What Are Good Manners?

Good manners are behaviors deemed polite or respectful in a given culture. Saying "please" and "thank you" are simple examples of good manners in American culture.

Manners, rules of etiquette or norms are often divided into different categories. Good social manners refer to a person's ability to interact with others in a way that is respectful and appreciated. Looking someone in the eyes in a conversation, waiting for a turn to speak, listening actively and holding the door are examples of basic social manners.

Table manners or dinner etiquette include norms during sit-down meals. Placing a napkin on the lap, sitting up straight, chewing with a closed mouth, not belching or slurping and cutting meat with a knife and fork are common examples of good table manners.

The business world has its own set of good manners and etiquette. A guest should follow the lead of a host during a business meeting or meal. Standing and offering a firm handshake and friendly smile is an accepted way of meeting someone new in a professional setting. Sending a thank-you note after meeting a prospect is also proper. In a professional office, good manners include respecting the space of colleagues and coworkers, maintaining a clean-smelling environment and keeping a tidy workspace.