Some people can be so rude!
As a teacher and grumpy thirty-eight-year-old; I have noticed an increase in the amount of rudeness and rude people I have encountered.
“offensively impolite or bad-mannered“
I am not sure what the reason for the increase in people’s rudeness is, maybe it is our societies continued focus on all things negative. Even my headline, with its negative spin, will statistically do better than a positive one.
Another reason could be one of pace. Western society moves incredibly fast and people get so caught up in auto-pilot that they miss the social cues where being polite can be inserted. I have experienced people expecting me to do something for them, which will put me out, without a simple please or a thank you.
However, I would be a hypocrite if I said I had never been rude to someone. I am no angel myself, I have had my moments where I have been less than polite. My husband continually reminds me of a situation involving a flower seller and the York Viking centre where I forgot my manners entirely. However, that was a rare slip where I was extremely stressed and consumed by negative thoughts.
There have also been times where I have acted out of selfishness and without consideration for others. I have walked around with a narrow-minded view and failed to see the opportunities where manners and kindness can be inserted. These have always occurred when I have been mentally at a low point. I have been too busy consumed by my demons and my inner critic that I have failed to notice the person behind me as I let the door shut or I have not let someone through at a junction when driving.
What is the point in manners?
As Colin Firth said in Kingsman ‘manners maketh the man’. I am aware that fifty per cent of the world are women but you get the idea. Manners are an integral part of civilised society and separate us from our cave-dwelling ancestors.
To show manners to another person takes an understanding of social situations as well as some degree of empathy. Emotional intelligence is often a skill that is overlooked when educating our children, but it is one of the most important of them all.
So would argue that embedding manners within education and parenting are an archetypal tradition. In this age of ‘you can achieve anything if you believe’ few people spare a thought for the simple things such as holding a door open for someone; they are too busy looking at a screen or trapped in their own mind.
Without basic politeness and manners, who are we? Are we just individuals who push and shove our way through life without a care for anyone else. If manners did not exist, the supermarket checkouts would be chaos as shoppers scramble and fight their way to be first served. People would just take what they want without regard for anyone else.
The concept of politeness and considering others have been embedded within me since childhood. My mother, like a sergeant major, drilled me with ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and would remind me to think of other people and not be selfish.
Although being a child it could be boring and annoying, it has served me well in my adult life and they are lessons I will teach to my children.
My children are not perfect and neither are their parents. My husband and I will make sure that our children are polite at every opportunity. This can get tedious but it must be done; it feels good when it pays off.
My son went for a play date at his friend’s house and was complimented for being so polite and thoughtful. I beamed with pride as my husband told me. That moment overthrew any academic achievement in the classroom he might have had so far. I would rather have a polite, well-mannered child that might not get all the high grades, than an academic wiz that is rude.
Mrs T’s guide to manners
Manners don’t cost, but they might make someone’s day
Manners cost nothing. However, do not underestimate their power. A simple ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ can brighten someone’s day. As a teacher, there are high and low points. A pupil saying thank you for a great lesson can lift the spirits and confirm that you can make a difference. Who does not want to make a difference in other peoples lives?
People appreciate when please is used when they ask you to do something. Do not forget that if you ask someone to do something, it is often to your benefit, not theirs. Examples of this are ‘please can you turn the TV over’, ‘please can you stop singing, I have a headache’. However, please should be used with caution when you try to get someone to kiss you; that reeks of desperation.
By saying thank you, you acknowledge that someone has taken time in the day to help you. I will always thank a cashier in a shop as a matter of courtesy. Yes, I understand that they get paid to do it, but that does not matter. They assist my day by serving me well, so I should thank them.
Also, by saying please, you acknowledge that they benefit you. They take time out of their day to help you. I dislike it when people announce they have a problem and then wait for you to come up with the solution. ‘I need a pen’ will not get you a pen; you need to ask and a please usually sweetens the deal.
Excuse me always helps
Cannot get through; do not just barge your way past. Instead, saying excuse me usually does the trick. People live inside their own little worlds of thoughts and feelings and often do not realise you want to get past with your basket of shopping. If it does not work the first time, say it again but louder, that usually works for me.
Check the doors
Always take a quick look behind you. Imagine you have a load of shopping, seeing the door is open, only for it to slam in your face because the person in front did not care to look. This might divide opinion but there are other people going about their daily lives as well as you and the last thing you would want is to be hit by a door or miss the lift by two seconds; all because someone else was ignorant of their existence.
It is rude to stare, even worse if you point and laugh
If I had a pound for every time someone has stared at me in a disapproving way, I would not need to work. I would be a hypocrite if I said I did not stare disapprovingly sometimes; usually at my own children. However, when I refer to staring at others, I mean in a nasty way. We all know the type of stare I mean; that smirk or sneer that says ‘OMG! I am so much better than you, freak’.
By doing this, you judge others which is never a pleasant thing to do. Judging people purely on appearance or what they do can lead to so much hurt and fuels prejudice. Everyone is different, so rather than judge them, why not help them or just stop staring and invest in Netflix for your entertainment.
Treat others the way you want to be treated yourself
This is self-explanatory. If you want others to be polite, you must lead by example. I am aware that we all have our ‘off days’ but is there any excuse for treating people poorly, especially when they might have helped you.
I doubt that people want to be shouted at or unappreciated for what they do. It is simple logic, be polite and kind to people and you will get it back. This rule does not always pay dividends but at least if you are polite and someone else is rude, you can hold your head high knowing you did the right thing.
If you cannot say anything good don’t say anything at all.
You are free to think about it, but please consider whether it is appropriate to say and how the other person might feel. People do not want to be constantly reminded that they are fat, old and quite frankly a bit of a geek; at least I do not. I am well aware of my flaws but I do not want you to scream it from the rooftops or use it as your form of ‘humour’ at my expense.
I know that this is easier said than done and in reality, we are perfectly imperfect in every way. However, what is the harm in trying every once in a while? Maybe if you are nicer to people then they will do more things for you, plus it will not lead to anyone having anxiety because you triggered them by telling a joke.
What do you think about manners? Are they necessary or just overrated?
I would love to hear your thoughts about this topic in the comments below.
Ciao for now beauties xx