Knigge – Niminy-Piminy or Philosphy?


Knigge – now it is getting niminy-piminy. At least it’s what everyone thinks when they hear the name of Freiherr Adolph Knigge (1752-1796), a German nobleman and author of the book “Über den Umgang mit Menschen” (in English: “On Human Relations”).

But everything than finicking was he himself and he disapproved etiquette as defined by a certain behavior (considering small talk, dresscode and table manners). He rather was a fervent defender of humanism and elucidation.

According to Knigge there is no true or false, wrong or right, good or bad behavior. Knigge writes about person related and event related demeanor. For example: it does make a difference if you visit a theatrical performance in a time-honored opera or if you visit a local soccer match. And of course it is a significant difference if you visit those events with either your boss (prove that you’re a man of vast reading) or a close friend (no, not one of your hooligan acquaintances). You get the idea, right?

Hence there is a variety of attitudes. Especially nowadays as if we have to respect our own role and the context relating to our multicultural societies.

Particularly a healthy mind-set as well as ethics and moral, esprit and cultivation, aplomb and authenticity are all-time desirable ideals.
Nonetheless, there are some basic ideas which always do the job:

  1. Stand upright, smile with confidence and always say thank you, please and you’re welcome.
  2. Rapport always benefits from a candid and tolerant communication.
  3. Remember that everyone wants to be seen, heard and understood.

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