Less Formalities make Life easier! - 28 Jan 15

28 Jan 2015  Vrindavan, India

Category: Western culture

Formalities at Events

I yesterday wrote about thankfulness and mentioned that Indians are, in many ways, very formal while not being formal at all when it comes to thankfulness. That is a feeling that I get quite often and even though in the west there are many manners that people take care of, which are of course different than here in India, I have the feeling that in many western countries, formalities are being more and more reduced.

As far as the Indian formalities are concerned, I have previously told you that people invite others just because ‘that’s what you do’. You can meet acquaintances and for the sake of being formal, they will complain that you have not come to their home on which you are supposed to answer that you will come very soon. That all even though they didn’t really expect you to come and you will not even think of making a plan to go there. That is just one example of such formalities. You can see the drama of formalities at any family event where they get together – full of formalities!

I feel that more and more people in the west try to get rid of such formalities. friends even tell me about family members ‘Why should I invite my cousin to my home for Christmas/our wedding/my birthday? We don’t have any common interests, we hardly ever speak a word with each other. We both wouldn’t enjoy it, so why to bother both of us?’

Not only in private life however, also in businesses, I can see a trend towards less formality. Many companies try to create a more comfortable atmosphere in office. They show studies and reports that recommend a more ‘homely’ working situation, less distance in between higher and lower employees, more team work, also with the boss, brainstorming and less hierarchy at the workplace. In some schools, teachers wear comfortable home shoes and many companies don’t have any dress code.

Of course, this is not in every company, school or friends and family environment but it is a general trend I have seen in many countries.

I appreciate this non-formal way. I have made the experience that people in the west for example don’t mind if they want to come by and you tell them that you want to have private time in family. You can really be more yourself when you don’t have to take care of formalities!

And that is the main way that I will always keep on encouraging people to go: be yourself. If that means letting go of some ‘manners’ which are anyway only hollow formalities, it is okay. Did that surprise a few people around you? Did it astonish them or maybe even feel rude? Well, usually it is worth putting up with this instead of doing something that is really not you!

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Posted By Swami Balendu

Swami Balendu

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