Good Manners Are Not Obsolete?
Catherine Zeta Jones kids says her kids are well mannered because she gives them stars on a chart in the kitchen for good behavior. It is of the utmost importance to her and she works hard on not only their performance at school but also good manners. They get stars and stickers for being polite and kind and doing chores and being helpful. When they have enough stars they go to a store and pick something out within the budget she sets aside. This sets me thinking about politeness. Is it obsolete and forgotten in the rush and bustle of today?
I look around me, and even within me and see a great paucity of taking out the time to ask about people, spending a few minutes in conversation before ‘getting to the point’ and ‘cutting to the chase’. The rush and hurry is all consuming in a performance oriented competitive world, but trust me, politeness and care count.
It all starts at the stage where a child is receptive and it becomes almost second skin to be polite and friendly. To infuse it into every interaction like a habit than a forced pain in the neck. However, if it isn’t something we’ve been born with or lucky to have instilled into our upbringing, then to teach ourselves to be polite, smile, say the p’s and q’s is something we must do in interactions, however late in the day it might be. You’ll be surprised how important it is and how much of happiness or then hurt it can cause by including or excluding the niceties.
You must be thinking, is she polite and gracious? To that i'll say I try at all times. We're human and tend to get ruffled yes, but the important thing is to keep at it and keep trying to behave with grace.
Amitabh Bachchan is known for his politeness, and many say its ‘put on and fake’. To that I say, it really doesn’t matter how real niceties are, because very few interactions are about instant chemistry and love. That builds up over time. What some dismiss as ‘fake’ is only another way of being concerned about not giving offence, at being polite and observing good manners and making an effort to be gracious. So what is the harm? If Amitabh Bachchan was dismissive he’d be criticized even more, so better be termed artificial and polite than genuine abrasive and rude!
On the other hand, does it really matter how genuine Naomi Campbell is within her heart, when she has gained notoriety for her tantrums and bad behavior?
Gestures and little acts of kindness take a lifetime to forget and stay forever within ones heart to create bonds that go a long way. If famous people lead by example then their friends and fans ‘follow’ the lead. Believe me, ‘it isn’t ‘cool’ to be abrasive and hurt another. If you must make a point, say what’s bothering you politely and communicate. Bad manners can mean you lose not only friends, staff, well wishers and family, it also means you lose your job and hit the search market again. Or if you’re a celebrity you lose or win fans. Tiny gestures don’t cost anything but count for much.
Ranbir Kapoor always stops to patiently greet an eager fan and then if its becoming tiresome for him, politely excuses himself. When I first met Shah Rukh Khan, he was not only polite and gracious but took out the time to be humorous and stayed in my mind for long after our interaction. Salman Khan once, stopped on an incline and took my friends little baby from her and carried the baby up the hill to help my friend make the steep hill. Gestures win lifelong loyalties, so that even though he would have forgotten she is won over for life and never loses a chance to recount the story.
Graciousness cannot be hired out at grooming school, it has to come with an urge to be kind and have some genuine care for our fellow beings. We just have to introspect, stop and take stock of how we appear to the person in-fornt of us. You might be shy and introverted but it might come across as offhand and disinterested.
So use the ‘magic word’s’ please , thank-you more liberally, get rid of gum before you speak, lean forward slightly when you sit in a conversation to indicate interest in the person before of you, listen interestedly and keenly, make eye contact when speaking, keep your tone, eyes and gestures friendly, keep criticisms light and conversational and try to avoid free advise unless asked for it, and you might find you make more friends and well wishers than spend a life lonely and isolated.
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