Remembering Manners

I always thought I was polite and even get accused of being "prim and proper". How you can sit around talking sex all day and remain prim and proper is beyond me, but I've heard it more than once. I recently went through one of those life changing moments though where all I could think of is how not prim and proper I am.  Not only that, upon reflection of a simple five minute phone call, I realize that I'm on the verge of becoming a complete barbarian!

Now, it was a typical day, doing typical business. I talk to people all over the world and have gotten very used to talking to a diverse group of cultures without being totally offensive.  But on this day, I got a phone call from a gentleman in the Carolina's.  It was one of the most powerful conversations I've had in a long time.  It wasn't what we were talking about or even what was said.  It was the way it was said and the way our communication together played out. 

This man was an absolute delight.  Not only did he ask permission to call me by my first name, but he called me "Mam" and for the first time in my life I didn't feel offended.  This man had real genuine manners that came across natural, not forced or that he was putting on a personna to sound impressive.  Just good old politeness that lead me to realize that I've gotten very far away from putting that much time and effort into honest etiquette.  I once had manners like that, well, maybe never that good, but still better than they are today.  Where did they go?

Then I started thinking about how the most important people in our lives are the first ones that we tend to let our manners slip with.  Do you remember when you are your significant other first got together?  It was all about being gracious, kind, and proper with each other.  Our best foot was always forward.  Then time goes on, life starts back again and the love of our life gets to see our cranky, moody, crazy self.  We begin to forget to keep our best foot forward with them, but Lord Forbid, we will take our time to be ever so gracious to a complete stranger.

I believe this is a travesty.  If anyone deserves our best manners, it's the people that have the perseverance and fortitude to put up with us through the best and worst of times.  I've put the challenge out to the couples that I'm coaching and now I'm putting the challenge out to the rest of you.  Brush up on your etiquette with your partner and loved ones, no matter what mood you are in, or if you feel they deserve it or not. 

I'm not just challenging you to remember to say please and thank you, although that's a good start.  I'm talking the challenge of seeing how far you can go to be cordial, pleasant and honorable in every day to day interaction.  It doesn't matter if the other person is being polite or not, it's just about you and for you to challenge yourself.  Chances are when those around you notice your best behavior, it's going to encourage them to start using theirs.

Do something significant to really set out on this challenge.  Write a thank you letter, tell that love of your life that your sorry for being moody, cranky, and difficult.  Whatever it is that you think you've fallen short of in the manners department, this is now your new day to start again.


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