The Lack of Manners in Today's Society: Didn’t your parents raise you right?
Recently, I have been blinded by the sheer lack of manners of people in today's society. All around me, I am surrounded by rude people with no regard for the safety, concern or respect of the people who are around them and it makes me question their upbringing. Sadly, this world has become a very dark place to live in, and I feel like you cannot trust anyone. The more I look around at this world, I feel like people only have one thing they want to look out for: themselves.
I want to remind people of some pretty basic manners. I feel like civilization has forgotten and in return has created a downfall. Without manners and love for one another, this world will get darker and darker. Here is a list of some of the most forgotten manners that need to be reintroduced into today's society for a better community living.
Saying "Please" and "Thank you."
I feel like this was the very first set of manners I was taught when I was a child and yet, this is the most unused set of manners today! I walk into the local coffee shop and hear fellow patrons barely look up from their phone to mumble their order as they demand their coffee be done in a certain way without a please or a thank you. To be honest, it makes me want to scold them right on the spot! Did your parents forget to teach you the core basics of respect? It might be that person's "job" to retrieve you whatever it was you asked for; however, it is not their job to do it in any time fashion. You could ask for a side of ranch and they could take 15 minutes -- however, you ask for a side of ranch please, that waiter/waitress might bring that ranch a lot faster.
Saying please and thank you takes an extra two breaths and is more respectful. That person you are showing respect to is a fellow human being with feelings, thoughts and dreams just as you are, and therefore, they deserve manners just like you do.
Holding the door open for others.
My parents taught me that you are to hold the door for anyone -- it does not matter who they are: black, white, purple, green, male, female, young, old, baby, someone you love or someone you hate. You show respect to someone no matter what and you hold the door open. Period.
Today, I find it rare that the door is held open for me. I am a female. I do like the ideals of some of the modern feminist ideas -- however, this is not one of them. If you see me coming, hold the door open for me. I do not care if you are a male or a female, hold the door. I know I have arms, but so do you -- it's called respect.
Saying, "Excuse me."
Life has a beginning and an end with a lot of hustle and bustle in the middle. I get it, life is crazy during the in between, and people are typically running around like crazy dogs running away from a dog catcher. What I do not understand is why we as a society have lost the art of using the words "excuse me" when trying to get around someone or when we bump into someone. Since when did it become okay to run into someone and act like almost taking off that poor innocent person's arm did not matter to you? Oh yeah -- it never has.
Telling someone, "Bless you."
According to gotquestions.org, saying "bless you" to someone has many different backgrounds. The most thought of origin came from illness. In 590 AD, Italy suffered a horrible plague and the Pope issued a law that stated that whenever someone sneezed, people were to say "God bless you" and make the cross over their mouths, in hopes to keep the person from catching the plague.
Because a sneeze was a symptom of the plague, people who heard another sneeze and said "God bless you" took interest in the person's life. So today, when someone sneezes, and someone says "bless you," they are taking an interest as well. They want the person to know that they wish them well. While this seems like a minor act, it is an act that can go a long way for someone.
Using eye contact.
Maybe it is just me, but something that can really irritate me faster than being cut off in traffic is when someone does not make eye contact with me while having a conversation. Eye contact is key to any good conversation. It allows the person you are communicating with to know that you are interested in what they have to say and that you value their time. Therefore, when you have a conversation with someone, look them in the eyes and let them know you value their time and what they have to say.
Waiting your turn.
Like I said before, I know life is busy. There is just one thing I want to clarify with everyone. Your life is busy, but so is everyone else's. I have things within my life that I have to do that require urgency and I know you do as well. Life is about waiting though. Patience is a virtue, or so they say. You wait to go to school. You wait to graduate. You wait to get married and have kids. You wait to retire. Wait. It is within the waiting that you find that life is actually happening and your life is worthwhile.
Using someone's PROPER title.
The use of someone's proper title is so important in today's society, especially if someone has their PhD. I cannot tell you the lectures I have heard professors tell their students about the massive amounts of hours they put in for their degrees and how important it is to them, they be addressed properly. When in doubt, ASK.
And this concept goes beyond the PhD title. If someone is married or divorced, those titles matter as well. Calling someone a Ms. when they are truly a Mrs. can make someone upset. Make sure you know someone's title before you address them.
Basic respect for one another.
I don't know if it's just me, or if it has always been like this, but I feel like the level of rudeness that people have toward one another has escalated from a level one to threat level. Since when did it become okay for everyone to talk about each other? Since when did it become okay for others to use one another to climb their way to the top of the social ladder? When did the basic instinct of human compassion leave each of our hearts so that we became selfish? I know, you might think that these are not manners, but they are. The definition of manners is the way a person acts toward one another. So, when did our ideal standards of manners become ignorance?
I stated earlier that I agree on some of the ideas of the feminist movement. However, for the most part, I am a true believer of the old-fashioned ways. I believe in a man paying for the first few dates (and then lady, you better ask if you can pay!). I believe that a man should come to the door when he picks up a lady. I believe that a man should hold the door open for a female and open her car door. Ladies, by allowing a man to do this, it does not make you weak, it makes them more chivalrous -- it makes you a lady.
I think that with the rise of the feminist movements (and don't get me wrong, I want equal pay and other equal rights as men), I think women have lost their ability to allow a man to pamper them and to be spoiled to a degree. Today, a woman thinks she is weak if a man gets the door for them. You aren't. Let him get that door for you. This is not a sign of your weakness but a sign of his respect.
Modest is hottest.
I have four words for the women of today: put your clothes on. I am deeply saddened when I walk out the door and I notice women with their chests exposed and with their bottoms hanging out. I joke with my best friend that if the woman sneezes too hard, she will lose her bottom right out of her shorts -- and the sad thing is that the statement is true. Ladies, I want to tell you the honest truth. If a man is going to love you, he will love and respect you for the woman you are, not the way you dress. You shouldn't be dressing like a woman of the night trying to make a quick dollar when you are going to church to praise the Lord. That is not the kind of woman you want to be, or the kind or woman you want your future daughter to be.
Men, if you see women like this, do not engage. If a woman is dressing like this, she is damaged and is in serious need of help. She doesn't respect herself or you if she is dressing like that.
Respect yourself. Respect others, and dress to impress.
Proper sidewalk etiquette.
Back in the "olden days," it was proper for a man to escort a female wherever they went for her safety. It was also custom for a male to walk on the outside, nearest the road, and have the female walk nearer the buildings. This kept the females safe from flying fecal matter from buildings above, or sewage from the road that could splash the lady's dress.
Today, I think that concept still applies. I think that men should be escorting a female wherever they can if possible. The world we live in is full of hate and sorrow, murder and despair, and there is death all around us. Be safe and take precautions when walking with someone you care about. Traditions may seem old -- however, they can always be revamped to fit modern day ideals.
Proper table manners.
If you don't know proper table manners by now, I have to wonder about your upbringing. Are you actually a caveman? I am going to make this short and sweet because these are things that cannot be debated on.
No chewing with your mouth open. Keep your elbows off the table. Do not reach in front of others' plates. Don't talk with your mouth full. Ask to be excused from the table. Keep all "natural gases" and slurps inside your body at all times.
If you have questions about these table manners, feel free to ask your grandparents. I guarantee they will teach you some manners, because mine sure did.
While there are thousands of manners we could be discussing, I feel these are the most important in today's society. Without manners and respect, this world has nothing. We must all learn the art of respect toward one another to live in harmony once again.
Sher Lynn, the Generational Guru and best-selling author of Ties to Tattoos, Turning Generational Differences into a Competitive Advantage, is a speaker, coach and trainer in the area of Human Resources and Talent Management. Sher specializes in helping employers maximize their human capital by collaborating across the generational gap. Her expertise in human capital management and organization includes: workforce planning, company culture, training, assessments, HRIS implementation, regulatory compliance, strategic alignment, payroll, compensation and benefit programs. Learn more at generationalguru.com.