A perception on good manners

Conflict over manners and etiquette is an almost universal experience that most have along generational divides. The dialogue of these discussions frequently reveals a few theories about the integrity of manners amongst the millennial generation. 

A majority of the older generation would make the case that millennials represent the farthest decline of decorum in all time, or at least in memorable history. To argue this they source common examples of millennial behavior they find objectionable from shamelessly burping in a public forum to the decline of common courtesy and chivalry. 

Their claim is that certain socially constructed confines of behavior are important in maintaining public decency and bestow a greater baseline of respect to everyone. This position tends to gloss over other possible interpretations of young people’s increasingly nonchalant behavior.

On the other hand, the younger generation contend that the relaxed nature of millennials is simply due to shedding the burdensome formalities inherited from previous generations. In effect, this is paving the way for more candid and open social interactions. 

A reduction in formal speech and behavior allows for more open and constructive dialogue that ultimately leads to greater success and quality of life. This theory tends to overlook the possibility that the increasing prevalence of casual conducts impacts the levels common courtesy and kindness expressed amongst millennials.

Both age groups would undoubtedly agree that common courtesy and kindness are important qualities for anyone to have. However, their interpretation of what those qualities mean and how they ought to be implemented in real life, differ. As with most issues, I believe the truth lies somewhere in-between.

A certain level of dignity and sophistication expressed in public conduct has been lost amongst my generation, amongst millennials. I notice examples of this within my own conduct when my body language is too comfortable or relaxed in other people’s homes, or I shamelessly burp or yawn in public only to be quickly criticized by my parents, aunts or uncles. There is something to be said for how more reserved behavior can convey more respect or appreciation for what someone else is doing, such as inviting you to a social gathering at their home.

This however, doesn’t imply that millennials are any less intelligent or dynamic than those from a previous generation. Rather, millennials have surrendered a certain amount of formality in exchange for a more frank and honest dialogue in their everyday lives. 

In my personal observation, young people seem to cut through social barriers several times faster, on average than older people. I would attribute this toward more nonchalant conduct precipitating more open discussion.

The claim that the present, younger generation is losing social decorum isn’t a new one. It’s an argument that has been made throughout history. 

This argument or perception of young people is almost universal theme that transcends throughout to all time and cultures. For this reason I don’t believe we have too much to worry about. 

The only thing we need worry about is the day that youth aren’t challenged for their divergent thoughts and behavior, because they have none.