Good Manners at Arm’s Length
The most personal interaction we commonly have with
others is face-to-face contact. The
innate intimacy of this social encounter involves a variety of ways in
which we can express ourselves for good or ill.
are the first aspect of a face-to-face contact.
It should start with a smile that is appropriate for the
relationship. Such a smile
can come from more than just the mouth.
A smile can be seen in the eyes.
After this, verbal greetings are often in order, and are based on
how well you know each other.
Physical contact is another matter.
Traditionally, men shake hands and women hug.
More recently these boundaries have blurred.
Many people find comfort in maintaining these traditional contacts,
and they are recommended here.
original reason for shaking hands was to show that one did not have a
weapon in hand, ready to strike. On
a more subtle level, men test the strength of the other with a firm
handshake. Whenever a man
gives a weak or limp handshake, others, women included, tend to
immediately disrespect that person. Refusal
to offer one’s hand, or to accept the handshake of the other, shows
contempt for that person, and should not be done unless there are very
good reasons. When one
refuses to shake another’s hand, it can be perceived as an insult.
that is balanced in its duration can communicate interest in what the
other person is saying. If
the eye contact is too long (staring) or too intense it can be rude and
might communicate wrongful motives. Eye
avoidance generally communicates no interest at all and shows disrespect
for the other. If time constraints require you to leave, there are tactful
ways of getting this idea across. If
you are not interested in what they are saying, practice your patience,
listen a while, find a good breaking point and excuse yourself.
is important to be careful not to let one’s eyes wander where they
should not go. Males are
particularly prone to this breech of etiquette, and are well advised to
keep their vision above the neckline when communicating with the opposite
sex. The most offensive variation on this theme is the practice of
some males either gawking, or turning their heads to stare at a woman when
she passes by. This is a
complete lack of self respect, and respect for the woman.
A gentleman never does this. The
only exception to any of this paragraph is in reference ton one’s
the distance between people as they interact, is generally set by their
culture and is different throughout the world.
Persons from South America are more comfortable at closer distances
than persons from North America. It
is humorous to watch a North American continually move backwards as a
South American continually moves forward as each tries to maintain their
ideal of the proper personal distance.
in the absence of such cultural differences, getting too close to others
in a face-to-face situation can be rude or threatening. Try to recognize when you are crowding others as “getting
in someone’s face” is often used as an intimidation technique.
The proper distance will save you the embarrassment of worrying
about offending another with your breath, or accidentally spraying the
other person. When in
conversation with a stranger, more than arms length is reasonable when one
considers the level of crime in our present day world.
is generally considered rude when it cuts off another person’s speech,
or train of thought. Exceptions
to this are in situations where words and thoughts are flowing freely and
one can feel that persons jumping in and out of the conversation is part
of the character of that particular setting.
Show respect for the thoughts, speech and feelings for the other
persons. After all, are you
really sure you know the totality of what they have to say?
gestures, as a part of face-to-face communication, has not generally
been a problem in the past. The
worst aspect of this, historically, was simply too much of it so that it
was a meaningless distraction. However,
in more recent years some individuals have adopted a style of personal
communication that includes shoving their hands close to your face. This would have been considered provocation for a physical
confrontation in the past, and for some people today still is a “fight
starter.” Do not “get in
someone’s face” with your hands.
After all, what is the purpose of it anyway?
Does it have any real meaning other than a poor attempt to
room calls for males of all ages to remove their hats upon crossing
the threshold of a house or other building.
This practice goes back to ancient times, and is referred to in
Scripture in reference to men having their head uncovered in Church.
This same practice does not apply to women.
Instead, whenever a woman enters a room where men are seated, it is
customary for the men to stand until she is seated.
This shows respect and is generally applied to adult females.
In today’s world this concept is completely
foreign to those who advocate and practice treating women as chattel.
Some currently published songs call for the unprovoked physical and
emotional abuse of women along with other segments of society.
Part of the reason for their wretched attitude towards women is due
to the fact that they would not know a lady of they met one.
Having never observed the excellence of character and spirit of a
true lady, they imagine women as weaker members of our species simply to
be used for personal gratification.
of the reason for this attitude is the simple fact that the art of being a
lady has been greatly lost during the past generation. Although this statement will incur the ire of some women, a
vast majority will no doubt agree that the art of being a lady and the art
of being a gentleman is nearly comatose.
It therefore behooves all of us (men and women) to do our utmost to
re-invigorate these dying arts.
together, or legs crossed at ankles, or legs crossed at knees, or legs
together – leaning at angle.
slightly apart, or one leg crossed above the knee of other leg, or legs
crossed at knees.
may bend over to pick up things.
with back against back of chair, bench, etc.
up straight and tall.
Arms of chairs – not for sitting or propping feet, but an
Rounds of chairs – to steady and reinforce legs & chair
frame. Feet should stay on