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Whatever Happened To Manners?

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good etiquette

We live in the best country in the world; we are people of many talents, diversities, religions and nationalities. But the best of all, we are a nation of people who care for others. We are the first to help those in need. Remember all those who came to the aid of 9/11 victims? Not only firemen and policemen, but the man down the street, who rushed to give aid to a fleeing victim of the Twin Towers and the lady living in the nearby apartment building who saw the disaster and went out of her safe home to immediately help others. There are also those times in major disasters, such as hurricanes, fires, floods and mudslides, tornados, when we offer assistance in the form of money, food and clothing, and prayers to those who lost everything.

However, somewhere down the road we lost our everyday consideration of others.

Either due to the stress we are under, especially in these days of economic unrest, or we are in such a hurry to get to whereever we’re going that we forget to stop and think about how we are behaving.  I myself am guilty of this and realize I need to take a deep breath and think of how the other person feels about my behavior.  It all boils down to remembering what our mothers taught us as soon as we were able to speak.  Do you remember hearing her say, “Did you say thank you, did you say, you’re welcome, how about did you say, excuse me”?  Not to mention her always telling you to say “Please”.  These words were the foundation of learning manners at a very young age.

I have mentioned in an earlier post how I enjoy grocery shopping for taste and nutrition. You can learn a lot in the grocery store just by watching people:

  • Look at those who have a cell phone glued to their ear. Who wants to hear their conversations? Not me, plus I could care less who is telling them what to buy on the other end of the phone.
  • What about the person who is on line with a cart overflowing and you have just a few and the express lines are not opened and they don’t think or care to say, “Please, go ahead of me”?
  • My favorite, is the person who you might have accidentally bumped with your cart or you may have blocked their reach on a shelf and you say “Oh, excuse me I’m so sorry” only to get a glare and a stare.

This attitude doesn’t put us in a happy mood. So what do we do, we say the heck with them and next time we will not be as polite.  It’s a vicious cycle!

Then you leave the store only to encounter rudeness in the parking lot:

  • Again the person with the cell phone, trying to back out only to be engrossed on the phone and not watching what they are doing. Maybe they come too close to running over you or nicking your car. Do they roll down their window and say “I’m so sorry”? Of course not – they can’t interrupt their important phone conversation.
  • Cell phones have caused more accidents and are so over- used that it has become a pet peeve of mine.

Too bad Emily Post (1873-1960) isn’t still around to write a book on Cell Phone Etiquette. Her classic book “Etiquette” is still very much on-target even today and is a great read. Anna Post, her great-great-granddaughter is carrying on the tradition of teaching etiquette to the masses on her blog.

Now you are on the road headed home.  Oh, have you ever encountered road rage?  I have and I have also been guilty of it myself.  I live in an area that has numerous 4 way stops.  Do I need to say more? Again, know the rules, be courteous of those who make a mistake and please consider the safety of others. Forget the rage, it’s not healthy, it’s not safe to be driving in that frame of mind plus it doesn’t get you where you’re going any faster!

You are home now, thank goodness safe and sound, but a little disappointed in what you witnessed only to be disappointed again by finding no thanks, either in your mailbox or an email, for the gift, or note/card you sent expressing sympathy, happiness, congratulations or good wishes. This is another pet peeve of mine. Our busy lives have taken away our time to express our thanks to others. It is so simple to say “thank you”, but we keep forgetting how two simple words can bring a smile to someone’s face and brightness to their day.  Maybe they wouldn’t be so gloomy and grumpy.

Remember what your mother always told you, “Treat others the way you want to be treated”, which afterall, is just a variation on the Golden Rule.

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