Quotes About Good Manners

Son helping to serve salad for mother at the family dinner table
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Most people understand the value of proper etiquette, and this is reflected in some of the quotes listed here. Even though these quotes are from well known people, they still face the same bad manners we all see.

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.”
~Margaret Walker

Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.”
~Clarence Thomas

"There can be no defense like elaborate courtesy.”
~E.V. Lucas

“Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude.”
~Maurice Baring

Table Manners and Dining Etiquette

If you want to work on improving your etiquette, start with table manners. Some people simply need to learn to use the correct utensils, while others have no clue what to do with their napkin.

“The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.”
~Oscar Wilde

“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.”
~Emily Post

"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. What's worse than one rude person is two rude people.

"You can get through life with bad manners, but it's easier with good manners." 
~Lillian Gish

"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.”
~Eric Hoffer

"'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."
~Fred Astaire

"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."
~Emily Post

"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."
~Author Unknown

Respect Others

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 and move on.

"Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them."
~Bill Kelly

"Politeness is the art of choosing among one's real thoughts."
~Abel Stevens
"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."
~Thomas Sowell

"Doesn't matter what a person's name is as long as he behaves himself."
~L.M. Montgomery

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."