The Principles Of Etiquette: Consideration, Respect And Honesty


The Principles Behind Good Manners

My mother had a certain tone that guaranteed my sister, Sandi and I would snap to attention. That tone was deployed with the expertise of a neurosurgeon; it kept us standing straight, remembering our "m'ams" and "sirs", and opening the door for elders. Those early lessons in good manners became part of our ethical fiber and Sandi and I have both built upon them.

While good manners are learned, the principles behind etiquette come from within. Manners are a starting point; etiquette is a set of principles that shapes our relationships. This article from Emily Post is a timely reminder of the grace we all seek this holiday season.

Dressing and gifting for this month's celebrations: 1. A PATRICIA gift card is the personalized way to say "thank you" to your hostess. 2. Emily Post recommends dressing up, not down, if you're in doubt about the proper attire. Sabina Savage silk velvet jacket. 3. Never arrive without a token of thanks; BKR Water Bottles are a PATRICIA favorite. 4. Sparkle this holiday whether you're at home or safely distanced in our Emerson Fry Sequin Caftan. 5. The one gift every man will love; our Ankole Horn Whisky Tumblers by Rose & Fitzgerald. 6. Also from Rose & Fitzgerald, our Mugavu Bottle Holder. 7. Ankole Horn Servers, hand carved in Kenya from Rose & Fitzgerald.


Etiquette is made up of two parts: manners and etiquette.  "Please" and "thank you," holding doors, chewing with our mouths closed, dressing appropriately, shaking hands are all indications of good manners. But the principles of etiquette expresses something more: consideration, respect, and honesty.

These principles are the three qualities that stand behind all the manners we have. They are timeless and cross cultural boundaries. Manners change from one culture to another, and change over time. The principles behind them are constant.

Take for example the handshake, a classic Western greeting. The handshake is the manner—in ancient Rome, people grasped forearms to greet one another; in Asia, many people bow when meeting. Those are all examples of manners. But the idea that we shake hands, grasp forearms, or bow to show respect and welcome another person is both universal and timeless. That's the principle at work. Simply put, manners are often the how, and principles are the why.


Consideration is about having empathy for another person, and the key to consideration is thoughtful behavior. Being thoughtful means thinking about what you can do for those around you and how your actions will affect them. Consideration leads us to help a friend or stranger in need, to bestow a token of appreciation, or to offer praise.


Respect can be a feeling, and it can be demonstrated in our actions and words. To us, respecting other people means recognizing and acknowledging their worth and value as human beings, regardless of their background, race, or creed. It's demonstrated in all our day-to-day relations—refraining from demeaning others for their ideas and opinions, refusing to laugh at racist or sexist jokes, putting prejudices aside, and staying open-minded. We show respect not just by what we refrain from doing but also by intentional acts, such as being on time, dressing appropriately, or giving our full attention to the person or people we're with.

Self-respect is just as important as respect for others. A person who respects herself isn't boastful or pushy but is secure in a way that inspires confidence in others. She values herself regardless of her physical attributes or individual talents, understanding that integrity and character are what really matter.


Honesty is both about about telling the truth and avoiding even white lies, and about acting sincerely and with integrity. We should add that we like benevolent rather than brutal honesty.

It's the basis of tact: using empathy to find the positive truth and telling or acting on it, without causing embarrassment or pain to someone else. Honesty is also about being authentic and genuine with others. No one likes insincere, "lip-service" politeness—it can be as bad as outright rudeness.

All Together

Put these three principles together and act on them in your daily life and you will be the soul of graciousness and have excellent relationships as a result. These three principles will see you through thick and thin, guiding you through differences of opinion or interactions with difficult people who cross your path and helping you to build even better relationships with those close to you. (source:

 "Much of good manners is about knowing when to pretend that what's happening isn't happening."  -- Everyday Etiquette




Patricia Deerwester


  • Posted by Janet Mitch on

    This post came at a much needed time. We’re never to old to be reminded of the “Principles Behind Good Manners” and I appreciate your graciousness. Thank you!

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