Etiquette & Ethics

When I first think about the concept of etiquette, the idea that comes up in my head is simply “being nice.” Although it may sound shallow, it may have great implications in our interactions with others. As we discussed in class, etiquette may be regarded as “little ethics” based on the bigger ethical concerns around us. It is always about placing the other before us without having to know anything about the other beforehand.

When I take a closer look at it, I have a difficult time figuring out how some actions, such as opening the door for others, connects to something deeper than what it is on the surface. I don’t really see how I can have a deeper connection to a stranger I will probably never see again.  What exactly is the goal we are striving toward?

By putting this into question, I realize ethics might just be what I thought it was – being nice. However, this kindness may go a long way. An individual may be fighting a battle within themselves and an act of selflessness may go a long way in making them continue their fight. A current example can be found in the book 13 Reasons Why, in which a girl committed suicide because of the many small things that created a snowball effect. If she had experienced kindness from others in the same way, maybe her outcome would have been different. Even if these actions may seem insignificant to some, it may mean a lot more for others.

Although we don’t really think about it, our actions, no matter how small, have an impact on the world around us. The concept of etiquette may instill a culture of kindness and respect for one another, answering a bigger ethical concern we have today.  At the end of the day, etiquette is still all about “being nice” — and that might just be what we need right now.


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