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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 81 - 10/13/2002
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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| Even In Canada You Say? ||Oct 18th. at 3:43:08 pm EDT|
|Larolyne (Canada) ||Age: 40 - Email |
Yes, even up in the North Country where we are considered polite to the extreme you can run into such behaviours. The best defense is to ignore those people and carry on. If you treat other peope with respect than in turn you will be eventually treated with respect. Also, impress upon your siblings, parents, children and those around you, the person you are disrespectful to today could be on the next interview panel for your next job. ;) It truly is a small planet!!!
| A Revision Of The Golden Rule ||Oct 18th. at 5:42:29 pm EDT|
|Coyoteknight (Reseda, Ca) ||Age: 28 - Email |
Half of me wants to agree that the world is going to crap and everyone I run into is a jerk. Come on, everybody knows this.
The truth is that while everyone is getting surlier and surlier, part of the reason is that we expect the others around us to act in a certain way, an extreamly artificial an contrived way that has nothing to do with how we feel and think. What does this say about ourselves?
We all want people to be a certain way, and I'm not just talking about saying bless you when you sneeze or to bite their lip when you say somthing that they disagree with, we want the quality of humanity to rise.
We want people to BE more noble and kind which is somthing entierly different than being "polite" and "nice"
I think that we have to become the ideal that we almost expect others to be if we are to see this happen.
We can't force others to act the way we want them to without being hypocrits ourselves and this is where the other half of me comes in.
I know that the reason people act like such morons is that they are doing the whole politeness schtick for other people, and they expect the same in return. The obvious problem with this is that other people have bad days or are from different countries that have different ways of signaling respect or were just plain brought up by people that didn't know or didn't care about these customs and rules.
The result of this is that people stop "trying to be nice" at the first sight of rudeness or they keep on repressing their anger until they blow up.
I feel that the only real solution to this problem is to look at the source of the matter. do we treat our friends in the same way as the masses?
No! and the reason is that they are the masses, faceless and innumerable, they are not real people to us, just bodies to avoid, try to grope or any other objectifying action we can think of.
This is how we experience people on the street and elswhere that are "strangers".
In the past we were alienated from eachother by distance and lower quality transportation or comunication, now we are separated by population, there are too many potential friends and allies to choose to connect with and so we ignore the humanity in almost all of them.
We cannot force others to recognise each other for the potential friends they are, nor should we lest we become tyrants ourselves, but we can choose to look at the people in the crowd in a different way.
Try this the next time you are in a crowded bank, or even better, a resturaunt, instead of scanning around the blob of humanity, hold your attention on one individual at a time and watch for a moment to get an understanding of what it is they are doing. That's all!
Try it and you'll realize, not just think or believe, that these are individuals like yourself, they aren't just a mob of things out to get you or obstacles to avoid while walking down the sidewalk.
You will see the man tying his shoelaces in front of the door you are trying to get in as a man and you will see the woman who has toilet paper on her shoe is a woman, both with the same day to day actions as you. You automatically act in a different way, when you see a man as a man and a woman as a woman.
Not nice, not polite but you act as if you are an individual talking to another individual.
Of course you don't change overnight, and the people on the street won't change, but the more you do it, the more things will change.
Yes, You will change slowly but surely because unlike somone who is trying to be nice, you are not "trying" in the first place.
You are naturally reacting to the realization that the body before you is a person.
No secular dogma, no preformed pattern of assumptions that if he does this then it means that, just two individuals or a collective of individuals connecting in some inexpressible way behind the words being spoken.
If you want the world to be more authentically noble, then start with yourself and pass on to others the importance of seeing people for what they are, individuals united in their uniqueness.
Instead of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, become the person you would hope others would become and forget about whether people are being rude to you or you are being rude to them, being an authentic person is what matters.
You won't believe the stress that is releived by just doing this one simple thing and that in and of itself is worth it. };>)>
| Open Your Eyes... ||Oct 18th. at 9:01:59 pm EDT|
|Denise (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) ||Age: 32 - Email |
I try and look at everyone else as what they are, a fellow human being...perhaps the preson driving so slowly in front of you is just learning to drive...perhaps, the person who walked through the door you held for them without even noticing you there, is only running into the store for a new pair of panty-hose to wear to a loved ones funeral, is upset there for not as observant or courteous as they usually are...granted, being a fellow human being, I am not perfect and so I fail at this...but all we can do is try...try...try...
one of my fondest memories was witnessing a child at a nearby wal-marts on christmas eve, asking for help in finding a particular gift for his mother...he mentioned to the sales person as how he didn't want his mother to think him dumb because he did not give it to her, knowing she wanted it...I introduced myself to him explaining that I overheard his problem...I helped him find the gift...he may soon forget...his mother may forget the gift...but I will always remember that day...when I gave myself a gift by helping another
| Mostly Driving ||Oct 18th. at 11:34:10 pm EDT|
The one reason that I hate to drive, above the people weaving through traffic, and even the tailgaters, is the people who won't let anyone merge. They are the people who, as soon as they see that blinker light come on, step on the gas and rush to fill the gap. I don't know why this happens, but it is happening more and more. Sometimes it might just be bad timing on my part, but even my out of state cousin commented on it when he came to visit. That is just my observation.
| Values ||Oct 19th. at 3:32:20 am EDT|
|Lindsay (East Bay, CA) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I think a lot of it comes down to our values, what our parents teach us. Parents seem to be slacking off in the parenting department these days, teaching their children that it is okay to judge and be disrespectful to others. People think that just because they have more money or nicer things that it is their given right to walk all over people that they think are less fortunate. Even thought they might not be, they just choose to spend their money in a more important way, rather than materialistic things that have absolutely no meaning. I am so sick of everybody judging by clothes, cars, houses, or whatever it might be. So a person dresses differently, 9 times out of 10 I bet that person is a lot happier than the person with the $3,000.00 suit! Our society has made judging a priority. Starting with famous people who make millions and millions of dollars a year, but are the first ones to bitch when they can't get 2.5 million instead of 2 million. These are the people who don't even deserve it, too. Why don't we use the money to go towards somebody who is making a difference, instead of memorizing a line. Yeah, most people do give money to charities, but why don't they try working for minimum wage and give the rest to the charities? Then they wouldn't be able to live up to the standard that they have set for everyone else. People need to learn to just be themselves and not to worry about what others think of them. We would all be better off and a hell of a lot happier.
| My Thoughts... ||Oct 19th. at 11:11:24 am EDT|
|Sondra (Jax, Fla) ||Age: 53 - Email |
Yes, “common courtesy” appears to have become a thing of the past. There are a lot of reasons/explanations as revealed by these posts. There is no mistaking rudeness for directness, however.
When did it become acceptable to refer to acquaintances as friends? This familiarity is astonishing to me. In an effort to make the world a softer, kinder place, it seems that we take people into our confidences inappropriately. This always leads to problems.
When did people stop teaching their children there is a time and place for everything? People who speak their minds without thinking about who could be harmed are irresponsible in every sense of the word. Do no harm is an excellent mantra to use before providing an opinion or thought on any subject that pops in the old brain.
There is no easy solution. The Internet has made millions of people friends, lovers and even brought them together in marriage or life arrangements. This sharing of ourselves, feelings, events and hopes and dreams is good as long as every one is doing it. All too often, there are folks out there who, for whatever reason, take that vulnerability and use it to their own ends.
We can each set our own examples, live our lives doing “harm to none” and eventually the tide will turn again.
| Pass The Courtesy Please ||Oct 19th. at 12:35:56 pm EDT|
|fluffy bunny (idaho) ||Age: 41 - Email |
I can't say that courtesy is a thing of the past, but it surely isn't in danger of becoming the norm. The worst case scenario I experienced was when I had knee surgery. People in the stores would knock into me basically shove me out of the way. I couldn't believe how inconsiderate alot of people were. I was on my way to healing when my physical therapist had me do some excercise that broke my kneecap. Back to surgery and the immobilizer. This all happened around xmas time so everyone was expectedly rushing about. I decided not to let this stop me from a family visit in another larger city. I had to run to this huge shopping mall to get a few last items, and I was really dreading it. I could not believe the difference in the way I was treated. People were stepping aside, opening doors, telling me to get ahead of them in line, I was flabbergasted. This in a city 4 times of the size I came from. I really appreciated the way I was treated, and I will never forget it. I try to put myself in the other guys shoes alot more since that happened. I think alot of the reason people are rude is that we are all in such a hurry to be somewhere, nowhere, and are focused on that. The world is a pretty fastpaced busy place. Maybe we should slow down a little, and think about the other guy.
| Mostly... ||Oct 19th. at 1:27:10 pm EDT|
|Treasa (PA) ||Age: 24 - Email |
Yes, I think it mostly has. I try to be polite and courteous but unfortunately when people are rude to me I want to be rude right back. For some reason some people think it's all right to just ram right past you with their strollers and carts. I'm not bashing people with children but some people with children act like it's all right to be pushy and impolite just because they have their children with them. Like I said I'm not bashing people with children but in my area I have had a lot of bad experiences with people like that. I'm just saying it's not that hard to say, "excuse me." Once my husband and I were in a Wal-Mart and these 2 young girls were blocking the way to an aisle and he said, "excuse me." The one girl said she was sorry and moved out of the way and then the other one said, "I'm not." The one girl's attitude was completely uncalled for. It was like she thought it was "cool" to be rude and nasty. What she didn't realize is that she made herself look like an idiot. Another thing people don't do, that I consider discourteous, is that they won't acknowledge a person who is extending courtesy back to them, for example moving out of the way to let them through. I used to work in a department store and some of the attitudes I got from customers were simply atrocous. It's like they didn't know how to say thank you and didn't have the common courtesy to speak to me because I worked there and therefore was a lower being to them.
It doesn't take much time or effort to be a courteous person. It's not that difficult to say, "please," "thank you," "excuse me," "pardon me," or to at least smile at the person who is extending courtesy back to you.
| Ravenrose ||Oct 19th. at 2:03:16 pm EDT|
|Cassandra Machemer (Pennsylvania) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I'm 34 years old and back in school full time. I spend most of my day with younger students. Aren't manners being taught anymore???? Don't we hold the dorr for people anymore??? It's not even a feminist thing. I mean I'll gladly hold the door for a man, its just the common courtesy i was instilled with. The other day a guy was holding the door for 2 of this fellow male buddies, but when it was my turn he walked in front of me and there I was to grab the door for myself. Come on, he couldnt be nice and hold it for one more????? And whatever happend to chivalry??? Can't a guy hold a door for women anymore??????? Ok, ill get off my soap box, lol
| Politeness ||Oct 19th. at 3:20:18 pm EDT|
|Katherine (LaGrange, Ohio) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I'd read in a few of the responses that people are often annoyed with the average retail or fast food worker. Let me shed a little light. As someone who worked in fast food for a year, here's what I went through...
I've had food thrown at me.
I've had drinks dumped on me.
I've been cussed out more times than I can count.
I've been spit at, repeatedly.
I was brought up, as well as trained, to be polite at all times. But if I'm not exactly cheerful and smiling, after being informed by a 60year old lady that our "service ******* ***** so ******** badly, that if she had a gun she'd shoot me, you'll have to forgive me. *chuckles* I think I almost cried after that one.
I've had patrons approach me after a confrontation witha customer and ask why we didn't call the police. They usually looked shocked when I tell them it's normal for me to be threatened by staggering drunk men three times my size.
Sadly, yes, politeness has gone down the drain. Our society is one of instant gratification and Lady help the one who stops us from getting that immediately.
| Excuse Me - Lost Art ||Oct 19th. at 6:09:31 pm EDT|
|Debra (Massachusetts) ||Age: 37 - Email |
"Excuse Me" is part of the lost art of common courtesy. A little kindness goes a long way. Luckily, I was raised with these now so-called "old fashioned" ways.
| I Just Wrote A Paper On That At A University Were I Am At! ||Oct 19th. at 9:45:02 pm EDT|
|Melissa Cundiff (KY) ||Age: 27 - Email |
WHO SAYS WE’RE RUDE?
Lately it seems, you can’t get through a day without someone stressing you; doctors are rude, the neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking, cell phone bullies are everywhere, there are jerks at work, or at the supermarket, or you’re dealing with an HMO or cable company’s phone menu. Chances are you’re going to be treated impolitely. Nine out of ten people (88%) feel that bad manners are a serious problem and it’s getting worse. Nine out of ten Americans’ think that bad manners increase opportunities for violence. More than eight in ten people, both with children and without children agree that bad parenting has become the failure to instill good behavior in our young children and this is the starting place of bad manners.
Violence and American Youth was a project I undertook in sociology and in the research I found a national survey that found that 43% of high school and 37% of middle school boys believe its ok to hit or threaten a person who makes them angry. Nearly one in five (19%) of the girls agree. Are students morally adrift? Almost three out of four (71%) said they cheated in the previous year, 35% of students surveyed had stolen something from a store, and 47%—almost half—could get a gun if they wanted to. What’s going on? We’re rude and we’re mean; there’s road rage, air rage, cell phone rage, boat rage, desk rage, car alarm rage, and driver rage who honk at some people on crutches. According to my research, there’s also “funeral rage”—people actually flip the bird and cut off funeral processions.
The home is the foundation of all good things and the manners that win respect must be taught at the home circle. A child who has pleasant, courteous parents, who seek to inculcate simple maxims of good behavior are fortunate, and starts out in life with an advantage over the children that is not so instructed. There are many well-bred people who would not for the world transgress a rule of politeness, but who neglect laying down any guidelines for their children. Thinking possibly that when they are older they will naturally acquire that ease of manner which is essential to success in this world, they may possibly do so particularly, if the little children are of good dispositions and are imitative. However, that does not relieve the parents of their duty in the matter. They owe it to their children and to society, to instruct them on how to be gentle, courteous, and, above all, self-denying. Raising a polite child means teaching your child to live by the Golden Rule. Before your child can treat others like he or she wants others to treat them. They have to learn how to empathize, to be able to think through an action before doing it, and to judge how the consequences of their actions will affect them, and others. Therein lays the basis of a moral person. An apology helps your child accept responsibilities for a wrong and provides a tool to make things right again. Mark Twain once said, “A man should not be without morals; it is better to have bad morals than none at all”.
It is sad that rage has become out of control in this world. Why is it so acceptable to become a destructive member of society? The media has one of the biggest impacts on shaping our young youth to become abnormally angry at the world around them. On television, it is acceptable; due onto others what they have done to you. Aggressiveness is spawning from the media's dark view of the world. Destruction and rage attracts viewers and attracting viewers is the goal of the hungry media. Unfortunately, people are somewhat influenced by the violence they see and begin to accept it as normal, Parents have the single most influential in their children’s upbringing. They teach mostly by example and if they are not good parents, their kids turn out to be bad parents themselves. Rage stemming from childhood is the underlining cause of most disrespectful adults. The more anger a person possess the less room there is for other emotions such as love, compassion, or faithfulness.
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