Manners seem to be dead. A whisper of a simpler time. When people still made eye contact with one another, head nods, handshakes, and easy waves. Everyone is too busy. Always occupied. Unaware of their surroundings.
On Tuesday I was about a foot behind a woman who was picking up her kid(s) from the same summer camp as I was picking up mine.
I had on heels. I was not stealthy in my steps. There were audible clicks rising from my soles. She knew I was behind her. We passed through 3 doors. Not once did she extend her arm while opening the door to allow me to grab the door. She opened it enough for her, passed through and let it close. Three. times.
I was taught to hold the door. A simple gesture. Acknowledging that whomever is behind you is a person deserving of courtesy.
I noticed a dozen or more lost opportunities for extending manners and courtesy during Wednesday.
I’d been analyzing and observing people interact and wondering what happened and when.
Then, at the grocery store on Thursday, I had a pleasant interaction with a stranger. We were both eyeing the myriad of ice-cream offerings in the freezer section. We made eye contact and shared a smile. Acknowledging our awareness of the others presence. The one he decided on was inside the case I was standing in front of. He smiled and made a funny comment, extending his hand – I stepped back and laughed at his humor. He apologized for making me step back so he could snag his sweet treat. I assured him no apology was needed.
I thought – “MANNERS! They are not dead”
At the checkout, a woman filled up the register belt. Then didn’t put the separator behind her things. Instead, I had to reach over her intended purchases to grab a separator. I felt rude. Simply not extending courtesy or considering the person behind her. She knew I was behind her. I was looking at her while she was looking at my shoes.
I thought – “What. The. Hell.”
Then I realized the 60 year age gap between Friendly Freezer Fella and the Register Renegade.
That’s the difference.
Of a different time.
Manners take little effort. They are a reflection of the person you are. Holding doors. Placing separators. Smiling. All of a different time.
Today’s world seems too busy for manners. Because we’re just so worried about ourselves and our exaggerated hustle (that we create ourselves)?
I challenge you to find the opportunity to convey courtesy, manners, kindness – it will make you feel good and the best part? Whomever is on the receiving end will feel like a real person who is seen. You don’t know who is behind you, the sadness they may be feeling, invincibility, or loneliness.
You can make an impact by simply holding a door and offering a smile.