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Etiquette and modernity: what has changed?

In a society that runs fast, that has few rules and in which values seem to have disappeared, I often wonder what meaning bon ton takes at this moment. It is clear that it is impossible to think that a model from past centuries could be valid today, but what exactly has changed?

Bon ton or Etiquette is, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, the set of rules or customs that control accepted behaviour in particular social groups or social situations. It was born in the historical period between 1400 and 1500, at the end of the medieval era. During this period, the Renaissance, there had been a change that had led to the birth of bon ton because internal (moral) and external forms of behavior began to emerge and gradually differentiate. Until then, in fact, inner virtue and outer demeanor were considered as a unique concept, not divisible. This was an extremely important historical passage, in which the customs of the richest classes became accessible to the entire population.

As already mentioned, Etiquette is a code created with the aim of outlining the most important rules of conduct to be respected. The conviction was that learning the rules of good behaviour could instill confidence in social relations, so that people could then face any situation with ease.

Besides knowing that it is not correct to talk with the bite in the mouth or rest the elbows on the table, can we really refer to the classic rules of bon ton in today's society too?

Here are some modernized Etiquette rules that, in my opinion, should still be respected, since the acquisition of small actions helps to a more serene and civil coexistence as well as to a greater naturalness in daily behavior.

  • Do not use the phone at the table, it is rude and also unhygienic;

  • When you talk on the phone always introduce yourself and speak slowly, without yelling;

  • In an elevator, you should hold the doors for others before you board;

  • Keep always to the right on the sidewalk, and don’t stop to text or to check the phone;

  • Avoid listening to music with headphones at too high volume, especially if you are indoor;

  • When talking to someone, always take your sunglasses off and show your eyes;

  • If you find an open access private Wi-Fi network, don't be smart, don't use it;

  • When you go to someone’s house, always bring a present...don’t show up empty-handed;

  • Try to be always on time, or otherwise always warn if you are late

Without letting yourself be conditioned by absolute rules or impositions, do you also believe that nowadays some simple behaviours like these should be adopted? Let us know!

Articolo a cura di: Marijana Jovanovic

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