The political ads have started and so has the mud-slinging. I’m sick of it already, and the election isn’t until November. Good gravy! What has happened? Road rage, bullying, shaming, name calling, hate…it’s all ugly, and it has to stop.
I think we have become lazy. Technology has permitted us to throw abbreviated words and acronyms out without regard to the receiver. We say things in e-mails we would never say in person. In fact, we use e-mail when we shouldn’t at all. The so-called ways to stay connected are making us self-centered and rude. Think about social media for a moment. Our messages are crafted exactly as we want to portray them, and they are done on our time table. We view and reply at our convenience. Real relationships are not easy; they are messy and inconvenient, but they are SO worth the effort of displaying some manners.
Manners as defined by Dictionary.com are “ways of behaving in reference to polite standards; a way of speaking to and treating others.” Do you remember the golden rule of “do unto others as you want them to do unto you?” Apparently, we like verbal assault and abuse because that is what we are throwing at one another on social media. We can wait for someone else to be polite or we can be the change we wish to see by extending better manners toward each other.
We have to all live on this planet together, and in some cases, in tight spaces. Remember to say, “excuse me” if you bump into someone. We can avoid crashing into each other if we are situational aware. In other words, pay attention to your surroundings!
Watch your mouth when out in public. Yes, we are all grownups. However, do we really need to drop “F” bombs at total strangers? What we say speaks volumes of our attitude. If you shout out foul words, chances are you are feeling crappy inside. Try using more positive words and light-hearted sayings; you might just discover your mood brightens!
We all love a great story, but try not to “one-up” people. “You think YOU had it bad, just hear about ME!” takes the attention from the other person and puts it back onto you. In some cases, story exchanging is OK. When you can, however, attempt to truly listen, ask questions, and engage in the other person’s story instead of insisting upon adding your own commentary.
When a conflict arises, be the first person to say, “I am sorry.” Then, own up to what you did, and sincerely try to do better next time. Telling someone how sorry you are that they took what you said wrong is offensive. In essence, you are blaming the situation on them, when the reality is you are probably the culprit. Whether you are a man or woman, manner up!
Thank you notes used to be the norm, then e-mail came along. Now with the invention of smart phones and social media, people don’t see the need to say anything to an individual any more. What happened? When people have to track you down to find out if their gift even arrived, then something has gone seriously wrong. If someone invests their time, money, and heart into a gift for you, why wouldn’t you want to tell them thank you? Send a note in the mail, which is the least you can do. Don’t be a schmuck! All etiquette gurus agree on this point: E-mail and texts are not sufficient. E-mail, of course, is better than nothing, but I challenge you to manner up and write a note. By the way, you have to actually mail the card!
Let me get right to the point here: RSVP means “Respondez, s’il vous plait,” which translates simply, “Please respond” in French. And yes, you respond either way. What has happened to us that we cannot even let someone—who has been kind enough to include us, by the way—know whether we will be attending or not? Pick up the phone, send an e-mail, or even Facebook, but RSVP! Even if your invitation doesn’t ask for one, be respectful. Parties require planning. Once you give a “yes,” be committed. Do not wait for something better to come along and either not show up after you said “yes” or cancel at the last minute. This is extremely boorish, thoughtless, and selfish. Consider the date and time of your social engagement booked. All other things will need to be scheduled around it. End of discussion.
Speaking of respect, honor people’s time. If they ask you to arrive at 6 pm, do not show up late. If you are detained, then call your host to let them know you are running late. Don’t assume everyone works around your schedule. On the flip side, do not wear out your welcome. If you know your host has to get up early for work, do not stay too late, even if you are having a grand time. This presents a great opportunity for you to repay the favor and host the next dinner at your place.
When included in an event, ask how you can contribute. If the host says you need not bring anything, think about getting flowers or their favorite beverage as a token of your appreciation. We can certainly show up empty handed at our nearest and dearest friend’s house, but if we truly treasure them, then why not spoil them? Somehow, we save our best behavior for people we hardly know, kind of like saving our fine china for the most special of times. Hogwash! Break out your best stuff for your friends, and give them your best, as well. This IS life; live it!
Some might think manners are out of date and old fashioned, but history proves to us how very important they are to society—like glue to the fabric. Without manners, entire cultures and societies have unraveled. I fear America is on this path if we don’t manner up—and fast!
What can you do? Open doors for complete strangers and say, “After you.” Help elderly people cross the street or carry their groceries bags. Smile and say “hello” to those you encounter throughout your day. Make a concerted effort to put your best foot forward as often as possible, saying “please” and “thank you.”
I believe respect starts with ourselves. When you show up to a store in your PJ’s, you have zero respect for yourself. Seriously? What kind of statement are you trying to make? “Too lazy to get dressed?” Back in the day, people would dress in their Sunday best to travel. Now people fly in sweat pants. In the business world, experts tell us to dress for success, meaning wear appropriate clothing for the position you want, not your current job. Start dressing better when you run errands. When you do, you’ll feel better about yourself, and I bet you will treat others better as well.
Be courteous: when someone else is speaking, listen! Don’t interrupt or step all over them. Wait your turn. Better yet, be an active listener and ask questions rather than jump into what you want to say. If we can all start Mannering up, I believe we can shape up, creating an improved society, one we can all be proud of. Yes, please and thank you.
Feeling as if your manners could use a tune up? I have a great report on Emotional Intelligence
that will identify areas needing improvement. We all need to play well with others and learn how to accomplish more together. I’d be happy to have a conversation on how we can make a difference together.