Is Etiquette Dead?

My friend Bill recently posted on FB: “Yeah, I know, disciplining your kids is uncool but when your little savages slide into a 70 year old woman without breaking stride my tolerance is shot.” What?!? With much chagrin, I responded: “Since when is teaching kids to behave in public uncool? It might better be described as LAZY.”

Headlines and research wreak of poor manners and uncivil behavior– even from the most surprising people:

15 Year-Old Girl Arrested for Cyber-bullying

Toronto mayor spewing death threats and obscenities

Restaurants ban kids for bad behavior

94% of Americans believe that the level of civility in the U.S. is a problem

October-2013-AICI-GLobalCoverAICI Global Magazine discusses the issues from working with the handicap to changing dress codes in the October “Modern Manners” Issue. Top-rated etiquette books and advice from top etiquette experts and image consultants will show you that etiquette isn’t dead, it’s just that we haven’t universally established or recognized or learned proper behavior given rapidly evolving communications technology.

In professional settings, minding your manners can give you a clear advantage over the competition. Do you hire the person who answered a text during the interview or the person who attentively engaged the conversation without interruption? Many image consultants specialize in etiquette and protocol for business and social situations, especially helpful when dealing with other cultures.

My motto is to err on the side of kindness when you’re not sure of protocol and when correcting those who are still learning.  Unintentional etiquette blunders can be forgiven and put in the past when everyone is smiling. If the behavior is egregious, there’s nothing wrong with turning the other cheek (a.k.a. walking away!) or notifying the proper authorities to handle it.

As for us parents, how can our peers respect us if we cannot manage our kids’ public behavior? Enforcing a code of conduct is difficult, I know! I’ve removed my 2 year-old screaming wild banshee from a sushi restaurant before dinner made it to the table. The staff happily boxed it up and thanked my hubby for the consideration. Surely, the other patrons applauded our exit as well 😉 If you’re at your wits end, here are some resources to help you out.

Proper etiquette is STYLISH and gets you where you want to go in life.  If you have questions about etiquette, personal styling, or any non-verbal communication strategies, feel free to contact me.

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thea2013turq1Thea Wood
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