Someone once said, “Manners are a way of showing other people we care about them.”
Does it really matter if we have manners or not? Does it affect our relationships with others? Do others judge us by our manners? Shouldn’t we just be ourselves?
Here’s a few reasons why good manners are good for you:
Good manners put people at ease. People at ease are more likely to agree to your requests.
Good manners impress people. People who are impressed by your behavior are more likely to treat you with respect.
Good manners build self-esteem. Teenagers with self-esteem are more likely to get what they want out of life. (You see yourself differently – and then work for a better job, friends, house, ministry, etc)
Good manners are attractive. Kids with “know-how” are more likely to have the friends and relationships they want.
Good manners allow people to live and work together without unnecessary friction. This makes your everyday world more pleasant.
Good manners are rare today.
Good manners make you feel good
Good manners make others feel good. You help to create a world in which people treat one another with care, respect, and compassion.
Should we try to be something that we’re not? Well, if we see a way that we can “better ourselves” and be more respected in society, shouldn’t we?
You may also ask: what if my friends don’t care how I act and none of them do the “manners” thing either?
Why should I try and have good manners?
You won’t hang with those friends forever
Eventually, you will all grow up and move away--- your practice of good manners now will become a habit for you to follow and continue later
You will be an example to your friends, by your good behavior and they will hopefully begin to follow you!
Let’s talk about BODILY FUNCTIONS
Our body is a marvelous, miraculous machine. It’s capable of breathtaking feats of skill and endurance. Is there anything else on the planet that can do a three and a half double reverse flip, leap across the stage while singing Italian, scarf down 14 Big Macs at one sitting and then reproduce itself?
We are amazing creatures!
Some people feel that because bodily functions are “natural,” it’s okay to exhibit them in public. Well, earthquakes, typhoons, and tsunamis and eating one’s offspring are natural occurrences, too. But that doesn’t mean we want to witness them in our daily lives. If ever!
There’s no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed about the natural noises and emissions of your body. But, as the old saying goes, there’s a time and a place for everything. Knowing when and where is the key to keeping a well-mannered body.
Bodily functions tend to fall into two categories:
Things you do to your body. Things you can control like picking your nose, cracking your knuckles, going to the bathroom (although this also has to do with your age and how many sodas you’ve had to drink)
Things your body does to you. These are things you have little or no control over: sneezing, yawning, hiccupping, gas, etc.
Let’s talk about these:
It is considered bad manners if you pick your nose in public. The rooting around for buried treasure is generally looked upon as unappetizing. If you find you must remove a substance from your nose, excuse yourself to the bathroom (without telling what you’re doing) and use a tissue.
What if you “produce” something large from within your nose and have NO tissue?
Do not fall under the temptation to wipe it anywhere (wall, under desk, between your mattress, bottom of shoe, etc.) Quickly excuse yourself and either grab a toilet tissue or if there is none…and you must, use a piece of paper, or just wash it all in the sink. But…under no circumstances are you to eat it!
Little boys (and, I’ll have to admit some grown men) spit to be “cool.” Little girls often do it too. There’s something about how far you can spit. It’s fun in a weird sort of way.
If you must spit, once again excuse yourself and go to the bathroom and spit in the toilet (please flush). Do not spit in a water fountain. If you cannot get to a bathroom, or you are outside, spit in a spot where people can’t see or will not step in it. If you cannot get outside, spit (calmly and slowly) into a tissue or napkin.
Note: Avoid making big throaty sounds that produce more spit.
Picking your Seat (not at a concert)
Try not to be seen trying to “retrieve” underwear that has disappeared into the deep crevices of your body. If you must, go to a bathroom, dressing room, inside a bush, or if you can’t hide, try to do it discreetly or just suffer the pain until you are in private.
Picking your Ears
Another task that should be done in private only. No one wants to see what specimens that a Q-tip can bring forth.
Many enjoy making a sport out of this. But try to keep this to yourself and not “bless others” with this function.
If you cannot help it, and you do it, don’t make a big deal about it.
However, if you are discovered or someone nearby passes out, simply say, “I’m sorry.”
Note: It is improper manners to die laughing and make a big deal if someone near you passes gas.
Extra note: It is not considered “lying” if you flatulate and don’t acknowledge it; however, it is lying if you point your finger at someone else and accuse them of it and embarrass them.
It has become so common among girls today to belch in public.
In some foreign countries, it is considered rude if you do not belch after a meal, because that is a sign that you felt the food was satisfying. But that is a rare allowance. Belching is still rude and should be withheld.
This may be something that your family is okay with at home, but when you get in public it is proper manners to refrain from doing so.
You can tell by the look on your friends’ face when they are uncomfortable with your behavior, but you can always adjust accordingly.
Remember, one of the highest compliment you can receive is that you carry yourself like a lady.
Eating with your mouth open
No one needs to see the digestive progression of what your saliva is doing to your food, so it is best to hide this process.
Talking with your mouth full
Wait until you swallow before you talk. This is easy to forget sometimes, but the view of food is generally more appealing before it enters your mouth, and not after.
It’s okay to scratch places that are not private (just be careful not to look like a monkey). Save scratches to private parts to private places.
Not In public. Wait until you in a bathroom – preferably, your own, before administering punishment to that blemish.
Often this is a nervous habit. Along with cuticle picking. Try to break this habit if you have acquired it, especially when someone is talking to you. Filing your finger nails is better.
Combing Hair in Public – Is it okay?
Never around food – in a kitchen or restaurant. And not in public places like during church services, concerts, etc.
If you must do a quick comb, try to do so speedily. It is best to fix hair in a bathroom when in public or in the privacy of your car, etc.
Best done into a hanky or a tissue.
If you do not have either, the proper way is to make a little tent with your fingertips, close hands and form a mask over your nose and mouth, then sneeze into that, trapping germs from flying toward your neighbor.
Note: Should you shake someone’s hand after that? No. Instead, be quick to wash your hands if possible.
It is also proper to sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
Is it rude to sneeze over and over again – like 17 times? No, that usually has to do with allergies and cannot be helped.
Note: Don’t feel obligated to say “Bless you” 17 times. The person may get embarrassed and feel they have to say, “Thank you” 17 times.
Extra Note: The proper thing to say at one time was actually “God bless you,” because our heart stops beating, but now it’s “Bless you”. You could actually say, “God bless you, your heart just stopped!”
There are many things to remember about manners but remember that practice makes perfect. We won’t always get things right, but we can sure try.
And don’t forget those words that are still magic – “Please” and “Thank you.”
So, the answer is Yes. In matters of manners, manners matter!
1 Corinthians 15:33 - Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Romans 12:10 - Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another
- To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.Titus 3:2
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost
* There are many, many Scriptures that teach us how to act and carry ourselves. These are just a few.