My daughter and I were recently walking up to the entrance at Office Boss when a woman just ahead of us opened the door first. I reflexively extended my arm to grab the door, fully expecting her to hold the door open having seen us approaching literally right behind her. Nope. She opened the door just barely enough to slip through, the door practically closing on her back. I turned to my daughter, laughing in disbelief, and asked, “Did that really just happen?” How rude can you be? Based on the behavior I witness on a daily basis, pretty darn rude.
There used to be this thing called manners. Etiquette. Decorum. As a society, we seem to have lost all sense of what these words mean. The lack of these simple gestures has permeated every facet of our lives. Whether it’s the small things like a simple please or thank you, or a grander scale of following prominent figures into public restrooms and harassing them because we don’t agree with their politics … but that’s another conversation entirely.
Bad behavior has not only become acceptable, but it seems to be encouraged. The more outrageous the malbehavior, the more likes you garner on social media, right? So, is it social media that has caused us to lose all common courtesy? We’re all walking around with our heads down, staring at a little screen rather than paying mind to the world around us. Are we really that self-absorbed that we cannot afford one another basic kindness like saying please or thank you?
I’m a born and bred Jersey girl. Now, much like our neighbors across the Hudson River, Jersey folks have a bad rap for being rude. Maybe there’s truth to the stereotype, but I can tell you that if you’re in New Jersey and you fail to say thank you, you’ll get a sarcastic “you’re welcome” to point out your rudeness. There’s even a popular meme about it.
We hear so much about kids and teenagers being rude and disrespectful. If adults are out there setting such a poor example, we can’t expect their children to know any better. I have always taught my kids to say please and thank you. If we’re walking in or out of a store, I’ve taught them to hold the door open for someone coming in behind them or to let someone exiting walk out first. If they fail to do so, I call them out on it.
My daughter is in the Civil Air Patrol in Truckee. They actually have a foundations course in customs and courtesies. When they walk into a building their covers (hats) come off. They greet the senior members with a “Good afternoon, sir/ma’am,” extending their arm for a handshake. It all comes down to one word: respect.
Does it really take so much effort to show one another respect in the form of a little thing called manners? Remember, it doesn’t cost a thing to be kind to one another. So next time you’re walking into Starbucks and see a woman on crutches trying to also carry a cup of coffee approaching the exit, take a second to hold the door open for her. It’s not about special treatment, it’s just the polite thing to do — and I’ll thank you for it.