I’ve been concentrating really hard these days on minding my own manners, because I firmly believe that Kale will do as we do rather than as we say, so I want to get a check on my manners now, while there is still a bit of room for adjustment. I’d like to think I am quite mindful of manners (except swearing – seriously, why am I unable to stop swearing?) and I have been making a point lately to say please and thank you, to offer help if I can, to open doors, and generally be a polite and mindful person. I figure if Kale always grows up with a polite Mama, then it will see natural to be that way too.
So, I am sure none of you will be surprised when I say that I’m discovering how impolite people are when out and about.
I hold doors open for a lot of people – me, with a stroller and a baby who social decorum actually indicates that I should be having the door held open for, but whatever, that’s a whole other rant – and I am amazed at the amount of times that the expected response of “thank you” is not forthcoming. I continually find myself acting like the politeness police and saying “you’re welcome” slightly too loud at their departing back, hoping that maybe a bit of passive-agressive shaming will remind them that what I did was a courteous thing, and the correct response is to acknowledge it and thank me for it, and HEY, why not pay it forward and open a door for someone else?
I have a theory about how people act in public. I think that people keep to themselves in public to the point of rudeness as a means of emotional protection. That, by opening their mouths and saying “thank you” when appropriate opens some sort of social door they don’t want to go through. Like, if you say “thank you” to a person, suddenly you are going to find yourself in a conversation about the weather, for instance, and people are just too busy and too caught up in their little bubbles to want to do that. By saying thank you and acting in a courteous manner and holding doors open for other people, you are acknowledging that something outside of you exists! And while logically we all get it that there are other people, we are simply too caught up in ourselves to want to admit that other people are out and about doing stuff too! And other people are busy, JUST LIKE ME TOO! Imagine!
I was told once that people keep to themselves because they don’t want to allow themselves to become the victim of a crime. In fact, my guess is that saying “thank you” and acknowledging a person is LESS likely to make you a victim. Criminals don’t want to be remembered, right? So looking someone in the eyes and sharing a social exchange is, in my opinion, going to lessen your chances of becoming victimized.
So what have we all learned today? Good manners = less crime.
Pass. It. On.