“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use.” – Emily Post
Manners are the way people conduct themselves – their behavior towards others. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.
I once was acquainted with someone who made spending time together more of a chore than a pleasure.
You’d call on a Monday, ask about seeing each other for dinner on a Friday, and find yourself waiting until Thursday for confirmation. Their typical response – “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
I always found that response to be puzzling. I mean, either you want to see me or you don’t, right? Yes, we all have to check our calendars, but that shouldn’t take more than a few hours at most.
I wondered if they were dragging their feet, simply because they hoped a better offer might emerge. I realize how improbable that might sound, but after a while even the most intellectual individual could be convinced.
Bill Kelly once remarked that, “Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them.”
We invite people to share in our lives. From meeting us for coffee, to going for a walk on a beautiful day, to sharing a favorite meal made from scratch.
Regardless of the invitation, your response will undoubtedly speak to your overall manners.
- Do you immediately accept the invite with great enthusiasm?
- Do you say you’ll get back to them as soon as you can with an answer?
- Do you simply accept the invitation and then make other plans without a word?
I have to reiterate, we invite people to share in our lives.
We provide a level of understanding that we’ll be there when they need us – unconditionally – and therefore expect to be treated in a mannerly way.
I think we’ve all forgotten that manners = respect. And without a mutual respect for people’s time and labors, the relationship will always be superficial at best.