8 Good Old, Common Courtesy Rules that We Need to Bring Back
Can we talk?
It seems to me that many of us, myself included, have become a little lax in the common courtesy department lately. People are inconsiderate to us, so we figure it’s okay to do the same thing to others, and so on, and so on.
Yet, let’s be honest. It’s really not.
I’ve been guilty of some of these transgressions over the years. And, despite my aging brain, I remember almost every time vividly because I’ve known I was being inconsiderate, which makes me cringe. What am I talking about exactly? All of the little daily actions that we turn a blind eye to, excuse for various reasons, and generally avoid because it’s become politically incorrect to take issue with them.
Well, as usual, here I am breaking all of the rules because I couldn’t care less about being politically correct, yet I do care an awful lot about common courtesy.
1. In the words of Marcia Brady, “Something suddenly came up.”
Have you experienced this?
You’re all set to enjoy time with someone and then they play the “Something suddenly came up.” card in any of its various forms.
As I recall, both Bob and Carol pulled Marcia over and gave her a stern talking to about her rudeness when she used this line to cancel a date.
Guess what? We all have other things that we could do instead of ABC commitment, but if you’ve said you were going to do something, dern it, stick to your word!
If you cancel ABC because XYZ came up, what that says to the ABC person is that XYZ is more important than them. And, anyway you slice it, that’s just plain rude. Plan around your commitments. Unless you require an emergency appendectomy, or are hemorrhaging from your eyeballs, buck up and show up.
The latest trend in this area is that family somehow trumps commitments to friends.
Even the slightest whims and desires of family members take precedence, and, frankly, I don’t buy it. Yes, family is important. I would do just about anything for mine.
Except blow off a commitment.
Unless, of course, said family member requires an emergency appendectomy or is hemorrhaging from his or her eyeballs. Or, naturally, got smacked in the nose with a football like Marcia.
2. RSVPs are not optional.
There are serial killers, and there are serial non-responders. Thankfully, we’ll be discussing the latter.
If you invite these folks over, you know chances are great that they will either not respond and not come, or will not respond and just magically appear unannounced on the day of the gig with their family of seven plus their three golden doodles in tow.
And that’s so not cool.
RSVP: Respondez, s’il vous plait. Respond if you please.
Maybe they’re confused by the French-ness of it all? I’m not sure.
We all know that replying helps the host plan. Think about it. If everyone acted as inconsiderately as they do, there’d either be fridges packed to the gills with leftovers, or a lot of empty plates at every hosted event.
And each, in its own right, is nightmare fodder for hosts.
If you get invited, and the invitation requests a response, then you respond.
The sooner the better.
The world will be a nicer place for it.
3. Greet me and thank me – it’s part of your job.
Is it really so hard for store cashiers to say “Hi” and “Thank you?”
If I can say these things to you with a smile while forking over $150 for three bags of groceries that used to cost $35, you can too.
There have been times when I’ve waited through an entire transaction and not one word has been uttered by the employee taking my money.
Who trained this person? Who is monitoring this person? Do I get a discount for dealing with unnecessary rudeness?
Oh yeah, and since we’re talking here, please don’t cross right in front of me when I’m wheeling my cart down the aisle, forcing me to come to an abrupt halt. I wouldn’t do that to you or a fellow patron, so, as an employee, you certainly shouldn’t do it to me. And, you know what, save your complaining to your coworkers about who did or didn’t do their job right or what the “idiotic” customer just did to you for your break room chat. It’s completely unprofessional to talk about it in front of others, and I really don’t want to hear about it while I’m bagging broccoli.
4. Mr. Serviceman, if I call you for a quote or with a question, CALL ME BACK!
It must be nice to have the type of booming business where calling a potential patron back is not worth your while. Two days, three days, a week later and still no returned call? Really? And yet, I’m sure this business person is the same one who is the fastest and the loudest to complain when his business volume is waning or when he has to deal with inconsiderate customers.
And, by the way, if you say you’re going to come between 9:00 and 12:00, don’t show up at 5:00 and expect me to greet you with a smile.
5. Bring back civility.
Diversity makes the world go ‘round. Think about how boring it would be if we all thought, looked, talked, and walked alike. The same applies to opinions. It’s okay to express your opinion about a variety of subjects, but it’s not cool to do so while demeaning the other guy who isn’t your mirror image.
We all have opinions. But they’re just that: our personal views or judgments on various ideas and interactions. Just because we have them doesn’t mean they’re the only right ones, nor does it mean that our opinions have to be static. Isn’t it kind of neat to hear why someone else might think or feel differently than you do as long as they’re civil about stating their opinion? At a minimum, listening to their views and what they were founded on will help you understand that person a bit better, it’s possible that the information you gain from an open exchange may modify your stance at bit, and it may even help you find a patch of common ground that you can both stand on while holding hands and singing Kum bay yah.
Well, okay, you can skip the Kum bay yah bit, but at least listen openly and respectfully. Also, it seems to me that if we don’t speak up once in a while about incivility as it occurs, we may be seen as silently condoning it.
6. While behind the wheel, focus on driving.
Do not text and drive. Do not read the newspaper and drive. Do not eat food that requires a fork and drive. Do not paint your nails, apply mascara, brush your teeth, or trim your nose hair while you drive. I’ve watched you doing each of these things, and I’ve gotta say, dude, it is a car – it is not your office, your kitchen, or your flipping bathroom.
7. Restaurant courtesy matters.
We attended a dinner with a group of about 20 people in a restaurant recently where 75% of the diners were up and out of their seats at any given time. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was like a 2-hour-long game of fruit basket upset. And we’re talking about adults, here! Take care of your business first, and then take a seat and stay seated. And, while we’re at it, unless you’re expecting a critical call or message, stay off your cellphone. The person texting you to set up a dinner with them the following week does not trump the person you’re eating dinner with at that moment. Unless of course, 75% of the people around you have left the table. Then, by all means, feel free to play endless games of Solitaire merely so you don’t fall asleep in your soup.
8. Let me finish my senten . . .
Oh, I’m sorry. Did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?
Do you experience this? I often do because I tend to speak softly and, as children, we were taught to stop talking if someone else begins talking, so instead of increasing my volume to finish my thought, the majority of the time I clam up. Cutting someone off seems to be very commonplace these days. It’s true that sometimes you aren’t familiar with the cadence of the people you’re talking with and instead of being done with their thought, they actually have more to say and you end up accidentally cutting them off, but more often than not, I think it stems from our desire to talk more than listen. With two ears and one mouth, it would seem a physiological sign that we should be listening twice as much as talking.
Okay. What would you add to the list?