Where Are We on Manners These Days? What Each Generation Considers Good Manners

Where Are We on Manners These Days? What Each Generation Considers Good Manners

What's still universally considered bad manners? One study tells us.

By Marianne Garvey

Holding the door open for others, saying “please" and “thank you,” covering your nose while you sneeze — these are natural responses for most people and certainly still have a place in contemporary society. However, our definition of "good manners" has certainly changed over time.

So which manners have been put to rest for good?

One study surveyed over 1,000 people on what's still universally considered poor form for old and young generations alike — and where opinions start to deviate.

Ranking the rudest actions, by generation.

The study says millennials are often accused of having pretty poor manners because they're often short and curt with texts and emails — and forget about getting them to answer the phone.

“As it turns out, most millennials have the same feelings toward basic decency as older generations—and that includes when it comes to their cellphones. Over 99 percent of people said being on your phone while in a face-to-face conversation was the rudest personal behavior,” the study reports. “And while baby boomers (100 percent) had the lowest opinion of this action, Gen Xers (96 percent) and millennials (99 percent) weren't far behind."

Put down the phone in the movie theater.

Using your phone in a movie theater (nearly 99 percent), texting during a face-to-face conversation (about 98 percent), and using your speakerphone in public (roughly 97 percent) were all ranked by young and old alike as more disrespectful than eating before others had their food, talking politics at the dinner table, and leaving a gathering early.

What about date etiquette?

Who should pay for a meal? “Rather than designating a particular gender as the responsible party for picking up the tab on a date, nearly 74 percent of people agreed the inviting party should be responsible for paying. Less than 1 in 5 people might even suggest each person should pay for himself or herself. In most cases, who pays for the first date isn't as much about chivalry as it is about setting the tone for boundaries and expectations in a relationship.”

Women demonstrate good manners more than men.

When asked about their everyday actions, women were more likely to demonstrate their well-mannered habits.

“Women were more likely than men to hold the door open for people coming in behind them (almost 82 percent), let others exit before trying to enter (around 72 percent), and cough into their elbow or a tissue (64 percent). And while men were generally less acquainted with these good-mannered behaviors, they were slightly less likely to interrupt others, leave a party or event early, or use their phones in face-to-face conversations,” the survey notes.

So are millennials truly the rudest generation?

“When asked about their routine actions, millennials were the least likely generation to admit to holding the door open for people behind them, letting people exit before they entered, RSVPing to events, or sneezing into their elbows or a tissue. Unfortunately for young people, the narrative of their rudeness doesn't end there. Based on their own responses, millennials were also the most likely generation to leave an event early, eat before everyone else had their food, and to use their phones during face-to-face conversations. The only rude behavior baby boomers did more often than the other generations? Talking politics at the dinner table," the survey explains.

I mean, can it really be avoided these days?

At the end of the day, the definition of good manners is always changing, but these views might be good to keep in mind.

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