Some people argue that etiquette no longer matters, that the rules for good behavior are old-fashioned and out of date. However, good behavior and manners are never out of style. Etiquette, like all other cultural behaviors, evolves to match the times. Without etiquette, members of society would show far too much impatience and disrespect for one another, which would lead to insults, dishonesty, cheating, road rage, fist fights, and a rash of other unfortunate incidents.
Etiquette is merely a set of guidelines for politeness and good manners, the kindnesses with which we should always treat each other. It will always matter!
What Is Etiquette?
Etiquette, the complex network of rules that govern good behavior and our social and business interactions, is always evolving and changing as society changes. It reflects our cultural norms, generally accepted ethical codes, and the rules of various groups we belong to.
It helps us show respect and consideration to others and makes others glad that we are with them. Without proper manners and etiquette, the customs of polite society would soon disappear and we would act more like animals and less like people. Aggressiveness and an “every man for himself” attitude would take the lead.
In earlier times, the rules of etiquette were used for two purposes: to remind people of their own status within society and to reinforce certain restrictions on individuals within that society.
Etiquette in Today’s Society:
Today’s etiquette serves several important functions:
- Etiquette provides personal security. Knowing how to behave appropriately in a given situation makes you more comfortable.
- It protects the feelings of others. Proper etiquette requires that you make others comfortable and protect their feelings. You do not point out their errors or draw attention to their mistakes.
- It makes communication clearer. Etiquette enhances communication by breaking down barriers, not erecting them.
- It will enhance your status at work. In any working situation, you are perceived as more capable, more professional, and more intelligent if you are familiar with the proper code of conduct for the workplace.
- It makes good first impressions. The first five to seven seconds after you meet someone are crucial. Your first impression lingers in the other person’s mind long after you are gone. If you use proper etiquette, that first impression will be a positive one.