Monday, August 25, 2008

Foundations of etiquette

"Although today's manners are more situational, tailored to particular circumstances and expectations of those around us, they remain a combination of common sense, generosity of spirit, and a few specific 'rules' that help us interact thoughtfully. And as fluid as manners are (and always have been), they rest on the same bedrock principles: respect, consideration, and honesty." (Peggy Post, Emily Post's Etiquette 17th edition)

in order to respect someone, we must value them as human beings, regardless of their background, race, or creed. We should never treat others who "serve" us, such as waiters, salespeople, or office assistants, like they are inferior to us. We can demonstrate respect in our day to day living by how we treat all those around us.

Consideration- It's all about the golden rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". We can be considerate by thinking of other's feelings and then be kind by acting on those thoughts. This attribute can be demonstrated by helping others in need, offering praise, or giving a gift or note of thanks.

Honesty- this is an ethical characteristic more than proper etiquette, but they are intertwined. A tactful person can say something honest about another person without causing great embarrassment or pain. "I like this bathing suit on you better" rather than "that bathing suit made you look fat".

Other attributes that are important:

Graciousness- Grace is defined as "good will: favor", "thoughtfulness toward others"; and "a sense of what is right and proper". Being gracious means that we are able to put others at ease in our presence and spare them any embarrassment, for example when someone forgets your name and you say, "Oh don't even worry about it, I'm always drawing a blank when I try to remember names".

Deference- means of recognizing a person's experience or accomplishments. For example standing when an older person enters a room, removing your had when inside a school or place of worship, addressing others by their proper titles or last names unless instructed otherwise by that person. Deferring politely reflects well on the person who defers by demonstrating that he/she values other people.

1 comment:

Tracy P. said...

Wow, this is a great overview! Maybe I have a few more manners than I thought. I am a stickler about being considerate! Now if I could just balance that with graciousness toward those who are inconsiderate.