Almost everyone understands that there's a reason for etiquette guidelines and rules for good manners. After all, most parents start teaching polite words and phrases to their children early in life. They know that they're giving their children an advantage that will carry over into social, educational, and eventually professional situations.
Throughout their lives, people face behavior rules and the consequences of ignoring them. Schools have written rules that they expect students and teachers to obey. Employee handbooks are loaded with policies of etiquette and showing respect to coworkers.
Why Have Good Manners?
Without proper etiquette, society would be a mess with free-for-all behaviors that would have rude people dominating those who care about others. People would say whatever is on their minds, regardless of how crass it is. Forks would fly, and elbows would rock tables in restaurants and homes. Diners would be grossed out by people who speak with their mouths full of food.
Most parents don't want to contribute to bad behavior in society, so they teach etiquette to their children at a very young age, starting with saying "Please" and "Thank you." They encourage their kids to share and not be selfish with their toys, and then as they get older, they progress to some of the more complex manners concepts, such as how to properly introduce someone and how to make a good first impression.
Most people remember having to listen to etiquette rules over and over throughout their childhood before leaving the house. Whether they were going shopping at the grocery store or to a friend's house for dinner, parents repeated a long list of what was expected.
At the time, it may have seemed redundant. But once they become adults and start having their own children, they understand because they now do it. As adults, most of us still care about having a social life. Ignoring proper etiquette guidelines can leave us off the guest list and have people running the other way when they see us coming.
There are certain expectations of how a business person is supposed to act in a professional environment. If you follow the rules, you're perceived as someone who knows what you're talking about. However, if you don't, you may be laughed at and possibly even ignored. In the long run, bad manners at the office may cost you a promotion, or worse, your job.
Benefits of Good Manners
Having proper etiquette is essential in all aspects of life if you want others to respect you. Here are some of the many advantages of having good manners:
- Being nice at home sets the stage for better behavior. Your children watch how you react to various situations, so parents need to set examples and have good manners. If you are polite to them and consistent in following proper manners guidelines, they are much more likely to do the same.
- Professional manners get positive attention. Skills on the job are important, but knowing how to do the work isn't the only thing expected of you. Following the etiquette rules at work will help you earn respect and possibly even contribute to promotions and raises.
- Being kind to customers increases sales. Show your customers your good manners by speaking to them politely and giving them an opportunity to express their needs, and you are more likely to earn their future business.
- Being polite to your friends will keep them calling. When your friends know you care enough to have good manners with them, they are more likely to include you in activities and events.
- Romantic relationships are stronger when couples respect each other. Men and women who are polite and selfless are a lot more pleasant to be around than those who are selfish and rude.
- Treating other people with respect makes them want to be nice back to you. Whether you need help at the grocery store or you have a complaint about a product, showing good manners will make the store employees want to work with you. Holding a door for a young mom or older person can make their day much better. Smile at someone, and that just might be the bright spot in his or her day.
- Driving with good manners can help prevent accidents. Road rage has never been good for anyone. Remember that all drivers make mistakes. It's up to you to maintain an even temper and avoid accidents by being aware of everything around you when you're behind the wheel.
- Others will listen if you give them a chance to speak. Being a good conversationalist involves more than knowing the right words or talking all the time. The person you are speaking to will feel that you care if you take a breather and hear what he or she has to say.
- Good social etiquette will keep your name on the guest list. If you RSVP, show up when you say you will be polite to others, have good table manners, know when to leave, and thank your host for inviting you, there's a good chance you'll be invited again.
- Knowing and using proper etiquette regularly can help with confidence. If you are in the habit of using good manners all the time, you won't have to worry about whether or not you're doing or saying the right thing. It will come naturally to you, and others will respect you more for it.
The Right Thing to Do
Yes, having good manners will benefit you in most aspects of your life. However, the best reason to use proper etiquette is that it's the right thing to do.