My mother taught my siblings and I manners. We learned early in life to say, “Yes, ma’am,” “No, ma’am,” “Yes, sir,” “No, sir,” “Please” and “Thank you.” I was taught to respond when someone speaks to me. I was taught that you listen to others and to speak up when something is wrong.
Manners are a dying art. I am going to draw on what my mother taught me. You are free to agree or disagree:
Someone asks a question? Don’t ignore them. Ignoring people is rude.
Someone reaches out for help or assistance? Respond. Even if the response is, “I can’t help you at this time.” Discounting the needs of others is rude.
Someone does something helpful or nice for you? Make it a habit to say, “Thank you.” Please don’t take people for granted; it’s rude.
You receive a gift? Say, “thank you.” Someone put thought into giving you something. Please put thought in your response. Choosing not to respond is rude.
Disagreements are going to happen in everyday life. Disagreeing isn’t a sin; minimizing the thoughts and feelings of others is a sin. Selfishness isn’t just wrong; it’s rude.
When you make a mistake, admit it. We learn from our mistakes. We value others when we are willing to admit we were wrong and they were right. Refusal to admit our mistakes isn’t just rude, it’s a sign of ego and pride. Ego and pride breeds rudeness.
If you visit someone and they offer you something that you don’t like, politely say, “No, thank you.” If you’re visiting someone and they are feeding you a meal that is something you don’t like, at least be willing to try it. Brussel sprouts never killed anyone. Refusing someone’s hospitality by insulting them is rude.
In a technologically-heavy world, the same rules apply:
Someone asks a question: Answer them.
Someone reaches out for help or assistance: Respond.
Someone does something for you: Say, “Thank you.”
Someone pays you a compliment or wishes you well: Saying, “Thank you,” is still in order despite it being said over a computer or via cell phone.
Disagree with someone? That’s okay, but please do not demean them in the process. It is rude.
Make a mistake in an email, posting, tweeting, etc.: Admit it, apologize and move on.
If someone is sharing something with you on social media because they are thinking of you: Respond. If you disagree, it’s okay. Refusing to interact with people is rude.
Manners, in-person or online, will survive if we keep them alive. Spread love, truth, and conviction; not hate, pettiness, and meanness. By all means, don’t be rude.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23