I am not a fan of the Real Housewives of anywhere. I know that many people have their guilty pleasures. I certainly have mine. The housewives (who ironically aren’t always housewives, but are often fellow single moms) never set well with me because of the lack of civility on the show.
They certainly aren’t the only reality shows where no one uses manners of any kind. Most of them get ratings because their outlandish behavior is so entertaining. Table flipping and throwing wine glasses just isn’t my thing. I get it; I just can’t embrace it.
Okay, that was my disclaimer because the other day my mother, who loves the shows, suggested that I watch the new ladies of Potomac. She thought I might find it interesting because the area of Potomac is close to my new home.
I decided to give in and lo and behold the first episode was all about manners and civility. Maybe this one would be different. It wasn’t. In fact it was almost worse than the others because not only did no one exhibit anything even close to resembling civility, they kept calling each other out on their bad manners, which ironically is also bad manners!
I am pretty obsessed with etiquette; I think it ties into how confident you are and how you present yourself to others. Now, I am not talking about using the right fork or remembering the b d finger signs, to tell you which bread plate and water goblet is yours and not your neighbors, although I do think those things are important too.
So this isn’t about knives and forks, but I do challenge you to do some research on this if you feel it is an area you are lacking in. It will make you feel more confident in certain social and professional situations. However, this post is more about learning and using soft skills.
Soft skills are important. Being likeable is important. Manners are important; and here is why:
I hate to break it to you but people are watching-how you present yourself to the world is not only thought to be a reflection of your upbringing but also of your current social status. Now, of course these are based on assumptions, but the reality is that those assumptions are made. We have all seen people receive or not receive opportunities based on what a person is perceived to be instead of what they really know.
Being assertive gets you much further than being aggressive– learning the difference in these two makes a world of difference. When you are assertive there is no yelling or swearing or anything that would make the other person immediatley dismiss you as a crazy person. People are more adept to listen and grant your requests if you are firm but calm. Most arguments start because of tone not words.
Nobody likes rude people-sorry but it is true. This isn’t high school and we didn’t really like them then either, we just laughed along because we didn’t know what else to do. More importantly than whether or not other people like us, is that we need to like us. Liking yourself is directly linked to how confident you are.
Here are 6 simple things that you can do to improve your manners, embrace civility and become more confident.
- Watch your body language- good posture and open body language will make you feel more confident.
- Use common courtesies-say please, thank you, you’re welcome, bless you or gazuntite- all the things you learned back in preschool. Sounds easy enough, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t use them regularly.
- Be engaged with the people around you. You don’t have to be an extrovert to be an active listener. Learning this skill will make you more confident in social settings. People love to talk about themselves. If you aren’t a big talker that’s okay, be a good listener.
- Practice watching your tone during disagreements; if you are at in impasse instead of upping the ante and going for the juggler, simply end the conversation until you can speak more calmly about it. My daughter and I love to debate and when we reach an impasse we always use the “we will just have to agree to disagree” line.
- Dress well- this might seem off topic but it isn’t. Dressing well is a form of good manners! Not only does it make you feel more confident, it also shows people around you that you care about yourself and makes you appear more reliable.
- Model good behavior-do this for your children and for others around you. If you see someone using bad manners don’t chase them down or chastise them. Just be what you want to see (love that Ghandi quote).
I truly believe that all the worlds’ problems could be solved with a little bit of civility. Okay, maybe that is an impractical, wishful goal, but even if we can’t achieve world peace, we certainly can improve our personal and professional relationships and become a little more confident along the way.
Until Next Post,