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Monday, July 30, 2012

Manners Anyone?

The Decline of Manners
Stephanie Pettitt 

In a NY Times article from 11/1/11, Kim Severson opines that manners are on the decline, but nowhere more obvious than in the south.  As a longtime southerner myself, I find there may be some credence to her statement.  People holding doors, pulling chairs, or even smiling and saying hello as you pass seem to be the exception rather than the norm.

Some argue that people, especially southerners, are more willing to speak their minds, while others argue social graces, please/thank you, and table manners are simply not as important as they used to be, particularly because the world is less formal than it was.  Others argue that the southern charm was simply a tool to enforce social or racial classes. 

Here is the article:

What do you think?  Do you notice a decline in general manners?  Are people more rude or impolite than you remember?  What do you attribute this to?  Is this a good thing?

I just returned from a wedding in Charleston and was appalled at just how awful the manners were through my travels and the experience.  There were people pushing others in the airport, yelling at the skycaps because the plane was delayed, demanding money, freebies and refunds (it was only 45 minutes late).  When we checked into our hotel, the clerk was typing on her keyboard, looked up and never said "welcome, can I help you" she waited for us to start talking to her.  It was more than a lack of customer service (which was also phenomenally bad) but just a general lack of kindness to others. 

No one said thank you or excuse me, no one held doors or pulled chairs.  My sister, in her wedding dress, had to open and close her own limo door because the driver was on the phone and couldn't be bothered.  Her maid of honor was holding the train of her dress so it wouldn't get wet in the puddle the driver pulled up in.

I don't understand when any of this became OK.  These manners aren't about which fork to use or leaving your glass on the table when someone toasts you- these are the manners that tell people about who you are, the simple kindesses extended to others. There is commercial out now that kind of sums it all up (I think for a car insurance)- do something kind for one person and someone else may see it and do something kind for someone else.  It doesn't take much to open a door, smile, or say please.  Someone else may notice and do something kind for another.


Maura Goldberg COM101 6002 said...

Pulleeezzzz! Etiquette and manners have been tossed aside. My husband has always had great manners when holding the door, being polite & doing the things our Grandparents would have expected. Politeness is becoming a thing of the past.

taboada hn4041 said...

i think its so many peope are wrapped up about themselves and what they got to do. like holding a door for 5 sec will intrude on them and make a difference and guess what it does, but a good one, many people notice that and sometimes are surprised that you did it. Thats how bad manners are gone

dulcenea leae com101-4041 said...

A lot of parents/adults aren't influencing their children in manners as well. My nephews and nieces would never get something they want without the right words in asking and what to say afterwards. Adults nowadays are just forgetting how to be nice/polite. Thats so sad.

Dane Gerace Com101-6002 said...

Very true, when I do random nice things for people, like holding a door or handing them the money they dropped, they seem so surprised. I even had to "train" my wife to let me hold the door for her.

Anonymous said...

Manners are gone. It's even apparent when driving and you want to change lanes. You don't get a courtesy wave for letting others in, let alone if you want over, they speed up just so they can be in front of you still. The people behind you tailgate you and are angry if you let someone else in when they don't think you should.

It's as if being nice, getting a door, thank you, your welcome, giving etc... are seen as signs of weakness now. You're just a doormat for everyone to walk over because you didn't assert your right to everything and think the world revolved around you.

Part of it might be related to a faster life style, where we think I have to get there before the guy in front of me does or I'll lose out.

Ryan Clift
Com 101-4049

Anonymous said...

I may sound a little anti-feminist but I personally feel like a lot of manners went out the door when chivalry did and I think a lot of it has to do with women rights. Now I know all manners don't complete relate to men holding the door out for women, and pulling out chairs etc. but most of the time in the past men were expected to do these things. Recently I witnessed a women freak out on a man because he held the door for her screaming that she could do it herself because women are equal to men. It's just funny because I would have held the door for her and she would have been fine. Isn't that creating the separation. Anyways, People lost manners a long time ago and technology probably has a lot to do with it. I work at a restaurant and people often don't even look up from there phones to take an order. Really? you have kids at the table and thats what you want to teach them . People ca be disgusting.

Chelsee Henderson Com 101 4049

Anonymous said...

I completely agree, my sister goes to BYU-I and when she comes home I'm amazed at the amount of manners she comes back with every single time. It can be the simplest thing of just waiting for everyone to sit down and get their food before she begins eating. It seems to just be people don't have respect or consideration for other people at all anymore.

Taylor Bishop
Com 101

Anonymous said...

People these days hardly have any manners at all. The decline is increasing rapidly. It's like some people weren't even taught to be polite. Rude rude people out there need to straighten up!

Jess Kobayashi said...

Oh my God! I couldn't agree more! I was raised that "please" and "thank you" were just an absolute and there was never any questions on being respectful and polite. The way people speak to each other today is just awful, and carries over to many other issues. I don't know when "free speech" ever meant you are able to harass and belittle people to their faces and on social media sites as well! Bullying, I believe, is a direct result of the lack of respect taught for one another. Not only that, but can I tell you how many times I was almost run down in a parking lot when I was pregnant walking with my toddler? As if yielding to a pedistrian is just too much for people to handle these days. I believe a lot of this stems from changes at home. We are socitety where most households are dual income and no one is able to be at home with the children. Think about it, if a mom or dad is at home with the child everyday, they are able to teach their children these things themselves. When a child enters a daycare program and now is 1 of 20, less time is focused on each child and certain behaviors are overlooked. It is unfortunate that something so important gets left behind. - Jess Kobayashi, COM 101

Anonymous said...

I think manners are generally long gone! I, personally, think that I have great manners.. I hold doors, say "please and thank you", and always treat people with initial respect.. That being said, it has made it more evident to me that people lack basic manners. Working in a restaurant in a vacation spot (the strip) I get to meet people from all over the world, I would say only about 20% of the customers act respectful, with manners.. As for the others, I don't know if it has something to do with people being on vacation.. Everyone acts entitled, and self absorbed. They don't care about their surroundings- they want things and they want them now!! I think this has a lot to do with 'image' and the importance people put on superficial things.. Their appearance becomes primary and everything else is secondary.. I recently visited New York.. And usually they get a bad rep of being jerks. I think New Yorkers are a perfect example for this.. I found that there are many nice, polite people in New York- however, everyone is so busy that they don't take the time to even think about manners.. " I need to get from point A to point B- get out of my way!" I don't find anything wrong with the hustle and bustle of a city.. But can't we just do it with a smile and a little politeness?

Jason Mejia COM 101

Katrin Clyde said...

Chelsee totally typed exactly what I was thinking to write. I agree since women's rights women feel like they don't need a man they can handle themselves and I think it kind of messes with a man's ego and it makes things like that not so important to men and it's really about the struggle between the way men and women have treated each other over the years manner's really depend on the person in my opinion

Anonymous said...

i've noticed manners no longer apply lately in our society i have held doors open for a entire movie theater before i was thankful for the few who kinda told me thankful and others ignored my kindness. much of peoples manners usually starts in there own home though people mimic there parents teaching so many they just never were told about manners and whats polite to others.

austin rains
com 101

Anonymous said...

This article angers me. I am huge on manners and always make sure my kids say please and thank yous. My son is only 1 and knows if he wants anything to ask politely with a please. It disgust me to see the younger kids these days be so oblivious to the manners i was taught growing up. Just the other day i was walking right behind a student out the door and he didnt even think about holding it open for me. What really gets me going is walking into a crowded room to see younger kids sitting and elderly and pregnant women standing. Its horrible and im sad to watch my kids grow up around it.

-Megan Kazmar

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is very true and it's pretty sad that people now a days have no manners or respect for that matter. I agree that it's up to the parents to reinforce them on their children at home, and eventually take that to their work place.

MN COM 101