Asian woman wiping her mouth with a napkin after eating.

In the modern world, being well-mannered can seem like a forgotten art. The added layer of online interactions makes it even more difficult to observe proper etiquette – or agree on what that even means. It’s certainly more than just keeping your elbows off the table or saying “opo” to your elders. And it matters more than you may think.

Read on for the importance of good manners and why minding them will never go out of style.

More Job Success

Social graces facilitator Cate Paredes says good manners can lead to job success, empathy, and self-control and encourage kindness from others. “Most of our clients are looking to improve their image and tailor fit it for their chosen profession. Being well-mannered can open job opportunities or promotions,” she says.

An impressive CV is great, but if you really want to , you would do well to mind your manners. Doing this will set the tone for the kind of work environment you want to be in, so make a conscious effort to be polite when dealing with people to make the best impression while on the job.

Fosters Empathy

When others see that you are concerned about their well-being, it will break down walls otherwise built by the lack of empathy. Having good manners not only lets you connect better with others, but it will also make them more open to understanding you.

“Having sensitivity and consideration for others creates genuine concern for other people. It’s not always about you. We also need to look out for others. Etiquette allows us to think of others first and makes us less selfish,” Cate says.

Hold the door for the person before or after you at the mall. Wipe the table down at your after eating. While you’re at it, avoid eating or appearing distracted during video meetings. These might seem like small gestures, but the people around you will remember how considerate you are. 

Helps You Keep Your Cool

Minding your manners, which can be as simple as remembering things your parents and grandparents taught you, can help you keep your cool. The next time someone cuts you on the road, take a deep breath, put that finger away, and move on.

“I can always choose to lose my cool and have a fit when something upsets me, but because of good manners, I can assess a situation first. Having manners allows me not to judge or criticize. This saved me many times from situations I would have otherwise regretted had I reacted,” Cate shares.

Sets a Good Example

Being well-mannered sets the tone of your interactions with others. How you act dictates how others behave towards you. Cate says, “Having good manners impacts other's lives. In a way, you become an influencer. If you’re lucky, they’ll follow suit. Good behavior can create a ripple effect, especially when people start paying it forward. Imagine the effect it would have on society.”

Rules of Etiquette

The definition of good manners changes with every generation and culture, but some rules of etiquette will always be relevant.

Follow the golden rule.

One of the first lessons Cate teaches, especially in kids’ classes, is the golden rule. You know it: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. “It is a universal rule present in all cultures and fundamental to building good etiquette,” Cate says.

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes before reacting. Doing this will dictate your behavior and avoid getting you in situations that might make you appear wa-poise. But more than protecting your image, doing this makes others feel good about themselves, too.

Choose kindness.

“Always speak cautiously and with kindness. It’s not as easy, especially if you meet individuals who are filled with wrath and hatred. Never fight fire with fire. Make your mark in this world by being kind,” Cate advises.

Kindness takes practice, but it’s a skill worth mastering. Start small, like remembering to say please, excuse me, sorry, and thank you. People often forget or don’t have time for pleasantries, so saying them makes a difference.

Respect everyone (including yourself!).

One of the trademark behaviors of being well-mannered is punctuality. Cate emphasizes this, citing “Philippine time” as an example. “People can always blame being late on traffic. However, we can’t get used to making excuses. We should have the discipline to come in early and not just on time. This shows the respect we have for the people around us, whether they're our clients, friends, or family.”

Speaking in a respectful tone, respecting everyone’s differences, and knowing when it’s not our place to interfere don’t come naturally to everyone. Some can have respectful intentions yet sound rude. It takes practice, and it starts with being mindful of your words and actions.

Moreover, by having standards, whether by avoiding negative self-talk or ending a toxic relationship.

Always look your best.

Part of the training that Cate gives her clients is image improvement. How you present yourself says a lot about you and how much you value others.

“Each day is a gift of life that needs to be celebrated. Let’s show up by looking our best every single day. Let’s not shortchange ourselves. We only have one life. Let’s be the best we can,” Cate says with a smile.

Even if you’re just going out on a grocery run, don’t leave the house looking like you just rolled out of bed. You don’t have to don a to pick up some milk, but a crisp shirt and a good pair of pants can help (especially if you bump into the office cutie in the produce section).

, brush your hair, and make sure you don’t leave the house with morning breath (how rude!). Practice a proper oral care routine with closeup Red Hot Toothpaste, which contains Antibacterial Zinc to clean your mouth and blast away up to 99.9% of bacteria for fresh breath.

Being well-mannered costs nothing and can mean everything to people you encounter. Remember, it’s not about making yourself look good but making others feel seen, valued, and accepted. So, yes, even in these modern times, good manners matter.