I am often made aware of the self-centeredness, sense of entitlement, and lack of appreciation that people can display at times. It seems that people have forgotten their manners.

It’s important to stop and remember the basics of human decency and respect in general. The rules of etiquette are for every person to practice and use in all social settings. That applies to familial gatherings as well. Let’s look at a reminder of some of the basic ways to express courtesy.


1—Please and Thank You.


It is a basic requirement in demonstrating common courtesy to express genuine appreciation by saying please and thank you—and not only with words, but from the heart and thoughts as well. To be gracious is to be kind. To be courteous, is to respect all humanity. When people have everyday interaction with you, it should do them good to have been around you. A simple smile with a please and thank you are just common courtesy that should be exchanged in the course of every personal interaction we have throughout the day and evening, until we rest our head upon the pillow at night. When we awake the next day, we are to have the same mindset of gratitude and appreciation for everyone we come in contact with.


2—Awareness and Attentiveness.


When faced with the great dilemma of people versus technology—choose to put people first. People come first before technology. The people you are with at the moment take precedent over those on a digital device. Constantly checking your phone in the presence of others is considered rude behavior and poor manners. Give your attention, engagement and presence of mind fully, to those you are with. And be aware of both their verbal and nonverbal. The gift of our presence with attentiveness and awareness is what others need. Otherwise, our actions are deemed selfish and self-serving. We cause others to feel diminished and of no worth to us, if we are multi-tasking while they are with us. People need to be our priority, and then the other things we need to do can follow after. When we are physically present, but not our attention and focus, we are robbing others.


3—Meaningful Conversation.


To not engage in interesting dialogue is to not engage in the soul of another person. When we overlook people, or ignore the opportunity to speak to them, we are remiss and do both them and ourselves a great disservice. Talking is a way to get to know another person, and for them to get to know you, and a way to share mutually enriching information. Communication is a key to unlocking many facets of the human personality, and without it, we can miss our greatest connections and inspirations. Exchanging dialogue about meaningful things will inspire the soul. To do anything less is to not exercise our basic social graces.


Keeping these basic tips in mind will help us share kindness and common courtesy wherever we are, and keep our relationships in good social standing. Understanding the basics of good manners is our responsibility as believers in Jesus Christ. When we have been entrusted to bear His name and His message of the gospel, we should do so with “gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15.)  Bad manners and poor social etiquette are incongruent with the message we bear. When we are polite with our interpersonal interactions in terms of both actions and speech, we will be the grace-filled people we are called to be.

Article Written by: Debbie Harper, Ph.D.