Etiquette and Niceness

The other day I found myself reading a few things by William Hanson (an ‘Etiquette Expert’), which I found quite interesting. I also found it more than a little disagreeable. The idea of etiquette is basically a set of rules that people can follow in order to be nice to others, but I don’t think they work. These rules don’t seem to be things that will appeal to everyone and are therefore not that likely to maximise the level of happiness when interacting with others, which, really, is what I think you should be aiming for when socialising. To stick to this rigid set of rules, or to expect that things would be best if everyone stuck to them, is rather unwise; maybe even naive. These things cannot be achieved through rules and the best way to make people happiest will be different for everyone; you have to determine the needs of each person and act accordingly. No set of rules cover everybody.

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