QUOTES about MANNERS and COURTESY

Manners are taught, courtesy requires thought.

Writer John Cheever parodied of one of his housemates  “She ate as though she were participating in a contest trying through practice to pare seconds and minutes from her eating time, she smacked her lips, overloaded her fork, so that it sometimes spilled its load before reaching her mouth, and scratched her arm on the edge of the table." John Cheever

Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners.

Tact in audacity is knowing how far you can go without going too far. Jean Cocteau

We must recall the most humanitarian guideline of all: be polite. Being polite is possibly the greatest daily contribution everyone can make to life on earth. Quote Source: How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran.

Courtesy that is all on one side cannot last long. Proverb

A woman drove me to drink and I never even had the courtesy to thank her. W C Fields

He was so generally civil, that nobody thanked him for it. Samuel Johnson

Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water. Shakespeare

Fit for the mountains and the barbarous caves, where manners ne'er were preached. Shakespeare

Manners are not idle, but the fruit of loyal and of noble mind. Alfred Lord Tennyson

The knowledge of courtesy and good manners is a very necessary study. It is like grace and beauty, that which begets liking and an inclination to love one another at the first sight. Montaigne

Courtesy wins woman all as well. As valor may, but he that closes both is perfect. Alfred Lord Tennyson

In truth, politeness is artificial good humor  it covers the natural want of it, and ends by rendering habitual a substitute nearly equivalent to the real virtue. Thomas Jefferson 

The first point of courtesy must always be truth. Emerson

It is better to have too much courtesy than too little, provided you are not equally courteous to all, for that would be injustice. Baltasar Gracián

Courtesy is the politic witchery of great personages. Baltasar Gracian

Manners with fortunes, humors turn with climes, tenets with books, and principles with times. Alexander Pope

A man’s behavior is the index of the man, and his discourse is the index of his understanding. Paul Valery 

Under bad manners, as under graver faults, lies very commonly an overestimate of our special individuality, as distinguished from our generic humanity. Oliver Wendell Holmes

A man without ceremony had need of great merit in its place. Thomas Fuller

Evil communications corrupt good manners. Bible quote

Manners must adorn knowledge and smooth its way through the world. Lord Chesterfield

Manners make the fortune of the ambitious youth. Emerson

There is nothing settled in manners, but the laws of behavior yield to the energy of the individual. Emerson

Spiritual strength and passion, when accompanied by bad manners, only provoke loathing. Nietzsche

Clothes and manners do not make the man, but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance. Henry Ward Beecher

Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices. Emerson

Marriage indeed may qualify the fury of his passion, but it very rarely mends a man’s manners. William Congreve

When Jennie, mother of Winston Churchill invited playwright George Bernard Shaw to lunch, he telegraphed: “Certainly not. What have I done to provoke such an attack on my well-known habits?”  She replied, “Know nothing of your habits; hope they are better than your manners.” Quote from Anne Sebba

Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy. Emerson

Silence is not always tact and it is tact that is golden, not silence. Samuel Butler

Politeness requires this thing; decorum that; ceremony has its forms, and fashion its laws, and these must always follow, never the promptings of our own nature. Rousseau

It is perfectly easy to be original by violating the laws of decency and the canons of good taste. Oliver Wendell Holmes

A man's own manner and character is what most becomes him. Cicero

A man’s own good breeding is the best security against other people’s ill manners. Lord Chesterfield

When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite. Winston Churchill

The greater man the greater courtesy. Alfred Lord Tennyson

Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves. Abraham Lincoln

Politeness; the most acceptable hypocrisy. Ambrose Bierce

Nobody thanks a witty man for politeness when he puts himself on a par with a society in which it would not be polite to show one's wit. Nietzsche

If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world. Francis Bacon

When good friends praise a gifted person he often appears to be delighted with them out of politeness and goodwill, but in reality he feels indifferent. Nietzsche

Has there ever been an age so rife with neurotic sensibility, with that state of near shudders, or near hysteria, or near nausea, much of it induced by trifles, which used to belong to people who were at once ill-adjusted and over-civilized?  Louis Kronenberger  

Noise is the most impertinent of all forms of interruption. Unknown



Remember that you ought to behave in life as you would at a banquet.  As something is being passed around, it comes to you; stretch out your hand, take a portion of it politely. It passes on, do not detain it. Epictetus

The cheese and wine party has the form of friendship without the warmth and devotion. It is a device either for getting rid of social obligations hurriedly en mass, or for making overtures towards more serious social relationships, as in the etiquette of whoring. Brooks Atkinson

Good manners disappear in proportion as the influence of a Court and an exclusive aristocracy lessens; this decrease can be plainly observed from decade to decade by those who have an eye for public behavior, which grows visibly. Nietzsche

How sweet and gracious, even in common speech, Is that fine sense which men call Courtesy! Wholesome as air and genial as the light, Welcome in every clime as breath of flowers, It transmutes aliens into trusting friends, And gives its owner passport round the globe. James T. Fields

Manners are of more importance than laws. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe. Edmund Burke

So, you are very welcome to our house. It must appear in other ways than words, Therefore, I scant this breathing courtesy. Shakespeare

To rest, the cushion and soft dean invite, who never mentions hell to ears polite. Alexander Pope

Diplomacy is the lowest form of politeness because it misquotes the greatest number of people. A nation, like an individual, if it has anything to say, should simply say it. E. B. White

Luck is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men. E. B. White

Good breeding, a union of kindness and independence.  Emerson

A civil denial is better than a rude grant. Thomas Fuller

Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy. Jacques Maritain

Of courtesy and romance. It is best and sooner, to make clear in soft tone you’re rejection, henceforth disenchantment is lessened. Marcia Bona Bowen

Relishing acclaim is in some people simply a courtesy of the mind and the opposite of conceit. Yuri Raj

A soft refusal is not always taken, but a rude one is immediately believed. Alexander Chase

Ceremony is necessary as the outwork and defense of manners. Lord Chesterfield

We are justified in enforcing good morals, for they belong to all mankind; but we are not justified in enforcing good manners, for good manners always mean our own manners. GK Chesterton

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use. Emily Post

Manners are the happy way of doing things; each once a stroke of genius or of love, now repeated and hardened into usage. They form at last a rich varnish, with which the routine of life is washed, and its details adorned. If they are superficial, so are the dewdrops which give such depth to the morning meadows. Emerson

Anecdote:  Author and society hostess Edith Wharton took offense at any uninvited guest appearing at one of her parties. Finding one such young woman, Wharton said, “My dear, I have been looking all over for you all evening in order to say good-night”. Quote source: Edith Wharton by Shari Benstock

To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferior's nobleness. Benjamin Franklin
 
A Secret service agent during the Kennedy administration, comments on young Caroline: She was a beautiful little girl with sandy brown hair that curled naturally just behind her ears, and big blue eyes that matched her father’s.  She was very active and very inquisitive, but perhaps the thing that impressed me most was that, even at that young age, she had wonderful manners. This was something that was critically important to her mother. “Caroline will address you as Mr. Hill,” she told me from the outset, “and she is to be respectful at all times.  If there are any issues, I want to know about them immediately.”  Source: Mrs. Kennedy and me by Clint Hill

If I should win, let it be by the code, With my faith and my honor held high, But if I should lose, let me be the first to stand by the road, And cheer as the winner walks by. Quote from: Promises I made my Mother by Sam Haskell

It has been said that when marriage agreements were first made, life expectancy was far less than it has become, due to medical progress. Whatever the reason, it is no longer unique for someone to be married three or even four times during a lifetime. This has created a question as to whether friends of one’s parents or never-married friends of one’s own are obliged by courtesy to give a gift in order to commemorate each marriage. According to Judith Martin, American-based “Miss Manners”, upon a second marriage or more, a warm letter to the bride is a gracious means of avoiding an ongoing bestowal of gifts to the same individual. Inferentially, attendance at the reception, necessitating the cost of additional seating and food, renders a gift in order. Source: Judith Martin

DEFINITION and MEANING
Manners and courtesy have been a part of every civilization.  They represent the boundaries of dignity and respect we accord one another.  Just as laws place punitive restrictions upon human conduct, manners and courtesy demand their own degree of conformity.  Those who flout this framework are soon regarded as being, to some degree, outside their societal framework.