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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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| 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.
| Pass It On.. ||Oct 16th. at 8:25:33 pm EDT|
|Starr (Saskatoon Canada) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I for one having worked retail all my life know all too well how some people can be so rude and inconciderate to people who show them even the smallest glimmer of an act of kindness.
The WORST things I see here are CHILDREN.. Are kids now days being taught no manners at all??
There was an elderly couple at the mall last week who were preparing to leave the mall behind a couple of Mid Teen boys.
The Boys passed through the door and ON PURPOSE pushed the door closed behind them and nearly hit the elderly woman in the face.
Having MY 3 boys with me I hurried over, made sure they were ok and instructed MY boys to hold open both doors for them.
The Couple was grateful, and I proceeded to make certain that my children learned the lesson of common courtesy.
One that I, as a parent, shall push with my children.
Teach them young...and they might just turn out OK in the end.
Remember.. One day THEY will be deciding what Old Folks home they put you in!
| Just Today..... ||Oct 16th. at 11:21:08 pm EDT|
|jeannette (san diego) ||Age: 25 - Email |
I was crossing the street today in Balboa Park. I was at the intersection in the parking lot and their was a "stop" on the curb where the cars are supposed to stop and assess if their are any pedistians (me for instance) or other oncoming traffic. These rude people (yes, it was more than one rude driver-three to be exact!) just zoomed past me when I had the right of way. It was dark out and I could have been ran over. HMMPH!
| The Truckers Rules! ||Oct 16th. at 11:49:58 pm EDT|
|Cynthia G. McCaffery (Winnipeg, Mb.Canada) ||Age: 45 - Email |
My husband&I have driven truck for years through-out Canada & The U.S.A. We have a running contest to see who wins for the rudest state or province every once in awhile. Being Canadian we do tend to be more layed back when it comes to someone being rude to us but there is a limit. The only reason we have rude people is we aren't teaching our young to have the manners they should have right from infancy.I still get a kick out of the surprised looks I get when I hold a door open for someone. It doesn't take much but I still at my age like to hear thanks for a kind deed. I think Canadians in particular are more apt to let things slide when we should be standing up and asking for a please or a thank-you.
Cynthia G. McCaffrey
| Courtesy Is The Key To Civilization. ||Oct 16th. at 11:59:27 pm EDT|
|Cairnwell (Northern Lower Michigan) ||Age: 55 - Email |
Where has it gone?
It is still there. But few know how to turn it on.
It can be infectious and you should spend it about you freely.
Most do not know how to act when courtesy is presented. Greet it with thanks.It will multiply.
The price we pay should we not indulge this practice can be surmised in the words quoted from an up-coming novel, where the protagonist states, "There is an odd thing in this life. One can never really be sure whom you are dealing with." Many are near the edge and havent the faintest clue on how to pull themselves back.
Our task is to not push, but rather offer a hand to pull toward a better world. And in doing so, you will have the thanks from your soul, knowing that you have done a good thing.
Should you be lucky enough, the person you help may in turn thank you, or better yet, help someone else.
| Door Mat ||Oct 17th. at 12:15:16 am EDT|
|John Sneed (Indiana) ||Age: 28 - Email |
I'm a locksmith,and no matter the job its a door and I cannot count the times people believe me to be a door mat.The door is open so knock the guy over so they don't have to put out the effort of opening the other door.After getting hit in the face by a door I was working on I have since came up with a nice way of not getting stomped on.I have my a sign stating this entrance closed for repairs.But there are people out there who naturally engore me,the sign,and still like to run me down.
| Retail Jobs... ||Oct 17th. at 3:22:21 am EDT|
|Lavender Feline (Denver, CO) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I've worked at many retail jobs but the WORST is working at video stores. I currently work at a Blockbuster and you wouldn't believe the way people treat you! Let me just say - if you don't want late fees then TURN YOUR MOVIES IN ON TIME! If you don't like how much the rentals cost then RENT SOMEWHERE ELSE! O.o
I have had *so many* people say things like "I just hope you know your company is a HUGE rip off and you can get this dvd SO MUCH cheaper at Best Buy or K-Mart!" Well, why don't they go there, then?!
"I turned those movies in on time! I swear it! You guys didn't check them in! Your computer is late! BLAH BLAH BLAH!"
Let me tell you - even if it ISN'T the store's fault (which it is only probably 5% of the time) I will take off fees for people if they are polite. Almost everyone that rents yells at me, even if they don't have fees.
Everyone has something to complain about.
Remember: The customer service people that work at the places you shop in might be younger and more uneducated than you, but if you're nice to them you're going to get treated well. Be rude and we aren't as prone to going out of our way for you.
| Let's Blame Society. ||Oct 17th. at 4:51:15 am EDT|
|Chris (Tokyo, Japan) ||Age: 18 - Email |
We haven't always had the internet, nor the television, automobile, or even the phone. As these devices have dawned, they seem to have streamlined communication and interaction to the degree that we can live and survive without ever needing to see the face or hear the voice of another living person. And while the majority of us of course have a degree of interpersonal interaction throughtout the day, I'd venture to say that it's generally become weaker and shallower than in times before.
Quite simply, we're with people less, we interact with them less, and even when we do, we're all the more detatched.
Just look at a child who spends hours watching television who would once have played outside with the neighborhood kids; look at the millions upon millions of single-passenger car commuters who once walked or took a train; look at the empty stands of local sports teams whose fans now sit home watching televised professionals; look at the roaring dance halls of the earlier century that don't even exist anymore; look at online banking, and think to when the tellers used to greet you by name; look at the handwritten letter, which nearly demanded a degree of etiquitte and politeness, compared to the blunt and formless emails we get today; look at old communities, complete with a thriving downtown and vibrant neighborhoods, and then look at the faceless stretches of sprawl and suburbia, where the town center is a conglomerate mall and our neighbors five doors away are no more familiar than neighbors five states away; simply look at the unending facets of our life that have starved the interpersonal, interactive sense of community that once was the very definition of civilized life.
We've created so many devices and means to make our lives convenient and interconected, and yet it seems we've never had to endure so much anxiety and isolation. Our countless amenities created in the guise of improving communication have done little but impede and weaken it.
So when we see a society that has lost its sense of etiquite, and when "please" and "thank you" seem as antiquated terms as "golly gee" and "fiddlesticks," I think we only need to look around us to understand why. Even as we're deluged in stimulation, where communication and information have never flown more freely, I think we've lost many of the links that connected us the world we live in. And as this happens, courtesies which used to be indispensible have now gone the way of the corner grocery store. We can now pour out a stream of anger, indifference, and inconsideration without the slightest ramifications.
Think of how telling it is when salespeople today need to undergo thorough training simply to know how to treat clients with a bit of courtesy. And on the flip side, think how effortlessly we can growl and complain right in someone's face without ever realizing how inconsiderate we're being.
Anyway, next time we hold the door open for someone, it's just a little something to think about.
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