Have you ever visited a city where drivers were offensive and workers, impolite? Have you ever felt annoyed at someone for cursing at you in public? Have you ever felt responsible for the failure of a friendship due to something you said or did?

Etiquette is more than knowing which fork to use and how to properly sit in a chair. Etiquette at its core is about providing people a way to create a better society and a happier community. That’s its goal – harmony.

How? By offering a guide – a list of rules on how people should behave with others, how people should behave with other people’s properties, and how people should behave with themselves.

If you were to read an etiquette book and contemplate the reasons behind each rule, you will find that respect, kindness, and consideration guide the majority of the rules. Without these three characteristics practiced often by a sufficient number of people, society would slowly decay to one of chaos and violence. For this reason and many more, etiquette is important.

Here are some examples to further illustrate the reasons behind practicing etiquette.

Rule: Do not curse in public.

Reason: Saying or hurling curse words at someone or something is a vulgar way of showing disagreement, disbelief, anger, or annoyance. These words lower the energy of a moment. They also make listeners feel uncomfortable since they are considered offensive. By following this etiquette rule, you will be demonstrating consideration of other people’s feelings and energy. You will be doing your part to ensure they leave your presence with contentment.

Rule: Do not talk with your mouth full of food.

Reason: Talking with your mouth full of food leaves you open to many mishaps. For example, you are more likely to spit some of your food or saliva out — on someone’s face or worse, onto someone’s food. By following this etiquette rule, you will be demonstrating consideration for your dining partner’s meal. No one enjoys food that has been spat upon. Do you?