The Language Of Manners
“Try manners? Why should I?” Too bad too many people are clueless on this matter.
But like all forms of higher communication, manners are a language in themselves. It can take years to learn the subtleties and even then it can get messy. Fortunately, genuine intentions provide the best protection.
Of course, actions of courtesy and consideration take time to acquire. To communicate well, manners take time.
Being caught by observation and taught with formality, good manners provide the social lubricant to enable us to manage in a whole host of situations. Perhaps that’s why – surprisingly – royalty tend not to be aloof and snobby in the presence of regular folk. Instead, their manners are so developed they can relate to practically anyone.
Compare that to those well-heeled but ill-mannered people with one nostril hooked on their chandelier. In their arrogance they pretentiously look down at others, little realizing the deficiencies of how their own behavior.
Courtesy, clearly, is not a function of financial capacity.
People who convey respect and see the dignity of treating everyone well, are the ones fluent in this persuasive lingo. It’s harder to dislike those who treat us well and, if they regard you with appreciation, irresistible to accept them too.
That’s why proficiency in this language matters so deeply. To lack the talent of handling other people amicably means missing out on relationship opportunities and a great deal of happiness.
All of which means everything you learned about having good manners was true. But not necessarily for the reasons we were led to believe. Why? Because politeness without genuine care is little more than a hollow, cynical exercise in manipulation.
To speak it well, you need to have feeling. Like playing the piano, singing, or dancing: they all fall flat without an obvious underpinning of meaning.
So be patient with those who can’t see the point and don’t speak more than the odd “P” or “Q”. Good manners take time and, to express well, require mutual respect and care. Time and suitable role models are required. But the reward (a lifelong confidence in the art of treating people well) is surely an attractive investment.
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