Recently CBS 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair conducted a poll on manners and etiquette. Most of the questions involved issues unique to our social media culture. The responses were interesting. Some are funny. Some sad. And others kinda make you cringe. Here are some of the questions with the answers and the percentage who people who agreed.
If you could stop people from doing one of the following activities, which would it be?
Emails and texting during meals 56%
Not letting people off of elevators before you get on 23%
Using coats and bags to save seats at the movies: 9%
Blocking the climbing lane on the escalator: 7%
Which one of the following is the worst way to break up with someone?
Sticky note 15%
Text message 14%
Over the phone: 8%
When someone has died, do you think it’s sometimes acceptable to send a condolence note by e-mail, or do you think it’s only acceptable to send a condolence note by regular mail?
Only regular mail: 60%
E-mail is acceptable: 35%
Which one of the following questions is the rudest when responding to an online dating profile?
How much money do you make? 51%
Do you have any S.T.D.s? 26%
Do you have any other pictures? 9%
Are you married? 8%
What does the phrase “getting there on time” usually mean to you?
Arriving a few minutes early: 70%
Arriving precisely on time: 26%
No more than 30 minutes late: 3%
Which formality is the most important to be kept alive?
Men opening doors for women 41%
Hand written notes 23%
Taking off your hat indoors: 13%
Wearing black to funerals: 9%
Keeping elbows off the table: 8%
B.C. Forbes once said, “Politeness is the hallmark of the gentleman and the gentlewoman.” It’s also a mark of Christian behavior. The Bible actually speaks to the issue of good manners.
The famous love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, says, “love does not behave rudely.” The J. B. Phillips translation renders this passage, “love has good manners.” The TEV reads “love is not ill-mannered.”
Good manners begin at home. “Mind your manners” was often spoken to my generation by our mothers who warned us about impolite behavior. It means be courteous. Be gracious. Be kind. Be nice. Be polite. It meant saying “Please.” “Excuse me.” “Thank you.” “I’m sorry.” “You’re welcome. It speaks to being on our best behavior as we interact with others.
The apostle Paul admonished, “Be kind to one another” (Eph 4:32). Kindness includes being cordial. Considerate. Courteous. Thoughtful. And respectful.
The New King James renders 1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.” “ The word translated courteous is better rendered “humble” in other versions. But doesn’t good manners and common courtesy require a bit of humility? Selflessness? And geniality?
In a world filled with so much rudeness and crudeness, it takes humility, patience and kindness to put up with the uncouth attitudes and actions of others. “The test of good manners,” wrote Wendell Willkie, “is to be able to put up pleasantly with bad ones.”
I like to go to Chick-fil-A. The chicken sandwich is good, but the service, friendliness and courtesy of the employees is even better. When you thank them for doing something for you the reply is often a cheery, “My pleasure! ”I like that. A lot!
Indeed it should be our pleasure to be polite. To show common courtesy to others. And exhibit the kindness of Christ by “minding our manners.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman