How would you define “good manners”?
To what extent are good manners important?
Do you think our society in general is becoming less civil and more rude? Why or why not?
Do you remember an occasion when somebody was impolite to you?
Do you remember an occasion when you could have been more polite to someone else?
What examples of good manners do you think are most essential?
What examples of bad manners annoy you the most?
- Someone not saying please or thank you
- Holding the door open for women
- Someone picking their nose
- Burping when eating or drinking
- Boasting about money
- Talking about your achievements
- Slapping someone on the back
- Someone invading your personal space
- Arriving late for a meeting or a date
- Staring at people
- Putting your elbows on the table when you eat
- Not covering your mouth when yawning
- Not giving your seat to an elderly person on public transport
- Staring at someone
- Telling rude jokes
What eating habits do you consider unacceptable?
What are your feelings about public displays of affection?
Do you usually complain if you have a problem in a shop or a restaurant?
Who do you habitually defer to: e.g. your parents, older people, your boss?
Do you have a laid-back attitude to life or are you more uptight?
To illustrate the point you can watch the Speakout video Behaviour, where a number of passers-by answer these questions:
Give a recent example of when you experienced good or bad manners.
Do you think our attitude to behaviour changes as we get older?
What kind of behaviour in public places gets on your nerves?
P: Hello. City life can be quite impersonal, so I try to smile at people and thank them whenever they behave kindly, but some forms of anti-social behaviour really do get on my nerves.
Today I’m talking to people about good and bad behaviour. What kind of behaviour in
public places gets on your nerves?
H: I think what mostly gets on my nerves is when people listen to their music really loudly on a
stereo when you’re on the train, or in a lift. I think that’s a bit anti-social.
C: Um, probably noise more than anything actually. I suppose it’s one of those sorts of things
you see in effect in towns, areas now get louder and louder – probably later into the night
A: Well, screaming babies, in, like, shops and just generally around and the parents, kind of, standing there and not really, and just, kind of, ignoring the child and you just want to, just,
tell the baby to just ‘shut up’ but, obviously, you can’t.
Co: Loud noise: people with loud voices. People, er, bad manners.
G: When you’re on public transport, like on a train, and couples start kissing in front of you.
S: Smoking within the vicinity. As someone who, personally doesn’t smoke, I find that it can, it
can get on my nerves at times.
P: Give a recent example of when you experienced good or bad manners.
S: The other day, just as an example, recent lack of manners I think, was in a local park and there was a rubbish bin nearby but that person instead of taking the extra effort to just simply walk over and drop it in, decided carelessly to just drop their rubbish on the ground
where they were.
C: I travel a lot on the trains and things like that so I find, increasingly, the actual noise on
trains from people using mobile phones, things like that, really.
H: Well, recently, I’ve seen it a few times, you know, when you’re shopping or you’re in a restaurant and you’re trying, you’re speaking to the person that’s serving you and maybe somebody’s, they’re on their phone, or they’re not really paying attention. You see that
quite a lot, I think, in London particularly.
G: On the bus this morning, when an old gentleman got on and someone got up to give him a
P: Do you think our attitude to behaviour changes as we get older?
H: Yeah, I think it does. I think as you get older you become, probably, a bit more intolerant of certain, sort of, anti-social behaviour and, as, when you’re younger you’re probably not as
aware of it.
Co: I think the older people, definitely appreciate manners, good behaviour and a good attitude.
C: I suppose so. I suppose we learn how to be more tolerant of it. We can be, probably, more short-tempered of it because we’ve probably had it all of our lives and we want it to, sort of, come to an end, but I think we learn how to, sort of, either walk away from it or ignore it,
that sort of thing.
Ch: Yeah, definitely. It becomes more important as you get older. You have to impress more
people, therefore, you have to be more polite.
A: Yeah, and you gain a conscience as you get older as well. As kids, like, you just say
whatever you want to each other, kids, but you kind of realise what you can and can’t say
as you get older.