No. 3: Power of the pen

Email may be the standard letter form these days, but there's still nothing quite as personal as a handwritten note.

Many kids were required to write thank you notes by hand after every birthday with the threat they may not get presents again next year if they don't properly express gratitude

But that threat seems to have faded away; in today's adult world, a thank you note is more often a standard e-card if it comes at all.

The next time you have someone to thank, try sitting down and writing it out on your own. You'll force yourself to reflect, and you'll create a tangible memento your friend can treasure.

And as an added bonus, you'll add a little spice to the mail carrier's routine when they get to deliver something other than a bill, magazine or piece of junk mail.

Our next selection shows that manners and texting don't always mix ...

texting in restaurant

No. 2: Ignore the phone, not your friend

The image of two people walking side by side engrossed in their own text messages is sad. When it's one person yakking on the phone while a friend is sits across the table picking at her salad, it's just rude.

Cell phones have become a necessity we let run our lives. We've been trained to respond to every little beep or vibration, whether important or trivial, no matter what.

If the phone interrupts something you're doing, that's one thing. But when you spend time with someone and decide to take a phone call, you let that other person know they're not as important as whoever is calling.

Sure, there are certain emergencies when you need to stay glued to your phone, but how many messages and calls can wait until later? We survived without being constantly online before the advent of the cell phone. You can wait half an hour to check the direct message you just got through Twitter.
Last up, if you can't say anything nice...

man looking at computer screen

No. 1: Online doesn't mean 'free-for-all'

The anonymity of the Internet makes it easier for people to say what's on their mind without fear of retribution. That can be a good thing in certain situations, but this cloak of the online world is too often used as a cover for spewing bile that most people would never let slip in face-to-face conversations.

You don't need to look much further than most local news sites or blogs to see tirades based on race, politics or assumptions.

After all, it's easy to just type out what's on your mind a push the post button when you don't have to worry about an immediate, in-person confrontation.

That anger-inducing comment may appear only in cyberspace, but at the other end of a computer, it's making someone mad in real life.

Instead of adding to that anger, just remember what your mom told you before making your next online comment: If you can't think of anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.