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Social Etiquette: Right and Wrong

Updated on June 12, 2013

Social Issues

All right, growing up in a traditional American household, I was taught certain curtsies in order to be a proper gentleman. For example, I learned to take off my hat when entering a building, open doors (for women especially), stand when a lady leaves the table, help the elderly whenever possible, say ma'am/sir and please and thank you whenever appropriate. All of which I aspire to do; however, I'm sure there have been occasions where I wasn't the complete gentleman.

Now, that's all fine and dandy, but then there's the social faux pas in life that I was forewarned never to discuss in public. I refer to them as the big three: Money, Politics, and Religion.

It is forbidden! People contend that it is the center of most arguments and such subjects should be left alone to private matters. It is believed that people's beliefs are embedded so deep into their mental framework that they will defend it at all costs...perhaps even fight over it!

(There are other topics, of course, such as personal problems like alcoholism and homelessness.)

And to some degree, I agree with those arguments. I think people do have strong beliefs. I believe people do argue over their opinion. At times, people do over-react. And, yes, some people are ignorant and are unwilling to listen....But!...

I disagree with avoiding the topics altogether. I disagree that people cannot debate over a so-called "heated" issue. If someone wants to express their thoughts then they should, and once it's out in the open then it should no longer be classified as a 'social faux pas'.

In fact, I embrace such topics. Why? The main reason is that I want to learn. In order to learn about a topic, you must eventually discuss it. Someone can give you a point of view that you never considered...a sort of deep insight because they looked at it from a different angle. Also, if you discuss controversial issues then you can really understand how somebody thinks, how they rationalize things, and how they handle a debate.

So, let's tackle each one, shall we?


First off, from my experience, as long as you are somewhat open-minded and don't become belligerent, anyone will talk to you...whether it be Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, and so forth...So, with that in mind, it would be like having any other discussion.

Of course, not everything in life is perfect, and somewhere down the line someone is going to oppose a particular view or criticize a certain belief, whether it be in God, multiple Gods, no God/Gods, or just plain interpretation. As a result, people debate and then they argue.

Here's my counterpoint: Isn't that a good thing? Shouldn't we have multiple point of views? If you (you being the general public) are only exposed to one certain belief, then how will you ever grow as an individual?

Information is key in any circumstance, and religion is no different. And, most importantly, you learn how to communicate with someone who is different than you. Through discussion and debate, you learn how to adapt and alter your language so that you don't offend someone the next time.


Politics? Why not talk about politics?

In the United States, the nation is split just about 50/ versus democrat, conservative and liberal. So, why can't people talk about it? The argument here is that the nation is so split, with everyone being set in their ways, that starting up such topics as welfare and abortion would only spiral off into a nasty debate.

I must disagree. I think now, more than ever, discussion is vital. It's literally at the point now where every vote counts and every little decision matters for all Americans. Legislation voted on today can very well directly determine the immediate future.

People must talk. People need to understand everyone's gripes and complaints in order to flesh out a proper policy and come to a satisfying conclusion.


Money. Ah, yes, money. It's such a sensitive issue, isn't it? And why not? People don't want to discuss their incomes or wages. Why? "Because it's none of your damn business!"

Sure. I understand this mindset. Your personal income is a private matter. But I also see nothing wrong with discussing it. If someone wants to brag or complain about their income then let them. People shouldn't be ridiculed for openly talking about it.

Also, why is it rude to ask, "How much do you make?"

People react as if the question a personal attack if someone asks about their income. Many people automatically go on the defensive and are often hostile.

And I ask, "Why react that way? Is it really that offensive?" Honestly, it's just a question. It may be blunt or direct, but that's the extent of it. Money is just that, money. It's a piece of paper, a necessity that we all need in order to survive. That is all.

Social Interaction According to Me

Honestly, if I can't talk about those particular issues with a person, whether it be evolution vs. christianity, democrat vs. republican, abortion vs. pro-life, rich vs. poor, welfare vs. social medicine then I don't want to associate with that particular person.

My argument to the whole argument is that each person is different. No matter what, I will run into a topic that may offend someone or may be a sensitive issue. So, really, how the hell are you supposed to know what to talk about? I mean, I guess you can always be safe and talk about the weather, your current health, how your day is going but then what?

Sounds pretty boring me! (shrugs) If that's the case let's just go back to caveman days where everything was simple. Beat your chest, hunt your food, make some hand gestures, and be on your merry way!

(Waves) grunt...grunt.


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    • eslevy17 profile image

      eslevy17 7 years ago

      I agree completely. I've never understood why these topics are off-limits. In the case of politics and religion, they are literally matters of life and death for many people, and hurt feelings just don't matter compared to people getting killed in war or religious executions. The phrase "I'm offended" just doesn't matter to me. Besides, unless you attack the individual, there's no reason to be offended. Getting mad because your ideas were wrong is only ok if you're annoyed at yourself for having been wrong.

      WIth the money thing, I think it's ok to talk about it, especially if someone needs advice. I like to go traveling, and I once heard someone ask another guy how much he spends on his trips. The guy said it's rude to talk about money. So now the guy who asked the question has no idea. Why not give helpful advice?

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      I like you ideas of this open expression and why not? I think more consideration and courtesy would go a long way in our world today. Very well written.

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 8 years ago from Augusta, GA

      Thanks, Venting!! I tend to agree with you here, as far as to say, it's all based on perspective. Personally, me myself and I, "The Big Three" are not social faux pas. And what I mean by that is...I talk about them in public no matter what the situation. However, there are many people who believe such topics should be discussed behind doors, in private. It's ridiculous!

    • thisismeventing profile image

      thisismeventing 8 years ago

      Why have we decided that the three most important factors, in this our modern life, to be taboo? What has happened to us as a culture that we can't even have civil, honest conversations about our lives and beliefs, without fear of what.. offending someone else? Have our thoughts become so ingrained in our heads ( possibly by the constant repetition and reinforcement by the slant of the brands of media we consume) that someone who's opinion is contrary is offensive.

      Drej2522, that was an incredibly well written and organized, I happen to disagree with these as being faux pas but I like the way that you expressed it.

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 8 years ago from Augusta, GA

      Thanks there, blondepoet!! Occasionally I have something worth while to say!

    • blondepoet profile image

      blondepoet 8 years ago from australia

      Wow this is great you have some super cool thoughts expressed here.