The Anthropology of Manners- Edward T. Hall

We follow different culture and therefore we have different manners. The way we behave, is different, few maybe alike. Some might consider eating with fingers as barbarous, while some considers it as their manner or culture. It is diverse indeed. I never realized manners would be of great importance. Now, I see why it matters. I was surprised when one of friends told me that eating with hands/fingers is considered clean. I was a bit shocked to hear this. No disrespect to my friend, but I kept thinking how can your hands and fingers be clean if they are all messed up with food. I always believe that no matter how many times you wash your hands, it is never perfectly clean. I refrained myself from making that “disgusted look” on my face. She would have got offended if I had made that terrible expression. The lesson that I learned was it may look “not good” to me, but it is important to them. Therefore, we must understand others manners and actions in order to have flourishing relationship.

Furthermore, whenever my Nepali friends accidently touch my feet with theirs, they do something (I am not exactly sure what to call that). They said they do it out of respect and I found it very interesting. It seemed weird at first, but later I got used to it. It is really exciting, yet scary to see different manners. Exciting because you learn new things, scary because you might offend someone unintentionally.

The article “The Anthropology of Manners” by Edward T. Hall was very helpful. I never knew Indian women felt indignant when a baby is bathed in stagnant water (Hall 248). Now I am aware of that, and as whole the article was very useful to learn about new cultures and their manners.

We now know different culture has different manners, but I think there are different manners within the culture itself as well. For example, at a party hosted by your mother, there will be many guests and each guest might have different manners. My mother always makes us finish our dinner and even though we have already finished it, she does not let us go. She would say it is very rude to leave the table while others are still eating. I am used to this and whenever we go to eat, I always wait for my friends to finish even if I have already finished eating. However, my few of my friends are not like that. As soon as they are done, they just leave. Some does not even excuse themselves, they just leave, which, i think, is very rude.

I feel that if we want to have a good relationship, let it be a friendly one or a business one, we must understand one another’s manners, so we don’t end up doing the wrong thing.

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About ztandee
Student at the Asian University for Women.

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