Perhaps it was because I was brought up being reminded to add “please” to the end of every request I made. Or maybe it was because I was taught that, when someone does something nice for you, it’s kind to respond to that deed with a “thank you”.
Either way, one thing is for sure – I’m over the lack of manners I’ve come across recently.
It all came to a head yesterday morning on my packed bus ride into work. I was standing in the middle section near the second set of doors. The traffic was awful so I put my two heavy bags down on the floor so I could be comfortable for the long journey ahead.
As the bus finally pulled up at the main stop in the city, the woman sitting to my right grabbed her bags and bolted up out of her chair and, well, right into me, seeing as there was nowhere else she really could go. (The Mamamia Team on: The moment I knew it was over with my partner. Post continues after video.)
Startled, I scrambled to grab my bags off the floor so I could let her pass, despite the fact the bus was still moving.
As I tried to keep my balance, she continued to jostle me. Still pretty shocked, I tried to make eye contact with her but she looked down, stony-faced.
Maybe I’d woken up on the wrong side of the bed that day (plus, this occurred pre-tea) but I decided to pick up my bags at a snail’s pace. I didn’t want to be rushed and pushed around by someone so rude.
Childish? Guilty. But I felt upset about the fact someone could get in my physical space like that without uttering one single word to me. Without even acknowledging I was there.
As I ruminated over it on my walk to the office, I realised the entire situation – me being upset and passive aggressive, her coming across as rude – could have been avoided. Completely.
A simple, "Excuse me, I’m running a bit late for a meeting, can I squeeze past you?" said with some eye contact, and I would’ve been all smiles and cooperation.
When, exactly, did good old fashioned manners become so very unfashionable? When did "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me" become optional extras when interacting with other people?
Surely situations like mine prove that not using basic manners can backfire. It can not just make people think negatively towards you, but make them go out of their way to not do what you want them to.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy; the more polite you are to others, the higher the chance they’ll perceive you in a positive light. Win win.
Let me put it this way: if your boss chucks a report on your desk, which way would you like to be asked to complete it?
Option one: “Hey, I need you to do this. It’s due no later than 3pm.”
Option two: “Hey, could you please have a look into this? I’ll need it by 3pm. Thanks.” (Post continues after gallery.)
Yes, it’s a highly basic example, but I’m guessing the majority of us would choose the latter. The fact is, using manners in conversation, in the office, with friends, in life in general, is tantamount to treating someone with respect. It’s a common courtesy. It should be non-negotiable.
Somewhere along the way it seems manners have become synonymous with weakness.
Too often are we told never to dare use the word “sorry” in the office for fear of coming across as a doormat. We’re told that going out and grabbing what we truly want in life cannot be accompanied by a "please", because that’s what pushovers say.
Please, like flared jeans, let's bring manners back in fashion again - I'm willing to put a cherry on top to convince you.
Do you use manners, or do you think they're unecessary?