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Ask Erin: What Happened to Manners?

By Melanie Moffett
In AskErin
Jul 10th, 2017
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by Erin Sharplin Love | erinlove@panachebyerin.com

Have you noticed that sometimes during the last decade etiquette has practically become extinct?  What has happened to manners?  Where have all of the Emily Post coffee table books gone?  Where are the classes that were taught when I was in high school?  What is happening to this world?  Am I the only one who has noticed this decline?

For example, below are some situations I have personally witnessed where manners were nowhere in sight:
•  A person knowingly lets a door slam on the woman struggling with a stroller.
•  A teenager bumps into someone and never utters a single “excuse me” or “I’m sorry.”
•  A guy puts his feet on the theater chair in front of him while someone is sitting in it!
•  A young man burps while dining at an upscale restaurant and laughs.
•  A driver stops to let a car exit a driveway amid a traffic jam and is never thanked.
•  Gifts are given and a thank you note is never received.

I could go on and on, and I am sure that each of you have similar stories and more.  The lack of decorum that is developing in our society is troubling, and it is something that needs to be addressed and corrected as soon as possible.   So, let’s start here.

Why are manners so important?  The reasons are so great that they deserve a bulleted list:
•  You will feel more comfortable and, therefore, more sure of yourself in social and business situations.
•  Those around you will feel more comfortable, because displaying proper manners means that you care for others’ feelings.
•  Your communication with others will be clear and concise.
•  You will appear more successful and educated.
•  You will always make a good first impression.

How can we help to ensure that etiquette is not forgotten?
•  In short, begin at home!  Manners need to become an ingrained part of your everyday interactions and, therefore, must first be practiced at home.  Furthermore, children develop habits by watching their parents and siblings.  If you are practicing proper etiquette in your own home, it is sure to rub off on them.
•  The rules of etiquette tend to change as society evolves, so keeping up with those changes is imperative.  I recommend taking a refresher course in manners at least every five years.  All in all, the one rule that stays constant is The Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Stick to that rule, and you will always come out ahead.
•  Talk to schools and churches about welcoming an etiquette teacher to share her skills with the students, staff, and faculty.  When it comes to manners, practice makes perfect, so reiterating the rules on a yearly basis is a great idea.
•  Host an “etiquette party.”  After all, learning can be fun!  Invite friends and family members over for dinner and drinks, all while learning how to navigate a table setting and how to properly hold a wine glass.
•  Make displaying and learning proper etiquette easy for you and those in your home.  For instance, I recommend having plenty of books ready for any social situation that may occur.  I even love the idea of having an etiquette book on a coffee table for all to peruse when they enter your home.  Also, have plenty of “thank you” notes and a good pen ready when needed.

In the end, it all starts with YOU!  Keeping manners at the forefront of your own life is the only way to ensure that they remain an important part of your world.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this article!  Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments – erinlove@panachebyerin.com