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By Wendy Mednick

Have we lost our manners to say “Thank you” or have
we never had them to begin with?

“Good Manners reflect something from inside-an innate sense of
consideration for others and respect for self ”
Emily Post

Many were trained at a young age to say “ Thank You.” We say it to strangers, friends, our family, as well as our partners. It became a strong social norm, and has been indoctrinated into normal everyday conversation, something we do and should not have to think about. We say it frequently and as a routine courtesy, and no doubt we also expect people to thank us as well. Feeling grateful and saying thank you to others is incredibly beneficial for you, even if it is not reciprocated. Gratitude can be defined as a feeling, a specific behavior or a personality trait, pleasing to the mind or senses.

A simple thank you leads people to view you in a more positive light. They see you as warmer, more appreciative, it helps friendships and relationships flourish. Unfortunately, expecting something to happen can often mean we appreciate it less when it does happen. We often remember when others do not say thank you or are not appreciative when it does not occur, as compared to when it is said frequently. There are ways to be more heartfelt in showing your thanks. When it comes to gratitude, it is not about whether you say it, but how you say it as well as how it is perceived. We must focus on the benefits. When something nice is done for us, focus on the whys’, not attaching a cost to it. It is all about appreciation. A thank you can differ depending on the quality of it and how it is perceived. Oftentimes it is not about what was done for us, but also how that person showed up and who they are. When the gratitude is really sincere as opposed to forced, it feels more heartfelt as well as beneficial. We should take a moment to actually feel,before expressing our thanks. Expressing gratitude when it is least expected, for example, sending that note filled with kind words. Buying flowers just because it feels good to put a smile on someone’s face. Perhaps those were just a few ways to increase the sincerity of a thank you.

Not having good manners, are they part of a larger issue in the world today? Has there been a shift in the level of civility among people in general? As young children we are taught how important manners are, at least we should hope that is what is being done. We must enforce and indoctrinate that good manners as well as other socially enforced rules of politeness, is a natural way of life. We become better members in society. As children we were taught table manners, we were taught to respect our elders, and to say thank you when necessary. I remember as a young child my mother insisting on a hand written note as soon as we received a gift. She felt not only was it a reflection on her parenting skills but also was proper etiquette. I too brought that same premise to my children at a young age. When taught the aforementioned as a child, it becomes a habit and good practice. Constant reinforcement strengthens those practices and helps to establish good moral habits. One would hope that these habits would continue to adulthood. Studies have shown that children who did not have that constant reinforcement, were more likely to flounder when faced with unfamiliar settings and expectations of good manners.

Good manners become habits of the mind. One can see why it is so important to start it at an early age, so as not to retrain at a later age. Emily Post, a famous American writer on etiquette, explained that etiquette is something that can be developed by all, regardless of one's background or socio-economic status. She wrote that it involves a combination of ethics and good manners. Although her writings date back to the 1920’s, for modern day interactions perhaps we cannot forget that proper etiquette has been around for decades.

In 2009, Catherine Blyth published a book , titled the Art of Conversation. Her storyline talked about the consequences of our gradual loss of social graces. Have we lost our appreciation for conversation, face to face dialogues, or even striking up a conversation with a total stranger.

Our conversations should add value to our lives, enrich, and gain knowledge through that communication. Today, in the fast paced world we live in and technology increasing at a rapid pace, is it easier to hide and dismiss how important face to face dialogues are? Have we become that society that is too busy to stop and help those in need or create small acts of kindness? We must consider how our behavior affects those around us. When we lose our temper, we are rude, and use words that are cruel, it directly and negatively affects the well being of others. We must be cognitive of how our behavior impacts those around us. Bad manners are inexcusable and can have a lasting negative influence personally and on society. Random acts of kindness, ethical consideration for the well being of others and simple words as easy as “Thank You” are a few ways in which we can all do our part for the improvement and continuation of good manners.

Change your way of thinking, change your life. Feeling grateful, saying thank you to others benefits you! Appreciate the good, focus on expressing yourself with a heartfelt sincere thank you. It will improve your mood, your reputation as a good human being, and your relationships with friends and family. You will be viewed as a warmer, caring person that is socially engaged and one that has a positive outlook. Grateful individuals experience higher levels of joy, enthusiasm and love. A simple expression of thanks can make you happier. Feeling appreciated is often all we want and need. We all want to feel we matter!

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use .”

Emily Post

Stay well…..Stay Happy

Wendy Mednick was born and raised in Buffalo,NY and has a BS/MA from SUNYBuffalo/SUCBuffalo. She has 30 plus years experience in sales, business development, project management, as well as being active in the Non-Profit Community. She can be reached at