A few days ago we were having a conversation about bad manners.
Imagine, therefore, my surprise when someone joined in uninvited.
The uninvited guest in a conversation is one of my pet hates, ranking very closely alongside the other people in the office who believe they are more important than you are and just but in when you are in the middle of discussing something else.
Both the uninvited and the unwanted guest in a conversation are examples, to my mind, of bad manners.
Another one that never fails to annoy me is the person who asks for my opinion and then tells me it is wrong. If you don’t ask for a definitive answer, don’t disagree with the opinion.
But the office conversation had been on the topic of using a knife to shovel food into your mouth.
Not something I choose to do, but that is probably more out of a fear of clumsiness than anything else.
I know it is considered bad manners, alongside a host of other Victorian table etiquette.
But so is wearing a hat indoors – unless you are a lady in church, of course, and we wouldn’t want to get started on that one – but that is something else, along with the inappropriate use of the knife at a meal table, which we seem to have imported from the United States of Trump.
Being habitually late is also bad manners, but some people just seem to think it is OK.
I had a colleague once who was nine minutes late for work every day.
It didn’t seem to matter what time he was meant to start work, he would sit down at his desk nine minutes later and blame the traffic.
No amount of encouraging him to try setting off a little sooner or to make the time up by taking a shorter lunch break made any difference.
Instead he chose to get paid for around 40 hours, or roughly a working week, every year that he did not in fact work.
That in itself is bad manners taken to the highest degree.