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April 11, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Peas & Queues – Impressing with your Manners

My impressionable readers, if you take nothing else from this column this year, heed this: good manners can be put to good use in your life.

It may seem an old-fashioned concept, but good manners are important. Not only are they more likely to get you what you want, they also contribute to a kinder and more peaceful planet. Don’t you want world peace? It starts with good manners.

Scenario 1:

The surly lecturer
You need an extension on that essay. Your lecturer is angry. He’s angry at you and at the thousands of students over the years who have failed to grasp not only the concepts he teaches, but basic life skills like punctuality and laundry. First thing first, if you’ve made an appointment to see him, be there on time. That doesn’t mean three minutes after, that means on the dot. Introduce yourself. Believe it or not he may not know your face from hundreds of others. Enquire about how his day is going—as bad as yours may seem, his may be worse. Let him grumble a bit and sympathise with the tireless and underpaid work of academics. Tell him how much you’re enjoying the class—but bear in mind there’s a line between showing appreciation and sucking up, and a lecturer knows the difference. Explain your situation honestly, don’t lie or exaggerate. If they give you what you want, say thank you. If they don’t, show understanding and thank them for their time anyway—it’ll make them feel guilty.

Scenario 2:

The StudyLink customer service representative
Sure, they’ve spent 10 years on the unemployment benefit, and now that they’re employed, they’re getting revenge on the system by stopping you from getting what you need and calling it self-empowerment. Given that they’re what stands between you and your next meal, it might be easy to get mad, and scared, and burst into frustrated tears, hoping it will get what you need. It won’t, but good manners might. As a wise man once said: “Good manners sometimes means simply putting up with other people’s bad manners”. Stay calm. Be reasonable, and understand the position they’re in. Express empathy for the tough job they have to do every day, and always say thank you, no matter how much of an arsehole they’ve been.

Let’s review:

• Be punctual—it’s really just good
• Introduce yourself properly
• Enquire about others’ wellbeing
• When appropriate, show concern or
• Show understanding and empathy
• Be honest and genuine
Ta-dah , world peace !

Got burning questions? Write to Auntie Sharon!

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