Most people understand the value of proper etiquette, and this is reflected in some of the quotes listed here. Keep in mind that it varies from one culture to the next. Take the time to learn what is appropriate wherever you are.
Good Manners Can Help You
Whether with family or out and about with friends, proper etiquette will keep you in the good graces of everyone around you. Being rude only serves to make you appear boorish and selfish.
“Friends and good manners will carry you where money won’t go.”
“Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.”
“There can be no defense like elaborate courtesy.”
“Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude.”
Table Manners and Dining Etiquette
“The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.”
“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”
"Eating grapes with a knife and fork is not what one would call refined. It is what one would call ludicrous."
~Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners)
Bad Manners and Rude People
Some people will have bad manners, no matter what. That doesn't mean you have to respond to bad manners with more bad manners. When someone else is being rude, avoid lowering yourself to their level.
"You can get through life with bad manners, but it's easier with good manners."
"Good manners sometimes means simply putting up with other people's bad manners."
~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
“Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.”
"'Honesty' in social life is often used as a cover for rudeness. But there is quite a difference between being candid in what you're talking about and people voicing their insulting opinions under the name of honesty."
~Judity Martin (aka Miss Manners)
Manners for Children, Preteens and Teenagers
People aren't born knowing how to behave in social situations, so they have to be taught etiquette at an early age. Children need to learn manners from adults who should be good role models. As they get older, they'll have more confidence if they know what to do. Also, other people will enjoy being around them.
"The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any."
"Any child can be taught to be beautifully behaved with no effort greater than quiet patience and perseverance, whereas to break bad habits once they are acquired is a Herculean task."
"We are all born rude. No infant has ever appeared yet with the grace to understand how inconsiderate it is to disturb others in the middle of the night."
~Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners)
"Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners."
The foundation for good manners is respect. If you don't respect others, even knowing which fork to use during a formal dinner is insignificant. You'll still be considered rude. If you show respect to others, they're more likely to be nice back to you. If not, just remember that you've done the right thing.
"Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them."
"Politeness is the art of choosing among one's real thoughts."
"Life be not so short but that there is always time for courtesy."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Politeness and consideration for others is like investing pennies and getting dollars back."
"Doesn't matter what a person's name is as long as he behaves himself."
Final Word on Manners
Being polite, respectful, and pleasant is essential in all social and professional situations. Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners) has the final word here:
"Etiquette is all human social behavior. If you're a hermit on a mountain, you don't have to worry about etiquette; if somebody comes up the mountain, then you've got a problem. It matters because we want to live in reasonably harmonious communities."