Welcome to Dressed for My Day, sweet gal! Happy weekend to you. It may not be a popular topic, but today I thought we’d talk about the beauty of good manners. But before we start the conversation, let’s go ahead and put away our pointing fingers. Ha! This is one of those topics that tempts us to evaluate other people rather than look inward.
What’s the big deal about good manners?
Yesterday I was getting a bite to eat at a rather pricey little restaurant. I had ordered the cheapest thing I could find, but I know other people had paid a pretty penny for their meals. So I was a little surprised at some of the things going on around me.
Someone was allowing their child to play a very loud video game on their phone or handheld device a few booths over. And several women got up from their table to leave, but instead positioned themselves between several other tables for a rather lengthy and boisterous conversation. I wondered how the people around me who were trying to have softer toned conversations could focus with these distractions going on.
Of course, I’ve probably been guilty of interrupting the ambiance in similar situations myself. So I’m not casting stones. But these honestly rude behaviors got me to thinking about good manners. Have we lost the concept?
I certainly hope not. Good social graces are so much more than a list of do’s and don’ts.
Good manners are beautiful because…
I think etiquette is one of those things we don’t notice so much until it’s missing. For instance, I didn’t necessarily pick up on the gracious behaviors of those around me who were indeed using good manners. But I certainly noticed when someone was loud and their behaviors were interrupting the conversations around them.
But then, that’s kind of what having good manners is all about. When we use good manners we don’t draw attention to ourselves. Instead, we make the person or people around us feel respected, seen and even appreciated.
How to practice good manners
Look, we’re grown women. You don’t need a lecture in manners and I’m certainly not qualified to give you one. But I do think it would do us all good to simply think about the source of good manners. In the end, I think if we get things right at the root, we’ll generally default to gracious behavior as long as we’ve learned some proper etiquette somewhere along the way.
In order to practice good manners consistently, I need to turn my focus off of myself and consider other people’s feelings.
Don’t you think that’s true? For instance, when I’m more concerned about the other person, I’ll…
- chew my food with my mouth closed
- keep my tone of voice at a considerate level
- acknowledge other people when I walk into a room
- call people by their name and look them in the eyes
- introduce people to each other and share with them something they have in common
- not interrupt the other person when they’re still speaking
- open the door for a young mom who has her hands full
- return the phone call in a timely manner
- put my cell phone away when having coffee with a friend
How do we develop this inner awareness that leads us to practice good manners?
And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.~ Luke 6:31
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.~ Philippians 2:4
Honestly, it’s a choice. Both of the scriptures above remind us that we have a choice to focus on ourselves or others. But God calls us to treat other people graciously out of consideration. Why? Because that is God’s heart.
Join the conversation
I really didn’t mean to write even as much as I did here. I am certainly not qualified to be the etiquette police! Instead, I thought I’d ask you to help me out here today.
Remember, let’s put down our pointy fingers. Hahaha! So we don’t need to slam society as a whole or a younger generation as the villains. I imagine those women who stopped in the middle of the restaurant yesterday to have their loud conversation are all wonderful women with kind and beautiful hearts. They simply got caught up in the moment. We’ve probably all done the same thing.
But I’d love it if you would share a point of etiquette that especially communicates polite consideration to you. What have you noticed someone else do recently that showed you a gracious heart, a beautiful thoughtfulness? Or what little act of etiquette consistently means the most to you?
Be sure to read the other comments. I’d love it if we didn’t duplicate. The more ideas, the merrier. Ready, set, go!