Ever read George Washington’s Rules of Civility? If so, it’s unlikely you’ve read more than a handful before you realize that you’ve repeatedly broken one or more at some point in time.

It’s easy to laugh at the manners of the past and dismiss them as ridiculously stiff and formal. But would we experience more personal and societal happiness if we still were to follow them?

Since Washington’s Rules of Civility are quite extensive, we’ve selected five which are still relevant, particularly in the age of internet and social media.

  • READ no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave….
  • USE no Reproachfull Language against any one neither Curse nor Revile.
  • SPEAK not injurious Words neither in Jest nor Earnest Scoff at none although they give Occasion.
  • THINK before you Speak pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your Words too hastily but orderly and Distinctly.
  • BE not apt to relate News if you know not the truth thereof.