The Guardian
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Modern manners….


African American couple outside

I stumbled on this recently, and I find most of the points made therein worthy of re-mention here.

According to the article, “manners (like language) do evolve.’’

Read some of the points made…
. Do not correct people or make a face if their grammatical usage doesn’t meet up to your “prim” expectation. For example, when people say “toilet” (rather than the allegedly more acceptable “loo” or “lavatory”).

It is 2019 – people should be able to use whatever words they like without judgment.

. Never email people at the weekend unless it’s an actual emergency. This applies mostly to work emails.
If it’s not an emergency…leave it until Monday morning.

. If in doubt when meeting someone, shake hands.

Greetings can be hideously awkward these days when we tend to be less formal with people.

How do we greet that colleague or person we follow on social media but have never actually met?

If you’re worried, stick out your hand with confidence. Nobody can misconstrue that.

. Don’t be a TV snob. A lady was said to have gone on a date and was struggling with conversation, so she asked her prospective beau what he was watching. “I don’t have a TV – I read books,” came the reply, as if he deserved a medal and she was a halfwit. Snobbery of all forms is unattractive, but TV snobbery is particularly misplaced nowadays given how excellent television has become and how many choices we have. Being pointedly rude about certain “modern entertainments” makes you sound like an out-of-touch geriatric.

. If you’re sitting next to someone at a dinner or standing next to them at a drinks party, ask questions.

Be interested in them. Do not assume that you’re so intriguing the other person only needs to hear about you.

. You still need to send thank-you cards or letters but it’s totally acceptable to do it online.

. Never leave your phone on the table when you’re in a restaurant or at someone else’s house.

So many do it, eyes flicking from their friends’ faces to their phone to check for a little blinking light. It’s incredibly irritating. Put it away.

And don’t do that thing of reaching for your phone halfway through a meeting/lunch/dinner, mumbling vaguely that you’ve “just got to check something” and then scan your emails and all forms of social media because you’re addicted to the dopamine hit. Just leave it for a few minutes/hours. Nobody will die.

. If someone has a poppy seed stuck in their teeth or a drop of gravy on their chin at a party…tell them.
There’s nothing worse than going to the bathroom only to realise that, while chatting about international affairs, trying to sound intelligent, there was a piece of “stuff” on one’s lower lip.

Please tell him/her. We’d all much rather know.

. Look people in the eye. It may seem obvious, but it looks shifty if you don’t.

. Try to wean yourself off the habit of saying, “We must have drinks soon,” to someone you’d rather never see again. Trying to set up a date for something that will never actually happen is a waste of time for everyone involved.

. If you really have to cancel something at the last minute, it’s best to call the other person. Don’t send a WhatsApp with a feeble explanation and a string of sad-face emojis. When you phone, try to sound suitably guilty and offer another date to make up for it.

. What kind of birthday person are you – the sort who treats it as a week-long festival or the kind who hates the weird pressure to have “the best day ever” and so ignores the whole thing? Not telling colleagues or friends that it’s your birthday and then casually letting it slip too late in the day when you’re feeling needy can make them feel awkward.

Instead, why not simply say, “It’s my birthday,” smiling, whenever someone asks you how you are that day, and then graciously accept their congratulations. That way nobody feels guilty.

. Don’t always make friends do the running. People with babies and small children should, every now and then, make the effort to travel to see their single mate who usually comes to them.

If you are the single friend in this scenario, don’t make passive-aggressive remarks about it. Console yourself with the fact that you weren’t woken up at 5:00am this morning.

The height of good manners is not making a fuss or making someone else feel uncomfortable.

Some bad manners were also mentioned…

. Giving a backhanded compliment. For example, saying to someone “you look great. It’s amazing how make-up transforms people these days.” Backhanded compliments usually start out with “warm” words, before the real insults kick in. If your motive is far from “nice,” hold it!

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