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Most of us were taught good manners when sitting at a table for a meal or going out in public. There’s a proper way to conduct ourselves when interacting with others socially. But etiquette is not just for meals or formal gatherings. A daily etiquette is needed throughout our relationships as well.

To be sure, relational etiquette is simply our rules of conduct and the common courtesy we display to each other. These are not hard and fast rules we have to do per se, but they are a form of respect. And cultivating this decorum in our relationships helps to create an atmosphere of love.

For instance, this might be simply greeting each other as we first enter into each other’s presence, or saying goodbye when we leave. This small gesture communicates we see the other and honor their presence.

In a similar way, letting others know when we need to step away from their presence is also a common courtesy. For example, it would be rude just to walk away when we had to take a phone call, respond to a message, or when something else demands our attention. It’s not that we’re asking or even need permission to shift our attention, but we respect the other by letting them know all the same.

Whatever it looks like, relational etiquette is just being mindful of how our presence impacts others. It’s selfish and immature just to be concerned with our own interest. And arrogant to believe we shouldn’t be bothered with such small gestures. 

While it’s true we’re not committing big moral sins by failures in etiquette, neglecting these gestures of respect hinders the atmosphere of love we’re able to create. And this might make us more vulnerable to relational strain that could have easily been avoided otherwise.

In the end, respect each other by practicing basic relational etiquette. It’s a mark of maturity and love to freely offer these common courtesies even if they’re not technically needed.  


Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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