By Jay Remer, the Etiquette Guy
Truly formidable manners begin with ‘Please’, and saying the word need not only be reserved for clerks and mothers with cookies.
People in your office with whom we’ve become familiar, family members and even our significant others deserve the same degree of consideration.
Those folks closest to us are often the first ones we take for granted and unintentionally remove from the ‘please’ list.
We certainly would say please on a first date; why not after 15 years of sharing life together with someone?
I amuse myself occasionally when someone close to me asks either benignly or rhetorically for a refill in their glass or a utensil just out of reach in the kitchen without saying please. I say, “Is that the same as may I have another glass, please? We both have a laugh and recognise how meaningful such a short word can be.
This often reminds me of a rule my mother had when we were growing up and which has stuck with me: when I want to speak with someone who is in another room or out of eyesight, simply speaking loudly to them to communicate a thought, to ask a favor, or to give direction is not okay. I try to remember to go within clear view of the other person.
Who knows, he or she may be busy doing something which requires their full attention and your request is then rude and intrusive? I hear partners do this all the time, and it becomes especially annoying when old age and its accompanying deafness creep in.
Say ‘please’ whenever you are asking someone for anything, be it their time, their opinion, or any other anything else.
This seemingly small gesture speaks volumes about the respect you have for other people and ultimately the respect you have for yourself.
Jay Remer is the Etiquette Guy, and is certified by the Protocol School of Washington as a consultant for corporate etiquette and international protocol.