. A smile can show an authenticity and interest in the situation at hand. “Genuine kindness is easy to read and you should always communicate that to people you come across in daily life,” says Yarus.
Bed head may be sexy, but it’s not very polite. Brush your hair, teeth, and maintain other basic hygiene practices shows not only respect for yourself, but respect for those around you. This is especially true in work situations, explains Schweitzer. And please, don’t do these hygiene moves in public.
“When conversing with others, try to focus more on your listening skills than your speaking skills,” instructs Schweitzer. “Follow the 80:20 rule: aim for 80 percent of the time spent listening and 20 percent talking.” Doing so makes your conversation partner feel valued.
Keep it PG, please
Our expert panel agrees: foul language is exactly that. Keep the expletives to a minimum when aiming to impress.
Do you have any Grey Poupon?
“Excuse me” and/or “pardon me” are two phrases you should use on the regular. Both are commonly used to get someone’s attention for a conversation, or simply someone to move aside, say our experts. Along with “please” and “thank you” these two phrases are the easiest ways to show good manners.
As we’ve established, good manners include not talking too much. Similarly, overindulging on booze is considered poor form. Fun fact: It is said that “mind your Ps and Qs” originally referred to pints and quarts in relation to alcohol consumption. Keep your tipples, and—by extension, conversation—in check.
Lastly, don’t show up empty-handed. No matter the situation, you should always bring a little something to an event or gathering. “Have you been invited to someone’s birthday you don’t even know that well? Bring a card. It’ll make a big difference, says Yarus. And remember “Always be charming in your approach.”