Always a topic of discussion in adult circles is whether or not someone has been “raised right”. We’re not talking about little kids here, but adolescents and adults who have gotten most of those lessons.

While kindness can either be inherent or taught, social graces are another animal. Children are shown manners, how to treat others, and learn to manage situations that require them to not always put themselves first – unless it’s an issue of safety. And then they grow up, leaving us to wonder how some were raised.

You’ve encountered all types of people with varying degrees of manners or meanness, and you know it’s got a lot to do with upbringing. Here’s a list of signs that tell you if you or someone around you was brought up well.

  1. Has Basic Manners

    Some basics: speaking when entering a room, allowing people to exit the elevator before walking in, and chewing with your mouth closed. Please, thank you, hello, good morning, and excuse me come as second nature no matter the setting.

  2. Honors Their Word

    Reliable to a fault, you keep your word and do what you say you are going to do. If for some unexpected reason you can’t, your politeness and integrity will make things right.

  3. Pitches in Without Being Asked

    Why wait for a prompt when the table needs to be cleared and dishes done? When there’s a project at work that needs to be tackled, you’re on it, even if it’s not “your job”. These people always unselfishly offer to help, even when it’s not their home or job.

  4. Shuns Glory or Reward

    This means they do because it’s the right thing, not because they want a backpat or someone is looking. The humble brag isn’t part of their reality and when they say “don’t mention it”, they really mean it.

  5. Open Doors and Offers Seat

    Opening and holding the door for women, babies, disabled individuals, and the elderly isn’t dead, it’s just common courtesy. You don’t have to be a man to do it either! I’ve seen 10-year-olds open doors for people on crutches or with canes. It’s not hard.

    These are the folks who also find it easy to give up a seat on a bus, train, or other crowded setting where it’s standing room only.

  6. Respects Elders

    You’re really comfortable addressing your elders as “Ma’am” or “Sir”, or offering to help them with something in the store or at their house. You open doors, watch your language, and chit-chat with your elders with kindness.

  7. Accepts Responsibility and Says Sorry

    Everyone has shortcomings and makes mistakes, and it takes a mature person to own up to when they’re wrong. Apologizing for those actions without blaming, getting defensive, or inserting a “but” shows you’ve been raised well.

  8. Includes Others

    It may seem small, but making sure no one feels left out is a kindness that goes a long way. These people engage and interact with others, especially in a group setting, leaving no one awkwardly out of a conversation or event.

  9. Waits Their Turn

    The thought of cutting the line or huffing and puffing because something is “taking too long” doesn’t cross their minds. A person with patience and consideration has no problem waiting until it’s their turn.

  10. Values the Time of Others

    Being a stickler for showing up on time makes a lasting impression on people. People who show up when expected (or earlier) tend to earn the respect and trust of others more easily. Plus, it’s just plain rude to stand someone up or be habitually late.

  11. Cleans Up Their Own Messes

    Ever had a significant other or roommate who would drop food, trash, or dirty laundry anywhere and expect others to pick up after them? Ugh. Or how about that guest or customer who feels that littering isn’t a problem? Blessed is the person who cleans up after her/himself or their kiddos.

  12. Respects Others’ Personal Space and Property

    Most kids hear the words “don’t touch” when out in public, but this applies to everywhere else too: school, other people’s homes, businesses, and individuals. Taught young, people grow up knowing that touching or taking what doesn’t belong to them without permission is a no-no, and they won’t cross that line.

  13. Sends Thank You Notes

    Both our mother and grandmother taught us the importance of writing thank-you notes when someone did something for us. If you do this when you’ve been on the receiving end of a gift, favor, or some other kindness, then you’re aces! These days, they can even be digital. A bonus: most people don’t expect a note of gratitude.

  14. Shows Regard for Feelings of Others

    You’re nice to mail carriers, janitors, waitresses, as well as family or friends. You think about how what you say or do will impact someone, and you root for the underdog. Having empathy allows you walk in someone else’s shoes and understand the perspective of others, even if you disagree.

  15. Is Not Judgmental

    These folks don’t get peeved when someone isn’t living, choosing, or acting the way they would. You accept others for who they are with the understanding that we’re all different and have different paths. Gossiping and putting others down isn’t part of your lifestyle.

  16. Is Welcoming

    Whether it’s at home, work, or an event, you’re a warm host that puts people at ease and makes them feel comfortable.

  17. Listens to Parents

    They know the rules and check in with mom or dad when needed. They listen and don’t talk back or disrespect their parents if they don’t agree with them.

Do you notice these qualities in yourself or others? What else would you add to this list?