by Max Barry

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DispatchAccountCulture

by The Barely Visible Choir of Scorvkent. . 2 reads.

Etiquette(s) and the Methods of Friendship

Etiquette is the generalization of how people "should" engage with each other. However, etiquette should be understood not as a singular abstraction to which all should adhere, but rather as a grouping of abstractions, all of which are generalizations of how people "should" engage with each other. Who would be concerned with etiquette ought be most rightly concerned not with a single etiquette, but with many possible etiquettes.

The great diversity of relationships in which people find satisfaction clearly demonstrates that a stiff, single etiquette is a faulty method. A more mature understanding is achieved by recognizing that every relationship of honest excellence is its own form of etiquette. All relationships that proceed with harm to none should be acknowledged as forms of excellent etiquette, even though many relationships are unconventional. As people grow more fond of each other, they grow more polite to each other. If they are not inclined to think of themselves as polite or interested in politeness, indeed even if they think of themselves as actively opposed to etiquette, still people will grow steadily less likely to engage in anything that would upset people with whom they value relationships. This process of behavioral harmonization is the process of the formation of etiquette.

It is not meaningless to say that some people are polite, and that other people are rude. It is indeed not meaningless for people to declare themselves opposed to etiquette. Still, there is nobody who is fully and truly opposed to etiquette unless it be considered conceivable that they should oppose all specific formation of relationships between people, for specific etiquettes still form in the presence of hostility to general etiquettes. This does imply that only general etiquettes can be what is meant to be considered in the crosshairs when people declare themselves opposed to etiquette. Furthermore, it suggests that there may exist satisfactory general etiquettes for the approach of people who consider themselves opposed to etiquette.

Examining this fact of a panoply of specific etiquettes, it should therefore be suggested that the general forms of etiquette are not most properly designed and deployed as restrictive methods of achieving exact behavior, but rather are most properly designed and deployed as guides to the formation of many specific etiquettes. Politeness, in an operational general form, exists to serve and expand the relationships that form between people, easing the establishment of specific etiquettes satisfactory to both parties.

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