Are you unsure about what constitutes good manners these days? I don’t blame you – the times, they are a bit fraught, no? If you’re a man and you hold the door for a woman, will you be thanked or called patronising? Will someone shut you down if you use a phrase that has suddenly become offensive? And don’t get me started about when it’s OK to use mobile phones.
Good manners used to mean simple courtesy and being kind. Today it seems we are haunted by the fear of doing or saying the wrong thing, and for good reason. Given the power of the Internet, a faux pas can mean losing a friend – or your job.
Covering the ins and outs of civil behaviour for the past 20-plus years, I have learned that, fortunately, good intentions never go out of style. Even better, science tells us that acts of kindness are contagious: If I treat you right, you’re more likely to treat the next person better. And from there, the ripples flow.