Is the ‘Etiquette’ of Good Manners Really Dead?

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Questions below, but first ….

I have been busy a lot this week at the reserve, most mornings l have been helping thin out the duckweed problem we have in the pond. Most days it is just a small group of us, but on the Wednesday when it is the ‘official’ volunteer day then we are not just a small unit of four but we become a gang of around 11 and with the increased numbers you find that there is usually a much more diverse tangent of conversation to be had. When we are a mere four block we discuss mostly duckweed, duckweed, more duckweed and if not the damn green duckweed, then we are discussing sticklebacks and other silver fish species – oh YES, never a dull moment!

However, there were two conversation topics being discussed on Wednesday, both of which l shall raise today in this question under the title of ‘etiquette’ although both are connected directly and indirectly to political correctness …. ish! Gotta love the power of ISH!.

The first topic concerned the rise and fall of good manners in our society today and was/is it a dying form of politeness? Whilst the second discussion was concerning political correctness and whether the two were closely connected BUT also was it better to be seen as politically correct OR diversity correct? So two discussions and then the third to enter the arena of debate was and perhaps the most interesting – can one still be properly polite and politically correct at the same time?

I found this combination of topics and questions intriguing ….. l mean – is not well balanced political correctness merely an updated version of good manners anyway? I say ‘Balanced’ because l believe that being polite and displaying and expressing good manners is etiquette anyway as is being aware of what is socially correct and not.

Whilst I was brought up to be polite and show good manners at all times – l was not brought up to be specifically politically correct in my yesterdays and yet l still think the two are very closely connected today anyway – provided it is viewed in a balanced way. I was brought up to NOT be rude to people whoever they were – but only be polite.

I am sometimes pulled up on using outdated terms and either referred to as being antiquated, old fashioned or on the odd occasion, not politically correct. I recall a few years ago, genuinely holding the door open for a young woman, who accused me of being sexist! “Are you implying l am incapable of opening a door because l am a woman?” She shouted at me in a busy shopping centre! I remember turning beetroot red and thinking ‘Blimey, who shit on your cornflakes this morning then? Talk about bad manners!”

The people at the reserve are a mixture of ages BUT most are in their mid 60’s to later 70’s, whilst l am in my late 50’s, so there is quite a mixture of generations age wise. That is not a specific statement just a fact. I am the second youngest, whilst l am older than the actual youngest by nearly 30 years – so there is a wide scope of thoughts on the subject.

In the main, many thought that people were ruder these days, that etiquette and good manners was dying and that political correctness was a hashed and mashed up modern version of what was left as far as being polite went, but none were too sure whether being PC or simply diversity correct was a more preferred way of life?

l don’t think good manners has completely disappeared, but l see it fading fast into the horizon in the next few years especially because more and more people these days are simply ruder and lack patience and tolerance, and l like the term diversity correct more than being politically correct.

How about you, what do you think?

The Questions

Do you think good manners is dying from society?

Do you think that political correctness is the ‘modern’ form of etiquette for society today?

Which do you think is better – political correctness or diversity correctness?

Let me know below. Thanks.

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39 thoughts on “Is the ‘Etiquette’ of Good Manners Really Dead?

  1. I think good manners and political correctness are entirely different things and have little to do with each others. Good manners are about being considerate, holding the door, offering help, saying please and thank you, etc. These are all the things we do to get along with the people we care about, our family, our neighbors, our friends. Political correctness, on the other hand, is all about fear of being censored by some vague body of THEMS who have decided which words we are allowed to use today and which we mustn’t. It’s all bullshit, imo. THEMS are fine if you call someone a stupid ugly fat fuckhead, but you’d better not use the wrong goddamn pronoun. PC has nothing whatever to do with being kind and considerate but is all about power and control…

  2. I think what’s considered good manners is and has always has been dependent on culture, context, and point in time. What’s considered good manners in one culture might be considered rude in another, and what was considered polite in one culture a hundred years ago may be very different from what’s considered polite in the same culture in the present day. And while being kind is more likely to be genuine, being polite may be as much performative as anything.

    As for political correctness, it’s quite performative, in that it involves deliberately choosing words to demonstrate to others that you are trying not to offend anyone. Some people might consider that to be a requirement of good manners, while others might not. I haven’t heard the term diversity correct before and am not sure what it means, but I think if someone is genuinely accepting of human differences, that’s likely to shine through in their behaviour, regardless of whether or not they’re familiar with the latest terminology that’s been deemed politically correct.

    1. Diversity Correct was a new one on me admittedly also Ashley, but it’s not my terming this time but came from a manager of an Age Concern charity shop and the phrase was something all the employees had been instructed to use as means of replacing ‘Politically Correct’.

      It was an interesting conversation that touched on many many issues.

  3. Manners, P.C., Diversity Correct…. My opinion is that too many people are thinking about only themselves, or their little group and not thinking about society as a whole.

    Being respectful, “please” & “thank you”, common decency, toletant… these are “good manners”.

    I think these marginalized groups standing up and demanding equality is wonderful. But when any person/group pushes their “rights” above anyone else’s that’s not equality is it?

    I know the pronoun thing is difficult for a lot of people. It was for me when Younger was seeing a person who used “they/them”. I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful when I slipped and used the wrong pronoun… it was more of a grammar difficulty than anything. They/them was plural and it took me a while to train myself to use it with a single person. Now it’s my default🤷🏼‍♀️

    I think social media has given everyone a place to shout their views and have them echoed back. Instead of bringing people closer, or teaching people about other cultures and lifestyles… it has isolated people into little clans. And these clans get their endorphin rushes but warring with other clans and getting all the “likes” or whatever.

    I think a lot of people have forgotten or never learned how to function with other people face to face. We’re caught in the Matrix😉

    Did I answer the questions?😂😂

    1. Did I answer the questions?

      Probably 🙂

      I get confused by the They/Them and so far haven’t had to apply that to anyone – but then l am hardly around anyone that is above an anyone or another ….

      I think good manners are an essential part to being basically polite, but of course politeness as has been stipulated here already is different to different cultures.

  4. I believe in good manners although my own are not particularly good. Diversity correct sounds like an oxymoron. If you are truly good mannered and genuinely polite, being politically correct would not be such an issue. Each generation comes up with a different set of good manners, so they do not travel well.

    1. Hey Geoff, l agree if people were truly polite they wouldn’t worry about the ol’ PC, but and yet, PC terminology keeps changing in the eyes of many – so tht can be hard to keep abreast with even as a politest 🙂

      1. I just thumbed through my copy of “Etiquette” by Emily Post (17th Edition, 2nd Printing, March 1928). Much of it is hilarious when read in the context of today!

  5. Do you think good manners is dying from society? Absolutely! Especially with the rise of texting and social media keyboard warriors.

    Do you think that political correctness is the ‘modern’ form of etiquette for society today? If it is, I am so happy that I am on the other side of my lifetime…

    Which do you think is better – political correctness or diversity correctness? Neither. See #2

  6. Do you think good manners is dying from society?
    Yes I think so, specially from western societies. In the East we still see some younger people behaving politely.

    Do you think that political correctness is the ‘modern’ form of etiquette for society today?
    It is perhaps so. People are more concerned with being PC, than being nice to people around them. They rather be seen as politically correct than kind.

    Which do you think is better – political correctness or diversity correctness?
    I think kindness is way better than both these options. But if we think before we say anything, we would be both.
    Great questions! I am busy these days so the late response

  7. Hi, Rory! I feel good manners is fading along with common sense. IMHO, respect and kindness are simple terms and easy to understand. These new terms PC, etc. just make life more confusing. Seems too much of making a mountain out of a molehill is going on.

    Great post, Rory!

    1. Hey Eugenia, yes l agree, as Sadje also says Kindness goes a long way , but so too does Respect – it’s just a shame that we are seeing very little of it nowadays.

  8. It is such a long time since I commuted to work because of the Pandemic, but I noticed that some people were almost scared of any interaction with others. Even though they were rubbing shoulders with hundreds, maybe thousands of other commuters, they seemed to choose the convenient excuse of observing manners by having ear phones in, and either having their eyes shut tight or glued to a screen – reading or watching something. They don’t look up to see if there is someone who needs their seat.

    It’s not everyone who is like that – but I saw more and more people who seem to try to get from A to B without acknowledging the existence of anyone around them. I find it odd. I know how tiring commuting can be, but what actually made it bearable was the people who did take the time to smile, or show some kind of friendliness or good manners. Every positive human interaction could slightly lift my heart.

    1. Hey Jenna, l think the pandemic brought out the very worst and the very best in people, not all and not at the same time. but l too have noticed more people not wanting to interact.

      1. And although some of that is perhaps a little selfish, I think in other cases, people are tired, people are scared, people are preferring to shut themselves in a little bubble because the outer world is unstable and stressful.

        We are going back to the US soon Rory, and I have always thought of people in the US as being friendly and showing very good manners, especially in service roles. But you know something, I am scared. From over here in the UK, the media shows people in the US as more divided than ever before. I am nervous about our move because I am quite ill at the moment and I don’t think I would be up to facing people with angry opinions over political issues.

        1. Hey Jenna, sorry to hear you are unwell, is this still with your back? I too am very unwell at this present time, and it makes a huge difference in being able to cope with all sorts of things and people.

          I think what the pandemic has done in many ways is weaken the overall trust people had for everything, not just society, but people.

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