we had a discussion today at the UU forum about the importance of manners...

I came to the conclusion that there are two sides to manners....

The first is the ability to expediently and unambiguously transfer information through shared expectations about speech and behavior.

The second is the use of niceties that often border on dishonesty.

Because I have so much disdain for the second use, I have for some time scrapped any application of manners outside of purely business transactions such as interviews and things of that order.

I try to be as frank and candid as possible when speaking with people. The problem with that is that most people have an expectation of how individuals interact, and any violation of these expectations is taken as offensive even when it is not intended to be the case (For example, I have a friend who is Chinese and because of his very thick accent he is able to say many things that would ordinarily be perceived as provocative to someone who was native. However, since people assume is is foreign it doesn't usually arouse their ire).

I think Bridgewater was good because they didn't give one shit about propriety and were exclusively focused on content, but this comes at the expense of interactions with the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, in most human relationships the delivery carries much more weight than the content. What this means is that if I really care about the ideas I have, and my goal is simply share them, I should focus on the best way to transmit them to someone else and not the best way to precisely state them.

I guess this could all be summed up with the following phrase:

Manners, ignore them at your own expense or at the expense of what you really want to say.