parent opinion

In 2024, no one has manners.

I've just returned to work from maternity leave, and I am feeling a bit confused.

After an extended period out of the loop of a bunch of everyday stranger interactions I used to encounter daily, I am suddenly being re-acquainted and I have a question.

Why please, is everyone so.....rude?

I am not talking blatant honk-in-your-face rude, I am talking a lack of normal-civil-manners rude. Did I miss a memo? Do we not do that anymore?

Watch: 5 polite habits restaurant staff secretly dislike.

Video via Mamamia

When the bus pulls up to the curb to drop off passengers, there's no orderly line like there used to be waiting to file on after everyone exits - it's a free-for-all mish-mash of everyone trying to get on and off at the same time. 

When the elevator doors spring open there's no 'you were waiting here first, after you,' it's just a mass migration. 

When an elderly or pregnant person hops on a bus/train/tram, there's hesitation. I watch people scan those around them hoping they'll spring up first to offer a seat because, ugh, annoying. 

On a plane, everyone is standing practically ready to barge through the aisles as soon as the seatbelt sign goes off, when it's literally a single file. The row in front of you goes first - there's no race here. 


Same goes for the baggage carousel. Must you really stand that close to the conveyer belt, even when you can see I am trying to grab my bag?

Chatting to a colleague of mine who has recently re-entered the dating world, she's been shocked by the sheer number of rude men out there. No one holds doors anymore. No one knows how to use cutlery anymore. There's no 'you planned the last date, I'll plan this date' dance. She had one man in particular who had no problem just pushing that burden onto her plate every time. 

On the weekend she actually found herself thanking a date for taking the effort to hop out of the Uber he was picking her up in, to greet her properly before they both shuffled into the backseat. It'd simply never happened before.

It was a recent listener post on the Mamamia Outlouders Facebook page that made it all click into place for me. 

"How do we teach our boys 'ladies first' any more? I am conflicted," she asked the 40-odd thousand women in the group.

"After having a conversation with my 18-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter they are firmly believing that this is no longer okay. My daughter questioned why my generation felt we needed this 'special treatment' just for being a girl. My son questioned why our generation thought girls took priority over boys. I tried to explain about chivalry but even that concept seemed dated and hard to defend. What are your thoughts?" she continued.

Oh. Suddenly it all makes sense. Has feminism ruined manners? 

When women started demanding equality, we didn't mean we wanted to lose chivalrous acts altogether. The goal was to remove gender from them. 


Instead of ladies first, it's 'after you.' Has that message been lost in translation?

'Chivalry' is outdated, but that doesn't mean kindness, respect and thoughtful gestures are off the table. In fact, they should still very much be on the table - they should be the bare minimum of dating in 2024. 

But it's a tall ask for the dating-world given we can't even get basic public transport etiquette right.

I think we can blame COVID for making us particularly ordinary in this department right now. 

Forced to think about the 'herd' for the sake of driving down the virus, it seems people are over doing things for others. We stayed at home, we got vaccinated, we followed all the rules and regulations even when they destroyed our social lives and celebrations. Now we're free, it's all about 'me.'

No one has patience anymore. No one has any shame in putting their own needs above others. 

In teaching our kids to stand up for themselves and advocate for their own place and space in this world, we've swung the pendulum too far. 

It seems we need a bit of a social reset. We can't have our young people thinking this is what we end to basic manners.

Who's free to draft a send-all email? We need to straighten this out before the year gets away from us. 

What lack of basic manners have you witnessed lately? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature image: Barbie. 

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