Good manners all over the world

Vilnius College on Higher Education
Business Management Faculty

Good manners all over the world

Student of group PV04A Renata Jasinskaitė

Lecturer Lina Gaigalaitė

2004, Vilnius


1. What are manners really? 3
2. Good manners all over the world 3
3. Italian manners 4
4. Table manners in Japan 5
5. Chinese daily manners 5
6. Table manners in America 6
7. Finland manners 6
8. How to meet guest 6
9. Traditional manners and changing manners all over the world 7
10. Last word 8

1. What are manners really?

To most folks manners are how to eat at a fine restaurant, then to others it is the use of “please” and “thank you.” I don’t quarry with ei ither of these, but I believe manners are far more than most of us ever consider.
To quote a wonderful lady with great insight (Mrs. Hermine Hartley),”Manners are more than using the right fork. They’re using the right attitude. Our behavior can affect our relationships much more than our etiquette..manners are not stuffy rules wearing white ties and tails. They can show up in T-shirts and jeans. Manners are simply a matter of how we behave. How we treat one an nother. Good manners show respect and consideration for others. They’re not simply a veneer we put on. Manners come from the heart. Good manners are really a form of love.” Mrs. Hartley gives some quotes as examples of the basis of

f manners.
1)”Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Luke 6:31 2)”Self-respect is at the bottom of all good manners” Edgar S. Martin 3.
Often today people are bombarded with rude,crass,and shock value behavior. All of which comes from a lack of self respect and/or a lack of being taught manners. Rather than being rude right back, or totally staying away from people with such behaviors, I believe we should teach by practicing being considerate and respectful. After all that’s how we’d want others to be with us; considerate of our feelings and of our things, and respectful as a fellow human. Also we should consider tolerance. To tolerate has two opposing definitions in the dictionary. The fi irst is “to respect(others’ beliefs,practices, etc.) without sharing them.” The other is “to put up with.” No one should “put up with” bad behavior in the name of good manners. There are many kind and creative ways to express differences without being rude or disrespectful. So if you choose to tolerate, do so with respect, and if you choose not to tolerate, also do so with respect.
Children learn best by example, so the old saying of “more is caught th
han taught” is ever so true. If our children hear us speaking disrespectfully, or see us acting selfishly , then they will follow suit. Most social behavior attitudes are learned before the first grade from children studying their parents. Besides being a good role model, love is the greatest influence we have on our children. If a child feels understood, recognized, and loved, then the only manners we will have to teach are etiquette.

2. Good manners all over the world

There are some simple guidelines to follow actually, though there are cultural differences to take into consideration. What is rude in Japan may be perfectly acceptable in Latin America. However, you will be forgiven for not knowing the rules of an alien culture. You will not be excused for being careless in your own country. In any case, always remember the principle of not making others uncomfortable. If you are in a mixed group, always greet the elders and the women first. Don’t shout to be heard. Don’t interrupt others while they re talking. Don’t address elders and seniors by their names, unless they have specially asked you to, in India at any rate. Try Sir/ Ma am for strangers and Uncle/ Aunty (o

or Chachaji, Mausiji etc) for familiar people. For a stranger who is not so old, it is better to suffix the name with ji , as a mark of respect.
Stand up when an elder or a guest enters the room and don t sit until you ve offered them a seat. Offer a glass of water (and preferably a cup of tea) to anyone who steps into your home/ office. Do not continue to watch TV or surf the net when you have a visitor.
Stand when the national anthem (of any country) is playing. Show respect to all flags and all religious symbols. Lower the music or TV volume when others are talking or trying to sleep. Do not ask too many intimate or invasive questions the first few times that you meet a person. Do not comment on personal appearances or clothes in a negative way; if you cannot say something complimentary, do not say anything at all. In Indian homes, always take off your shoes/sandals before entering a room, or in one corner near the door. At least, wait for your host to tell you that you need not bother.
Some basic rules for table manners: wash your hands before an
nd after a meal; ask for whatever you want instead of reaching out directly or pointing at dishes; don’t make too much noise; don’t talk with food in your mouth; preferably eat with your right hand (unless you are a leftie and cannot); wait until everyone else is sitting down before starting to eat; help clear the dishes; don’t read while eating; don’t talk on your cell phone during the meal and if you must get up in-between, ask to be excused.

3. Italian manners

Italy has a reputation for being warm and welcoming. Here are some general comments on Italian culture, and some tips for adjusting to Italian manners and standards. Obviously this is mostly based on personal experiences; generalisations of course do not always hold true.
Italians greet friends with two light kisses on the cheek, first the right and then the left. Even if you’re merely acquaintances, this form of greeting is usual, both on arrival and departure. When groups are splitting up, expect big delays as everyone kisses everyone else. On first introduction a handshake is usual, although not necessarily the firm businesslike shake other nationalities may be used to.
If your inbred cultural reserve makes you feel uncomfortable with this, don’t worry too much. The British in particular have a reputation for being reserved, so you can always play up to this expectation, and Italians will understand you don’t mean to be rude. Handshakes are also accepted greetings, and some Italians will kiss compatriots and offer their hand to the awkward Brit.
In a small-medium sized shop, it’s standard to greet the staff as you enter, not when you approach the counter to pay. A friendly ‘Buongiorno’ or ‘Buonasera’ warms the atmosphere. When paying, we’ve found that staff usually expect you to put coins down on the surface or dish provided, rather than placing money directly into their hands (fear of germs? money-handling etiquette?), and they will do the same when giving you your change (il resto). The advent of the euro has caused problems for the Italians. Most lira transactions were in banknotes, and people are still adjusting to the fact that coins are now of significant denominations and in general use. Don’t be surprised to find the whole issue of change rather perplexing for cashiers, who may try to insist you give them complex combinations of coins and notes rather than simply changing your notes.
Whole essays can be written about the Italians’ relationships with clothes (maybe a future addition to this site.). Three of the most important observations:
1. Italians are very conformist about clothing; everyone wears the same fashions, from teenagers to grans (this can take some getting used to. see comment 2 below). Don’t be surprised or insulted if you are looked at askance for your ‘eccentricity’ in not wearing the latest customised jeans or fiendishly-pointed boots.
2. It’s important not to judge people in return by their choice of clothing. Styles do not necessarily carry the same connotations in Italy that they would in Britain or some other countries. A women in fishnets, stilettos, miniskirt and caked makeup at eight in the morning is probably just going to work in a bank. Almost all youths lounge about in skin-tight t-shirts and casually-knotted knitwear (and are very perplexed by the response they get when they take their sense of style and grooming to a less ‘sophisticated’ climate).
3. Sometimes clothing rules are written. To visit a church or religious site you will need to cover yourself up; no bare backs, chests, shoulders and sometimes no knees. Sometimes museums and other attractions can also be strict; no bathing costumes, for example. If you want to visit a church or religious site it’s a good idea to take something to cover yourself up with; for example a jumper or large scarf. Some churches supply cover-ups, e.g. sarongs are loaned to men with shorts so that they can modestly conceal their legs. Even where there are no written rules, it’s worth noting that bare chests and large expanses of sunburnt skin aren’t really acceptable away from beaches or sunbathing areas, whatever the temperature.

4. Table manners in Japan

Many people who visit Japan are excited about the variety of food available. On the other hand, many people must be a little nervous about table manners and how to eat Japanese food. Basic table manners in Japan are important for visitors to know.
The most important table etiquette in Japan is saying traditional phrases before and after a meal. Japanese people say, “Itadaki-masu” before a meal and say “Gochisou-sama” after a meal. These phrases mean thanks for the food and also indicate the beginning and the ending of a meal. If you are eating with Japanese people, try to say these phrases.
Japanese people use knives and forks for western food such as spaghetti and steak. Also, spoons are used for eating certain dishes, such as stew, curry rice, and desserts. However, chopsticks are the most frequently used utensils in Japan. Restaurants in Japan serve disposable wooden chopsticks. The step by step description of how to use chopsticks is available. One of chopsticks etiquettes is not to directly pass food from your chopsticks to somebody else’s chopsticks or vice versa. The reason this is taboo is that the bones of the cremated body are passed in that way from person to person in Japanese funerals. When you get food from large serving dishes, you may use the clean top ends of your chopsticks, if serving chopsticks are not available. Then, you use the other ends to bring food in your mouth. It sounds weird, but it is considered to be polite in Japan.
It is polite and proper to lift small bowls of rice or soup when you eat. It prevents you from dropping food. When you do not get a soup spoon, it is proper to drink the soup out of the bowl and eat the solid food with chopsticks. For large pieces of food, you separate the piece into small pieces with your chopsticks, or you just bite a piece off and put the rest back onto your plate.

5. Chinese daily manners

China is known as a state of etiquette and ceremonies. Many proverbs have been passed down from generation to generation such as ‘civility costs nothing’ or ‘courtesy demands reciprocity’ and so on. For instance, there is an interesting short story. Once upon a time, a man went on a long tour to visit his friend with a swan as a gift. But it escaped from the cage on the way and in his effort to catch it, he got hold of nothing but a feather. Instead of returning home, he continued his journey with the swan feather. When his friend received this unexpected gift, he was deeply moved by the story as well as the sincerity. And the saying ‘the gift is nothing much, but it’s the thought that counts.’ was spread far and wide.
Chinese used to cup one hand in the other before the chest as a salute. This tradition has a history of more than 2000 years and nowadays it is seldom used except in the Spring Festival. And shaking hands is more popular and appropriate on some formal occasions. Bowing, as to convey respect to the higher level, is often used by the lower like subordinates, students, and attendants. But at present Chinese youngsters tend to simply nod as a greeting. To some extent this evolution reflects the ever-increasing paces of modern life.
It is common social practice to introduce the junior to the senior, or the familiar to the unfamiliar. When you start a talk with a stranger, the topics such as weather, food, or hobbies may be good choices to break the ice. To a man, a chat about current affairs, sports, stock market or his job can usually go on smoothly. Similar to Western customs, you should be cautious to ask a woman private questions. However, relaxing talks about her job or family life will never put you into danger. She is usually glad to offer you some advice on how to cook Chinese food or get accustomed to local life. Things will be quite different when you’ve made acquaintance with them. Implicit as Chinese are said to be, they are actually humorous enough to appreciate the exaggerated jokes of Americans.
As more and more foreign corporations and individuals go to tap the Chinese market, it is better to know some Chinese practices in business contacts and negotiation beforehand. In China you should not be surprised to see many business women taking up positions like director, general manager, president and etc. They play such an important role in the society as to ‘prop up half of the sky.’ Generally speaking, career women demand no more respect than men. But they will particularly appreciate the gentlemanly manners. Chinese think punctuality is a virtue and try to practice it especially in the business world. Chinese usually tend to come a bit earlier to show their earnestness. And it would not be regarded as being late if you come within 10 minutes.

6. Table manners in America

Table manners are important in America, and may be different from those of your country. They are complicated, and you should consult a good guide to etiquette for a complete view.
In general Americans try to eat neatly, without making a lot of noise. If something on the table is out of their reach, they politely ask someone to pass it to them. Food should be lifted up to the mouth. Do not bend over to eat it. Sit up as straight as you can without being uncomfortable. Do not talk with your mouth full.
Table napkins are placed on your lap, folded in half if they are very large. If you are in a small group, it is polite to wait to start eating until the host sits down and begins. With larger groups, you may begin after noting that a few people have begun. You may also begin if the host urges you to.
Use your fork, knife and spoon to eat your food. There are some exceptions, like lobster and corn on the cob, cookies, shrimp, and fried chicken and other foods. Better watch what other people do. If you do eat with your hands, don’t lick your fingers to clean them. Use the napkin carefully. If you have to take food out of your mouth, such as a pit or bone, do it carefully and quietly. It is not polite to pick your teeth at the table to remove trapped food. If you must do this before the end of the meal, excuse yourself and go to the restroom.

7. Finland manners

Finland is an easy country to visit. Finnish customs and manners are clearly European, with only a few national variations, and attitudes are liberal. There is very little chance of a visitor committing fundamental social gaffes or breaches of etiquette that would fatally damage relations between himself and his hosts. Such breaches are viewed by Finns with equanimity if committed by their own countrymen and with understanding or amusement if committed by foreigners. Codes of behaviour are fairly relaxed, and reputations — good or bad — are built up over time as the result of personal actions rather than conforming to certain norms or standards. It is difficult in Finland to make or break a reputation on a single occasion.
Generally speaking, Finland is a country where considerable weight is attached to the spoken word — words are chosen carefully and for the purpose of delivering a message. Indeed, there are very few other culture-specific considerations that visitors need be aware of. Finns place great value on words, which is reflected in the tendency to say little and avoid ‘unnecessary’ small talk. As the Chinese proverb puts it, “Your speech should be better than silence, if not, be silent.”

8. How to meet guest

At all times, it is best to be humble, respectful, and modest whether you are the host or guest. It is the host’s duty to make sure the guests are well-taken care of, sometimes to the point of smothering. Guests should be conservative and reserved. Rarely does the Western idea of “help yourself” apply.
Guests are welcomed in a very particular manner, most times by the host and by other staff, family, or personnel. Guests are often received by someone from the host’s side, right from the guest’s bus or car door (as if the host has been waiting and expecting the guest). Guests are usually received in a specific room such as a conference room as opposed to your office.
Guests should be welcomed with polite and general statements. This is the time to thank each other for taking the time to visit or for a previous meeting. This is also the time for general apologies. The host will often offer several apologies for everything from the weather to the time of day. And the guest might apologize for the result of a previous meeting or situation. It is all said rather lightly, but it is also all a part of the greeting etiquette.
The host(s) should be quite perceptive and anticipate a guest’s need. It is embarrassing for the guest to have to ask for something. Guests should generally not ask for anything as it is considered rude to directly state your wishes. For example, if a guest is holding something heavy, it is better to insist that you carry it than to ask: “Would you like me to carry it?” It is better to say, “I will call a taxi for you” than “Would you like me to call a taxi for you?”
The host also invites the guest to actually drink or eat, even though something may have been already served. The guest is careful not to drink or eat until the host has said “Please” or Dozo. The Japanese host must offer their guests cream and sugar if coffee is being served and guests should not reach across the table for it (it would be better to drink the coffee black). The host(s) waits until the guests have begun before they eat or drink. On both sides, subordinates begin only after their superiors do. If you do not want any more, simply leave your cup full.
When the guests leave, the host sees them off; often literally standing out on the street until the guests are out of sight. Just before disappearing from view, the guest turns to give one last wave or bow and it is important for the host to acknowledge this last gesture.

9. Traditional manners and changing manners all over the world

International students reflect on traditional good manners for varied situations and discuss how manners are changing.
Renate Pauperio from Brazil believe some people have the wrong idea of what Brazil is really like or what the people are like. Of course, there are big problems there, but people are not partying all the time or living in an underdeveloped country. If you ever go to Brazil on vacation or on a business trip, there are some things you should know. Punctuality is important. It is important to be on time, but a fifteen-minute delay in arrival is acceptable. Of course, if it is a very formal occasion, it is better to be on time. Nowadays, littering is still a problem, but if you throw garbage out in the road or streets, you might receive a ticket. Fortunately, people are more conscious about that and the cites are cleaner now than before.
Alessandra Federici from Italy think that this behavior is due to the globalization of the world and to the use of the English language that has only one form, but she don’t consider it polite.In owr society, what we call good manners, or good etiquette, are changing. New generations are becoming more and more impolite. When she was a child and she came out with their parents, she always stayed close to them and behaved in an educated way; but kids nowadays make a lot of noise, go everywhere, and are less respectful toward adults. In her language, we have two different ways to address people. One is the intimate second form that is generally used with family members, friends, and people of the same age; one is more formal, using the third person. She always use the formal way when address elderly people or people She don’t know, but young generations are now using the intimate second form everywhere and with everybody.
Karina Lacayo from Chile said:Good manners are important in her country, so if you are going to visit Chile, here are some of the rules of etiquette, or good manners that you need to know about. In Chile, people aren’t punctual. So, if you go to a party, you should arrive anywhere from fifteen to forty-five minutes late, but no more than 45 minutes late. Also, you mustn’t forget that it’s very badly seen if you stay until the end of the party and you are the last ones to leave. If you meet people you know and you want to speak to them, you should kiss those people on their right cheeks. Also, if those people are with friends, you have to greet them with a kiss, too. If you are taking a bus, you have to give your seat—just if you are young and healthy—to elderly or disabled people. If a couple is going to enter a door, the man has to open it and let the woman go first. Also, some men like to open the passenger car door if women are going to go with them in the car.
Kate Suh from Korea tell us, that Korea is an oriental society, which means that Koreans highly value relationships with others. The value of individualism is of lesser importance than the value of group relationships. Although Korea is becoming internationalized, Some traditional etiquette is honored. For example, when you meet and greet an older person—usually the head of a family, you should bow your head as a sign of respect. If you shake hands or hold your hand out, it is generally considered very rude. Therefore, care must be taken when greeting or meeting elders. Most Koreans follow and honor traditional etiquette; however, some young people don’t know how to behave politely and do not follow traditionally accepted manners.

Ayzin Barista from Turkey is from Turkey, and she would like to tell you a bit about driving or traffic manners in Turkey—let’s say in Ankara. As in every country, they have some laws for traffic, but we also have some unwritten rules that everybody already knows. For example, in my country, if you are a woman, you have the right of way. Generally, women don’t need to yield to men drivers. When a woman finds a place to park and is waiting for a parking place, no other driver can take her place.

10. Last word

Good manners are the first mark of good breeding and reflect directly on a person s upbringing. I have been given a very simple criterion for judging manners good manners are based on consideration for other people. Tact, diplomacy and hospitality all these are based on good manners.

For instance, take table manners. You are not supposed to put your elbows on the table while eating because it doesn’t allow enough space for the person who is sitting next to you. Similarly, it is important for you to respond to someone who wishes you good morning or says namaste , even if it a stranger. If you do not return the greeting, the stranger will feel insulted and will not greet others easily again.

For parents and teachers, there is one simple norm do not tolerate bad manners. Give incentives and affection in return for good manners. But do not expect too much too soon. Children will learn by and by, but it is no point expecting a three year old to know about butter knives and a finger bowl.

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