Manners are very communicable: men catch them from each other.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The urge to successfully imitate superior methods of doing things is universal in nature because the benefits of adopting refined approaches far outweigh the timidity of imitation.
The communicability of good manners is evidenced by subconscious mirroring of someone else’s display of dignified demeanor.
Take for example your ears are plugged with loud music-generating headphones while you make conversation with someone. You do not know that you are raising your voice so loudly. When you eventually unplug your ears, you realize how absurd you’ve been and quickly adjust your tone to the norm because the ‘low’ speaking tone in the room spurs you to adapt. The communicability of good manners is thus illustrated.
Different circumstances reveal the communicability of elegance and grace:
• Subconsciously: Like the above example, you will see that good manners can be subconsciously communicated. It is much easier for others to subconsciously emulate good manners when it is demonstrated to them. It is the subconscious that triggers a smile from others when we smile at them.
• Deliberately: Demonstrating social grace is preferable to retaliating to a rude comment or response. If the customer care officer replies your call with a ‘what?!’ rather than a ‘Good day, how may I help you?’ Do the gracious thing and reply him or her with the greeting he/ she so rudely forgot to give. Treat others the way you want to be treated; dare to even act politely to the impolite. If you want to prompt a ‘hello’, say hi.
• When you have no clue: When confusion arises from an unfamiliar situation, the best choice is to simulate the best display of order and elegance. If you are not sure of how to dine on an exquisite meal, watch the host or those familiar with the delicacy. If the only thing that stands between you and the ATM is a queue of self respecting individuals, join them. You may not have thought to find a queue but the less desirable option is to queue jump.
More than any other language, social grace is incredibly communicable and bears the potential of being spoken with great eloquence, depending of course, on the enthusiasm with which this language is approached.