Manners: Where Did They Go?


Maybe it’s because I’m from the south and people actually have manners where I come from. Or, maybe it’s just that the world is full of people trying to keep to themselves and avoid everyone around them. I honestly don’t know, but it drives me crazy.

When I pass by people (in the morning especially) I usually always greet them. Now I’m not sure why it’s not the same the other way around. I notice when I don’t wear makeup fewer people are friendly to me. Which by the way, is so freaking shallow, I can’t begin to express the depth of my disappointment in people sometimes. The truth is that the better you throw yourself together the better people treat you. That’s just the way that it works.

Last night my mom and I was were enjoying a nice leisurely walk on a hiking trail by her house and we passed by a few people who were the typical “Catty California Cats” – people from California who know very little about being friendly to strangers. A couple of people said “hi”,; most were just awkward.

For an example, there was one lady about my age who was walking by herself. I noticed her smile from a distance, but then as we approached her she gave us this really awkward wave and turned her head to look the other way to “admire all the beauty in the hills and take in the tranquil landscape”. The next person who passed by was a Monk, which I get why he didn’t say anything. He probably made a vow of silence. But what about everyone else? Did our culture make a vow of silence and I missed the memo? We really should all be a little more aware of the interactions we are making every day. When someone walks in the room look up. Say hello. Or, at least smile. I promise it won’t kill you. Chances are it will help lighten whatever mood you are in.

Another thing is when two people are sitting next to each other, text messaging back and forth while in the same room and laughing about something they clearly don’t feel like they can say out loud. Allow me to bring this to your attention: IT IS EXTREMELY OBVIOUS AND YOU’RE NOT AT STEALTH AS YOU THINK, WISH, or IMAGINE YOU ARE. If you have something to say about someone, tell the person to their face. If they are doing something to bother you, let them know. You also have no idea what is going on in that person’s life. So, be kind.

Don’t be a mean girl or a bully. There are already too many of these people in the world and we don’t need any more of them.  As women we need to be there for one another, support each other, and not beat each other down. Have respect and always be kind when you have interaction with anyone. It’s important. The world needs more people who cultivate good manners and positive energy.

OH, and another thing… eating!! Table manners. Yes, let’s please discuss. There are a few things here that are very important and I must point them out.

1. Chewing with your mouth full or with anything in it.

It’s disgusting. Seriously. Don’t make me lose my appetite. Finish chewing your food before opening your mouth to say something. Whatever you have to say can wait until that piece of chicken is out of view from behind your teeth. Ew. Just stop!

2. Being rude to the waiter/ waitress.

These are the people kindly running your order back to the kitchen, so that you can be fed a nice meal. Unless you want something “accidentally” placed in your burger or fancy pasta dish, I recommend you be kind to them. Also, waiters/ waitresses hustle to make customers happy and feel special. Not to mention, they are under paid, probably stressed out about a hundred things and would rather be surfing, with their family or anywhere but serving you breakfast/ lunch/ dinner. So, tip them like a respectable human being and don’t be a cheap, demanding little brat.

3. Keep your elbows off the table.

Actually, keep your elbows off ALL tables. This goes for meetings, your desk at school, dinner tables, anything. Elbows do not belong on tables.

That’s all for now. I hope this helps!

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Jennifer McDougall is a freelance writer, student of life and lover of spontaneous adventure. She grew up in a small town in Georgia but has lived in Southern California for the past 14 years. When she is not writing about some wild experience or creative insight, she can be found at the beach or watching “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” for the bazillionth time. Having gone through the relationship ringer, she is happy to have some great advice to share with the world.

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