By Juan Calvillo
Changes to culture, technology, and society at large have caused the decline of etiquette and it needs to make a comeback.
Etiquette is “the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group,” according to Oxford.
There are some who would argue that etiquette has simply changed with the times. There is some truth to that assumption, but it’s the often overlooked details that can lead to problems.
Etiquette is often seen as high-brow and gets a bad reputation for being stiff and boring. As time passed, people have kept up with proper etiquette less and less.
Nancy Hoogenboom, a member of the Society of Certified Etiquette Trainers and CEO of Daily Etiquette, said, “I believe etiquette has declined because people associate etiquette as “old fashion(ed)” rules of how to eat, dress properly and behave.
“Our culture has become more casual with “on the go” meals and a much busier lifestyles. Treating others kindly with respect will never go out of style, these qualities will help you thrive in life and feel confident.”
An example Hoogenboom gave was people in the United States tend to introduce themselves and give a simple handshake, while in other countries it may include a kiss on the cheek. Nowadays, however, even that is often forgotten.
Hoogenboom said busier lifestyles and the fast pace of daily interactions has affected today’s generation.
A blog from The British School of Etiquette says, “We all want to be acknowledged, respected, and accepted by others. Etiquette and good manners are essential to ensure you leave an impression that is memorable for all the right reasons.”
When was the last time any student has met a new classmate and received a more traditional introduction, which included a full name? When people meet someone new, most of the time they only give their first name, no last name at all.
Everyone is born with both a first and last name; it’s the very essence of a name. Unless someone decides to go by one name, like Bono, Madonna, or the like, it is customary to introduce oneself with a whole name.
During a lecture, some students pull out their phones to check texts or notifications from Instagram. During a class lecture is not the right time to check one’s phone.
Etiquette is meant as a sign of respect to others. Not observing even basic etiquette is asking to be remembered in a negative light. But as with everything, etiquette can be learned.
Hoogenboom said there are few things people can do to make an effort to try to have etiquette.
“Look people in the eye, smile and actually listen when others are talking. Pick up after yourself always, at home, school, work and social and business situations. Be wise (with) what you post, words and photos online, this is a reflection of you. Treat others as you want to be treated, the Golden Rule is awesome,” Hoogenboom said.
Giving a little effort can make the biggest difference. Look at etiquette as a way of showing respect not only to others but also oneself. Etiquette is also a reflection of how people see themselves. Self-respect starts with these little things.