Manners – the one true element of social behavior that is free to use and can make a world of difference.

Manners 101:

Say hello, please and thank you and goodbye. I don’t understand the younger generation and the lack of ending a conversation (in person or by phone).

Hold open a door for anyone within 20 feet of the doorway who is approaching. Common sense.

If a person is overburdened (carrying too many items) offer to help if you are able.

If a person offers you help and you don’t need help, thank them for offering.

When seated at a meal put away your electronic devices.

When seated at a meal wait until everyone is served before eating.

If you want to say hello to someone at a restaurant and their food has just been served, make it brief!

Cover your mouth when sneezing (your elbow works just fine but remember to turn away from the people in front of you).

Don’t honk your horn in traffic – it does nothing.

Take at least one earbud out when dealing with the public. You need to hear what is going on around you.

When driving on a two lane road with a bicycle or moped and traffic is piling up behind you, make an attempt to pull off to allow cars to pass by.

Do not mow grass towards a road. Rocks, trash and debris are clearly hazards to drivers.

Write a letter or send a postcard. There is nothing more magical than receiving a hand written letter in this time of instant emoji’s and generic comments.

Address those older than you as Mr., Ms. Mrs., Sir or Ma’am. Respect is still vital.

Be careful what you post on social media. A future boss or the parents of a future spouse may be checking things out. Take pride in yourself.

Don’t be petty. Nit picking things to death never results in anything good. I have no doubt that the true reason behind the fall of the Roman Empire was that it became a homeowner’s association.

Your homework this week is to mail someone a post card. Luckily we live in a beautiful area with lots of scenic cards to choose from. Maybe drop a note to an old college friend or a neighbor you haven’t seen in a while, what about a favorite teacher just to say thank you? It might just make their day.

Remember knowledge is power and manners are free so use them!


Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.