Universal Good Manners Do Exist

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Someone told me that “The only obligations in life we have to another person is to leave him or her in no worse shape than when we met him or her”. I would say that simple words like “thank you”, “excuse me”, “I am sorry”, etc, are really important to deal with people we have just met. Therefore, having good manners is important to everyone not matter what their origin. Thus, it would not be exaggeration to affirm that all the corruption, social injustice, poverty, and problems of the world could be solved if people accepted they have an obligation to treat other with kindness. On the other hand, we live in a multicultural world and, sometimes, even when we try to be polite, we can offend someone through words or gestures that they recognize as rude in their country, region or city. Accordingly to this perspective, I would like to give answers to two controversial questions: (1) Are there universal good manners? In other words, is there a core of good manners that polite people of all countries recognize? (2) Are good manners different for each individual culture? I think there are three main characteristics of the human behavior around good manners that we should not ever forget: respect for the cultures around us, diplomacy and hospitality. At first, having respect for the cultures around us means being curious about how the people live, without being judgmental in any circumstance. Thereby, when visiting China do not criticize the Chinese people’s habit of eating insects. Additionally, diplomacy means an acute sensitivity to what is proper and appropriate in dealing with others, including the ability to speak or act without offending. For this reason, we Brazilians have to avoid telling jokes about Portuguese people when visiting Portugal. Finally, hospitality involves showing respect for one's guests, providing for their needs, and treating them as equals. Extreme examples of good hosts are the Eskimos who offer their own wives to heat their visitors at...
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