Bloggers Respond: What's Missing from Modern Manners, Vol. 15, Issue 46

There's something missing from modern manners. Most everyone knows how Etiquetteer feels about that, but is Etiquetteer the only one concerned? Etiquetteer asked other writers and bloggers what they think is missing from modern manners, and their responses are illuminating:

Catherine Tidd, better known as Widow Chick, author of Confessions of a Mediocre Widow and the creative genius behind the Widdahood:

"I had an experience recently with a friend whose children had absolutely NO MANNERS at the dinner table: belching, feet on the seat, etc. I think a great topic would be what's appropriate in a casual situation (I still think we need SOME manners) and how to go about correcting bad habits with teenage/pre-teen children. Remind them that their children might have to go to dinner with their boss some day!"

David Santori, also known as Frenchie of Frenchie and the Yankee:

"With the rise of smart phone usage and people being individually trapped in their own world, nose down and unaware, acknowledging others has become a rarity: eye contact when saying hello, politeness when passing someone, people watching and smiling at one another as if to endorse and accept each other as human beings being in the same vicinity. It is now the norm to never look up and it is very interesting to put one’s phone away when waiting at the airport for example and observe who is not looking down at a phone or a tablet. Very few. Walking and talking, walking and texting, speaking too loud and sharing your conversations with others - I guess what’s missing here is simply awareness of others.

"What’s missing from the dinner table is class - eat with both hands on the table standing straight rather than with one arm left down on the knees or worse flopping along the body and bringing your head to the fork and the plate like a hunchback, use a fork and a knife with both hands rather cut and switch fork and knife to eat with the other hand, hold fork and knife properly to cut rather than stab and carve a piece of meat like a Thanksgiving turkey for example. Whether casual or elegant, class at the table is not asking too much especially when phones haven’t been put on silent mode before dinner.

"Is a Thank You text or email the same as a Thank You mailed note? Do you do both because people expect to be thanked promptly and will start worrying, or worse [complaining] about it because the mailed note hasn’t been delivered yet? Thank You notes are rare anyway so what’s missing to me is the elegant way of thanking someone. But if people don’t know how to write anymore or are no longer taught cursive, it’s not going to be any better in the near future.

"The last thing I can think of right now missing from modern manners is caring because selfishly displaying personal convictions, personal conversations and arguments on social sites makes for a dramatic airing of grievance and personal choices that no one tends to care about."

Mark McGuire, the more retiring Yankee of Frenchie and the Yankee:

"I would add one more.  Coming from a generation or a region of the country that instilled work ethic, what is missing from today's work force is responsibility/loyalty.  For some reason today's generation either expects everything to be handed to them immediately or upon demand, but at the same time isn't willing to dedicate long, hard work/hours to achieve it.  The days of showing up to work, every day, on time, seem to be gone.  If they do show up, at all, they expect to be rewarded.  Maybe its because they witnessed the greed of American executives/companies as their own parents were downsized.  Maybe they figured out what work/life balance actually means. Work ethic may not be a modern manner, but a modern trait."

Christina Wallace, podcasting on The Limit Does Not Exist:

"Here's what I find missing from modern (business) manners: it's called the 'double-opt-in intro.' Introductions can be very valuable but usually they are more valuable to one party than the other (e.g., "My friend Cate is an expert in online marketing -- I should introduce you to her so you can pick her brain.") Many times people want to be helpful and will take these intros in order to 'pay it forward' or build a relationship that may be valuable to them in return at some point. But in general, they should have the choice to say yes (or no, if necessary) before the introduction has been made. After all, the person making the intro is trading their contact's time and expertise in order to gain social capital with person being introduced. Without checking that it's a welcome introduction they are literally giving away their friend's time so as to look more connected or powerful than they are. It's rude. Just check if the 'expert' is willing to take the intro and then make it clear in the connecting email what each person brings to the relationship and how it might become mutually beneficial."

Peter Lappin, blogging and sewing at Male Pattern Boldness:

"Here's what I think is missing from modern manners: Thanks largely to the Internet, there's a temptation (as well as a pressure) to communicate instantly. When we're expected to reply to a text or email immediately, we lose the time to craft a careful reply or to form a considered opinion. It's not impossible to communicate more slowly, but it can be a challenge since the technology is at your fingertips. Slow communication can also be isolating: when others are responding THIS VERY MINUTE to an invitation, who will want to wait three days for yours?  (You may even miss the event altogether!)"

Glen Donelly, Nude Movement Media:

"Missing from modern manners, is basic self love. Simple self-respect. What this means is opposite to what people may normally see as 'manners' and 'respecting others'. To me, respecting others starts with respecting yourself. So how are you good mannered to YOURSELF? To me this starts with ending shame. Not giving a [Expletive Deleted] about what others think. Imagine a world in which everyone did that? Maybe everyone would start accepting each other more, loving each other more, and understanding each other more? Then the world, as John Lennon said, would 'be as one.'"