15 Essential Manners That Today’s Youth Lack

Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

Today, the foundation of traditional values and basic manners that once guided human interactions seem to be eroding. Politeness, respect, and courtesy, once regarded as fundamental pillars of societal interaction, are overlooked in today’s youth. As our society evolves, so do our social norms, but some timeless etiquettes remain invaluable in fostering meaningful human connections and societal harmony. Let’s discuss 15 essential manners missing in today’s youth.

Respecting Elders


It has historically been a core cultural value to respect elders. This respect was shown through actions such as addressing elders with proper titles, offering them seats, and valuing their opinions. Today, however, the reverence for older generations is often overshadowed by a culture that glorifies youth and innovation.

Using “Please” and “Thank You”


These simple phrases have long been the bedrock of polite interaction. Saying “please” when making requests and “thank you” when receiving something are fundamental expressions of courtesy and respect. The decline in the use of these phrases reflects a broader trend of reduced interpersonal respect and acknowledgment.

Table Manners


Proper table manners, such as chewing with one’s mouth closed, using utensils correctly, and waiting until everyone is served before eating, are indicators of good upbringing. In an age where meals are often consumed on the go or in front of screens, these traditions are being neglected.

Greeting People Properly


A warm, sincere greeting sets the tone for any interaction. Traditionally, this included a firm handshake, making eye contact, and offering a friendly salutation. Nowadays, many interactions begin with a distracted nod or a quick, impersonal “hey.” 

Writing Thank-You Notes


The tradition of writing thank-you notes is nearly extinct. This practice, which required thought, effort, and time, has been largely replaced by quick, digital expressions of thanks. While emails and texts are efficient, they lack the personal touch that a handwritten note conveys. 

Holding Doors Open

Jean-philippe WALLET/Getty

The act of holding the door open for others is a simple yet powerful act of kindness. It shows awareness and consideration for those around us. Despite its simplicity, this practice is declining as people become more engrossed in their own worlds, often with eyes glued to their phones. 

Listening Without Interrupting


Active listening is a significant skill that involves paying attention to the speaker without interrupting. This shows respect for the other person’s thoughts and opinions.

Apologizing Sincerely


A sincere apology includes acknowledging a mistake, expressing remorse, and making amends. The casual use of “sorry” without genuine feeling diminishes the value of an apology. In an era where admitting fault is often seen as a weakness, many young people struggle to offer meaningful apologies, which can hinder the resolution of conflicts and healing relationships.

Dressing Appropriately


Whether it’s dressing formally for a job interview or modestly for a religious service, appropriate attire presents an awareness of social norms. The rise of casual fashion and the blurring of boundaries between formal and informal wear have led to a decline in this awareness. 

Respecting Personal Space

Jacob Wackerhausen/Getty

One’s personal space is fundamental to comfortable and respectful social interactions. In an age of oversharing and constant connectivity, the boundaries of personal space are often overlooked. Young people, in particular, may struggle to recognize and respect these boundaries, leading to discomfort and misunderstandings in social settings.

Being Punctual

Tom Merton/Getty

Arriving late to appointments and engagements is becoming more common, demonstrating a broader cultural shift towards a more relaxed approach to commitments. Such a casual attitude towards time fostered by flexible schedules and digital distractions has led to a decline in punctuality.

Using Proper Language

Jacob Wackerhausen/Getty

Using appropriate language, especially in formal settings, signifies respect and decorum. The informal nature of online communication, filled with slang and abbreviations, has influenced how young people speak in various contexts. This shift leads to a lack of professionalism in situations where proper language is expected.

Offering a Seat to Others


Providing a seat to someone in need, such as an elderly person or a pregnant woman, is a simple act of kindness. However, this practice is declining, particularly in crowded public spaces where seats are scarce.

Maintaining Eye Contact


Conversations require one to maintain eye contact for effective communication. It shows attentiveness and respect for the person speaking. As a result of the prevalence of screen-based interactions, this practice has declined.

Expressing Gratitude

Iona Studio/Getty

Expressing genuine gratitude goes beyond merely saying “thank you.” Acknowledging others’ efforts and contributions is a vital part of being grateful. It can be done verbally, in writing, or in acts of reciprocity.

Written by Devin J