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Has Rudeness Become A Social Norm?

Updated on September 7, 2015
donotfear profile image

Annette Sharp holds a BAAS in Behavioral Science from Texas A&M. She is a counselor and motivator with an empathetic heart.

What’s happened to Respect, Courtesy,and Civility Ethics Toward Each Other?

I’ll just be blunt, without trying to be proper. And by the way, I've been guilty of this, same as most of us. So here goes: Showing consideration for other's feelings shouldn’t be hard. It’s as easy as opening the door for someone or showing honor and esteem to an elder. A polite remark for no apparent reason or a respectful attitude can go a long way these days. Unfortunately, disregard and disrespect seem to be more prevalent than ever

The Problem

I’ve been blown away recently with such a bold & blatant lack of Respect for one another’s feelings, generally speaking. Don’t we owe each other common Courtesy? Without the glue of Regard, there’s no substance to hold Respect together.

This doesn’t mean the recipient of Courteous Civility should have a grandiose sense of entitlement. It simply means we have an obligation to extend our Regard to others out of Respect for the individual’s feelings. It’s an unspoken kindness. Without it, a sense of selfishness is created.

Here's my guide for checking ethic etiquette:

First, Examine Your Own Fruit Nature

A different nature lives inside us, if we allow it. We’re constantly at war with ‘self’, fighting desires, both positive & negative, that must be dealt with accordingly.

If the fruit that we produce rots, it’s because it wasn’t nurtured. If we nurture each other with Respect, Regard, & Courtesy it’ll produce Civility.

The outcome will be healthy fruit! When we dishonor an individual’s feelings, it produces rotten fruit for that person in the form of disappointment, anger or resentment.

Second, Where's Your Respect?

Let’s have some straight talk here. Why bother wasting your breath suggesting you’ll do something, then not do it? It’s disrespectful. Why say you’ll extend a favor if you have no intention of doing so? Isn’t it easier to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that for you” or how about, “I don’t think I can promise you that”. I know, you really meant to do it, but never got around to it. If you can’t follow up, show Regard by informing them you can’t come through with the assurance. A simple, “I apologize for……” goes a long, long way. A casual disregard, by NOT following up, is tasteless. Don’t you know that it sends a message to the other individual that their feelings aren’t important?

Third, What Happened to Courtesy?

Better yet, why tell a person you’ll “….call in a day or two.” Or “I’ll contact you……” Two days go by, then three, and you still haven’t contacted them. By that time you’re off on another tangent, going on your merry way, figuring, “Oh well, they’re probably really mad by now…I’ll just wait & see if they call me back & if they don’t I’ll pretend I never promised & forget about it.” You may forget about it, or you may not, but I can assure you the one you never called back remembers it! You’ve just produced some rotten fruit for that person. To be dismissed in such a casual manner is humiliating, and, depending on the circumstance, down-right degrading. No acknowledgement is not a justification for bad manners.

Fourth, Where DoesYour Civility Rest?

Just throwing this in here subliminally.......How about how we attack others with words? That's when it gets personal. When the adjectives used to describe an individual or the person's belief are preceded by the word "you". Maybe your intention was NOT a personal attack, but when the word "you" was included in the verbal or written statement, THAT made it personal. Ever thought about rearranging your sentences, both verbal and written, in a way to be more constructive? Think about it.

Finally, Something to Ponder.

Before you decide I’m being overly sensitive, obsessing, or over-reacting, think about this:

Doesn’t everyone, regardless of whether they’re a casual acquaintance or not, deserve courtesy & respect, to say the least? Your disregard for their feelings will make them wonder, “What was your intent?” They may find themselves asking the question, “Is common courtesy not in you?” NOBODY likes to be casually “blown off” by someone they believed cared about their feelings.Besides, it sends a direct message that your feelings aren't important.

Let’s show some Civility! Doing nothing is worse than what you were afraid was going to hurt them in the first place. Maybe it just doesn’t matter to you whether you get back with them or not. Oh well. So you say, “Never mind…” What do you call that? Disregard. Disrespect, and uh, yeah; it makes you dishonest too, especially if you didn’t follow up with them as agreed. So what if you didn’t want to continue the friendship? What if you really didn’t want to go to the banquet with Fred? Get with the other person and give an explanation, for crying out loud!! Don’t ignore it like it’ll go away. There’s a way to avoid disrespect… honestly communicating. Show some Regard!


Last, Look at The Cold, Hard Truth.

Of course, we've got to realize there's some people out there that just DON'T care about your feelings. Bingo. The narcissist type personality, perhaps, or the inflated ego. And there are those individuals who just don't give a crap about others in general. Period. In the case of those, these words mean nothing. But I'd like to believe that all humans are capable of producing good fruit, whether they choose to or not. There's something about the fruit of Respect, Regard, & Courtesy that's contagious and seems to bounce off of one person on to another.

I used to believe it was too late to say “I’m sorry” until I found myself apologizing to a person I’d wronged 22 years earlier. I don’t claim to be the martyr for Apology, I’m merely giving an example. The point I’m trying to make is that Respect, Courtesy, & Civility with each other is the foundation for honorable Value. It seems to have slipped away & been replaced with the opposite: disregard, disrespect, & dishonor. The question is, “What are we going to do about it?”

"Emotional disrespect by rude disregard or abrupt dismissal sends a message (without words) that your feelings aren't important."

Wanna leave a comment? Go right ahead but....

Just wondered..................

Any observations?

Anything to add? 

No profanity please.


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    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      5 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Hey Swak917:

      Yes, that's rude and inconsiderate. It's also passive-aggressive. It's her way of firing back at him.

      He needs to be more blunt and just say 'call before you come by'. Plain and simple. If she wants to keep playing the whipping boy game, it's her problem.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great article! Love the bold honest approach. Maybe talk to ex's who lack consideration towards the new person. My fiancées ex put him through hell and tried to rape him financially. We're recovering but she's to inconsiderate to advise us when she comes by or changes plans to pick up or drop off the youngest (18 ur old) "kid" who she still treats like he's 10. My fiancée has asked her to let him know when she will be by so I can avoid her. I have no desire to "run into" her or even see her. I live here now. It's my home. I shouldn't be made to feel uneasy due to her inconsiderate selfish behavior of coming by unannounced. Thoughts? Rude, isn't it?

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      7 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Thanks Judyw. I appreciate your input. You are so right!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I just loved this article and shared it on my FB page. There definitley is a problem that appears to be getting worse in each generation. I love the idea of teaching our grandchildren expressed by one of the commentors. I think it all comes back to the Golden Rule - treat others as you want to be treated.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      8 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Thank you for commenting, soheilr.

    • soheilr profile image


      8 years ago

      So true that our society has lost any sense of respect or civility. One wonders what future our morals will have.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      8 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Richard: I'm glad to see you appreciated my article. Thank you! (Don't you wish everyone would take it to heart?)

    • profile image

      Richard Stephen 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for taking the time to say what needed to be said. Respect, courtesy and civility, I fear, are dying traits in our society. Let's hope for a come back. Good work!

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      8 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Span Star; Very good....exactly what I mean.

    • SpanStar profile image


      8 years ago

      I concur the thoughts you presented are worth reading. Issues which brings us to this place of disrepect is the ME Generation is still here. Look at our examples as adults in little league games. Allowing children to do whatever they want like not checking their room to see if they're building a bomb in there because we want to give this immature kids their freedom.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      8 years ago from Northeast Texas

      paradigmsearch: Thank you for your rating up. I appreciate the positive input.

    • paradigmsearch profile image

      Person of Interest 

      8 years ago from USA

      A truly excellent article. Thank you.

      More often than not, the more “Respect, Courtesy, & Civility Etiquette” that one sends out into the world; the more that one receives.

      Positive rating all around. Am now a follower.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      8 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Thanks OnlineHub! I appreciate your input and glad to share my writing with you.

    • OnlineHub profile image


      8 years ago from Fresno, CA, USA

      Excellent information about Respect, Courtesy, & Civility Etiquette. I like reading your article and thanks for sharing it. 5* plus recommendation!

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      irisobserver: You're right, my friend!

      Cheaptrick: I'm glad you commented on this article. You always leave a bright word of wisdom to ponder.

      Susanlang!! Boy, do we ever know about this! You are so right about us needing to stand up and not take any more crap! And you, Susan, are an example of tact & firmness in dealing with those situations. I want to be in an alliance with you in this game of Survivor!

    • susanlang profile image


      9 years ago

      And just after I said this I had to deal with some donkey wipes in a forum. Darn.. me bad. But sometimes it's needed to stand up and not take any crap. :)

    • susanlang profile image


      9 years ago

      My friend. I second everything which was said above and then some. And you're right many younger adults don't have respect for us elder's, heck, many older adults often forget to respect each other as well. It can be a real heartbreak when words are used to inflict pain! I'm so glad you said this because everyone needs to hear it.

      Good hub and I rated it up Annette.

    • cheaptrick profile image


      9 years ago from the bridge of sighs

      Hi'a DNF. Seems that folks have become so self centered that they have all but lost there humanity.the catharsis that comes with a sincere apology is interpreted as weakness these days.So sad that society is losing it's empathy and gravitating more and more toward Me,Me Me!



    • theirishobserver. profile image


      9 years ago from Ireland

      Great Hub - civil society is not so civil some times - Irish

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      heart: Glad you liked the article.

    • heart4theword profile image


      9 years ago from hub

      Yes, it does seem, in each generation, there is a loss of respect. Kids, aren't close to their grandparents, some don't even know their grandparents. I think this one relationship alone, adds allot to a childs life, in learning to respect their elders. Understanding the words of wisdom, they can adhere to. Great Hub! A subject not much talked about.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Veronica: Thanks again for your kind reciprocation! WE all live & learn, sometimes the hard way.

      Sarah: Yes, it does hurt when people we care for let us down so casually. Thank you for commenting.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Art 4 Life: You & I both know the motivation behind this one, now don't we? Glad you liked it. Trouble is, it's the 'trigger' for the motivation that causes me turmoil. Oh well, we win some, we lose some.

      Lorlie: Making amends to those we've hurt is one of our 12 steps. Wish all would abide by it, but like I said, not everyone we come in contact with really gives a hoot & hades about our feelings. And THAT, my friend, is what causes our 'fruit' to spoil!

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Samboian: Thanks! You've got a good point. That's why it's up to us to teach our grandchildren how to respect others.

      Maven: I know what you mean about cultural differences when it comes to respect. What may be acceptable in one area, may be the norm in another. I've seen the difference in urban to rural also. But the big difference was the northern cities from the southern cities. That would make a good social psychology paper!

    • profile image

      Sarah H. 

      9 years ago

      This tells it like it is. I can't stand when somebody tells me something or promises and doesn't call me back. Makes me think they don't care about me at all.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Hear!Hear! You raised valid concerns here Donotfear. I am constantly taken aback at the lack of all three.

      Like you asked: What are we going to do about it?

      On a personal level, I am going to continue extending all three regardless of how I am treated and ensure that I teach my children to do so as well.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      9 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      Thanks for coming out with such a well thought out argument in favor of common courtesy. I find myself 'making amends' these days for wrongs I committed long ago, and really, nothing is quite so cleansing.

    • Art 4 Life profile image

      Art 4 Life 

      9 years ago from in the middle of nowhere....

      As usual, dear friend, this was an excellent hub. I am standing up, applauding the words you have written...more people in my area could stand to read it, more than once..LOL...

      Thank you for publishing this hub, great writing,...I rated you up!

      ps..cute picture!

    • maven101 profile image


      9 years ago from Northern Arizona

      Excellent commentary on an aspect of culture that is rapidly disappearing...Let me qualify that by noting this phenomenon of disrespect is becoming more common in urban settings vs suburban or rural areas...I live in Northern Arizona and see quite significant changes in common politeness when I visit Phoenix or return to the Bay Area to see my kids...Folks here in the Sedona/Cottonwood/Clarkdale area are friendly to a fault... instant conversations with total strangers in the produce dept at supermarkets, at the DMV, in doctor's offices, politeness in traffic, in opening doors, in just smiling at each other in passing...There's something about large cities that just seem to make people uptight, passive/aggressive, and self-centered...At least that has been my experience...Thank you for this...Larry

    • samboiam profile image


      9 years ago from Texas

      Respect, courtesy, and civility are almost extinct in the which we live. It is sad to think what it will be like by the time my grandkids come along.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Jerseygirl: I appreciate your honest response 7 willingness to encourage. Thanks.

      Hello: Glad you got something from this.

      Debilyn: Not all will be receptive to a gesture of regard but then isn't that always true? Glad to share with you.

    • Debilyn profile image


      9 years ago from Garden City, MI

      Love this hub!! I too have found myself offering apologies to those I inadvertantly hurt over 2 decades ago. I received a mixed bag of responses; while some readily offered their apologies in return, others were not as receptive and still harbored anger and resentment. Although I was disappointed that everyone hadn't accepted my apologies, I still got the closure that I was looking for. No longer did I need to wonder "What would happen if...." because I now knew. I could look at myself in the mirror and honestly say "I tried". Once again, another beautifully written hub. Thanks so much for it!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Your subject definitely revival. It is almost non existend. Thank you for a wonderful writing and reading.

    • JerseyGirl profile image


      9 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Dearest DONOTFEAR:

      Your hub is well written & well pronounced.

      You deserve stars. A subject that not many people would

      consider to touch with a 10 foot pole. Loved it. Need I say more. Keep publishing:)


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