WATCH: 5 Things Polite People Always Say
Are these phrases in your everyday vocabulary?
Southerners know the importance of proper etiquette and good manners. It’s essential to treat everyone with respect and put your best foot forward in word and in deed. We start learning these lessons from a very young age, and we take these rules with us through life. Some of them require practice, and others become second nature. If you’re practiced in holding doors and shaking hands but still have questions about the essential tenets of a vocabulary of good manners, let us offer you five building blocks for proper etiquette, phrases that you should know like the back of your hand. Ensure these phrases are the foundation of your daily interactions, and you’ll be on the path to proper manners when interacting with others, be they friends, family members, or strangers—the last of whom are just friends you haven’t gotten to know yet.
For most Southerners, this one of the first words we learn. It’s central to good manners and should be used all day, every day. Need someone to pass the gravy? Please. Want to respond to a request? Please. Using this word regularly is etiquette rule number one.
If not tied for first place, “thank you” is certainly etiquette rule number two. Practicing gratitude—which is scientifically proven to be linked to better mental health—is inseparable from using the phrase “thank you.” What are you grateful for today?
When someone says “thank you” to you, there are a few appropriate responses. Our preferred phrase is “you’re welcome.” Acknowledging someone else’s expression of thanks is just good manners. (As we’ve learned from the world of fast food, “my pleasure” is also an acceptable response.)
When life inevitably brings an awkward situation, an accidental elbow, or a need to scoot around someone in a line, all you need to do is say, “Pardon me.” It’s a simple way to connect with someone, let your presence be known, and smooth over any of the awkwardness that might arise.
May I Help You?
Reaching out a hand of assistance, verbally or otherwise, to someone in need is also an important facet of etiquette—and of being a good citizen of humanity. It just takes one gesture to make a difference, and sometimes it only takes a phrase as simple as “may I help you?”
What phrases are part of your etiquette guidebook? Are there any phrases essential to good manners that you don’t use but would like to put into practice?