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Losing human manners in our society

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Last year, I was on the LRT. The train was packed like sardines. An elderly lady got onto the LRT, looking for a seat but those who were sitting were engrossed with their phones and didn’t pay attention to her. Nearby, I heard someone shouting over the phone, about his problems he was having with his wife. As the train was coming to the next stop, I wanted to get off but I couldn’t because there were throngs of people rushing in.

Have you been in a similar situation before? During my childhood, I was taught proper manners by my parents, such as, saying “thank you”; “please; “sorry” or “excuse me” – the ‘magic words’, they call it. Being raised up in such an environment, I have come to acknowledge that having good manners is an essential value.

However nowadays, people are starting to lose their manners. Let us take a look at the statistics. In a 2016-survey published by The University of Chicago, Americans thinks that at least 74% of manners have declined over the past few decades.

Therefore, today, I would like to share about the three benefits of good manners, which are: to help you socialise; to help you in your relationships; and to help you in your future career.

Let’s begin with my first point.

There is a saying that no man is an island. We need to socialise with people because we cannot live without interacting with them. Therefore, having good manners can help you to socialise better with the people around you. For example, you are carrying a stack of schoolbooks and files while walking along the school corridor and someone bumps into you. Your books and files fall on the floor but that person runs away without apologising. How do you feel when that happens to you? I would feel very upset and angry at that person. If you treat others with good manners, they will do likewise to you. Let me tell you my short story. A few years back, I was staying in a condominium with two neighbours who were a middle-aged couple. Every time I saw them, I said hello to them but they ignored me. It went on for an approximately four to five months but I continued to greet them. One day, I presented them with a chocolate cake. They got a shock when I gave them the cake and invited me into their apartment. Because of this incident, this couple greeted me and gave me presents during my birthday and festive seasons. No doubt that my good manners were reciprocated by the couple.

Moving on my second point, good manners are also beneficial to different areas of relationships.

In friendship, as you keep that well-mannered attribute, your friends will remember you and keep you in contact in any future events or activities. One example of good manners is to respect you friend’s time. For instance, I encountered a similar situation recently. I was supposed to meet a friend at a coffee-shop to collect something from her. Therefore, I made an appointment with her two days before the actual day. On that day, I went to the coffee-shop to wait for her but she did not turn up and I had to call her. She only told me that she could not at the appointed time when I called her. I felt upset that I had to wait for her but she did not inform me. Being on time and keeping to appointments can help to strengthen the friendship.

In a family relationship, when you cooperate with your family members, the tighter the bond will be. Ways of showing good manners in your family can be by saying “Please” and “Thank You” when asking and receiving something; using positive language when talking; and asking permission before borrowing something. According to StageofLife.com, 97% of teens learn their manners from home. As for me, whenever I need my dad’s help to buy something, I would always bargain with him and say “Please”. Whenever I disobey my mum, I will always say “Sorry”. Whenever my older brother treats me to desserts or offer me drinks, I would always say “Thank You”. When there is respect within the family, all of us live peacefully and harmoniously.

Finally, good manners is a great help in the workplace.

In an article by Kristen Salyer, a Senior Editor at Ladders.com, she stated that manners are important at your workplace because it is part of the soft skills you have to help you excel. It is also necessary because as you get promoted to higher positions, which means, that you would have to deal with more people. There are a few ways to display good manners in the workplace. Towards your managers or bosses, you can display good manners by knocking on their office door before entering. Towards your co-workers, you can try not to talk on the phone loudly. In a meeting, you may want to let people talk first before you do, not to argue back if there are any disagreements but instead co-operate with them. My dad said that, years ago, he was in a restaurant in Britain one day and when paying for the meal, he gave the waitress his credit card. The waitress then returned the credit card by throwing it onto the table. He found her to have had a rude attitude towards a customer, like him. Because of this incident, he decided not go back to this restaurant again. In any type of business, if you are polite to customers, in communication and body language, it will generate more sales because they are pleased with your service and they will keep patronising.

In conclusion, the three main points are to help you to socialise; to help you in your relationships (friends and family); and to help you in your future career.

If people gave up their seats for the elderly; if people were to be considerate enough to talk softly on the phone; and if people were to be patient enough to queue up to get off the train, the world would be a better place to live in. Therefore, I would like to encourage all of you to start displaying good manners to everyone around you. If you have been doing so, keep it up.

Thank you very much.

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