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Where are our manners? 8 easy steps to get them back

 
 
Reply Tue 30 Sep, 2008 09:06 pm
Where Are Our Manners?

Quote:
Over the past few years, there have been countless discussions on minding our manners within our new modes of communication. Is it rude to text someone and ask him on a date? When is it appropriate to forward an email? Do we befriend someone on a social networking site we’ve only met once?

But while we’ve been debating the dos and don’ts of technology etiquette, it appears that many of us have forgotten some of the old school manners that our parents, grandparents, and teachers taught us"manners that have nothing to do with a keyboard or a monitor, but have everything to do with the long-forgotten Golden Rule. Maybe technology has eroded our brains so much that we can never go back to those golden days, but there are a few simple courtesies that I’d like to see make a comeback.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 10 • Views: 4,991 • Replies: 24
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NickFun
 
  2  
Reply Tue 30 Sep, 2008 09:25 pm
@Robert Gentel,
There are no hard and fast etiquette rules established for the new technologies. But I ask myself, why text when I can call her and ask? The only emails I forward are jokes and the occasional email someones ASKS me to forward. In the early days of the internet (early 90's) I had three dates with three women I met online and had three horror stories. Never again.

When I thank a young person now they respond with 'no problem'. I never suggested it WAS a problem. If I am ever on a bus or train (not so often anymore), I always give my seat to an elderly person. I don't offer it to a woman simply because she's female.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Sep, 2008 09:31 pm
@NickFun,
NickFun wrote:



When I thank a young person now they respond with 'no problem'. I never suggested it WAS a problem.


I think that's more a language problem than manners, but god how I hate to hear that.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Sep, 2008 09:32 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I just had a long discussion about this very thing with 3 co-workers today.

There was of course a bit of beefing about specific events, but on the whole several things were agreed upon.

btw, the ages of this people ranged from a young 27 to about 60.

It was agreed that people today seem more tuned out, or conversely, more tuned into themselves only. Literally not even seeing/hearing others because of being so wrapped up in themselves.

Personally, I do blame technology for a lot of this. It's so easy to shove earbuds in our ears, stare at a monitor or your iphone, seeing the world via the internet rather than the stranger sitting next to you. What an opportunity missed to have an actual conversation with another person, learning when to stop talking and listen, realizing how much we all have in common.

Also, the media, including the entertainment industry. Many people know more about what is happening in the lives of some actor or singer than about our next door neighbor. We're more wrapped up in the lives of a complete stranger we'll never meet, that the person living a few feet away.

Many people have forgotten, or getting more and more common, have never learned how to have a conversation. It's a world of abbreviations and text messages, where adjectives and listening skills are missing.

When it all boils down, it's all about communication. Think about problems at work for instance. Disagreements and problems occur when the lack of communication is a barrier.

One sad thing about a lack of manners is that there are so many opportunities missed to feel good. The appreciative nod when you hold a door open for someone....The smile you put on the face of someone during a random conversation in a waiting room. The realization that the smallest act of kindness on our part can totally make someones day.

I do believe technoloy has enabled many people to take the easy way out and isolate ourselves from the world, even while we are listening to music, texting, writing on a forum, doing everything in our power to make sure we don't actually see or touch another person. Sure that's a bit of an exaggeration, but sometimes I watch people out in public, and it does seems the knack for being able to connect in some way to others is diminishing. Some don't even realize others are around to the extent they don't even know to step out of the way, or not just walk in whatever direction they desire, regardless of others standing in their path.

Manners go away when we close our eyes to the world.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 04:31 am
@chai2,
I've found that the number of people -- particularly younger ones -- who look me in the eye when speaking seems to decline every year. So much so that I really appreciate the people who do, and I make an effort to engage them in some way (e. g. tell them to have a good weekend or whatever, to give them more than just my order or whatever) but not take up too much of their time as they're usually busy people.

I've also found in my field, because it's IT and because a lot of the folks weren't born here, there are a lot of issues with missed communications and hurt feelings. I fell into the role of diplomat; if something has to be explained or requested, I'm the one who does it because I can do it in a way that doesn't create a problem. Oof.
0 Replies
 
Diane
 
  0  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 10:33 am
bookmark
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 11:02 am
@Diane,
I think there is a difference between "manners" and "courtesy". Manners to me is a set of social rituals and rules... where as courtesy is thinking about the needs and feelings of those around you.

I don't care a bit about manners. Many of the rules of the past made a big mistake; focusing on the rituals and rules over the more important relationships involved. I enjoy breaking social conventions that I feel are meaningless-- and I find that breaking them often has a positive effect on society.

Interestingly, every point in the article Robert posted was a point of courtesy (not manners). In this case I agree with them.

The one point I question is whether things are really worse now than they were in the past. The well-mannered people of the past could be quite discourteous.

This may be another case where the idealized mythology of the "good old days" is not based on reality.


chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 11:34 am
@ebrown p,
Then use the word courtesy ebrown.

Or thoughtfullness.

Through the generations there have been affectations, like sticking out your pinkie, which was meaningless.

To me, minding your manners means not the pinky crooking, but a respectful gesture to another person.

Manners to me is being gracious, something that never goes out of style.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 03:33 pm
@chai2,
Do you accept that good people can live meaningful lives without being "gracious"?

Being a good person means that you are caring to friends and family, that you stand up for what is right, and that you help people who need it.

I don't care much for small talk with neighbors or superficial expressions of affection for people I don't know or like. I really don't like the part of "graciousness" that means I can't say what I think. And I don't see why I should have to engage in idle chit chat an uninteresting acquaintance when I would rather be checking the latest poll numbers on my Ipod.

Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 03:44 pm
@Robert Gentel,
That post kind'a leaves us hanging, Robert. Whate are the "8 steps to get them back"? The last sentence in your cut-and-paste implies there's more to come.
barackman28
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 03:45 pm
@ebrown p,
e Brown is correct. Courtesy is superior to Manners( thank you--Emily Post).
I Think that we must strive to be much more like Socrates. In the Dialogues, there were questions asked-Why do you think? Where can you find? What would you do?. It seems that many people are so convinced of their probity that they never stop to ask --Why do you feel that way? or, Can you show me why you say that?

America, I am sorry to say, is still racist and sexist and many people unconsciously write off comments made by women and/or minorities.
Many experiments have been done in Psychology Labs to show that the first impulse of white men is to discount statements made by women and minority people.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 03:47 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Well I can't copy the whole article, but above the exerpt I linked to it so you can read the rest (note that it's two pages, 4 of the tips on one, 4 on the next).
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 04:01 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Ahh, so. Didn't realize that the headline was a link. My bad. Thankee.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  2  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 04:34 pm
The list in the article seems to me to be a bare minimum to expect in a pleasant and considerate society. I agree that good manners and etiquette (translate that courtesy and thoughtfulness) seems to be in more and more short supply these days and as a society we are becoming more coarse and less sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.

Some of my pet peeves not necessarily in this order:

1. I don't require hand written notes anymore, but an e-mail or telephone call or an in person acknowledgement is mandatory from the beneficiary of a gift or somebody going out of their way to perform a kindness. Too many young people these days, and even a few not so young, do not appear to have been taught that point of good manners.

2. Responding yes or no to an RSVP is another mandatory. Somebody has requested your company, and even if it is another annoying solicitation for a gift for a wedding or baby shower or whatever, it is a simple courtesy to let the host or hostess know how many to expect. It becomes especially important if a a specific number is needed for a bridge party for instance.

3. As much as possible, requests for a dress code should be respected. If the invitation says black tie, and you have no formal attire (or just hate it in general), sending regrets with a thank you is appropriate. Showing up in jeans and flip flops isn't. Likewise, when the dress code is designated comfortable/casual, to over dress is almost as tacky.

4. To be civil and courteous in speech and manner seems to be almost foreign any more. That can include opening doors, offering a seat to an elderly person, etc.--I can't tell you how many times I've seen kids sprawled on the couch while Aunt Tillie or Grandma stands, holding on to her walker, because all the seats were taken. But it also includes not using language that could be offensive to some present, not thinking that personal insults and/or embarassing people is cute and clever, not belittling or embarassing your spouse or date by saying "Boy I wish _______ looked like you" or "I wish _________could cook like this" or . . . .

It takes so little effort to be kind or considerate at least to refrain from being unkind and/or inconsiderate. And it makes for a much more pleasant society.







0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 05:11 pm
@ebrown p,
Did I say any of that ebrown?

I certainly didn't say anything about superficial expressions of affection, or that you can't say what you think. Nor did I say you must engage in idle chitchat with someone uninteresting.

Sure one can life a meaningful life without being gracious, but it would be even more meaningful if one is gracious.

I am chai2, and I approved this message.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 05:24 pm
I was looking at the tips and there's one about saying please, thank you and you're welcome.

I find it incredible that people cannot be bothered to use these words yet I see this at work all the time by people who clearly should know better. I just put thank you in my sig line. That way I never forget it. I also try to let people know if something isn't a rush so they don't drop everything to give me something like a hanging hook for my coat (I'd like it at some point but no one needs to run and get me one because I yelled for it -- reality -- it took me maybe 2 weeks to get it, most likely because it had to be ordered. I did not suffer irreparable harm due to the wait).

Feathers are ruffled all the time by people essentially demanding things of one another and then wondering why the other person doesn't just snap to it. I've found that not only do please, etc. work but also the ideas of (a) telling people when it's not a rush -- so if you say something is a rush, you actually mean it, and (b) trying not to take up other people's time with unrelated trivia -- so if you're talking to them in a meeting or whatever, it means that it's something of importance to them. If it's not, you either let them go or are upfront about this only being of interest to Steve but in a minute you're get to something that everyone needs to know. It also helps to actually point out when you need for people to do stuff. I highlight and color people's names on email if I need for them to do something, and I try to be consistent with the colors. Maybe I'm just anal about it but my friend G___ knows that if he sees bold bright blue it means that I'm asking him to please do something.

I'm sure I've made etiquette errors at work and elsewhere (only human, etc.) but I do try to put myself in other people's shoes. I think that helps and, frankly, I think it's a sign of maturity that is sorely lacking in a lot of folks.
0 Replies
 
Nick Ashley
 
  2  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 05:25 pm
@NickFun,
NickFun wrote:
When I thank a young person now they respond with 'no problem'. I never suggested it WAS a problem.


I say "no problem" in most cases. To me, it makes more sense then saying "You're welcome". What does "You're welcome" even mean? Welcome where? To me, "You're welcome" only makes sense when followed by something like "... to stop by any time".

However, "no problem" suggests that I am happy to do whatever it was you are thanking me for, because doing so caused me no problems at all. If you thank me for holding a door, I'll say "no problem". However, if you thank me for spending all day helping you move, I probably won't say "no problem" because it was a pain for me to help.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 08:25 pm
@Nick Ashley,
hmmm.....

I don't like it when you say "excuse me" to someone, not as in you did something wrong, but like you want to get past them, and they say "that's ok" as if you're asking for forgiveness for wanting to get by them.

that didn't really come out right, but I think everyone's knows what I mean.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 08:31 pm
@chai2,
excuse me?

Shocked Wink
0 Replies
 
Nick Ashley
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 08:37 pm
@chai2,
Yeah, I get that. "That's ok" doesn't seem like a good response in that case. In fact, usually when I say "excuse me" people say sorry to me, for being in my way. (to which I respond "no problem"...)

Maybe people are just nicer here in the midwest Wink
 

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