“The manners make the man” Well that’s what my Grandma says. She is from a day when men were men and woman ladies.
I’m pretty sure she wasn’t the first to say this. As it turns out the phrase was coined by a Scott, Alexander Barclay, who in 1511 became a monk. Apparently it was then popularised by William of Wykeham (1324 – 1404) who was a Bishop and the Chancellor of England. Wykeham insisted on good manners and etiquette. As a result he adopted the motto “the manners maketh the man”.
Jokingly my female friend said it also doesn’t hurt in this day and age that you’re well dressed, from a good family, rocking a pad in the eastern suburbs, getting around in an Aston Martin DB9, and have a start-up that’s just been acquired by Google or you’ve been named BRW’s Entrepreneur of The Year.
When I think about what constitutes good manners it’s the small things like:
- Always saying please, thank you and excuse me. This is the foundation and starting point.
- Opening the door for a female or taking out her chair when she sits unless you find yourself in the company of Katherine Knight.
- Focusing on your company. Not your smart phone or the ass of the size 8 model that’s just walked past your table.
- Speaking properly. Even when you’re plastered. If you can’t speak properly then it’s definitely time to go home.
- Sitting with good posture. If you find this hard get yourself to a Pilates class. Good posture is essential in conveying the right impression.
- Offering your seat to an elderly person. Unless of course that elderly person is Charles Eugster.
- Avoiding gossip and nasty rumours. As Shakespeare said “Ill deeds are doubled with an evil word. “
- When invited to dinner always bring a bottle of wine. Unless your host is a regular at AA then substitute flowers (Tulips are my modus operandi).
- Being polite and courteous. If your cab driver has just tried to take you the long way home then you can choose to ignore this.
- Respecting your elders. Unless the elders are doing time or have been featured on A Current Affair for selling houses that don’t belong to them.
- Dressing appropriately for the situation. That means no stripper shoes in the office.
- Tucking yourself in before you leave the bathroom.
- Complementing your girlfriend on her appearance even if she has misplaced her GHD that day.
- Making meaningful introductions. This means using the person’s name. If you have trouble remembering names slow down and pay more attention.
- Acting with style, poise and grace. Ideally at all times!
- Not drinking excessively in social situations. If you must, at least stay out of photos, don’t fall over or fall asleep at the bar.
Did I miss anything? What are your thoughts?
A friend of mine who has completed Etiquette school twice weighed in on the discussion today and in addition to this list she told me that for her the crux of good manners is to make everyone feel comfortable and to put others needs in front of your own. I like this although it can be challenging when you’re in the company of dickheads.
Good manners are essential if you want to be a gentleman, navigate society and the business world successfully, expand your network, make new friends and achieve the 1 ton challenge with the opposite sex.
What do your manners say about you?