Civility is on the decline along with the lack of social graces. Today’s etiquette is not just about creating a proper dinner setting. Sadly, people’s schedules are so jampacked, few families eat meals together anyway. Yet, information is available to anyone, anywhere, anytime these days and the speed at which people live life is astounding. As world technology advances feverishly, the need for human decency still remains the same. In fact, people crave human connection more than ever before, yet our time-saving devices pull us farther apart.
According to a study by Etiquette Today, 91% of people expressed that they experience behavior that makes them cringe and feel uncomfortable almost daily. Tension, stress and frustration have increased as people fail to deal with social situations respectfully. People still want to be treated with class. Children should still express these basic phrases: please, thank you, and you’re welcome.
Etiquette is not just a bunch of silly rules. It is a way of life. In our quest for freedom of courtesies, even a simple thank you note is rare. People send their appreciation in whatever is fast, easy and free. There is nothing wrong with convenience, but most people would agree that hand-written thank you notes are still elegant, warm, and far more remembered.
Although online messaging is the norm, people have somehow equated this non-filtered way of communicating as permission to forego punctuation, misspell words and ignore proper grammar. Civility relies on us showcasing our command of the English language, whether it’s for personal, business or pleasure writing. Take heed of what you write, how you say it, and then present it well.
Even casual attire in the workforce has become so common, speakers rarely present in a suit or at least an outfit befitting special guest status. Just because your company allows casual dress doesn’t mean you should bring your weekend behavior along with it. The idea is that workers should be judged by the quality of their work, not how they dress. U.S. News & World Report recently reported tried and true guidelines that still apply today: (1) Dress code matters. Consciously or not, people still judge workers based on attire. Be cognizant that casual dress can still be exceptional if you are well-groomed, stylish and gaudy-free. (2) Consider your role. If you are in sales, keep that jacket or tie handy to plus-up your jeans at a moment’s notice. When a client prospect appears unexpectedly, a polished look is always preferable and will make you feel instantly and professionally in control. (3) Dress for the job you want. It’s an old cliché gone by the wayside. But adhere to the adage and reap possible promotional benefits. Caveat: If your office idol wears a hoodie and jeans, perhaps she has earned that luxury through years of proving her brilliance – you may not be there yet.
There is a reason Americans are enamored with British TV shows like Downton Abbey filled with social rules and time-honored traditions. Beyond drama unfolding amidst rich decorum, we appeal to a time and place of etiquette even at its extreme. Most people today wouldn’t hold back a thought simply because it’s impolite, or dress up a bit for dinner…but, wouldn’t it be nice if we tried?
Abella Carroll, Freelance Writer