Etiquette is a set of courteous rules for performing certain actions based on societal norms and values. On the other hand, manners are ways in which an individual behaves as instilled from a tender age.
The key difference between etiquette and manners is that the former changes depending on a society’s customs while the latter remains unchanged across communities.
Another difference between the two terms is the types of skills required to nurture them. While etiquette is imparted in a child after attaining a specific age, manners are often cultivated from a younger age. Having said that, let’s now dive further into the real difference between etiquette and manners.
Etiquette vs. Manners
Both etiquette and manners play a significant role in how society functions. The two concepts revolve around rules of behavior, with slight differences in the skills needed to develop them. The standards of conduct vary from one culture to another and mostly depend on cultural heritage and tradition.
By definition, etiquette is a specific code of proper conduct governing society. It is considered more superior than manners because it goes beyond behavioral guidelines. However, a person who lacks manners cannot be expected to have etiquette.
In contrast, manners are defined as a comprehensive set of behavioral guidelines that reflect someone’s level of respect, kindness, and consideration for others. A well-mannered person knows how to make proper introductions, and refrains from belittling or embarrassing others – whether in private or public. A kind person understands and always remembers to start a conversation with such courteous words as “Please,” “May I,” “Thank you,” and more.
As a specific mode of behavior, etiquette encompasses the knowledge of how, for example, to address a queen by saying, “Your Majesty.” People with good manners already know how to practice proper etiquette. Many societies regard people who demonstrate familiarity with good manners as cultured and polite.
Etiquette is usually nurtured through the foundation of acceptable manners. However, unlike manners, the process of learning etiquette is a tough one and requires absolute dedication and conscious effort. For instance, one area that will need a person to exhibit proper etiquette is the observation of traffic rules.
A person with proper etiquette will be able to adhere to traffic laws to prevent collisions and facilitate the smooth flow of traffic. In essence, these are societal guidelines intended to minimize conflict and enhance positive human exchanges. Understanding the rules of etiquette for different situations will not only increase one’s confidence and competence but also make it easy to live comfortably with the people surrounding you.
Examples of proper etiquette include how to act in front of a company, how to dress, how to eat, how to address people of different stature, etc. Some examples of good manners include respecting the elders, not talking about someone behind their back, asking for permission before using someone’s item, not speaking rudely, etc. All these concepts have a huge role to play in creating harmony and civilization in society.
Factors Influencing Positive Etiquette & Manners
In this era of coarse language and mannerisms, one can quickly stand out from the crowd by practicing basic etiquette and manners. The actions of someone who treats others with respect and gratitude tend to spread positively across the board.
Some argue that individuals with good manners are rare to come across in the current society. However, I think it is not right to conclude that people with proper etiquette and manners are no longer in existence.
After all, it all boils down to one’s personal experience and upbringing. You may come across someone from a different culture and judge them negatively without actually taking time to understand what they are trying to express.
You see; specific signs and actions have different meanings in diverse cultures, albeit the basic mannerism is the same for everyone. It is, therefore, not good to develop a negative perception toward someone when you are not sure of what they are trying to convey.
Below, we are going to deeply dissect the factors that influence positive etiquette and manners in society today. Let’s delve right in:
1. Minding Your Language
It is important to mind your language every time you seek favor from someone. Always remind yourself to start your sentences with such phrases as “Please” and “Thank you” regardless of who you are talking to. These seemingly little things count, especially when you want people to have a positive first impression of you.
2. Being Friendly, Courteous & Respectful
Second, we should learn to treat others the same way we would like them to treat us. Put yourself in their shoes, and imagine the treatment you would like to get if you were in a similar situation. Be helpful, friendly, courteous, and respectful every time you are interacting with people, whether you know them or not.
3. Dressing Appropriately
There is a specific dress code that suits every event and place. Wearing appropriate clothing and looking presentable for every function reflects your manners and etiquette. A well-mannered person also takes a shower and keeps their skin, nails, hair, and clothing clean.
4. Offering Your Seat to Those in Need
Giving up your seat to those in need – especially in public transport – shows your extent of courtesy and respect. If the bus or train is crowded and you see someone who is struggling to stand up, please offer them your seat. Standing up for the elderly and pregnant women is an indicator of good manners.
5. Not Asking Personal Questions
Asking personal questions is considered rude as far as etiquette goes. Issues related to salary, finances, weight, and relationships are best left untouched. A person will let you know about their personal lives if they wish to, so reserve this question to maintain your etiquette and mannerism.
6. Paying Attention to People
Being a great listener when someone else is talking to you reflects good mannerisms. Respecting people and listening to them carefully when they have something to pass across goes a long way. Maintain eye contact, and refrain from any form of distraction before someone concludes their conversation.
7. Speaking Politely
Try to keep your tone low but audible enough for people to hear what you are saying. It is not appropriate to shout at the top of your lungs when addressing someone. If you wish to emphasize specific points, simply use your hands. Try to maintain a steady speed and tone while avoiding fancy words that are difficult to comprehend.
8. Driving Courteously
Be a polite and courteous driver with proper traffic etiquette. You can do this by observing all traffic rules and acknowledging other drivers who pave the way for you in a junction. Also, yield to pedestrians, give plenty of space to cyclists, use turn signals at all times, and avoid tailgating people.
Benefits of Cultivating Good Etiquette & Manners
Without proper etiquette, rude people would dominate the society, making it a messy place to live in, especially with the prevalence of free-for-all behaviors. People would shout out whatever they wish to express even if the message is in bad taste. Fortunately, more than 75% of the world is full of good people with proper behaviors that prove essential in every aspect of life.
Did you know that practicing proper etiquette and mannerism comes with a whole lot of social advantages? Yes, it does. These noble virtues help you paint a positive impression on others while allowing you to feel good about your identity. Someone who practices socially acceptable behaviors is ideally setting standards for others who want to follow the same path and earn equal respect.
Exercising good manners at home sets the pillar for better behavior in your household. As a parent, how you react to different circumstances will impact on how your children will respond to the same situation. If you consistently follow proper guidelines for etiquette and manners, your kids will likely do the same.
Good manners can help you create good connections with people of higher authorities. Whether or not they are your close friends, you will be exposed to a host of employment opportunities. Besides, the risk of getting fired will be significantly less if you continue with the same spirit regularly.
Etiquette also offers personal security and protects other people’s feelings. You will be more comfortable when you exercise appropriate social behaviors in every situation. Proper etiquette also allows you to make other people comfortable around you.
The good news is that treating other people with respect increases their urge to reciprocate the same. People treated with respect will respond in kind, while those treated rudely will react aggressively and trigger social rejection. For instance, showing good manners when lodging a complaint about a product at a grocery store will make the store staff want to sort your issue with the same level of respect.
Etiquette in the job environment makes communication clearer. It breaks down communication barriers instead of erecting them. In return, adhering to the proper code of conduct at the workplace enhances your status because other people will change perceive you as professional, capable, and intelligent.
On the road, driving with good manners goes a long way in preventing accidents. No one fancies road rage, and all drivers err on the road. Nevertheless, you can avoid such fracas by observing traffic rules and being aware of other road users is each time you are behind the wheel.
Proper etiquette and manners are an expression of civility and the foundation of a meaningful life full of harmonious relationships. The world can become a better place to live in if we all learn to show small and large gestures of positive behavior each day. A person with bad manners is a curse while those with good manners are a blessing to the whole society.
Let us all strive to instill good ethics in our children to make their future bright and prevent them from becoming rogue, disrespectful members of the society. Proper etiquette and mannerism are imperative to the success of the next generation.
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