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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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ExCUSE Me! Has Common Courtesy Become A Thing of the Past?
Is it just me or are people crabbier, ruder and less courteous than once was the norm? Have you ever received an email without any sort of greeting or salutation, but which ‘demands’ that you must do such-and-such for him/her and right now as well? Or perhaps had a parking spot stolen? Been given the one-finger salute? Been behind the person in the ten-items only line who has at least twice that amount? (C’mon! I know that you count them, too!) Held the door open for someone who obviously thinks that it must be your job or something and so has no need to thank you for YOUR courteous gesture? Tell us your horror stories! What can we do to make the world just a little better mannered?
For some background info, talking points and helpful suggestions, see: Courtesy by Chuck Gallozzi.
| Reponses: There are 97 responses posted to this question.
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| ..... ||Oct 15th. at 7:59:30 pm EDT|
|Melinda (PA) ||Age: 49 - Email |
Manners are basically the respect of others. So far it seems we have talked about what those responding see as the basics; thank you, holding doors etc. Yet the basic act of acknowledging another persons existence appears to be the root. How many times you walk by someone and smile and they turn their head. You wave someone to go ahead at the stop sign and they rush on without a wave back. You wait and wait at the corner to cross while cars stream by (though in our modern society this is less and less as our towns disappear and there is nothing to walk to). We learned respect and manners from all types of people, in our communities where they saw us everyday. These days so many people and families now are rushing from one thing to the next, where is the community. Many of us talk about saying thank you and please outside of our homes. How often do we say it inside our homes, our circles? How often do we acknowledge what others are contributing? Most of the examples given have been with strangers yet how can we expect it from strangers if we do not always give it to those we are closest to.
| Makes Me Feel Like Being Rude ||Oct 15th. at 8:00:57 pm EDT|
|Megan (Richmond, B.C) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I completely agree that common courtesy is lacking in our society. I take the bus to and from work everyday and sometimes I am just astounded at the absolute lack of manners people display! Not only is there the budging and pushing to get on the bus, but quite often when an elderly person, disabled person or woman with children get on the bus, able-bodied people who are sitting in the "courtesy seats" won't budge to give them a seat! Almost every time the bus driver or another passenger will have to ask them to move and then they do so grudgingly. I like to offer my seat to people who look like they need it more than I do, but how often do I get a "thank you" in return? Hardly ever! I was brought up to be polite, courtious, to say my "please" and "thank you"s, but in this day and age when people are just so darn rude, it makes me think of the old saying, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em". It seems that everytime I leave my house I am assualted by rudeness and it really does weaken my politeness resolve and quite frankly turns me into one of those scowling passers-by. It almost makes one ask, "What's the point in holding doors and letting people ahead of you in line? It's not like they appreciate it!". Of course, not everyone is rude. But because the polite ones are so few and far between, when we come across one it is a breath of fresh air and then we can't help but react with surprise! It's really a shame.
| Kill Them With Kindness ||Oct 16th. at 12:22:53 am EDT|
|Sprite (St. Ignatius, MT) ||Age: 27 - Email |
Courtesy is alive as long as we choose to be courteous. For all those sour pusses out there, grit your teeth, give them a smile, and remind them to have a nice day. Who knows? You just might be the one who gets through to them. And then wouldn't the world be a nicer place?
Light and laughter,
| Raised To Be Courtious ||Oct 16th. at 6:26:01 am EDT|
|thad (hot springs AR) ||Age: 20 - Email |
Well With all of the Complaints on how everyone sees courtisey in America I'm almost afraid to post anything good but I've traveled around the united states and realized that a large part of the entire issue is where you live I currently live in a small town and find that courtisey is alive and well you can start a conversation with a perfect stranger and them not think that your a complete nut or ignore you and walk away. But i've also lived in such places as Tacoma Washington and Denver Colerado where if you look at a person walking down the street they regard you with scorn and start calling the local nut house claiming that there's a crazy person on the street so i find that it's all depending on where you live and the values of the area. Simply put small towns are more likely to have courtisey than large ones plus from what i've seen the southern small towns seem to be raised differen't not to say in any way that the north small towns arn't the same way but i have little experience with small towns up where it gets cold during winter just be nice and if they don't want to speak to you just go on with life
| Common Courtesy ||Oct 16th. at 10:19:53 am EDT|
|Ashe Winterwolf (Irving, TX) ||Age: 38 - Email |
I agree with the poster who said that where you are in the country makes a difference as far as common courtesy. I live in a large city and I find that traveling on the highway and city streets is where I see the least about of courtesy. Things aren't much better walking around a mall as I've seen, even, small children knocked down by adults who offer no apology and act as if the little ones were merely an annoyance.
However, sadly enough it is in the pagan the community that I've seen the most horrendous displays of a lack of courtesy. On one occasion a few years ago, I opened my own home for use as a place for one of our coven meetings and did not get so much as a thank you from my own HPS. Due to other incidences of a lack of courtesy I'm no longer a member of that coven.
I've seen people show up late to public rituals and think nothing of interupting the ritual as they take their place. I've seen rituals, both public and private, that where supposed to start at a give time, start 45 minutes to an hour late. All of this acceptable under the lame excuse of Pagan Standard Time. How can we get the mainstream public to take us seriously when we can't even get a ritual started on time. I've also seen people who were expected and needed at an event, not show up without so much as a phone call explaining why s/he wasn't going to be there. It's really sad.
Like other people, I was raised to be as courtesy as I possibly can at all times and in all places. I have gotten to the point where I have to wonder if some pagans feel that courtesy is, somehow, against our religion.
| Courtesy, Not Quite Gone ||Oct 16th. at 10:55:23 am EDT|
|Tracie (Charlotte, NC) ||Age: 28 - Email |
I was raised to treat everyone equally regardless of who they were, until I was given a reason otherwise. And that has served me pretty well through life. I work typically in customer service or as a receptionist, and usually as the "first line of approach" for a company. If I'm not courteous, the customer isn't going to think well of my company, which is, of course, bad. I also go the extra mile to protect my bosses from unsolicited calls/visitors (even when said boss is still physically in the building!).
In public life, I talk to people I stand in line with, chat with the cashiers, help hold doors for Moms with strollers (boy, they seem to appreciate that), hold doors for anybody if I'm coming through it, etc. And while I don't expect thanks, its definitely nice to hear. Occasionally, I will say 'you're welcome', but I usually just let folks go on with their busy lives.
Can I tell you that it's nice to get these courtesies back? I come from south Florida, where perhaps, courtesy has all but died out and have moved to the old south (NC). But the city I live in is a bustling metropolitan, trying to attract the world (we have two major bank headquartered here, among other things), and occasionally, courtesy lacks. Other times, it surprises me where it crops up. I was called "ma'am" a while ago by a teenager (I don't look my age or older, no gray hair), but I'm not complaining.
Sow courtesy in your life and you shall reap it later.
| Treat People The Way You Would Like To Be Treated ||Oct 16th. at 11:59:00 am EDT|
|Ciarrai (New Jersey) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I was raised by my headline, taught to "do onto others....," and seriously adopted,
"Any energy you send out will come back three-fold."
Or as my boyfriend puts it, "Karma always comes around to bite you in the tush -- so just be careful, darlin'!"
| Lack Of Courtesy In The General And Pagan Community ||Oct 16th. at 2:17:31 pm EDT|
|Spirit Melody (Norwich, England) ||Age: 13 - Email |
Reading the 50 or so posts here has been quite enlightening, I'm in slightly different circumstances to quite a lot of the other posters (my age, still at school, no children etc) so I feel I should add my experiences - plus, I'm sure that lurk ratio was put up there to make all us diligent lurkers feel a little shamed and post. *smiles*
I would like to believe I am as deliberately courteous as I can be, and that I strive harder to be even more polite and respectful everyday, though I am sure there must be times I slip up. And failing to do something like keeping a door open for others coming through behind me really brings a guilt stab. And I do find that courtesy is lacking today (though, of course, I cannot comment on what it was like in the 'good old days'), for instance, I always hold doors open for people in our school - I get a thanks from other pupils about once in 20, I *never* gets a thanks or any other kind of acknowledgement from a teacher. I put it down to the stress of their jobs, and it doesn't really bother me apart from being a little disheartened for a second... then I just find even more determination to be courteous to them again sometime and see if they react differently on another day.
What shocks me in these posts is the one or two remarks about politeness in the pagan community - and whilst I can't comment on it eitherway, seeing as I've never met a pagan (at least knowing I have) in 'real life'; it's rather disappointing. And I agree with whomever penned the comment about 'how will people take us seriously when we can't even start a ritual on time'. How indeed. Set a good example all of y'all reading this, and I'll try my hardest to do the same.
| Common Decency ||Oct 16th. at 2:18:35 pm EDT|
|lilith (los angeles) ||Age: 33 - Email |
i consider myself a fairly courteous person in day to day life, though i admit that if someone pushes me i will push back without any feelings of guilt. i believe manners-- the basic hello, thank you, im sorry, let me help you, go ahead, no problem kind of manners-- are the WD-40 of this world-- things simply get done a whole lot better when people are polite. for example this weekend my car broke down, and the AAA rep was polite and even concerned. i know she was paid to be, but its amazing how many people work in jobs where they are paid to be polite and yet cannot bring themselves to extend even the barest formality. the tow truck driver was polite, and combined with his cheer that eased a stressful situation. my mechanic was polite even though he completely misdiagnosed the problem, and i told him so, but POLITELY, because my mechanic and i have a decent relationship and i know he is not dishonest, but under stress i grant that i could have overreacted and been very rude indeed, and i doubt that would have netted me the later admission that i was right and he was wrong and there was no charge for the repair.
but i think without a doubt the most polite person i ever met was a guy named chris. he was sitting by the side of the road with a guitar, a backpack, dreadlocks down to his waist, and a torn up map. i stopped to ask if he was okay, he was, he was simply trying to get a ride to barstow. i typically do not pick up hitchhikers but i know a fellow traveller when i see one, and invited him home for dinner first, and then gave him a lift. now, i know chris was a vegetarian. he let it slip much later in conversation. and dinner that night was pork fried rice. and he said this is great, Thank You. now to me this is politeness. this is courtesy. this is manners. this is when people coming from different paths converge and do not put their trips off on each other in the name of so-called principles, or preferences, or a distaste for the meatpacking industry. this is the real thing, and i think about chris a great deal when a situation calls for me to be flexible.
| Proud To Be Canadian ||Oct 16th. at 2:23:21 pm EDT|
|Hazel (Regina SK Canada) ||Age: 27 - Email |
Being a Canadian is a wonderful thing. We are known around the world for our courtesy and thoughtfulness. I have the privilege of living in a city that even other Canadians describe as being very polite.
Of course, not everything is sunshine and roses. People having a bad day can difficult to deal with and I know that we have our share of road rage (thank goodness that people are less likely to act on that rage here. 'course we are a very small city.) Talk to anyone in retail or customer service and they will have a few stories to tell, I am sure.
Another contributor mentioned that they believe that worst offenders in their experience are fellow pagans. I hope that they don't believe that is the rule. Most people are not aware that their actions could be considered impolite. This goes for everyone, pagan or otherwise. In order to make things happier for all those involved the best thing that a person can do is to open a discussion and air out any problems that the group may be having. This needs to be done on neutral ground and preferably with a mediator, but so long as everyone is informed as to the purpose of the meeting and is given a chance to speak, there is no reason why this cannot work. Just make sure that it is not allowed to dissolve into anything hurtful.
The important thing is to remember to smile. Even if the person that you are dealing with is an ogre who is ranting and raving about your inadequaties, stay calm and smile while you tell him or her that you have the right to hang-up/walk away. Make a point of telling people when their behaviour has crossed the line. They may not thank you for it, but it will give them something to think about. And they will remember that you treated them with respect.
| Courtesy In DC? ||Oct 16th. at 4:10:53 pm EDT|
|Redvelvetdragon (Great Falls VA) ||Age: 36 - Email |
Well, I've lived in Northern Virginia all my life. I have travelled around a bit and so can compare other areas to this one. I can say that a lot of areas are certainly more courteous than here. I guess it depends on who it is you happen to meet on a given day. I myself try my best to be courteous, I talk to people in line, cashiers, I thank people for holding the door. I bless people when they sneeze. All that stuff. A lot of times I get a thanks and a shared laugh or two. Other times I get a get away from me attitude. Oh well.
The worst incidence of courtesy happened to me about 15 years ago. I was waiting for a subway train during morning rush hour. There were quite a lot of people waiting with me. When the train arrived I started to walk through the doors when my foot twisted and slipped between the platform and the train and I crumpled to the ground, wondering if I was going to have my foot sheared off. Much to my horror, people were not only walking passed me, but STEPPING OVER me. Sheesh. After about the 10th person a kind man stopped and helped me up and made sure I was alright.
I'll never forget it.
In as far as other areas, my fiancee comes from a small town in North Dakota. You'd figure, small town, friendly people. But see, being a stranger coming into that town, I usually get a whole lot of strange looks, like 'who the heck are you?'. Its quite strange. And I can't say they are nice or courteous either. Not to down North Dakota. But I guess its a small town attitude, to be wary of strangers. Particularly ones with different accents and obviously not from around there.
| Rude Nasty People ||Oct 16th. at 5:56:28 pm EDT|
|R (Scotland) ||Age: 50 - Email |
How many times have you held the door open for a woman and a child and the lazy husband walks in last while you are holding the door and walks in like it was you that had to open the door for his family but not him.Loser!!!!he can`t say thanks and I always say your welcome in a loud rude american voice.
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