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To think that having manners does not mean being a pretentious git?

(73 Posts)
SlightlySuperiorPeasant Fri 23-Nov-12 08:50:21

To me, having good manners means doing your best to put other people at ease and to be polite in difficult situations.

Apparently, some people think that having good manners is based completely on knowing all the social rules that define a social class - which fork to use, what to talk about/not talk about at dinner, which buttons to do up etc. - and sneer at people who try their best but "aren't quite our sort".

AIBU to think that sneery types are mannerless gits?

MrsMangoBiscuit Fri 23-Nov-12 08:53:14

I think the "some people" you mentioned are getting manners confused wih ettiquette.

YANBU, sneering is rude, and therefore bad manners.

Justforlaughs Fri 23-Nov-12 08:53:57


MyLastDuchess Fri 23-Nov-12 08:56:32

I feel the same as you: good manners is making other people feel comfortable.

goralka Fri 23-Nov-12 08:57:14

yes but mrsmango good etiquette is about putting people at their ease and not making them feel uncomfortable, not about oneupmanship as some people seem to think.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Fri 23-Nov-12 08:59:00

YY. Having good etiquette is obviously a good thing because it means you can relax and enjoy yourself rather than wondering what you're supposed to be doing but it's perfectly possible to know all the rules and have terrible manners and vice versa.

maybenow Fri 23-Nov-12 09:00:54

I have never met any of these sneery types. But they do sound like mannerless gits.

I went to comprehensive school in a working class area then on to a university dominated by upper class students including landed gentry etc. and yet everybody I met would be more than happy to help you out with which is your white wine, red wine and water glass, or what a fish knife is or which cutlery to start with (though I actually know all that from waitressing!)... I make an effort in life to only spend time with nice people of any class or upbringing and to avoid bitchy sneery types.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Fri 23-Nov-12 09:02:08

I think there's one incident that demonstrates the difference perfectly: Someone or other at a State dinner didn't know what to do with the finger bowl so drank it. To make him feel less stupid the Queen also drank hers and everyone else followed suit. Terrible etiquette (?) but excellent manners.

FryOneFatManic Fri 23-Nov-12 09:06:41

I got sneered at one for being unable to use a fish knife (surely the most pointless invention ever). Fish knives are designed for right handed people, and I eat left handed. I asked for a normal knife and refused to faff around trying to cut the fish with the wrong hand and this chap sneered at me. I did give him a death stare, and heard someone else giggle when he shut up.

PlantsDieArid Fri 23-Nov-12 09:06:42

Manners are about including people and making them all feel welcome, at ease etc.

Etiquette is about knowing a certain set of social rules, ostensible to facilitate the occasion or process by ensuring everyone understands their role or responsibility and what is expected of them procedure- or behaviour-wise.

Etiquette is useful to know if you're going into unfamiliar territory, meeting the Queen for example.

In my experience, many people use etiquette as a means of exclusion and to make outsiders feel uncomfortable, the opposite if good manners.
Doing so is vulgar and ill-bred, and is often displayed by socially insecure and rather toxic types in whose narrow world the idea of 'belonging' far outweighs any common decency. It gives them an erroneous sense of self importance and they deserve pity.

And a smart smack across the chops with a kidskin dress glove.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Fri 23-Nov-12 09:08:29

Than you Plants for putting it far more eloquently than me grin

ImperialStateKnickers Fri 23-Nov-12 09:10:49

I think the Queen and the finger bowl story is actually apocryphal, but it does illustrate what you mean perfectly. Etiquette can change in different times and cultures, but good manners as a concept is universal.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Fri 23-Nov-12 09:13:10

Probably but I like it.

seeker Fri 23-Nov-12 09:16:06

There is a difference between manners and etiquette.

Having good manners and being courteous is essential.

Knowing etiquette can be very useful because there are some people who will judge. They are gits, obviously, but who wants to be judged, even by gits. Knowing how to behave anywhere is incredibly valuable.

seeker Fri 23-Nov-12 09:17:36

Oh, and anyone who uses fish knives is incredibly déclassé. So they've lost before they start!

goralka Fri 23-Nov-12 09:18:30

ha was just going to say how naff fish knives are!

MrsMangoBiscuit Fri 23-Nov-12 09:18:57

goralka, ettiquette, as Plants said, is a code, or a set of social rules, which knife, glass, correct words for a greeting etc. Being polite and putting people at ease is good manners. Using ettiquette for oneupmanship, or to make someone feel unconfortable is bad manners, and a pretty shitty thing to do.

My point was that knowing these rules, ettiquette, has nothing to do with good or bad manners. It's how you act, how you put them into practice, and how you behave to others that reflect your manners.

TheSkiingGardener Fri 23-Nov-12 09:19:19

The people with the worst manners I have ever seen were those who congratulated themselves on knowing the perfect etiquette for any situation.


MrsMangoBiscuit Fri 23-Nov-12 09:20:04

Lots of cross-posts, must learn to type faster.

FryOneFatManic Fri 23-Nov-12 09:20:54

Plants Love your description, I'm going to mentally file that one away for the future, if I ever come across a fish knife idiot again...grin

worldgonecrazy Fri 23-Nov-12 09:22:31

I find etiquette fascinating, especially the way it changes from country to country, and through the years.

But manners and etiquette are two very different things. Manners is about putting people at ease, so in some instances, it is good manners to learn etiquette, for instance if entertaining guests from a different country.

There are two rules in British etiquette which I particularly love:

1. It is extremely poor etiquette to notice or comment upon another persons lack of etiquette.
2. A woman can never display poor etiquette. (Sexist but fun!)

TheSkiingGardener Fri 23-Nov-12 09:27:03

Yes MangoBiscuit keep up!!!!!!

Mrsjay Fri 23-Nov-12 09:27:10

I have good manners I have no idea about etiquette I know some things but other things baffle me I think manners and etiquette is different and it can be far to polite and seem a bit false , yanbu though manners should be a given

seeker Fri 23-Nov-12 09:28:48

Etiquette is like the rules of a club-it's used by certiain people to exclude. That is why I have taught my children as much formal etiquette as I can. If you know the rules you can choose to break them or use them to your advantage!

Mrsjay Fri 23-Nov-12 09:30:20

I do know how to eat if i am out and i know to work my way in with cutlery I manage to not look like an oaf grin

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