- On Good Things Utah this morning – Why you should think twice before policing someone’s table manners. Experts say first, take a moment to consider who you’re criticizing and why:
- One of my first memories is around table manners, but not at my family’s dinner table. It was at a Ponderosa or some other buffet chain on Long Island ― not a place that would be considered the epicenter of etiquette. We were there for my brother’s birthday. I grew up in a house where table manners were important. But with three children, one of whom was much younger (me) and one with developmental delays (my brother), the expectations were differentiated. My parents expected each of us to act appropriately for our developmental age. During the restaurant meal, a woman was staring from another table. It was obvious she was disgusted by the fact that my brother both chewed with his mouth open and spoke with his mouth full and, while my parents worked with him on this regularly, he still does it 40-odd years later. He is simply never going to be able to do otherwise. These days, I have a visceral reaction to articles that pepper my newsfeed about the “rude things you should never do.” I trace it back to this woman, to the moment when she walked over to tell my parents they “should teach him some manners.” I trace it back to my parents reminding my sister and I that John-John was doing the best he could, and that it was far more important to celebrate him for who he was on his birthday than to meet this standard. To this day, I’m fascinated by people’s obsessions with so-called rudeness and the significant issues it overlooks.
- The difference between politeness and civility
- Most of us use manners, politeness, civility and etiquette interchangeably. Alexandra Hudson, the author of the upcoming book “The Soul of Civility,” has had a lifelong interest in this topic, likely due to being the daughter of Judi the Manners Lady. Her interest deepened when she worked in politics in Washington, D.C., and was surrounded by two extremes. “One was hostility and aggression and the other was people who knew the need for etiquette/manners and would smile and then stab you in the back the minute you walked away,” Hudson said. Neither should be acceptable. Tune in to hear more about this Hot Topic and more this morning on Good Things Utah!
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