Most people recognize good manners vs. rudeness in other people, but we may not see it in ourselves. Sometimes emotion takes over, or we may have bad habits that we've been blinded to through the years.
Being mannerly isn't difficult if you know the basics. If you haven't done that in the past, it will take some work, but eventually, good manners will come natural to you. Etiquette can be learned and mastered by anyone, from the smallest child to the oldest adult.
What it Means to be Mannerly
What does it mean, then, to be mannerly? It means that the person is warm and genuine, with a commitment to being considerate and kind to others. It requires showing genuine respect for others in social, business, and family situations.
Here are some things to look for and work on:
- The mannerly person exhibits self-confidence. This character trait is usually observed through their behavior and savvy way of interacting in both social and business situations. Upon meeting the mannerly person, you will be impressed by his or her adeptness and ability to comfortably navigate circumstances, whether familiar or not. Remember that learning to be confident in what you stand for and in your abilities does not necessarily demand that you become proud and obnoxious. On the contrary, people are attracted to power constrained by humility and kindness.
- When a person is mannerly, she is considerate of others. Her sensitivity toward the plight or difficulties of others dictates that she not only notice, but that she also does whatever she can to meet their needs. Mannerly children are ever aware that their behavior reflects their upbringing and as a result, they are thoughtful and courteous representatives of their family when they are with others.
- The mannerly person is purposely aware of the rights of others. He is respectful in his associations, recognizing differences, whether these be due to age, culture, or status, without making them a key point. In any given situation, he shows due deference and equally respects the old and young.
- When you meet a person of impeccable manners, you will most likely find her to be a very practical problem-solver who has an uncanny common sense of style. This is the person who knows when to remain silent and when to speak up on a matter. She is able to maintain relationships through her commitment to integrity, and she is a go-to confidante who gives wise advice. You should never have to worry about this person being a snob or gossiping to others.
- A person of great manners uses tact, values honesty and understands the power of words and actions. Because he does, he will generally be slow to respond and will purposely act, rather than react to most situations. He is careful to think before he speaks or acts. As you grow in etiquette, remember not to allow your biases and opinions to draw you away into vain and corrupting conversations. Have and maintain convictions, but pick your battles.
- Flexibility is another of the well-mannered persons character traits. Even if the person is traditional, he or she is one who recognizes that there are necessary accommodations and modifications that must be made for the sake of cultural sensitivity.
- Someone who knows proper etiquette deals with awkward situations with grace and poise. The world is filled with people who have never learned good manners or allowed their etiquette faux pas to become long-lasting bad habits. Understanding this and learning how to deal with it is essential for anyone who doesn't want to let others cause them to react in a negative way.
How Did You Do?
As you assess your manners, remember that they can be learned and even mastered at any age. While it is true that when taught in childhood, manners become foundational building blocks for good habits, relationships, work ethics, learning, and growing, take heart and know that it is never too late to improve your manners.
It is also important to remember that cultivating good manners is not a limiting factor which requires stoic or unnatural behavior. On the contrary, developing good manners is actually a great way to enhance your own unique personality traits and style. The shy person is helped by her etiquette training to overcome the fear of relating to others. If you are a person who loves to disagree, good manners will equip you to be agreeable and pleasant, even when debating a sensitive topic.
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of perfecting good manners is evident within the family and home. When you are well-mannered, your respectful, considerate, tactful, practical, and flexible behavior will go a long way toward encouraging your loved ones and cementing the bonds of love and respect when you are with the people who know and love you the most.
Edited by Debby Mayne