polite gestures

Manners have fallen by the wayside.  Children rarely remember to say please and thank you anymore and adults aren’t any better at making polite gestures than kids.  My parents stuck with their guns when it came to good manners.  I have taught my daughters good manners and have no leniency in how they treat others.  

Here are 21 polite gestures that never fail to impress: 

  1. Holding doors
  2. Written thank-yous
  3. Using yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir, no sir
  4. When walking or reaching in front of someone say, “Excuse me.”
  5. Waiting until everyone at the dinner table has their food before starting to eat
  6. Letting the women at the table order before the men
  7. Men opening any door for a woman and/or children
  8. RSVPing by the requested date
  9. Introducing friends to friends, by name
  10. Waiting to get up from the table until everyone is finished or excusing yourself if a bathroom break is in order
  11. Putting away the cell phone when approaching a checkout counter
  12. Chewing with your mouth closed
  13. Keeping one hand in your lap when eating
  14. Letting your guest choose what to watch on the TV
  15. Serving your guests first
  16. Waiting for people to exit an elevator before entering
  17. Letting people complete their sentence before interrupting and if interrupting, saying excuse me
  18. Helping the elderly load or unload their groceries into or out of their car
  19. Sending cards of condolences, congratulations, well wishes
  20. Waiting until someone you have dropped of enters their house and is safely inside
  21. Remember birthdays by calling or sending a card
Detroit Mommies Expert Contributor
Courtney is the traveling mom! She has 3 girls and is the founder of Detroit Mommies and currently lives in Florida. You can follow her on Twitter @courtneyRVL.
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Stephanie Comley
Stephanie Comley
2 years ago

I must say a very nice list. All except number 13.
The correct way to hold your cutlery is fork in the left hand and knife in the right hand. Elbows off the table. I cannot for the life of me understand why Americans first cut up their food and then put down the knife to eat with their fork in their right hand. It looks so lazy and uninterested. Otherwise a very nice and to the point list, thank you.

Mattie
Mattie
2 years ago

This is how I was taught. I taught this to my children. Now my grandchild are being taught the same way. This is our way of living.

Rosemary
Rosemary
2 years ago

Using these manners has served me well for the past 67 years. People are surprised and often delighted when you are thoughtful to them. I hope that my kindness will be spread out to others.

Shelley O
Shelley O
2 years ago

Number 13 is only for America. This is the incorrect usage of silverware and extremely bad manners elsewhere. The fork should be in your right hand and the knife in your left. Forks are not turned over and used like spoons, but food is loaded onto the back of the curved portion. Therefore, your hands should only be in your lap between courses. Desserts should be presented with a spoon and a dessert fork. Spoon in the right hand, fork in the left. Europeans regard American use of silverware as very lazy.

D Frederick
D Frederick
2 years ago

Sad that common courtesy needs to come with a list of instructions.

Cammie
3 years ago

I thought #13 was interesting; I’ve never heard that one before. In my family (and Chinese culture), the polite thing is to hold your bowl with your non-dominant hand while you eat with your dominant hand.

Mary
Mary
3 years ago

We must have had the same beautiful mother.

Tracey Weiser
Tracey Weiser
3 years ago

This is a fantastic list! As a Canadian, and thus a Northerner, I love all these gestures… except, of course, calling me Ma’am! 🙂 I hate being called Ma’am. It always makes me feel 100 years old, and not like a great, active, aging-gracefully, 100 year old, but run over by a truck for 100 years 100 year old. I always have to have a second wherein I tell myself that it’s about the speaker and not about how bad I look. lol

Tonita
3 years ago

Polite Gestures is what we call manners in the South. When you use manners you can never go wrong.

Heather
Heather
3 years ago

Not just the South.
It’s just being raised with manners, which sadly is a list art.

Amy
Amy
5 years ago

This is the south that I know and love. We don’t know any other way! Bless your heart

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