Mind Your Manners

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Photo by Jenna Lynn Photography

The South likes to think of itself as a polite society where learning proper manners begins at birth. Instead of saying, “no,” we say, “no, sir,” to our elders. We say, “Yes, ma’am,” never just “yes.” Young men are taught to open and hold doors for ladies, as well as to rise when a woman either leaves or returns to the table. I adore a man who does this for me. It is one of the forgotten rules of gentlemen and few still do it. My husband would be one of the exceptions, and he’s a Yankee – shocker!

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. You might think of manners as outdated southern mores; however, manners show a level of respect for the person with whom you are spending time. I believe proper manners also display your level of respect for yourself. Chew on that.

All of this brings me to what this piece is really about: I believe we have forgotten our manners as they apply to social media and our cell phone use. For example, I have read many a comment thread where a commenter seems to have forgotten there is a real person on the receiving end. There are very mean and hurtful things said in threads sometimes. Would we use the same words to the person’s face? I venture we likely would not. Before you type, ask yourself if your words are respectful and will be helpful to the poster and/or to those reading the thread. Even if you find the post distasteful, firing upon the one who wrote it never yields good returns. Never.

Another pet peeve of mine is using cell phones in restaurants or when you are in the company of another. I cannot tell you the number of times I have looked around to see entire families, couples and friends “spending time” with each other as each is on their own device scrolling social media making comments, liking photos, etc. I have been guilty of this in the past, but I am doing my best to stop it! It fills me with sadness that we seem to be losing our ability to just sit and talk to each other face to face. Turn off your phone and spend time in the here and now, not the manufactured electronic world. Metropolist -55What we do not grasp when we are tied up on our phones is the time we are spending together in person is rare and it goes very quickly. Make it count, and don’t miss it!

My third biggest social media pet peeve is the follow/unfollow method on Instagram. You may not know about this practice, and, if that is you, bless you. I adore you. In short, this is one way to increase the size of your Instagram audience. You may wonder how someone who is not a celebrity has 10,000 followers or more. It is possible (though not a given) this person has used the f/uf method where they follow various accounts, only to unfollow those accounts shortly after those accounts follow them. Let me be frank. This is a dirty game much like advertisers who used bait and switch back in the day. One can rationalize f/uf in a variety of ways, but at the end of the day, it hurts people. See my point above. There is a real person on the other end who is often flattered by the follow, and many times they are simply returning the favor by following back. I feel supported when I gain a follow. Don’t you? When I catch an account in the act of f/uf, it is disappointing. I may not have an enviable following on my business account or my personal account, but I am okay with that. I would rather have a clear conscience on how I gained my following.

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Photo by Christina Childress

I like to start a new season with a short look back and a slight look forward. When it comes to social media or your life in general, are there things you’d like to change or something new you would like to try? Let me know what you will be up to in the comments below.

As we enter fall, often our busiest season with events, parties and the holidays, let’s remember our manners, both in life and online. And by all means, dress fabulously! If you need a few ideas on what to wear, call me. I can help. xo

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10 thoughts on “Mind Your Manners

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  1. Amen! Love this! The f/u thing really irritates me and I’ve been reading where it’s starting to actually hurt their accounts. Also, I’m a huge advocate of no devices at meal time and when you’re with others! I agree wholeheartedly! Live in the now!

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    1. Thank you, Heather. I think we are reaching a saturation point and many are taking breaks or walking away completely. It’s ruining relationships and self-esteem. There is definitely a right way and a wrong way.

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  2. Fabulous article Bethany. I love it. My Dad was so strict. He wanted us to have good manners at all times and I’m happy he showed us that. You look fabulous.

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  3. Oh Dear Bethany, on point, as ever….Manners soften everyday life, bring out the kindness, respect, elegance, and beauty in our rapports to one another. It’s about taking the time to acknowledge the other person you are interacting with, establishing a real, meaningful communication, leading to real, meaningful relationships, above any ”likes”, ”following”, fast food for the lonely we have become. Everyday, i say yes to manners, yes to kindness, slow down the pace, present here and now, see how contagious/inspiring we become….Thank you Bethany.

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  4. I love this. I have encountered actual cliques in the adult world that were so obvious that my teenage daughter noticed. And was appalled. Be your best self always.Thanks for the great read!

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