It is very difficult to define good manners. But broadly speaking they may be said to be well established standards of decent conduct in social life. Manners include words, gestures, movement, mode of speech, courtesy, politeness, sympathy and many such other things. They are the outward expressions of one’s personality and the real ornaments of a gentleman. Etiquette means the rules of behaviour among polite people.
Man has to live in society and lead a social life. He cannot remain in isolation. In the society he has to come into contact with a large number of other persons. Man has to be very careful in his dealings with others. He need not unnecessarily annoy others. He should behave in a way that pleases those in whose contact he comes. For success in life we must have good manners and etiquette. They are the best recommendations of a man. They do not cost anything but they bring valuable gains. Facial beauty charms the eyes, but manners and etiquette win the heart. They are like flowers that lend fragrance. They are real ornaments of a gentleman and add greatness to his personality. They have a magnetic effect. They Attract others towards you. They win your enemies. They add charm ind grace to what you say or do. It has been said by a great man •nd rightly so that ‘manners maketh man’.
Manners and etiquette may be learnt, acquired and cultivated. The first and best school for learrning them is home. We try to emulate our elders. If our elders are cultured and well-mannered We can easily learn good manners from them. Students learn many things in the school and in the company of their friends. Society •nd environmeet play a great part in the cultivation of manners and etiquette. It a person moves among people who have good manners •no etiquette, he has a fair opportunity to learn them.
Words play an important role in our conversation. We are judged by what we speak. We should not speak offending words. Whatever we speak should be in a soft, gentle and pleasant tone. Even good words if used in a harsh tone may offend others. Sweet wordi are always welcomed by others. Choice of words is therefore very important. Our words should be precise and meaningful. We should always show respect to our elders. While talking to them we should be submissive. Our gestures should be courteous. We should never quarrel with them even though we disagree with them we should never be impolite and harsh to them. Small courtesies sweeten our life and lend charm to it.
One should be very careful in one’s behaviour at a social gathering. Do not speak while others are speaking. Speak one after the others. Do not shout. Speak in low tone. You have every right to disagree with others on any issue ; others too enjoy similar rights. You should, therefore, not get provoked or agitated if pthers do not agree with you. Do not use harsh or insulting language against anybody even if you feel very strongly about a certain thing. Shouting and harsh tone do not strengthen your point of view : they rather prove that you lack manners and etiquette. You must express your viewpoint dispassionately.
In a group discussion you should wait for your turn to speak. It is a bad habit to interrupt others. If you do not allow others to speak, they too will not permit you to speak. Some people are so enthusiastic that they monopolise the whole conversation. It is not good manners. In a discussion if you want to criticise anything or somebody, do it in a polite and civilised manner. Do not abuse. By abusing you cannot win a point, you would rather annoy others without gaining anything. Sometimes gestures and tone are more expressive than the words used. The words may be very sweet and gentle, but if they are spoken in a harsh and arrogant tone they may produce adverse results. Similarly your gesture may over-shadow your sweet words and gentle expression. Therefore, the gestures and tone are very important factors in your dealings with others. Some people are in the habit of losing their temper on petty matters. It is not considered to be good manners.
Whether it is in the school, in the street, at your house, in a bus or in the company of your friends, others are always watching you. They kneenly observe how you behave. Therefore you must always be cautious about your behaviour. In your school you should not indulge in indiscipline. In the class-room you must be polite, respectful and courteous to your friends and teachers. While in the street you must not shout or discuss issues loudly. Never sing or whistle while walking in the street. At your house be courteous to visitors. Do not be rude to any visitor howsoever unwelcome he may be. While waiting for a bus, stand in a queue. Never jump the queue. Do not talk so loudly with your friends that others object to it.
Manners and etiquette add charm and grace to one’s conduct behaviour. They win the hearts of others. They are most precious gifts of civilization. The extent to which one can influence others and the extent to which one can earn love, affection and the good wishes of others, depends upon the good manners and etiquette. The success or failure in the life of a man depends largely upon his manners and etiquette than on anything else. Etiquette also includes the unwritten rules about what a professional man may or may not do in his own profession. Doctors ought to comply with medical etiquette and lawayers should observe legal etiquette.