Do You Have Good Manners?

Some lament the decline of civility in the southern United States, a region where manners were once considered an important cultural marker. How would you define “good manners”? Do you agree with those who say that civility in general is declining everywhere? Do you think you have good manners yourself?

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Published in Home & Family


  1. CSweet51

    I must admit that over all my good manners have declined. I bring them out when needed…I always try to say please and thank you. I still give up my seat to an elderly person and I stand up when a visitor enters the room. The church I used to attend, our pastor and family were from Alabama so I learned a lot about southern good manners from them.

  2. waylander

    In general, I would say good manners are on the decline and have been for some considerable number of years.

    As far as my manners go, I would suggest the view of people I have to interact with would probably be a more accurate assessment than any I could make.

  3. patak

    Gael, an interesting subject. In some respects I agree with view that good manners are no longer a priority for people. This, I am sad to say, is not confined to the younger generation. I believe we as seniors are just as guilty in this decline. We are the generation who started the 24/7 life style whereby everything has to be done immediately. We, in doing so, created a situation where good manners interfered with getting things done. Now that we have reached a stage in our lives where things are a bit more relaxed good manners have become more important. Is it surprising that we now look around and discover people who are younger do not display such manners. They learnt from us. So in a way good manners although not something society holds in any great esteem they are still alive within people and will eventually reappear when their lives are not so hectic.

  4. patak

    Further comment;
    Do I consider I have good manners. Like way above for me to say yes i do would be a tad self congratulating. It is for people who I also interact with to make that judgement. Even so I try to be polite.

    1. Gael

      Having chatted with you extensively here, Pat, I would say you are definitely polite. More then many for sure.

      The point about our faster paced lifestyle lending itself to a lack of civility is well taken. It takes time to stop and be considerate.

      I personally was struck by the much more mannerly way many here in N Ireland are then Americans generally speaking. And I am speaking in generalities for there always are exceptions to any rule.

      They seem here to very quickly excuse themselves if they are in your way or in any manner obstruct or block you in streets or shops. They also don’t beep their car horns as quickly as Americans would. More patient in general.

      I think it all comes down to in any culture, the training at home. There the standard and instruction is set and it carries through life.

      I was taught manners and it comes second nature to me.

  5. nmod

    I think to be able to practice good manners we need to be aware of what’s happening around us and act accordingly and with common sense , something very hard to do these days when most people seem to be self absorbed glued to their smart phones ,iPods ,kindles ,etc .
    I travel on public transport very often and I see this all the time ! I counted once 29 passengers on the bus and only 2 passengers didn’t have some kind of gadget in their hands keeping them totally absorbed in their own world … Someone with special needs may be standing nearby ,but no one sees them to give them a seat or help them on and off the bus !
    So I think ,that sometimes it’s lack of awareness more than lack of manners .
    Do I have good manners ? I think I do , I try to be polite always ,and I make sure I’m aware of what’s going on around me ,and give a hand if needed.

    1. Gael

      I think you’ve hit upon the same thing Pat was mentioning; the lack of civility due to the pace of life we live. You’re furthering it by mentioning the technological impact on awareness of the needs of others.

      Self absorption is the basis of lack of manners. Who can care about anyone else if one is consumed with their own interests?

  6. starlette

    Well unlike Way and Pat I am going to put myself out there and say I have excellent manners…………not in just the please and thankyou, for example in having a conversation with someone I will always give the other person an opportunity to speak, unlike some people who are so ignorant they hog the conversation and have no interest in what you have to say at all, my pet hate………regarding the young of today, well lots get a bad press………you get the pleasant ones who will hold the door open for you, as I would do for anyone, very often finding myself stood there like a lemon while a dozen or so people go through thinking I am the door women…grrr…………

    1. starlette

      well that reply posted before i had finished……..some of the young will not even look behind in a doorway to see if anyone is following…wham they let the door go in your face……….not excusing the elderly either…….can be so rude and arrogant some of them……..but i will say, good manners and discipline starts in the home from a young age…..teach by example…….xx

      1. Gael

        Couldn’t agree more Star, with the impact ones upbringing has on our manners or lack thereof.

      2. rose1943

        Starlette, you are right on! I have been in the chat room with you and find you to be one of the most polite people. Comment on politeness: I feel it is very rude for people to be late; some are constantly late. They rob you of your time and think nothing of it. Drives me crazy!

        1. starlette

          Thankyou Rose, I always say good manners cost nothing…….I also dislike lateness unless of course there is a very good reason for it…..xx

          1. Gael

            Tardiness is one of my pet peeves also, Star. Ultimately I believe it’s a form of selfishness as it shows disregard for others who are kept waiting.

  7. roseinbloom

    Thank you Gael fora good topic and a good discussion. I am not as polite as I want to be. I like to talk and may not wait long enough to speak, or I may interrupt but I am improving. Good manners are based on kindness and consideration, and I am a very kind and helpful person, but I am working on not letting my preoccupation get in the way of making others feel comfortable and included. I am working on not saying to another what I would not want to hear, and making a point to say what they do want and need to hear. I am working on dependability and punctuality so as to not be a problem to anyone. None of us are to0 busy for good manners, because good manners facilitate the machinery of social interactions, but we have to know and believe that. I do agree that some people need some instructions immediately, if not sooner and they may be willing if they can be convinced that good manners are worth a small fortune and will bring a lot of happiness to their lives.

    1. patak

      Rose I never see you in the chat rooms i would love to see you in giggle sometime so we could we chat there are nice people there just like us.
      Kindest regards pat

    2. Gael

      Rose, the very fact that you are motivated to improve says it all. You care.

      Those that simply only look for their own agenda are the rudest of all, for they are so self absorbed they care little whether or not they are considerate to others.

    1. Gael

      Thank you Rose. And the topic is only as good as the responses it gets. So thank you for taking time to respond.

  8. lani36

    In addition to your lovely blog Gael, when out shopping each week at the Supermart with my daughter , quit often older people seem to choose me to have a 10 minute conversation with , i enjoy these little stops , knowing that these people prolly never see anyone to talk to from one shopping week to the next , my daughter used to get impatient with me , for stopping to talk with them, i replied sweetheart , that could be us one day , with to speak with from one week to the next , now she stops and speaks herself to quite a few of the older people and enjoys her shopping experience much more than she used to rushing in and out of the stores.and brings a little bit of happiness to some lonely people …

    1. Gael

      Lanie, you illustrate the point I made earlier. That manners are learned in our upbringing. There you are setting an example for your daughter which she has picked up on.

    2. starlette

      Lani how refreshing to read that……….my grandson is 22 and who I refer to as the “Rock God”………he maybe is the least likely looking person who you think would be courteous and have good manners……….but he interacts well with the young and old alike, always polite and interested in what anyone has to say……..xx