What Happened To Good Manners?

by Harmony Hobbs
Originally Published: 

Every time I turn on the news or scroll through a social media feed, there are countless stories of terrible things happening and people doing unspeakable deeds to each other.

There are many theories on the root cause—is it pesticides? Acid rain? Are our frontal lobes being melted by GMOs, or is the problem a lack of religion? What is the matter with everyone!

I’ll tell you what’s the matter. Manners. It all boils down to a lack of fucking manners.

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Mannerless assholes are breeding more mannerless assholes, and frankly it scares the shit out of me. The world will be one giant asshole pretty soon, which doesn’t sound enjoyable in the least. Do you want to live in a giant asshole? I sure as hell don’t.

When I talk about manners, I’m not just talking about a failure to say “please” and “thank you,” or looking people in the eye. I’m not talking about learning how to give a proper handshake, although I do think that’s noteworthy because I’ve shaken hands with a lot of dead fish lately.

I’m referring to the kind of adult who lets a door slam shut in a child’s face without even looking back. I’m talking about someone who can’t be bothered to let a mother struggling with a stroller go ahead of them in line.

I’m talking about the kind of person who sees someone trip and fall in the parking lot and doesn’t stop to help because it would take too much time.

I’m talking about people who interrupt, who don’t respect others, and who think it’s acceptable to ignore rules of common courtesy. People who think they deserve the right to take whatever they want from others without so much as a thank you.

I’m talking about entitled, rude assholes. That is what is wrong with our society.

We are all busy. I get it. Our lives are often amped to a pace that is nearly impossible to keep up with. It takes time to stop and correct your child. It takes energy to train your children how to behave properly, how to respect others, and how to wait in line.

Guiding our spawn is hard work, because parenting is fucking hard.

That’s not an excuse to skip over the part where you teach your kids how to not be an asshole. And if you think you might be one, too? Then you need to work on that.

The world does not revolve around you or your children. Kids are naturally self-centered and have to be taught that other people’s feelings and comfort level matter just as much as their own. If you aren’t willing or able to teach manners in your household, then it falls to the rest of us.

Maybe the rest of us need to do better.

Maybe we need to remind the people who need to be reminded, to mind their manners.

Maybe if we all banded together in vigilante politeness, everyone around us would remember that all human beings deserve kindness. It doesn’t matter if that person is different than you—you still hold the fucking door for them because they are a person like you and it’s the right thing to do.

I don’t want to live in a world full of assholes, and I like to think that you don’t, either. I’m doing my best to hold up my end of the bargain—how about the rest of you do the same?

And if you and I are in agreement in our quest for a more mannerly world, I hope that you’ll feel free to remind my children to mind their manners if I am not around and they forget. I’ll be sure to do the same for you.

Please and thank you.

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