Yeah I know, another post about manners. But hold on, because it isn’t really! There is a fine definition between Manners and Etiquette….. well there is to me anyway. The rules for manners can change depending on current society and what is considered rude or not at that time. Etiquette isn’t just which fork to use at a fancy ball, it’s a code of behavior that we all carry around with us. It’s our personal honor, integrity and respect system, it’s how well we play with others.
For some time I have been noticing that people in general seem more easily driven to offense, anger, impatience and well, pardon me for saying so, but darn right rudeness. Just to entertain myself and as a reminder to hang onto my self control with my fingernails, I wrote a list of Southern Etiquette Guidelines. Now keep in mind, this is my list with my sarcastic wit applied where necessary, but the general ideas are good!
Of course I don’t consider myself perfect. I lose my temper, judge people’s behavior and actions and consider some people dumber than a box of rocks, (that last one is my internal fall back position during political debates) but I do try to show them their due respect anyway. Why? Because I just admitted to being imperfect, so there’s a slight chance that they could be right, and I could be in the wrong. Slight, mind you.
When dealing with someone unpleasant I try to remind myself that maybe they had a bad day, maybe they are dealing with me seconds after receiving life altering news, or maybe that’s just their character, but it’s no excuse for me to adjust my behavior to emulate theirs. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, judgments and lifestyle choices even while shouting down yours. Whether you call them manners or etiquette, their lack doesn’t win people over to your sunny views of life, but it does leave an impact. Life Lesson #1 – Respect yourself. While you can’t control or change other people, you can control the way that YOU respond to them. Respond with kindness or at least courtesy and you will never have anything to regret. If you want people to show you respect, you will need to exercise it yourself, but whether they do or not, their behavior is about who they are and yours is about who you are. Who knows? You may be the first person in their lives who has ever given them respect, and that good deed may spark a desire in them to show respect to the next person they deal with. Using Etiquette doesn’t cost you anything, but its worth is immeasurable, and it is noticed. At least it will be noticed and appreciated by me.
Have a great day!