An Argument for Manners
An Argument for Manners
Click, click, click sound the heals of my shoes. I’m late for work and rushing to catch an elevator to the ninth floor, but so is the gentleman already in the elevator and pushing the close button. Whoosh. The elevator doors slam in front of me. Obscenities held under my breath, I ask myself “What did you expect?”
Perhaps I dream to live in the society of Jane Austen’s prim and proper characters of Pride and Prejudice. Men hold the door. Men offer a hand from carriages. Unfortunately I live in a society where I often feel like the character Michelle Tanner from Full House putting her hands on her hips and uttering the words “How rude!”
When did manners become so terrible? How did we go from Gone With the Wind to Big Daddy?
Bad manners are rife in today’s society. From lack of consideration, workplace rudeness, bullying, classroom impoliteness, self-cynicism, and unethical practices, bad manners are affecting our health and the future of our society. Mark Twain explained, “Blame no one. Expect nothing. Do something.”
When did this steady decline begin? Throughout history morals have been pushed aside for the greater “good” of society. Take the example of women’s suffrage. Women with the goal of equality used shock tactics to attract attention for the movement. Women burning bras and a scantily clad lady liberty carrying the torch were just a few images portrayed by the media to encourage the women’s suffrage movement. So in order to promote women’s rights to vote, women threw manners and self-respect out the window. To this day women wear shorter skirts and lower cut tops to attract and keep male attention in the hopes of being promoted or rewarded for a job well done. In a society in which women still earn seventy-seven cents to a male’s dollar it is no wonder why women use these tactics to even the playing field.
Another example of a current decline in manners is seen thru the invention of the Internet and cell phones. These inventions have allowed society to distance themselves from their fellow men. This introversion allows people to lose all conscience thought of manners and respect. How many times have you seen a person in line at Starbucks on a cell phone completely ignoring the barista while continuing their phone conversation?
In addition, how many times have you texted or used your cell phone while driving? Alarmingly, according to recent polls by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one fourth of all accidents in 2011 were caused by the use of cell phones.
How do we stop the steady decline of manners? Take responsibility for your actions. If you have done something impolite then apologize and correct your actions. Once we correct our own actions it is only then that we can help correct the manners of others. Do not forget that correcting a person’s manners in public is rude. Pull them aside and inform them they have committed a social faux pas.
In close I offer some simple manners to adopt into your everyday lives. By observing these manners we can, as a society, lift ourselves out of decline and ease our social interactions.
- Hold the door for those entering behind you. Do not let it slap the next person in the face. This act offers a sign of respect.
- Do not laugh after passing any sort of gas. You have offended my womanly sensibilities and my nose. If you have passed gas (belching or farting) please excuse yourself. You have disturbed the pleasant surroundings.
- Reply “please” and “thank you” to show you acknowledge another person as more than an object.
- Remove yourself from a seat on public transportation if a pregnant or elderly person seeks a seat. This is a sign of a good deed.
- Always be on time.
- Do not loudly carry on cell phone conversations while in public. You are disrupting the social environment.
- When parking do not take up more then one space. Allow plenty of room for another person to enter and exit their car. This act offers a good deed and avoids scratches and dinks to each other’s vehicles.
- Always clean up after yourself. Leaving a mess is unacceptable. Littering is appalling. In addition, do not spit in public.
- Use the phrase “excuse me” when you have been rude. This act offers a sign of respect.
- Practice the golden rule. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”