Written by Barbara Gilmour, NJ Mom Squad Team.
Manners or etiquette rules have come into being because of a need for them. Some, such as the handshake, have been around a long time. Others, such as where to park your carriage (and what to do with the horse) when visiting someone’s home, disappear because times have changed. Now we have Netiquette, which is Internet Etiquette, or how to use the Internet so you don’t offend anyone, and everyone can be friendly and get along with one another.
Since table manners are what most people think manners are all about, we often think about the formal times in our past. Those formal times have caused many people to think etiquette is elitist; only for rich people, and that those rich people made up all the rules. So, if you aren’t going where rich people go, who needs them?
Manners and etiquette have gotten a bum rap over the last 30-40 years. “They keep me from being myself.” “They spoil my fun.” “Who cares if I have good manners?” “So what if I don’t teach my kids this stuff, I didn’t learn it and I’m fine.” But here’s the problem with that kind of thinking; those with good manners and social skills are more confident and better perceived by others. They are also very aware of those who don’t have good manners. Those without these skills don’t realize that they don’t have them; they are clueless. Good social skills can mean the difference in getting the job you want and are qualified for, being thought of as kind and caring, or getting invited to the movies with friends.
One of the biggest myths about manners is that they don’t matter.