There’s a lot of talk these days about the decline of society, how manners are a forgotten beast and that the art of chivalry is dead. And if you watch the news, read the papers or understand Twitter, you may get the feeling that this is a particularly gloomy cloud to which there’s a significant lack of silver lining. However, you’d be wrong…but it’s up to you to put right.
It’s not rocket science to be nice. Manners are about being kind, helpful, and courteous, and it basically comes down to each of us acting with an inherent appreciation of what’s going on around us. So in the build-up to Christmas, why not see if you can schedule the following around your mince pies and mulled wine…
For those who don’t know, this means ‘please reply.’ Pre-Christmas you might be lucky enough to receive invitations to some social functions. If you’re really lucky this invitation might be written in real ink on real paper. Or you may be sending out your own RSVP’s. If you are, you’ll know the scenario, but if you aren’t, put yourself in the shoes of the host/ hostess. They’re likely to be a bit worried about who will come, if they have enough food and drink and whether people will have a good time. So whilst you probably can’t do anything about them insisting on having Michael Bolton’s ‘Christmas Album’ on repeat, do your best to help out where you can. Don’t say you’re coming and don’t show. Or say you’re not coming and then turn up with three more people. And if you don’t reply, remember you’re unlikely to be very welcome at all!
Whether in the workplace or at a party, treat everyone the same, no matter how horrendous their Christmas jumper. If you see someone standing alone, introduce yourself. And in the workplace, treat people in the lower ranks with the same grace that you would treat the boss. And if you are the boss? Well, am sure you’re nice to everyone all the time anyway?!
When you arrive at a gathering, be sure to greet the host or hostess. And as you leave, make sure you thank the organiser(s) once again. If you really want to go the extra mile, call them the next day to say how much you enjoyed the party (unless, of course, you really, really didn’t!). We all like to be appreciated, and these small acts of kindness come back to us.
Other manners often neglected are courtesies such as giving your seat to an elderly person who is standing up, or opening the door for someone. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If someone’s got a walking stick, what are the chances that they enjoy standing up on the Tube. Out of 10? Exactly. Older people should not be standing up whilst younger people sit. Everyone is aware of what they should do, but why not be the exception to the rule and actually do it. Take a traditional line to chivalry. If people look like they are struggling with a bag, offer to help. Open car doors, offer your seat, hold the door open. Whether the answer is yes or no, it matters not. You can’t put a price on a smile.
People remember good manners. If you wish to be noticed by friends and business associates, try out these tips, and remember the old words of wisdom- ‘do unto others as you would have them do onto you’. That’s a simple adage that will stand the test of time.
Unlike, I fear (and as I rather hypocritically type away), pen and paper…!