In every society, there are those ways of conducting oneself that are considered to be acceptable and everyone is expected to act according to the social norms. Respect for oneself and for other people and their property, giving a helping hand, saying “good morning/afternoon”, selflessness, saying “excuse me” and “thank you” are all considered to be good mannerisms and are embraced in many communities around the world.
However, bad manners also referred to as ill-breeding or bad mannerism, is the exact opposite of good manners and is sneered upon by people because it’s not only annoying but unacceptable to many people. Bad manners are usually habit-forming as one learns to ignore socially acceptable way of doing things and engages in impolite acts over and over again. One interesting thing about majority of discourteous people is that they are fully aware of their annoying habits but they choose to go on as if there is nothing wrong with their behavior. They know what is right and how to do it but they push all that aside only to irk and irritate others with their mindless behavior. Bad manners are more often than not learned from friends, the media, rogue colleagues at school or even from family and relatives.
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Bad manners can be exhibited by careless acts such as littering the environment, leaving the toilet seat up, playing loud music that irritates neighbors or even taking and using other people’s things without prior permission from them. Bad table manners is one of the most common bad manners and involves doing offensive things at the dinner table such as speaking with a full mouth, chewing food with an open mouth; grooming at the table or blowing hot food to cool it down. Ever allowed someone to borrow something from you only for them to return it in a bad state of repair and sarcastically say, “Thank you.”? Such people take others’ generosity for granted and will most probably come back again to ask for your assistance pretending to have forgotten what they did last time.
Correcting bad manners can be quite challenging because many people just sneer at the offenders but shy away from confronting them. Most people think that correcting other people’s behavior might not make them improve on the way they conduct themselves while others think that it’s not their duty to correct the way-ward behavior of ill-bred people. It may be difficult for most people to know when and how to correct others’ manners since the place and time determines the offender’s response to correction. Another dilemma arises from the age of the ill-mannered person, that is, whether they are children or adults. So how and when do we correct bad manners? From corporal punishment to counseling to offering lessons on how to do things right there are many ways of preventing and correcting bad manners. Punishment, both at home and away, has been used for a long time to correct bad manners and still remains popular in many communities. However, if not administered well, it could breed rebellion and make the person’s manners worse than they are at the moment. Counseling or teaching someone how to behave well is seen as a better alternative to punishment as it goes a long way in changing the way of thinking of a person and their overall behavior.
Bad manners act as a barrier to getting along well with the people one interacts with. It cripples good relations between people and therefore, it is safer to drop bad habits adopt good manners for peaceful and prosperous coexistence.