Several years ago on a plane I had an experience that I’ll never forget. The steward, a man probably in his 50’s, was making his way down the aisle to offer beverages. After he handed me my request I simply said “thank you” out of habit. He stopped what he was doing, turned around, and said, “Young lady, thank you. No one these days has manners anymore.”
My mom, the person who harped on me as a kid to learn my manners, is the person deserving of credit for this brief encounter. However, I thought of the magnitude of his response and what it means. He sees hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people a day. One “thank you” was enough to make him stop in his tracks? That’s pretty disappointing.
Manners are still important, especially in our relationships. Evelyn Rush, an author on successful relationships, said that most of us begin a new relationship on our best behavior, but that usually wears off over time. As a sex therapist, she has seen that as a huge indicator of wavering, unhealthy relationships. She provided some reasons manners are still important in making a relationship not only alive, but fulfilling:
- Good manners are appealing, alluring, and sexy. That is why you focused on them in the beginning. You were hoping they would help ignite the flame and chase of new romance.
- These time-honored expressions of appreciation and respect gain strength and momentum as indicators of how you don’t take your loved one for granted.
- Disregarding manners leads to a world of trouble in a relationship and nothing good will come of it – especially where sex is concerned. Who would want to have sex with someone who is rude to them?
- Waking up and bidding a pleasant: “Good morning” even if the morning is not your jolliest time of day is polite, respectful, and sets a positive tone for the day.
- You must believe that your loving partner is as deserving, if not more so, of your best behavior than everyone else you encounter in life. Manners will foster this belief.
Isn’t the pace of a busy world, and the way it leads all of us to feel a little worn down and frustrated at times, a good enough reason to think of what we will say and how we will say it? Refusing or forgetting to extend this same courtesy to the ones we love can jeopardize a relationship. Small words of kindness have a big impact!