Random Observation/Comment #719: Class never goes out of style.
Why this List?
Manners represent social norms and levels of kindness. From a Chinese background, poor manners are disrespectful and could lead to dishonor or disappointment. In these important years of parenting Evie, I want her to at least learn some of these phrases, actions, and situations.
- “Please” / “Thank you” / “You’re welcome”. I’d be happy with just this out of this list.
- “Bless you” / Gesundheit”. I find the source/story to be irrelevant – Saying this is acknowledging a sneeze and maybe it means something to them.
- “Excuse me”. Off of a sneeze, burp, walking through a crowded train station, or just leaving the table during dinner.
- “May I…?” Especially when you’re visiting somewhere or it’s not your house.
- “May I pet your dog?” Specifically pointing this one out because we have a lot of dogs walking around the neighborhood and it’s always polite to ask.
- “This is delicious.” Complimenting food, (especially if someone you know cooked it for you) is key. The cook always wants feedback and see happy eaters.
- “What can I help with?” Just asking can really make someone’s day. You’ll 80% get a “I think I’m good”, but you might learn something new or apply something you’ve learned.
- “How was your day?” / “How’s <person or recent life event>?” I’ve added this to the list because a well mannered person may also have great memory in social situations. Caring about other people’s lives and making space for them to express their feelings is kind.
- “Can I get you an ice pack or a band aid?” This shows concern for someone else (maybe only relevant within toddler minor injuries).
- “I’m going . Can I get you anything while I’m up/out?” I’m guilty for not always doing this because we’ve been locked inside and we haven’t gotten sick.
- “Would you like another?” / “Please, help yourself to more.” Observing people’s state (empty cup or plates) and then offering to help them is a great host attribute.
- “Do you have any food restrictions?” This means there’s an opportunity to contribute to an event by buying or cooking, which is a kind thing to do and considerate thing to ask.
- “I’ll get the next round” / “This one’s on me. You can get the next.” Probably to be learned later when you make enough money and have friends to do this. I do miss drinking in rounds.
- “Nice to meet you. ” Who knows if handshakes will come back, but the handshake and eye contact technique has many layers.
- “I’d like to push back on that point.” Conversations are an art in their own way. You can navigate it with sophistication and respect even if you disagree on the topic. I hope the etiquette of debate can be taught.
- Giving up your seat on a subway. It doesn’t even need to be specifically for a disabled person, family, pregnant lady or elderly person. Sometimes it’s just a nice thing to do.
- “Can you offer your seat for her?” Another layer of kindness and upholding manners is by asking on behalf of someone else to offer a seat. Kindness sometimes also needs a reminder.
- “Good game.” Good sportsmanship and winning/losing with grace is important.
- “BRB” or “Let me get back to you in <timeframe>” No one likes to be left read without a response. I think this is more forgiving as messages don’t need to be at conversational speeds.
- “Can we come by?” It’s just weird showing up to a house unannounced. Are you selling me something? Are you a serial killer?
- “Here’s a thank you note.” I think hand written notes are super cool and classy. I am a big fan of mailing these out and providing hand crafted invitations.
- Helping elderly cross the street. This doesn’t come up all the time, but respect for elderly is a good virtue.
- Respecting local customs. Read up on these if you’re traveling. Some of these are things you can say (learn a few phrases) or things you don’t do.
- Serving the guests, eldest, and the females first. This is pretty old school, but I like it.
- Make sure everyone has enough to eat and drink. This has to do with hosting and prepping properly.
- Never showing up to a house empty handed. At least a bottle of wine, right?
- Take your hat off inside (especially in a church or during the national anthem). I’m not offended for not doing this, but I know other people might be. The consideration here is for other’s beliefs.
- Tipping well. If you’re able to give and they did a good job, then why not?
- Giving someone without a Valentines Day card a card. It’s just a sweet thing to do. School social situations can be tough.
- If you’re up 10-0 on a table tennis match, then throw the next point.
~See Lemons Raise a Classy Lady
There’s always a large dish to share in the Chinese meal. We should pick those in front of us. Never dig into the dish.
There is a huge amount of this I like, and some reflections…
1,3,4,7, 8,16, 18, 25, 26: Yep, absolutely. These seem like crucial basics.
30: Doubly so. But probably even better to do it when you are 5-0 first, and again at 9-1 or 10-1. On the other hand, it’s important to ensure the world seems real.
28: Yes, big time, if you can (and if it was decent service). I live in the non-US world where people get paid properly for service and I **FAR** prefer that – assuming that customers pay the wages in tips is an horrendous way to run an industry. But even so, if you can afford it – by which I mean if you get more than the median – you should be ashamed of not being generous.
27: This is closely linked to 23 – it’s important to learn what people expect because it’s respect for them.
24: This might seem old fashioned, and reflects the patriarchal model of the world, but I think it still matters – but it matters that you think about the underlying values too. It is worth thinking about the interplay between manners, and the value of changing the way the world is to make it better. Generosity, kindness, and respect mean acting on a one-time basis but also working to improve structural inequity.
21: I increasingly try to give hand-written thank-yous. It’s great to know that someone took time to show their appreciation – plus practicing writing is a good thing for kids 🙂
9: Learning actual first aid is really helpful. There are lots of things like that – lifesaving is a big thing in Australia, where it is all about dealing with water, knowing hw to deal with various “outdoorsy stuff”. I think the cool bit is a combination of understanding that there is science here that matters, knowing how to help, and being prepared to make an effort to solve problems…