Quotations by Martin, Judith


Treat your employees as if they were writing a book about you.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Miss Manners,” syndicated column (17 Aug 2003)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 23-Mar-17
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Miss Manners’ meager arsenal consists only of the withering look, the insistent and repeated request, the cold voice, the report up the chain of command, and the tilted nose. Also the ability to dismiss inferior behavior from her mind as coming from inferior people. You will perhaps point out that she will never know the joy of delivering a well-deserved sock in the chops. True — but she will never inspire one either.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Miss Manners,” syndicated column (18 May 1980)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 23-Mar-17
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The whole country wants civility. Why don’t we have it? It doesn’t cost anything. No federal funding, no legislation is involved. One answer is the unwillingness to restrain oneself. Everybody wants other people to be polite to them, but they want the freedom of not having to be polite to others.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Polite Company: A Chat with Judith Martin About Etiquette,” interview with Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today (1 Mar 1998)
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Added on 24-Jan-22 | Last updated 24-Jan-22
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The other part of it is [the belief that] if we just totally opened our souls to one another, we would love one another and get along. This trivializes the fact that people have deep and legitimately-held differences. People think, mistakenly, that etiquette means you have to suppress your differences. On the contrary, etiquette is what enables you to deal with them; it gives you a set of rules. On the floor of the Congress, you don’t say, “You’re a jerk and a crook”; you say, “I’m afraid the distinguished gentleman is mistaken about so and so.” Those are the things that enable you to settle your differences, to bring them out in the open. Everything else just starts battles.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Polite Company: A Chat with Judith Martin About Etiquette,” interview with Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today (1 Mar 1998)
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Added on 11-Feb-22 | Last updated 11-Feb-22
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The hardest lesson — and this is what child-rearing and perhaps all of manners is about — is that there are other people in the world and you do have to take their feelings into consideration. It doesn’t mean you always have to yield to them, but it does mean that you have to know how to deal with them. A lot of people know that they want to be treated politely, but they don’t make that little leap and say, Well, the other person must feel that way, too.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Polite Company: A Chat with Judith Martin About Etiquette,” interview with Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today (1 Mar 1998)
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Added on 7-Mar-22 | Last updated 7-Mar-22
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There are etiquette rules being spread all over the Internet. They often use new terms for old rudenesses. Flaming is insulting people. Spamming is trying to do business while other people are having a social time. Having spent a lifetime with people who tell me I must be old-fashioned to care about etiquette, I could, if I were not so polite, turn around and say, “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, you’re the one who is old-fashioned if you think that etiquette is old-fashioned — you obviously don’t spend time on the Internet.”

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Polite Company: A Chat with Judith Martin About Etiquette,” interview with Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today (1 Mar 1998)
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Added on 14-Mar-22 | Last updated 14-Mar-22
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Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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We are all born charming, fresh and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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If you can’t be kind, at least be vague.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.

Martin - good qualities - wist_info quote

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
(Attributed)
Added on 6-Jan-16 | Last updated 20-Jan-19
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Charming villains have always had a decided social advantage over well-meaning people who chew with their mouths open.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Common Courtesy (1996)
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Added on 3-Aug-21 | Last updated 3-Aug-21
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Ideological differences are no excuse for rudeness.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Miss Manner’s Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (1982)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Indeed, Miss Manners has come to believe that the basic political division in this country is not between liberals and conservatives but between those who believe that they should have a say in the love lives of strangers and those who do not.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Miss Manners Rescues Civilization
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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In artful boasting, one states all the information necessary to impress people, but keeps the facts decently clothed in the language of humility.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior: Freshly Updated (2005)
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Added on 6-Jul-20 | Last updated 6-Jul-20
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When Miss Manners observes people behaving rudely, she never steps in to correct them. She behaves politely to them, and then goes home and snickers about them afterward. That is what the well-bred person does.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (1982)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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The proper use of embarrassment is as a conscience of manners. As your conscience might trouble you if you do anything immoral, your sense of embarrassment should be activated if you do anything unmannerly. As conscience should come from within, so should embarrassment. Hot tingles and flushes are quite proper when they arise from your own sense of having violated your own standards, inadvertently or advertently, but Miss Manners hereby absolves everyone from feeling any embarrassment deliberately imposed by others.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (1982)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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DEAR MISS MANNERS:
Can you tell me a tactful way of letting a friend know that she is getting too fat?
GENTLE READER:
Can you tell Miss Manners a tactful reason for wanting to do so?

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (1982)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection IS the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (1982)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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The invention of the teenager was a mistake, in Miss Manners’ opinion. […] Once you identify a period of life in which people have few restrictions and, at the same time, few responsibilities — they get to stay out late but don’t have to pay taxes — naturally nobody wants to live any other way.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (1982)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Apr-10
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Dear Miss Manners: What about Easter? I suppose you have etiquette rules that apply to Easter Day?

Gentle Reader: Certainly, and when the Day of Judgment comes, Miss Manners will have etiquette rules to apply to that, as well.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, “Easter” (1979)
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Added on 11-Apr-22 | Last updated 11-Apr-22
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It would be difficult for anyone with normal powers of observation to believe that there is a link between having money and behaving well.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Twitter (16 Jan 2022)
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Added on 28-Mar-22 | Last updated 28-Mar-22
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Miss Manners does not subscribe to the notion that merely being present and respectful, when someone else practices their religion, is tantamount to endorsing that religion.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Twitter (29 Dec 2011)
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Added on 4-Apr-22 | Last updated 4-Apr-22
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