Are good manners dead?
I think being polite is one of the most important things in someone’s upbringing. I try to address people as Sir in professional settings. Even online I try to be as respectful as I can. It seems to me that other people do not understand manners and what is polite or not in today’s world. Take this article for example; (Manners, courtesy things of the past?)
Excerpts from the article.
Nearly 70 percent of the 1,001 people surveyed in an Associated Press-Ispos poll said they feel people are more rude than they were 20 or 30 years ago. Those living in densely populated cities said they see more instances of bad manners than those living in rural areas.
People now a days look at the values from 20 or 30 years ago as laughable. Why would someone walk around all shinny and happy like in the movies? Is Pleasantville such a bad place to live?
Aside from that movie being about a sheltered place from the past, it did have a lot of positives to draw from. People being polite and courteous towards one another in every day life can go a long way. Watching a stand up performance by Ellen Degeneres the other day I was really not laughing as much as saddened by her pointing out that when people ask; how are you doing? they are really just expecting a one word answer; anything beyond that would be considered a drag on someone’s time.
Ninety-three percent of those surveyed said they blame parents the most for the deterioration of etiquette. Others have blamed Hollywood and the media for glorifying crude behavior.
Hollywood at times really gets on my nerves, don’t even get me started on how they portray Colombia… but as far as rudeness I do believe that they have done their share of glorifying crude behavior, where thug, rough and bad boy images are representative of being ‘cool’. I do believe that parents are the most responsible. I know my parents were strict, but it taught me a lot about respect. I had to answer to my Mom, yes Mom after she would address me. Now something like that would be almost laughed at in our society.
Sonia Valerez, 41, of Victorville and mother of two, said she blames the increased population since the 1960s. She said that longer lines everywhere and the dog-eat-dog mentality needed to negotiate a crowd these days has led to people becoming increasingly inconsiderate of each other.
“It just seems like there’s people everywhere, you know,” said Valerez. “We spend so much time just fighting for ourselves that we don’t have time to worry about other people’s feelings. Nice guys finish last.”
Valerez said that she tries hard to teach her youngsters to respect the elderly.
“I tell them older people are some one’s parents, probably,” she said. “Treat old people like you would treat me. That’s where I draw the line.”
Is our society moving forward while forgetting the good things from the past. Some of the values that I think of when I hear the word respect or manners are now lost or viewed as antiquated by today’s standards. I used to be a gentleman, but after being in the dating world and even at work and getting chastised by women saying I can do it myself, don’t treat me like a woman, I lost a lot of that if not all of it.
I remember one day walking in the parking toward the office, I was new at this company at the time and back then had not worked with many women but this office was about 80% female. As I got closer to the building I see one of the people that I had seen around my department struggling with a couple of boxes. I asked, “Can I help you carry those.” She turned around with an offended look in her face and said “Do you think that because I am a women I cannot carry them myself?” I apologized and kept on walking. This happened in other occasions, to the point that I just stopped trying to help women carry things and even stopped holding doors.
Every morning as I enter the building that I work at now, I say good morning to the receptionist. When I first started here she almost looked surprised at me saying good morning. What is sad is that I am one of a handful of people that I have see do it. The receptionist herself does not greet the people that work for the company every morning as they come in. Greeting people to me is very important; it establishes that human connection that I think is missing in our society. While we all live in our own little worlds there is nothing wrong with building bridges with others by greeting people with simple smile or a kind word.
What is sadder is how our society sees the elderly. They are not a resource to us anymore but rather a burden. My Mother made me promise as a kid that I would never send her to a nursing home; I can only hope to be able to fulfill that promise. I think the concept of respecting your elders is lost in today’s youth, and the disconnection that we have with our elders even in our generation gets to the point that reconnecting requires complete rewiring. We try to empathize with our kids on how we felt that our parents did not understand us, or did not get us. I think today’s kids lack the sense that your parents know best, that I think our generation still did somewhere in the back of our heads.
So where do we go from here? I looked for guides to good manners and found this link. While it is a good start and it has a lot of tips for people that are parents, I believe that it takes making the decision that from today on I will try to be more polite. Say thanks, and greet people with a smile… and when you say how are you doing? mean it.