Mind your manners!

Most Brits have been brought up with at least a modicum of good manners such as saying please and thank you and a seemingly inbuilt knowledge of when and how to queue. It’s what makes us British.

Here we consider what constitutes good manners and ask if some of our long-held definitions of politeness may slowly be disappearing?

Table Manners

Taught to children from a young age there is a whole host of rules to remember if you wish to be polite at the table, some of which are:

  • Fork in left hand and knife in right at all times
  • Wait until everyone else has been served before starting to eat
  • Never lick or put your knife in your mouth
  • Never chew with your mouth open
  • Do not talk with food in your mouth
  • Always chew and swallow food before taking another mouthful or reaching for a drink
  • Never eat with elbows on the table
  • Never reach over somebody’s plate for something, ask for it to be passed
  • Knife and fork should be brought together and laid on the plate when you have finished.
  • And more recently…no mobile phones at the table!

How many of these table manners do you still follow?

Greeting someone

Even before the pandemic, meeting and greeting someone in recent years has become a little muddled.

In the past, it was very clear. A handshake was sufficient in most situations unless greeting a close relative or loved one who may then offer a cheek to be kissed. Although, more often than not, just a plain ‘hello’ was enough.

Recently there has been a move towards hugging, back slapping and even French-style kissing on both cheeks.

How do you greet people today? Has it changed over the years?

Customer service

Not so many years ago the customer would be greeted with a smile and a “may I help you?” from the shop assistant. In recent years this seems to have been replaced with a curt, “Yes” or “Next” or even just a grunt.

Call centre staff increasingly feel the need to address customers by their first name or even, the ubiquitous ‘mate’.

When did we all start to become so familiar?

Has the importance of manners become a thing of the past? We would love to read your views.

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Melina - Assistant Editor

Hi I'm Melina, a mother of 3 teenage children and with a particular interest in all things health related. I run a busy household and smallholding alongside my work with Silversurfers, which currently includes dogs, fish, hens, ducks and pigs!

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19th May 2021
Thanks for voting!
Yes, I think manners and politeness are important even in this day and age - the old adage 'manners maketh man' still fits in
our world today.

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