Allow me to set the scene: You are standing in line at the gas station to pay for your purchases. Someone behind you recognizes the person in front of you and strikes up a conversation. That person simply makes themselves at home with their friend in line and you find yourself waiting even longer as essentially what they have done is cut in line. Did that person realize that they were being rude? Perhaps not.
In a recent poll conducted by Associated Press – Ipsos, as compared to 20 – 30 years ago, 69 percent of those surveyed believe that people are generally more rude today. What are the reasons people believe this to be true? Of those that took part in the survey, the majority believed that the lack of teaching of good manners by parents to their children was the biggest reason for this increase in rude behavior. Some of the other reasons include; celebrities, athletes and other public figures portraying themselves as poor role models; television shows and movies that show rude behavior; and people leading busier lives than they used to do.
So what types of behavior do people believe to be the most rude? The number one type of rudeness cited by those surveyed was other people using their cell phones in a loud or annoying manner. We’ve all been in a restaurant, in line at the grocery store or at the movies and someone’s cell phone chimes and instead of turning the ringer off and making a brief statement that they will call the person on the other end of the line back, they hold a conversation.
Other reasons that were nearly as annoying to those polled were; aggressive or reckless drivers; people using foul language in public; rude behavior on television shows and movies; and children behaving poorly in public. To a lesser degree, people find the behavior of sales people in stores, treating customers poorly or ignoring them all together is a real problem.
How do we fix this problem? It is true; the teaching of good manners and acceptable behavior has to start at home and early enough in a child’s life for it to become a way of life although, the majority of experts believe that it is never too late to start. In order to teach children good manners, though, the parents must set a good example. It is one thing to tell your children to say please, but it will set in much better if the children see the parents exhibiting good manners.
Here a few types of good manners that you could practice for yourself and pretty soon they will become a way of life:
1. Open the car door for whoever may be riding with you.
2. Reach carefully past someone to hold the door to a building open for them.
3. Offer your assistance to someone you see needs help.
4. Address a store clerk by “miss” or “sir”.
5. Write a thank you letter to someone that has done something nice for you.
6. Turn your cell phone to vibrate when entering a public place or if it is unnecessary to carry it, leave it at home.
Of course there are many more ways to exhibit good manners and behavior but this is a great way to start. Before long others will notice your sincerity. Good manners are contagious; spread some good behavior around.