Manners Matter

My parents taught me a lot of things when I was a kid. They showed me how important it was to do well in school and how to do the laundry, but the one lesson that really got shoved into me was good manners. I have a really hard time hearing someone sneeze without saying bless you or not holding a door for someone when they are behind me. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that in this day and age, manners don’t seem to matter as much. Many of us just go about our day, focused on ourselves, and forget that we live in a world full of others who should be treated with kindness and respect. But what can we do about this?

Here’s a guide on manners and different things you can do to be more considerate of others.

1. Always say bless you. This one is a must. If they are within a few feet of you (and even if they aren’t) you should always say bless you. It’s really easy, takes no time out your day, and unless you don’t believe in the “bless you” then there’s no reason you shouldn’t say it.

2. Let more people pass when you’re driving. There are some people who will have a hard time doing this. People cutting in front of me while I’m driving used to really bother me too. It’s true that some of them may not deserve your consideration but I feel that letting people pass more is actually beneficial. It helps traffic flow more smoothly and it keeps your blood pressure down if you don’t get pissed off every time someone tries to pull a fast one.

3. Say magic words. Please, thank you, and sorry. Use them. The first two are specifically used when someone is helping you; the least you can do is acknowledge their thoughtfulness. Using sorry shows remorse towards an action that may have hurt someone or put someone in an uncomfortable situation. And trust me, there is definitely a correlation between how big of a jerk you are and how little you say “I’m sorry” when you’ve done something wrong.

4. Open doors for others. This one can get a little tricky. When someone is near you, always hold the door open. It won’t take much time. When they are really far, it’s really a judgement call. Sometimes by holding the door open, you rush them into taking your gesture, and it’s more of a considerate inconvenience than a helpful act of kindness. If someone’s hands are full, definitely hold the door open and offer assistance if you’ve got the time.

5.  Help the lost. Helping people who are lost is a great. Being lost is not fun and when you help someone with directions, people definitely appreciate it. Major karmic points for this one.

6. Go above and beyond. Opportunities to be helpful and considerate arise all the time, you just have to open your eyes. Help someone push their car, give some change to someone in line who’s a little short on cash, or do some community service. The world needs all the help it can get.

There will be times when your gestures go unnoticed or are taken the wrong way but this shouldn’t deter you. Manners can mean something again, being kind can be the norm, and the world can be a better place if we want it to be.