Manners and Manhattans’ first blog post introduces my philosophy on the idea of etiquette and manners. To me, it’s as relevant as ever despite the word’s stuffy and outdated connotations.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines etiquette as follows:
Etiquette: noun | the conduct or procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life | synonyms – manner, form, mores, proprieties
The word actually derives from French and was originally used to refer to a “list of ceremonial observances of court” and translated into “ticket;” it eventually evolved to its current meaning which essentially refers to the customs we observe when behaving in public or society. I think the reference to society can be interpreted broadly. It could mean the larger world or your interactions within your circle of friends.
When one hears the word “etiquette” or “manners”, he or she may think of things such as finishing school and complicated table settings. While a familiarity with these topics may be important depending on the circumstances, to me, etiquette at its core is much simpler than this. It’s a way to make the world we all share a bit more pleasant rather than just a stodgy set of sometimes arbitrary rules. Of course, there are times when we may need to know and follow these so-called arbitrary “rules,” but etiquette is as relevant to riding the subway as is it is to dining with the Queen (an opportunity, I’m assuming my readers and I will not get – unless Meghan Markle is reading this). However, I think in most instances if one behaves in a way that is gracious and respectful to others, he or she does not need to worry about being branded as rude.
It seems at least one expert would agree with this philosophy — Emily Post had said:
Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.
What do you think?