WHY Manners Matter

Polite manners can help children and adults be successful, get ahead, and make and keep friends.

I remember when my kids were young and they would ask me things like, "Why can't I put my elbows on the table?" My answer would be something like, "Because it's not nice manners." Then, they would say, "But WHY?"

Over the years, many children and adults have asked similar questions because they really don't understand why the little "nit picky" things in manners really matter, and why they just can't be judged on who they are as a person, and not on the quality of their handshake.

​After a lot of research, I have come up with answers to WHY manners are important for adults and children that are based not only on my own beliefs and experience teaching etiquette for the past 15 years, but also on professional research.

Below are typical questions people have when questioning whether or not manners are still relevant in 2016. Or, click HERE to watch my quick TV segment on the importance of manners.

1.   Is there any scientist research that proves that it’s important for people to have nice manners?

Yes, there is a lot of scientific proof that manners are important for your advancement. A national Rasmussen survey conducted in 2015 found that 75 percent of people think that Americans are becoming more rude and less civilized. This is a shame given that it has been found that having nice manners and social skills are more important than ever if you want to succeed.

  •  According to a study conducted by Career Builder with over 500 employers, an overwhelming 95 percent of executives and managers surveyed said that good manners matter when it comes to advancing a person's career.
  • The American Journal for Public Health conducted a study where they tracked a large group of children for 20 years and evaluated them on many things including their social skills. At the end of the 20 years, they found that those children who were ranked highest as having the best social skills, were the most successful, and those who did not have good social skills were the ones who were more likely to have substance abuse issues, be unemployed or have very low paying jobs.

2.   How does having nice manners help adults to get ahead in business?

  • Ethics is an entwined part of etiquette as it comprises an understanding of how people’s actions affect others and accepting responsibility for one’s actions. It also includes having knowledge of what constitutes as right or wrong actions in a group. Manners, and therefore ethics, are the glue of civilization and a road map for dealing with people every day. Manners and politeness are not superficial. They are essential.
  • The person who shows respect to others and their gender, race, religious differences, etc., who listens to others, is inclusive and a team-builder, and the person who demonstrates excellent manners and ethics, will be the one to get promoted and be more successful. Business etiquette includes a set of rules of behavior that make business interactions in society acceptable by all.

3.   What are the benefits for kids and teens to have nice manners?

  • At the heart of good manners is a respect for oneself and others. Good manners convey a sense of respect for the feelings of other people. When you say “thank you,” you’re taking the time to make the other person feel appreciated. Saying “please” respects a person’s right not to do what you’ve asked.
  • Good manners also show that a child listens to his parents and does what he is taught – these are good character traits that teachers and other authority figures appreciate.
  • Rather than nagging about manners, just do them – then your kids learn that good manners are “just the way it’s done.”

4.   In regards to table manners, why is it so important for people to eat properly?

  • The very first book of table manners was written in Egypt around 2350 B.C., and it included table manners, such as waiting to be served by your host, and waiting for others to have food before eating. This was out of respect to others and a way to create a sense of equality.
  • Having nice manners at the table remains a way to show respect for the person who provided the meal and for others at the table.
  • Taking the time to learn table manners and to do things correctly shows that you care about others, and that you take pride in doing what is culturally acceptable and expected.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said in his essay "Behavior" from The Conduct of Life (1860), "Manners are the happy ways of doing things; each one a stroke of genius or of love, now repeated and hardened into usage."



Children ages 6-13 may attend the "Modern Manners for Successful Kids" workshop on Oct. 23, 4-6 p.m. Click HERE for more information and to register