“The Anthropology of Manners” by Edward T. Hall, a renowned anthropologist, is an interesting and meaningful article. He has clearly explained the variations of manners in different cultures and how it plays an important role in creating misunderstanding between the people from different cultural background.

In the article, Hall describes about the different way of serving food in different cultures. For instance, in Arab the person being served has to refuse the offered food many times while the serving person has prompt to take more again and again. Similarly, in American culture the person being served is only asked once and if he or she says no, they are not asked again and again. Due to this, according to the Hill, American people end up eating more in Arabian community and Arabian people end up starving in
American community (252). Furthermore, sometimes it can also be a serious issue of disrespect.

While reading the article, I remembered about the discussion I had with my family when one of my best friend was invited to have lunch in my house. My parents have always taught me to stay quite while eating. Furthermore, we are not supposed to get up early after finishing our meal, if any other person is eating with us. They say that it is the matter of respecting the person who is having meal with you. Once, one of my friends was invited to have dinner in my house. She did not know about this and she got up early after finishing her meal while my grandfather and my brother had not finished their meal. She was not aware of how offensive it was.  After she left, my grandfather criticized her saying that she did not have good manners, so do not spend time with her. At that time, I had a serious argument with my grandfather. From that day, whenever any of my friends come to my house, I say them earlier to wait until everyone finishes their meal.

Thus, the way of practicing things varies from one culture to another culture. Not being aware of these things can sometimes have bad effect on people. However, it is not always possible to know everyone’s way of practicing things until we spend time in their environment. Thus, sometimes we should be lenient in this matter.

Digya Shrestha

One Response to Manners

  1. Dear friend,
    After reading your blog, I remembered my grand mother who also used to criticize my friends after they left, for not having the proper discipline as I was taught. I think generation gap also plays vital role in accepting each others with different values and manners. Though it some times embarass us, not knowing rules and mannres of the people we are linked to or we visit can sometimes create a huge problem leaving behind a bad impression on others. I feel sorry for your friend but I guess it was neither your grand father’s nor your friend’s fault. Instead, it was the fault of time and place and differences in the manners taught to them.

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