The year 2020 has left us feeling the need for re-compassing, for setting off on a new beginning. Etiquette offers a theory on how to make something better, how to achieve human social betterment by combining a person’s natural curiosity with learned forms of kindness.
Creating etiquette-ful habits means starting with a positive attitude, using curiosity to find the gain from every experience, and aiming to recover from setbacks. All the while, it means remaining true to yourself while placing concern for others first.
The first step in strengthening any habit is identifying it and putting it into practice. What etiquette-ful habits do you want to grow stronger in 2021? A survey of friends and family revealed these answers:
. . . be more curious about others and show that curiosity openly . . . encourage others to speak first . . . compliment people on a daily basis . . . look at a person when saying “thank you” . . . write thank-you notes for gifts or favors . . . apologize quickly and mean it . . . notice when you gossip, name it and then stop it . . . really listen . . . stop making excuses . . . greet yourself every morning and say “I love you” . . . forgive and forgive again . . . be direct and say what you mean . . . encourage others even when they are blocking the doorway with their shopping cart . . . bottom line, ask yourself, “Was what I just did/said respectful?”
Emily Post captures well the principles of etiquette: Consideration, respect, honesty. These qualities ground the various cultural and traditional “good manners” around the world. They do not change over time.
Some habits to put into practice for each of these principles might be:
Regardless of the many roles you will play in 2021, etiquette-ful habits will help you create an atmosphere of good will. You can greet others, make everyone feel welcome, and be observant when it comes to others’ needs.
Philosopher and economist, Adam Smith, said that “Kindness is the parent of kindness.” Kindnesses extended are returned in some way, and we all share in being reciprocators of human kindness as we acknowledge gratitude for so many wonderful things. This is just one of the gifts of etiquette-ful habits.