Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Common Courtesies September 18, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

Is it just me, or has the world gone rude? I am so over boorish behavior, when it is really so easy to be polite with each other—not measure-the-distance-between-forks etiquette, but simple common courtesies we can employ to be kind and respectful of each other. Here are some of my suggestions, based on recent experiences, for how we might start:

        • If someone takes the time to determine, shop for, and give you a thoughtful gift, you can spend five minutes writing a thank you note. (A text message does not count.)
        • If a driver slows and allows you to change lanes in front of him, give a courtesy wave. (Better yet, start the exchange by first turning on your turn signal.)
        • If someone nearby—a stranger or friend—sneezes, say “Bless you.” If someone—a stranger or friend—holds a door open for you, say “Thank you.”
        • If your phone rings at the dinner table (or at the gym, in the library, during a meeting), apologize to the people around you for the interruption. If it’s urgent, excuse yourself and take it outside where your conversation won’t bother anyone else. If not, turn the dang thing off and check your messages later.
        • If you ask someone “Do you have children?” and s/he says, “No,” change the subject.

Feel free to add your suggestions in comments, and let’s all make an extra effort to be kinder to each other today.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is adamant that she will never give her baby names to her dogs.

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10 Responses to “It Got Me Thinking…About Common Courtesies”

  1. Wendy Wallace Says:

    We have become an incredibly rude society. I believe in our communication whether verbal or in writing, we should not use the “f” word or any abbreviation thereof. This is my biggest pet peeve because I feel it is incredibly rude, disrespectful and shuts down communication.

  2. clg Says:

    It really bugs me when I’m buying something at a store and the person at the checkout just chats away to a colleague while ringing up my purchases. Not sure why that irritates me so much but it just seems really rude! It goes both ways though, I think it’s also rude for people to continue conversations on their cellphone when they are paying for their purchases.

  3. Heather Says:

    This is so true. I’ll use it as a reminder as I interact with everyone today.

  4. Wolfers Says:

    If someone ‘ignores” you at the store when you say “excuse me”, don’t presume that she is rude. Don’t shove your cart up her butt. Might be that she is not paying attention to her environment or that she is deaf. I have seen that often, not to me but other folks. What’s one’s rush in food shopping?

  5. Kellie Says:

    If your going to be late to an appointment, call before hand and give them a heads up!!! Common courtesy!! Hate to say it….but my DH is horrible when it comes to this. Yesterday he was late to two appts and called 10 minutes after the fact on one and on the second one, the appointment called me wondering where he was and she was not happy – he was 20 minutes late! So aggravating!

    Oops….I guess I should save that rant for whiny Wednesday! 🙂

  6. Mali Says:

    I love your first point. It’s a major bugbear of mine. (Though frankly, with some of my nieces/nephews, I’d be happy with a text message or phone call).

    Good points from everyone else. I’m with you – manners don’t seem to be important anywhere, and cellphones seem to give everyone an excuse to be rude.

  7. Jenn Says:

    It really bugs me when customers need help and their phone rings they answer it and hold up their finger for me to wait for them. This has happened multiple times. I also dislike when people don’t say thank you for holding the door open.

  8. Hat Says:

    I agree with all except the sneeze “bless you ” bit..
    as I do not believe in the superstitious belief that lead to “Bless you”
    according to Wikipedia
    “One explanation holds that the custom originally began as an actual blessing. Gregory I became Pope in AD 590 as an outbreak of the bubonic plague was reaching Rome. In hopes of fighting off the disease, he ordered unending prayer and parades of chanters through the streets. At the time, sneezing was thought to be an early symptom of the plague. The blessing (“God bless you!”) became a common effort to halt the disease.[2]

    Another explanation suggests that people used to believe that a person’s soul could be thrown from their body when they sneezed,[1] that sneezing otherwise opened the body to invasion by the Devil[2] or evil spirits,[3] or that sneezing was the body’s effort to force out an invading evil presence.[1] In these cases, “bless you” or “God bless you” is used as a sort of shield against evil. The Irish Folk story “Master and Man” by Thomas Crofton Croker, collected by William Butler Yeats, describes this variation.[4]

    Another legend holds that the heart stops beating during a sneeze, and that the phrase “bless you” encourages the heart to continue beating.[1][2][3]

    In some cultures, sneezing is seen as a sign of good fortune[1] or God’s beneficence.[5] In such cases, “bless you” may be spoken as a recognition of that luck.[1]”

    Since I believe all these explinations to be both false stories and totally is contrary to what the Bible teaches about blessings from God, and the soul (its not something that leaves you, its IS you – body with life in it = soul) I don’t participate in perpetuating this by saying “bless you’ when someone sneezes, Also I say “excuse me” the same as I would If I coughed or burped to try and stop people from saying it to me

    And to suggest that this belief isnt held today, that of something bad will happen if you dont say “bless you” I have heard, in the past year or two acquaintances say ” someone bless me quick” if they sneeze and no one jumps to their aid.

    So please do not peg that as being rude because I don’t perpetuate falsehoods. However if you sneeze near me and need a Tissue I will be more than glad to offer you one 🙂


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