Dear Rhonda & Dr. Cheri: Good manners are the golden ticket
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
My wife embarrasses me because she doesn’t have good manners or grooming habits. I make excuses for her to not go with me to dinners and social events.
She’ll roll out of bed and go grocery shopping without brushing her teeth, hair, and she smells awful.
She doesn’t greet people, look them in their eyes, introduce herself, or hold a conversation.
She’s loving and caring (plus we’ve been married for 15 years), but I don’t want to be seen with her.
Having good manners is the same as having civility — our definition of civility is to be caring, considerate, and courteous to everyone. Being socially proficient is a communications and confidence issue.
We encourage people to learn to feel well enough about themselves in order to be able to turn their focus towards others. That means grooming yourself daily, standing tall, having eye contact and connecting with others by caring.
First, have a gentle discussion with your wife about depression or other issues that might be preventing her from being socially adept and well-groomed.
If she becomes defensive, find a therapist about this issue. Show her this column, so she’ll understand you love her and you want the best for both of you.
A few important manners:
1) Be aware of offensive smells, grooming habits and inappropriate activities that belong in the bathroom (picking teeth, blowing nose, and spitting).
2) It’s courteous to endure boredom or differing beliefs, unless the conversation is rude, rough, or gossipy … then politely excuse yourself.
3) Mingle well, don’t cause scenes, be brief in storytelling, don’t be a walking encyclopedia, be aware of what’s happening in the world, and be enjoyable and positive.
4) TMI (too much information) is inappropriate and uncomfortable.
5) Say “please,” “thank you,” “excuse me,” and “I’m sorry.”
6) Don’t swear, be obscene, joke about everything, or argue in public.
7) Practice table manners: Close your mouth when chewing, pass food to the right, use your napkin, don’t announce bathroom visits, don’t interrupt, and pay attention to others.
8) Don’t recite all your ailments and opinions.
9) Have civility, be confident, humble, and listen more than you speak.
Benefits of good manners:
1) You’ll set good standards for respectful behavior, and create a better culture.
2) When you care for yourself, others tend to care about you, and you then care about others. It’s a healthy circle of communication.
3) People appreciate others who are polite, interested and interesting.
Practice the golden rule and the golden ticket to joy will come to you, your family, and our society. Good manners are contagious.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president and founder of the Prescott-based Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Listen to Rhonda’s podcast: bullyinglifeandstuff.com