Revealed: What Manners Can Tell You about A Guy

why men have bad mannersShould you judge a guy by his manners? To help you decide, I’d like you to consider the story of what happened to my friend.

She recently told me about a failed first date. Things started off shaky when he picked her up in a van he clearly used for construction work. She was not one to put too much stock in what a guy drives, that wasn’t a deal-breaker.

However, once on the road he reached behind the seat, retrieved an old t-shirt, and proceeded to blow his nose in it before wadding it up and tossing it over his shoulder into the back.

My friend was understandably grossed out. But more than that, she was offended. Not because she sees herself as Miss Manners, but because he clearly wasn’t invested in impressing her.

So where did this guy blow it, no pun intended? Believe it or not, the issue wasn’t that he did something gross. No, the problem with this guy went deeper. He wasn’t taking my friend’s feelings into account. He wasn’t sensitive to the way his manners might affect her.

To be candid, a lot of guys are rough around the edges. If you’re on a date and he plops his elbows on the table, or chews with his mouth open, or fails to hold the door for you, that doesn’t mean you need to kick him to the curb.

After all, traditionally defined “good manners” change depending on culture, social class, and location. Some women would actually be offended if a guy held the door for them!

Don’t call things off with a guy just because he unknowingly does something that’s in poor taste. Given time, you can find loving ways to smooth out those wrinkles. That’s not really a big deal.

But if he’s oblivious to the effect he has on you, that’s something else.

why men have bad mannersEmily Post made a career out of teaching etiquette. She wisely observed, “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.”

A guy can follow every rule of etiquette and still be rude.

Just one evening with someone like that can feel like a form of torture. And I guarantee that if he doesn’t care about your feelings on the first date, he’s not likely to take your emotions into account when things turn serious.

The essence of good manners is understanding that your actions impact the people around you.

If a guy commits a few social faux pas, that’s not anything to freak out about, so long as he’s making an effort to make you feel comfortable, affirmed and validated. But if the man you’re with lacks any kind of awareness that his actions affect you, it’s probably a good idea to move on.


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5 thoughts on “Revealed: What Manners Can Tell You about A Guy

  1. Mary said:

    I wish I read this stuff when I met my now ex-husband. Would have saved me a lot of heartache and regret of giving my life to someone who didn’t value or cherish me. I often took the “kinder” route when he would commit a faux pas…thinking maybe he was really trying, or just had an “off-day.” Our first date when he arrived 25 minutes late should have been my first red flag. Should have never been a second date. I thought it was only fair to believe him when he said he had a hard time finding my home, give the guy a second chance, you know? However, what I know now is that I was really only teaching him that being late for dates or appointments or church or work was an acceptable thing for me. I lowered the bar from the beginning… If it were me today, I would say “wow….this is the way you want to make a first impression?” And the door would promptly, yet politely, close in his face.

  2. Anon said:

    Please be careful how much stock you put into manners. Many narcissists and sociopaths
    come across with perfect manners. It’s when you have your first disagreement that you find out they care nothing for your opinions or feelings…or for you at all. This sort of personality disordered person will place manners above morals as they believe it is more important to look good than to actually try being good.

    • James Bauer said:

      Good point. That’s an additional layer of truth to consider when discovering who a person really is.

  3. Anette said:

    Very true. Sometimes the just don’t KNOW what good manners are though. I was used to very galant business men when I met my existing boyfriend.
    One day, shortly into our dating, he asked if I wanted to go for an icecream.
    I said yes, and when he just paid for himself I was rather offended. I mean – in my world the one who invites is the one who pays, right?

    But not so for him.
    I don’t think he had learned a lot about manners in his youth, but with time he has become quite the treater, so he has quite improved 😉 And I have learned not to take things to heart 😉

    • James Bauer said:

      That’s true. Good point, Anette. Some men really want to learn. You can tell, because they are responsive to subtle cues they read in your nonverbals as you interact.

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