In sociology, manners are the unenforced standards of conduct which demonstrate that a person is proper, caring, non-grouchy, polite, and refined. They are like laws in that they codify or set a standard for human behavior, but they are unlike laws in that there is no formal system for punishing transgressions, the main informal “punishment” being social disapproval. They are a kind of norm. What is considered “mannerly” is highly susceptible to change with time, geographical location, social stratum, occasion, and other factors. That manners matter is evidenced by the fact that large books have been written on the subject, advice columns frequently deal with questions of mannerly behavior, and that schools have existed for the sole purpose of teaching manners. A lady is a term frequently used for a woman who follows proper manners; the term gentleman is used as a male counterpart; though these terms are also often used for members of a particular social class.
Social graces are skills used to interact politely in social situations. They include manners, etiquette (the specific accepted rules within a culture for the application of universal manners), deportment and fashion. These skills were once taught to young women at a finishing school or charm school. The focus of social graces has changed over the last century, recently with an emphasis on business etiquette and international protocol.
The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim, ethical code, or morality that essentially states either of the following:
- (Positive form of Golden Rule): One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.
- (Negative form of Golden Rule): One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.
It is sad that nowadays we witness among some of the young in particular who seem to lack good social graces especially on the Internet as they feel they can express whatever comes to mind without fear or with recklessness hiding behind a faceless profile.
Time for a moot case!?