Manners Make the Man December 26 2014

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals. Respect for others guide our manners.”

-Being Caballero

Most of us have seen or met someone, be it a lady or a gentleman with manners that appear so second nature to him or her that you couldn’t imagine that person any other way. These experts on all the finer points of etiquette exuded proper elegance merely with their presence. They never seem to need to raise their voice to get anyone’s attention or lift a finger to define their intent and yet, they possess a glaze so powerful that it could easily burn a hole through a brick wall, much less your soul, or a smile so comforting they could get away with murder. The secret behind such power and influence is quite simple: manners.

Manners are the basic building blocks of civil society and the greatest accessory any man can have after his confidence, something to be discussed on a later date. The reality is that good manners, combined with a confident smile will open more doors that money or power ever can. The same way the Samurai turned bowing into an art and the soldier turn the salute into a precision science, manners show a person’s discipline and principals with every action. It’s these small details that will define you as a Gentleman more than any suit can, although the suit does help immensely.

Manners are not about what fork to use or about how to hold your glass of wine. That’s etiquette. If etiquette is the science of proper behavior, manners are the art of social interaction. Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. It means you care enough about those around you that you respect them. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, regardless of how far you bowed or if you picked the wrong knife. Your actions and behavior must reflect your principals. If you don’t believe in them and are simply repeating pre-practiced actions, they will look forced, fake, and even insulting to any onlooker.

No amount or power of money is a substitute for proper manners and no suit can hide a person’s vulgarity

Holding the door open to the next person in line, helping an old lady carry her groceries or letting a lady pass; these are not signs of superiority or inferiority, but rather of manners and respect, for yourself and for the other person. It’s all about being considerate.

Many people today have chosen to ignore even the slightest consideration to social behavior, assuming that, for example, their financial status will compensate for this lack of consideration or that manners are a sign of weakness in a society dominated by egoism and vulgarity. In either case, the lack of manners simply demonstrates a lack of social understanding, and further more a true dislike of self. No amount of power or money is a substitute for proper manners and no suit can hide a person’s vulgarity.

Proper manners and behavior not only show off who you are as a person, but actually have the effect of enhancing how you present yourself, your image, the message already presented to others by your style. Consider this next time you dress up, or simply go out. Remember that no accessory you wear will cause an impression as favorable on others as proper manners.