The Joy of Manners

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use. ~Emily Post

When my boyfriend and I met about four years ago I was struck by how polite he was. I must admit that in the early days of our relationship I sometimes worried that his formality meant he didn’t feel comfortable with me. But I came to realize that kindness and politeness are the very essence of who he is.

As Emily Post points out in the quote above, manners are about being aware of other people’s feelings. I believe that being sensitive to your partner’s feelings is the key to a happy relationship.

Now that my boyfriend and I live together, I see every day how good manners bring immense joy to a relationship. One of my daily chores is making the bed. Quite often my boyfriend will start the day by thanking me for doing so. Sometimes I laugh and say “well that’s my job.” But then I reflect on how nice it is to be appreciated for the little things. It is nice to hear your partner say “I love you.” But perhaps there is even greater joy in hearing “thank you.”

This relationship has raised the bar for me and I now look for ways to appreciate and acknowledge what he does for me. And the acknowledgement part is the key as we all want to know that we are seen and appreciated. I acknowledge the way he fixes all the little things that break around our home, when he drives me to an appointment, or cleans the bathtub.

It is sometimes sad that we show more courtesy to our co-workers or friends than we do to those closest to us. Often partners, children and parents get to see the worst side of us. They may love us all the same. But what would happen if we raised the bar for manners and said thank you to those closest to us and appreciated all the things they do for us, whether it is their job or not.

Seems a lot more powerful than worrying about which fork to use.

I would love to hear your stories of the joy of manners. And thank you in advance for sharing.

© 2010 – 2011, Janice Cunning. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this posting if you include my contact information. Please contact me if you wish to reprint any portion of it in any periodical or on a website

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About Janice Cunning

As a certified coach and fundraiser, I am passionate about partnering with people and teams to increase their personal and professional Joy Quota.


  1. I totally agree. My goal in life is to ensure my kids have good manners. And while I love that my husband expresses his love for me daily, I also inherently know that he loves me. I love it more when he says he appreciates me and thanks for me for the little things I do every day.

  2. I love this blog post and I couldn’t agree more!

  3. Thank you. It makes me feel good to know that I raised a daughter who knows what is important in life. One who sends thank you cards and appreciates the little things people in her life do for her. Thank you… just two little words … but they mean a lot to those who hear them.

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