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Manners & Common Courtesy

Manners are the lub of society yet so many parents seem to be failing in teaching these simple lessons to their kids. Has common courtesy gone down the drain?

All through childhood, we are taught to behave properly. Unfortunately, when some people are grown up, they behave differently. Social media has shifted the how and where of some things, but the old courtesies still rule. I still think the old - please, thank you, excuse me, holding doors open, etc are relevant. Without good manners, people get offended, hurt, and in extreme cases, very bad manners can lead to things such as the all-too-familiar public flaming, and even wars between family members and friends.

I was brought up with 'good manners' they are just ingrained in me and habitually passed on to my children. FORMERLY thought to be ‘common sense’ and courtesy/decency. Things have changed and we now have another era of manners regarding social media and technology. A mother I know recently found out on Facebook that her son proposed to his girlfriend and they are now engaged to be married. What a sad state at which we have arrived. That’s just bad manners, selfish and common courtesy down the drain. Being thoughtful and courteous should still be a priority but sadly isn't. You just come across as self-absorbed and selfish. Good manners are one of the greatest attributes a person can have but nowadays this seems to be lacking, especially with the popularity of social media.

What Are Good Manners?

In our private lives, dealing with family, friends and social groups, we are not excused from good manners. The people we live with and have frequent close contact outside the family deserve the same treatment and respect as strangers.

GOOD MANNERS

  • Answering an RSVP to a party.
  • Attending a party/event you said "yes" to.
  • Holding the door open for people.
  • Give up your seat on public transport for the elderly, disabled or pregnant woman.
  • Leave the disabled and mother& baby spaces free for those who need them.
  • Returning phone calls/texts promptly.
  • Turn off your mobile phone in the bank at meetings or events etc.
  • Calling ahead to ask if it's okay to come visit.
  • Letting a person go ahead of you in a que.
  • Allowing another driver to merge in front of you.

BAD MANNERS

  • Leaving the hosts to guess whether or not you'll show up.
  • Telling the host that you can't come after all, because another event came up afterwards or your too tired, hungover or just can’t be bothered.
  • Walking into a building and letting the door literally slap the person behind you in the face.
  • Sitting on your phone browsing social media, listening to music pretending not to see the elderly, disabled or pregnant woman in front of you on public transport.
  • Do not park in a disabled spot or Mother & Baby parking spot in car parks if you are not disabled or don’t have a child in a buggy.
  • Never returning calls or texts.
  • Yakking on the phone while you're at the counter in the bank, cashier at the shops or attending the cinema, concert or any public event.
  • Showing up unexpectedly at someone's home, and expecting them to drop everything to sit and chat despite having a shed load of things to do themselves.
  • There are many rude gestures that speak volumes of bad taste and bad manners. You know, the middle finger for example?
  • If another cashier at Aldi or Lidl opens let the people who were in front of you go first. Don’t run to the cashier obliterating everything/one in your path, wait your turn.
  • Cutting off the other driver, after all, "me first!" Just because you technically may have the right of way, does not always mean you should force the issue: you could end up (literally) ‘dead right.’

I'd be willing to bet my first born that too many of us are guilty of some of the things on the bad manners list from time to time; others are guilty of all of them all the time. Good manners reflect good breeding, mutual respect and ought to be the norm both inside and outside the home. It isn't always found, even where one expects it would be, and arrogance, so much a characteristic across all sections of society hinders people from practising simple courtesies. We are all human, we slip up sometimes, no one likes a door slammed in their face or to slam on the breaks while driving and don’t get me started on parking in the disabled or mother & baby parking spots if you don’t have a permit or baby. By baby I mean one that needs a buggy and not a four-year-old child who can clearly walk to the entrance of the shop her/himself. People who routinely behave like this are rude, selfish, inconsiderate and obnoxious.

The frustrating part is when people who have been taught better still behave badly by not replying to invitations, not sending thank you notes for gifts or in other inconsiderate ways. I also believe in giving 'credit where credit is due.' Positive reinforcement makes it much more likely the good behaviour will be repeated. Once children reach an impressionable age, such reinforcement can make all the difference in their future actions and increase their self-esteem. It isn’t just our young folks who are rude there are a lot of adults who need either a refresher course in good manners or (if they weren't taught early on) to learn from scratch.

Keeping Your Word

If you promise someone you will do something for them, whether family, friend or a group to which you belong, you bloody well better follow through and do it! If you have a habit of changing your mind, with or without letting people know, you will develop a reputation as an unreliable 'flake.'

It does not matter if something else you'd rather do comes up in the meantime. You keep your word. The only exception to this would be a true family emergency. In such cases, when family needs help, then family comes first.

Don’t EVER let a child down. If a child invites your child to his/her birthday celebrations unless it’s a family emergency, you are away/abroad there is an earthquake, a tsunami you make sure your child attends the party, you find a way. Perhaps ask another parent to take your child or collect if you yourself have plans.

A birthday is a child's special day, it's the day they were born. It's the only day of the year they can claim as their own. It's spending one day, just a day, where you are the most special person alive. We share Easter, Christmas and all other special days with everyone else in the world, our birthday is ours and ours alone. Don't let a child down. Their parents have most likely gone to great lenghts to make them feel special, don't ruin it by being selfish.

If you promise to have a child for a sleepover, playdate or take them to the park, playground or activity centre – DO IT! Nothing boils my blood more than people letting a child down. It’s a sure way to lose a friendship. If you make a commitment – keep it. Otherwise, you are teaching your children it’s OK to not follow through on commitments. It’s OK to let people down – It certainly is not OK, especially a child.

Acceptable Cancellations

  • Family medical emergency or disaster.
  • Your car breaks down.
  • Death in the family, or of a very, very close friend.
  • Earthquake, a tsunami or storm.
  • Not being in the same county/country at the time (Time hop hasn’t been invented yet, thank God).

These things rarely happen, but if you want to lose friends and piss off family members then your car breaks down every other week and your child should be kept in a padded room because he/she is always at A&E.

Non-Acceptable Cancellations

  • I need to get my hair, nails, eyes done.
  • I just can’t be bothered.
  • I’m hungover.
  • I’d rather watch Netflicks OR Game Of Thrones binge planned.

If you don't have something going on of the serious nature listed above, then any other excuse marks you as lame and an unreliable 'flake'.

Manners are reciprocal. If someone holds a door, say thank you. If you receive a gift respond with a note. If you receive an invite to a party, attend (unless of course there is an emergency). lf a person lets you go ahead in the que, say thank you and for God's sake if you get engaged, are pregnant, sick tell your parents before announcing it on social media.

People who chat online and in forums etc need to be especially careful to use good manners or what they say can easily come over as gruff, critical, hurtful and offensive. If we can't see or hear the person we are chatting with we can not hear the intonation in their voice or read body language, so good manners are especially important. Some people are very knowledgeable and full of good advice but their comments come over as critical, demeaning and even rude at times. Be mindful especially on social media to practice good manners.

Manners are like a boomerang. Use them, and be kind, and people will respond likewise. It all comes back to the old, "What goes around comes around."Or Karma.

Treat people like dirt, don't be surprised to find yourself on the outside looking in. Bad manners are a fast way to lose friends and family – No one likes or tolerates a 'flake'.

For the most part, it feels as if I am preaching to the proverbial, and those who most need the information or guidance simply won’t read this, share it or feel they are exempt. Is it bad manners to share/tag this with people who practice bad manners? Good manners are always a better choice than bad manners. We all need a reminder now and then. Share and tag away!

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter . What do you consider good manners? Maybe you agree or disagree with my post? Maybe there is something that you consider to be bad manners that I haven’t mentioned? Connect with me on social media and share your thoughts. Let’s start a conversation about manners… #letstalkaboutmanners

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