When people talk about manners and etiquette, they tend to envision it as something from far past. Maybe even going back to the Victorian era. Where gentlemen are pulling out chairs for ladies and opening doors, and doing all sorts of other things. We don’t tend to think of them as things that we need to do today. Oh yes, occasionally you’ll see somebody hold the door open for a lady, or even open a car door for lady, but we think of it more as cute and quaint rather than the proper way to act.
The reality is manners and etiquette are more important today than ever before. They have a tremendous impact on the world, much more than you would believe.
If you aren’t sure that manners are important, and think to yourself, is it important that your son or daughter, or any other child, says thank you? We always make a strong point of a child saying thank you, though for manners and etiquette it seems to stop there. We should all learn the proper way to act in the world today. Holding a door open is just polite, whether it’s for a gentleman or a lady, you don’t do it because it’s cute, you do it because it’s the correct thing to do. It just makes the day a better day. For you and the other person.
So we ask ourselves, how can manners really change the world. Well as we have stated many times before, it’s like ripples in a pond. You may be nice to one person, and forget all about it, but they don’t. Oh, of course, they might, which is why you just don’t be nice to one person only. But if you’re nice to somebody, treat them with respect, hold the door open for them, smile at them, whatever the right thing to do is, then it affects them. For example, if you open the door for somebody, they feel pleased and happy that you’ve done so, it makes them feel special. And when they feel special, they might want somebody else to feel that same way, and they’ll open the door for somebody else. And that gets passed down like a chain, so that one person that you open the door for, ends up being more like 100 people that you opened the door for. And those hundred people have a better day and may do other nice things for other people. So your single action creates a much larger ripple of goodwill than you can believe.
If you go out of your way and do something even more special for someone, for no other reason than it’s a nice thing to do, some simple random act of kindness, you can take the effect even further. I remember stories about people that would buy the food of the car behind them in a drive-through fast-food restaurant. In stories from the people that worked in the fast-food chain that would say how long that change lasted for people buying food behind them. Anecdotally, I seem to remember the longest chain being around 100. But think of that, that one person did something nice and bought the food for the person behind them, and that affected the next hundred people that went through the drive-through. Giving them a little bit of fun and excitement for the day and making them feel better.
Just giving a random compliment to somebody, heartfelt, can make their whole day and can turn around. If someone’s in a bad mood, instead of passing that bad mood along to others as ripples in the pond, your complement may turn them around so they suddenly pass good feelings and those ripples instead. So one person can make a difference, and it’s up to you to be one of those people.
So are manners old-fashioned? Yes, unfortunately, it seems that way, so it’s up to is to bring all that back. Next time you out try to remember what etiquette manners are and pass them along. Show by example. Let’s make manners and etiquette a way of life again. And in all honesty, it makes life a lot easier when you have a simple set of rules to follow for being a nice person. Instead of wondering if you should do something nice for somebody, you just do it instead.