I grew up in the Boston area, a city routinely named the “rudest city in America.” While I love the city itself, the northern half of the country in general can take a few pointers from the south in terms of manners.
I write this in the car on the way from Savannah, Georgia to Mobile, Alabama during a cross country trip. Here are a few pointers we can pick up from the Southern Gentleman.
While this is painfully simple, many people are either too stressed or preoccupied with their daily lives to smile at a stranger.
Perhaps it is the more relaxed pace of the south, but smiling and giving a friendly nod to those we pass by can add an unexpectedly profound brightness to our day.
Be open to conversation.
Taking a smile to the next level, those in the south are more open to striking up a conversation with someone walking along the sidewalk, in a coffee shop, or in the next table at a restaurant.
Small interactions like this throughout the day give a much friendlier feel to society around us and open possibilities to meet interesting people from across the world.
Value manners and etiquette.
Whether it be familiarity with which silverware to use when, or offering to help your host clean the dishes, small acts of courtesy and kindness, when compiled into a set of habits, become what we call manners.
Manners and etiquette are becoming increasingly rare, but a few quick Google searches about how to act properly in different situations can elevate your knowledge on the subject.
Saying ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’.
I admit this is one I did not grow up with. My parents knew I respected them without having to refer to them in this manner, and I never chose to use the terminology towards strangers, either. But I have slowly learned that these are small words that make a big impact.
They make others feel valued and respected. It’s not just for those older than you either, these terms can be used regardless of age or occupation.
Note: Especially when using “ma’am,” be aware some women may feel as though it makes them sound old, so be sure to read your audience.
Stay true to your word.
If you say you’re going to do something, do it. The southern gentleman does not let things slip his mind or compromise your trust in him.
He is naturally reliable and has the integrity desired in a man you can count on, every time.
Whether it means picking up a new book, diving into a new experience, or watching a documentary on a topic that may not usually interest you, a lady or gentleman seeks the ability to be comfortable and hold conversations in all areas of life.
Part of leading a fulfilling existence is to be able to add value to the situations we find ourselves in.
Whether it be your biological family or the one you have created for yourself by choice, those are the people who will be by your side when the rest of the world walks out.
My parents always told me to stay close to my brother because he will be there when nobody else will – and they were right. My brother is one of the best people I know and the best friend I could ask for. It just so happens we are related, too.
If we didn’t value each other, think of the priceless relationship we would both be missing out on. _____________________________
There is a reason the term “southern hospitality” has the connotation that it does. While there are good people all over the world, the south is well known for its relaxed nature and kindness.
While there are some fundamental outlooks that differ between parts of the world, there is one language we all understand:
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