Manners are still a minefield as modern technology confuses


Debrett’s, an authority on British manners, has published for the first time the questions they are most frequently asked by the public. But are manners something people still take seriously and how have they changed, asks Luke Jones.

Far from which fork to use for asparagus or how to address an Earl, the most popular questions asked of Debrett’s have a modern flavour. E-cigarettes, mobile phones and aeroplane seats are troubling the polite most of all.

A lot of technology is still relatively new, says Jo Bryant, an etiquette tutor at Debrett’s. “We’ve learned how to use them from the mistakes we’ve made, from when we have been rude or upset people.”

The polite use of mobile phones was the most queried. But new developments in communication technology have always thrown up questions of manners. An article in the Surrey Mirror in 1932 called for a phone code of conduct to be introduced, to stop the wasting of “valuable minutes”.

“Don’t mumble. Don’t shout. Speak slowly and naturally. Don’t exasperate your friends by leaving a maid who behaves like a nervous ninny to take phone messages. Teach the girl to answer properly.” The article even suggested regularly ringing your own number to check whether those in your own home “answer calls in the right way”.

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Posted on October 28, 2014, in #technology, Question and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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