Do People Expect You to Have Perfect Manners?

This post originally appeared at my parenting blog The Gift of Good Manners. I will be cross posting some of my favorite content from that blog here at the Etiquette Daily. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.

At first people do expect us to have perfect manners – whatever that is! If one of us picks up the wrong utensil, everyone at the table gets a big kick out of it. They are not laughing at us. They are just recognizing that we really are human and approachable. Everyone makes mistakes, even manners writers.

The thing we worry about is that others think they have to be perfect because they are out to dinner with us and we must be judging them all the time. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Actually, our goal is to put others at ease so they can enjoy their meal and our company. Now that is really what good manners are about and that is what we try to do with perfection (even though we do still miss the boat sometimes).


  1. Alicia

    Perfect manners are like perfect food. What makes perfect depends a lot on the people involved and their taste. Good or even great manners or food however is less subjective. There are principles and techniques that when applied get you to good manners and good food. Perfection however is elusive fleeting and subjective. Two people may taste the same chocolate cake one may think perfect another view it as too sweet but both view it as good.
    I expect that the Post family all know how to have good manners and are taught to use them. Good is expected actually good is expected of everyone but perfect is not.

  2. Picking up the wrong utensil is not a big sin. Far more important is to be polite and respectful towards others, especially towards older people! Speaking always with two words and for dressing decent and respectful of your host. Showing up for a dinner in shorts is a no-no. If the invitation is for supper, that sounds already more casual but we should teach again some more etiquette to the younger generation. When being introduced, or speaking in front of people, hands should not be buried deep inside the pockets… Things like that make a difference.
    Thanks all on the team that make a continuous effort for educating others!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *