15 Manners we were taught as kids that we’ve almost forgotten
February 24, 2016 at 3:14 pm
As I noisily slurped the last of my green smoothie through my straw the other day, it hit me that I was being kind of rude! I thought about how I was certainly not following the extensive set of manners I learned from the minimum of three separate etiquette classes I took as a child. I started to think about all those polite rules — you know, the ones literally no one uses anymore? I think we should really bring those back. I’m not a super traditional person and I get that it’s no longer the 1950s. But manners are a convention that we need to keep around.
Here are some I plan to keep alive and well:
1. Chew with your mouth closed.
Chewing with an open mouth and/or smacking might be my greatest pet peeve. No one wants to see what you’re eating, let alone hear that you’re eating it. Your bites should be small enough that your mouth remains closed at all times when eating.
2. Don’t talk with food in your mouth.
This etiquette rule was actually created for safety/health reasons (talking with food in your mouth is an enormous choking hazard), so I really don’t get why people don’t follow it. Also, no one wants to see the partially digested bits of brunch you’re working on. Take a bite, chew it up, swallow it, then finish telling the story about that crazy party you were at last night
3. The glass goes on the right.
I thought this was something people knew but I go to restaurants where, more often than not, the glass is not placed to the right of table setting. Usually the person I’m eating with and I have a brief discussion about whose glass is whose. It just doesn’t have to be that difficult! Place the glass to the right and there won’t be any problems.
4. Do not scrape your bowl.
During etiquette classes, we were taught to never, under any circumstances, scrape your bowl or plate clean. I get it, you want to consume every last drop of that $15 soup. Resist the urge! If you can’t get the last of your food without scraping the plate or bowl, just leave it there.
5. Eat slowly and deliberately.
This is another rule that came about for health reasons. Guzzling your food is not so great for digestion. Slow down when you’re eating, take small bites and chew them thoroughly. You’ll get to savor that delicious meal and improve digestion!
6. Ladies first.
The disappearance of this convention in particular bothers me. I swear I’m not a super traditional person. I don’t mind that “chivalry is dead” or whatever. But I do fully believe that all women are queens. Women work all day long and are still expected to come home to cook dinner for the family, despite the leaps and bounds we’ve made shifting gender norms. Women endure the pain of childbirth if they choose to have kids or they’re incessantly pestered about having children if they don’t. Women contribute equally (if not more so) to society.
The world literally would not exist without women.
I think it’s okay that we maintain this one tradition so that women are acknowledged frequently for the awesome things we do, even if it’s in small ways — like letting us walk through the door first or offering to let us go in front of you in line.
7. Say hello when you walk into a room.
Regardless of whether you know the person or not, or whether you like the person or not, it’s super rude not to greet another human being, particularly if you’re the only two people in the room. Say hello! It won’t kill you.
8. Send a thank you card when you receive a gift or someone does something for you.
This is so unusual nowadays that sometimes I don’t even send thank you notes when I should — and I know better. When someone does something nice for you or gives you a gift, thank them in the moment, then send them a thank you note. It’s not a hassle, it takes five minutes. Tell them that you appreciate what they did or gave you. You’ll be surprised at how much it might mean to them.
9. Offer your seat to the elderly, disabled, pregnant women, women with children and people carrying heavy items.
I’m really not sure why people don’t do this, especially since there are usually signs posted on the bus/train/bus stop/trolley telling them to. Whatever the reason, it’s pretty awful for an able-bodied young person to allow someone who clearly needs a seat to stand. Offer your seat. It could make a huge difference in that person’s day.
10. If someone looks they’re struggling, offer some assistance.
This goes hand-in-hand with #9. If someone appears to need help, offer it. They might say no, and that’s fine! But you should always offer, just in case they really do need assistance.
11. Hold the door open for the person behind you.
There’s no excuse for this one. If someone’s behind you, hold the door. If you didn’t see them, start taking the 1.45 seconds required to look behind you before letting the door close.
12. Say please and thank you.
People seem to say thank you for the most part but what happened to ‘please?’ Now we just make our demands and go on our way.
13. Use “may I” when asking for something.
The polite (read: correct) way to ask for something is “May I please [insert the thing you want here]?” For instance, “may I please borrow the car?” or “may I please use your phone to send inappropriate emojis to your Tinder matches?”
14. RSVP when you’re invited to an event.
Remember when you used to get those colorful birthday party invitations as a kid? They would list a phone number that you had to call to say whether you’d be attending or not. Ever since event invitations have moved over to Facebook and email, we seem to have lost the importance of the RSVP. It’s frustrating to host something and not know how many people are actually going to show.
15. Make eye contact when you’re talking to someone.
This is huge. People think you aren’t paying attention if you don’t maintain eye contact while they’re talking — and let’s be honest, you probably aren’t.
Which manners do you wish people would keep alive? Bring them back by commenting below!