Social manners have become a dying art for today’s digital generation.

Reviving the Lost Art of Social Manners

By Meta J. Mereday

Many of us were taught the adage, “Kindness will take you where money cannot,” and it represented an era that kept social manners in the forefront.   

These social manners included saying “thank you” by sending a card that was handwritten and expressive and not a short, impersonal tweet.  

Today, there exists a dying art of exchanging pleasantries and having real conversations that involve looking into each others’ eyes and making full sentences. In this current era of smart phones and texting, we are losing more of the social manners that put the “civil” in the civilization in which we live and work.   

Heads are so deeply buried in hand-held appliances that we are rapidly robbing families of bonding experiences, and even the “Are we there yet?” statements from restless children riding in the back seat of the car during family trips.

Parents invest highly in transportation that provides onboard entertainment that keeps the children distracted as the world and all of its beauty passes by without reflection or discussion.  

The light-hearted exchanges that provided the cornerstones for social manners begin in the home.  From being taught how to use the utensils at a table to discussing current events are fundamentals that young people need now more than ever to enhance their personal interactions in the future.

There are those who want to return to a focus on social manners and highlight the importance beyond knowing which fork to use.  There is a blog entitled, “It Manners A Lot” that was started by Lisa Kimble, a writer, who wanted to show that social manners can help to “promote confidence in young people.” 

Many believe that social manners can spur a resurgence in courteous and civilized behavior that we have been lacking. 

Some are teaching young people a wide range of practices that introduce the elements of social etiquette and provide a solid foundation in public speaking and proper conduct at special events. 

Making conversation and speaking in whole sentences instead of “cyber-speak” is becoming the new reality as new leaders are preparing to take the reins of established businesses with no clue about the “how to’s” in social manners. 

It may not seem important, but how one cuts their meat can be as important as cutting the deal itself in this global business environment. If business leaders are unaware of the social manners on the domestic front, they are even more ignorant of the many international customs that can open doors or start wars.

Business leaders are stepping up to bring an “old school” format to this problem through The Founders Inclusion Group (TFIG), which is an ad hoc group of organizational management professionals who know how deals are made.

“Whether it is in the boardroom or the golf course, a business arrangement is based on relationships and comfort levels,” states Randye Bullock, a PR Specialist and Co-Founder of TFIG. “I have seen too many instances where our emerging leaders are not up to speed on the basics to help get them noticed and respected in the C-Suites.”

Bullock has served on national boards and worked closely with elected officials and knows how executives operate.  “Many times, these same folks wonder why they don’t receive the respect that they feel they are entitled to. Social respect is not an entitlement, but is earned.”

The Founders Inclusion Group will bridge the gap to bringing social manners into the technology age and return society to improved conversations, renewed courtesies and a stronger sense of community.  

Mereday is a contributing writer for Regal Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.

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