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What Has Happened To Society?

Updated on May 9, 2013

It’s a serious question. I am nineteen years old and already my mum thinks I sound like a woman three times my age when we’re out in public. Sure, there will always be a small minority who have no sense for the word ‘courtesy’, but lately that minority seems to be getting bigger and bigger. I used to hold doors for people and more often than not I would receive a word of thanks, but now I am usually ignored or given a look as if it to remind me that I am “below” them. Why? Who knows. All I know is that it is more than just the “youth of today” who have forgotten their manners.

Take gigs for example. My family and I went on one earlier this month, and naturally there were plenty of times when we had to stand up and let people pass to get to and from their seats. But where once we would have been thanked for letting them pass, it sometimes appeared that we were expected to be able to read their minds when they stood and talked at the end of our row, and know whether they had seats in our row or the row in front of us. If we stood and it was the latter, we were stared down as though we’d gone mad. If we stood and it was the former, they would impatiently pass us without even a single hint of appreciation. I don’t understand it. Since when was it so difficult to simply say “excuse me” and “thank you” on your way to your seat? Surely it’s just common decency.

Of course, it’s not just on foot that the human race has started to forget about manners. It’s well known that driving can often be a stressful experience, especially when traffic congestion is a matter. But that does not give people the right to act like stroppy little kids, pushing into the queue or not allowing people into the queue by blocking their way with their vehicle. Again, this is a small minority that appears to be increasing in size. What annoys me most is that some of these people are people who grumble about the ‘youth of today’, as though they are in no way setting an improper example for the younger generations.

The utter rudeness possessed by some members of society make a girl of nineteen sigh and frown upon the world like a cynic entering the final years of her life. Has the nation always been like this? Have I been kidding myself all along that it was once a well-mannered community...or at least more so than it is now? Perhaps it all comes down to the idea that people have become more and more narcissistic over the years. Maybe even this post is considered an example of narcissism from another's point of view. Individuality is key, and since the population of the world is considerably bigger than, say, a decade ago, perhaps people are striving to make themselves known, even if that means throwing respect out with the trash. My mother always taught me that manners cost nothing, yet now it appears it is not only the children who need reminding of this. Say "please" and "excuse me" and "thank you". Wait your turn in line. Don't glare or mutter under your breath rude comments. Hopefully - just like the 60s styled clothes did - the wonder of manners will come back in fashion.

What do you think?

Have manners started to become a thing of the past?

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    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Saw a young guy opening the door for his wife/girlfriend today so there is hope but why was I impressed and amazed? Thanks for your excellent article. Keep it up!

    • Gawth profile image

      Ron Gawthorp 4 years ago from Millboro, Virginia

      Manners are not a thing of the past but polite people are disappearing. You therefore are an antique (at age 19 :)) and a piece to be treasured. Smile and let them pass. They will find one of their own soon enough and then sparks will fly.