Good Manners Cost Nothing

Ever wondered what it really means to be a gentleman or gentlelady? The Sea Turtle reveals the most touching discovery she has made in the UK and how this has made an impact on her.

In addition to the beauty of the River Thames and the perennial rainy weather, most people’s impressions of Britain include those traditional British gentlemen in formal dress with hats, walking down the street with umbrellas in their hands. Since time has gone on, there are very few people wearing suits and hats on the street these days, but the spirit of those gentlemen has certainly passed on to today’s generation in Britain. It has been half a year since I came to study and live in the UK. The most touching thing I have experienced during this period of time is British good manners.

The British people I have met are all very polite. They always say “thank you” and “please” almost every time they talk. The director of my major is a very elegant and kind lady. She always sits upright and speaks in a harmonious manner. She speaks slowly with a moderate tone and her demeanors are full of personal charm. It’s comfortable and pleasant when I speak to her.

British people are full of well-mannered spirit on the road. Most British drivers are courteous. Almost no one blasts their horn which is strange after being used to drivers back in China.

The residents near my dormitory are also very friendly and polite. When I first arrived in Britain, I was often lost in unfamiliar places and I had to ask the pedestrians for directions frequently. However, there are usually few people walking on the street. But as long as someone is passing by, he or she will definitely try to help me. Sometimes I just look around with puzzled facial expressions on the street or look at my phone with doubt for a while, and someone will soon come over and ask if I need help. When I first arrived, I met three enthusiastic people who offered to help me in just one day. I really want to thank them.

On another occasion, I went to a nearby supermarket to buy something. However, toward the end of the checkout process, I found that I didn’t bring enough change. There were still a lot of people standing in line. I was nervous and felt ashamed. I was rummaging in my bag trying to find a few coins when a man behind me volunteered to pay for me in advance. Although it was only a few pence, it was touching to receive help from local people in a foreign country.

In addition, British people are full of well-mannered spirit on the road. Most British drivers are courteous. Almost no one blasts their horn which is strange after being used to drivers back in China. Drivers will slow down at every intersection and if they see pedestrians wishing to cross the road, they will generally allow them to pass first. Some of the roads in the UK are somewhat narrow, therefore sometimes it is not possible to have two cars driving in parallel lanes. In this case, the drivers of both cars will give each other courtesy to let one of them go first, and the one who goes first will certainly use gestures to express their thanks. When I first arrived in the UK, I was not used to such a peaceful traffic atmosphere. When I first wanted to cross the road and a driver stopped their car and waited for me, I felt really sorry and worried that I would block the road. So, I often ran across the road. However, later I realized that I didn’t really need to run, crossing the road directly is fine.

I usually go to school by bike. One day, it was late when I was riding my bike home. It was really dark outside. When I was waiting for the traffic light on the road, the driver next to me rolled down the window specifically to remind me that in order to be safe, it is best to buy a bicycle light so that other drivers can see the bicycle more clearly. The driver also kindly told me that in fact there is a department in my university that can distribute free bicycle lights. It was a really warm gesture!

The manners of British people and their way of treating things and people is very much appreciated. With interpersonal communication, be tolerant, polite, and understanding when you communicate with others, and you too can become a “gentleman” or “gentlelady.”