Manners and Relationships, Over the Centuries, Are Like a Horse and Carriage

Feb 3, 2012 by

Manners and Relationships, Over the Centuries, Are Like a Horse and Carriage

I have always been fascinated by manners. Specifically, why have we used them over the centuries when dealing with others? Perhaps, bopping people over the head didn’t work as well as being pleasant.

So, like the duo of a horse and carriage – you give, they feel good – manners took off. There are, of course, different ways to display manners in different parts of the world. Whatever the little nuances are, they have one thing in common – a pleasant way to treat others.

In all relationships, when manners are displayed, you are basically saying to another, “I feel you are a worthy person so I choose to treat you in a special way.”

Emily Post (1872-1960), the etiquette guru, had an interesting explanation of manners, even when dealing with unpleasantness: “It’s quite amazing how frank we can be when our manner is sympathetic, eager, or appreciative.” She went on to explain that a person can say “no” and “make it sound as casual and lighthearted as the flitting of a butterfly.” She was an advocate of proper presentation. In other words, even the most unpleasant news could be accepted easier when civility of words and kindness of tone was used.

Using your inner wisdom you understand her point. People can be turned on or off by how you convey an idea, no matter how brilliant it is. You know that often an idea takes a back seat to your presentation. And that presentation to another is the basis of any future relationship.

I remember as a little girl sitting with my hands in my lap at my grandmother’s place, saying nothing. I was bored out of my mind, but was told that was the way to behave. No, dear readers, that is not manners. That is a forced form of unhealthy behavior, as unhealthy as those who choose stinging words to fling at another.

Then, of course, are those who emulate manners. They know the power of manners, so they choose to feel cruelty while ‘niceness’ slips from their tongues. The trouble with that is we give off the vibes of our thoughts; our words can support that or undermine that.

My definition of manners has always been to interact with courtesy toward another’s feelings. That was something I learned on my own with the help of my inner huge empathy and love for most others I have met on my fascinating life path.

That is why, excluding the most destructive of relationships, if you want a pleasant future with the person you are dealing with, whether a relative, friend, or co-worker, you know the more positive words you use, and the more kindness you display in the delivery of those words, the better the chance there is of the two of you having an enjoyable relationship now and in the future. Now that, dear friends, is the basis of a healthy relationship.


Minerva R Socrates is really the wisdom within you.

For more Inner Wisdom from social historian Dr. Burns visit; Facebook: ‘Rochelle Burns’ and ‘Minerva R Socrates…the wisdom within you’; Twitter: ‘Rochelle Burns – minRsoc’.

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  1. Dear John, Your desire to use manners should be an example for others. Be careful though, that what you do really has positive meaning for others. Walking on the outside of the sidewalk came from centuries ago when garbage was thrown out the upper windows. Men walked on the outside to protect women from getting ‘slop’ on them. Today, I am most comfortable when a man and I stay put wherever we find ourselves on the sidewalk, and are simply kind to each other. But, as always, your kindness shines through whatever you do:-)

  2. Dear Rochelle; You’ve done it again, defined a way of life to which all should aspire. I also believe that we show manners in our actions. I, for instance, help my wife into her seat in our automobile and then close her door for her, I never walk on the inside of a sidewalk when walking with a lady, I tip m,y hat (when I wear one, otherwise I lift my hand in salute to a lady to whom I wish to show respect and greet) and probably the most difficult, I bow to oriental ladies when appropriate out of respect for their form of “manners”. My grandfather lived in China for four years as the result of being “Shanghied” off of the docks of San Francisco at the age of 14 (1893). Grampa spoke many dialects of Manderin and exalted the oriental display of manners. He had a huge influence on my attitudes toward showing respect for others. I “tip my hat, salute you, and bow to your article.”
    John W. Strobel III