Manners Talk

Manners Talk


by Vicki Fleming on 05/29/14

When I was growing up, I can remember my Dad, who was born in 1934, having the best manners. One thing he would always do was to hold the door open for my mom, grandmother and two sisters, as well as any other female or elderly person before he entered a door or vehicle. He taught this same behavior to my brothers, who perform this act with nary a thought to this day.

But here we are in the 21st Century and things have changed quite a bit. Some individuals, both male and female, believe this behavior is archaic. Holding a door open is one of many chivalric acts that has slowly died off in our fast-paced, impatient, and, at times, selfish world. I personally appreciate when a man holds a door open for me. And I am far from insulted or offended by such an act, one which I still consider kind and thoughtful.

At the same time, I open doors for others regardless of their age or gender. If I see a man struggling with boxes, or a mom hauling a stroller while holding the hand of a child, or even a young person carrying a heavy backpack while maneuvering a suitcase, I always extend a helping hand. And even without any physical burdens, I will hold doors for folks entering or exiting an elevator, room or bus.

The question is what would it take for any of us to take an extra minute of our day to do this? It is not a gender issue; it’s an issue of courtesy. And regardless of one’s age or gender, encumbered or not, it’s also the right thing to do. Yet this act of courtesy seems to be rapidly disappearing. Some folks would probably say it depends on where you live ---well perhaps. I have observed in some southern cities, where the environment is less crowded and the daily pace a bit slower, that people’s temperaments seem more relaxed and they tend to pay closer attention to acts of courtesy such as holding a door for others regardless of one’s age or gender.

In my own lively, northern metropolis, rich in diversity but where emotional and physical stress is very high, there’s a tendency for these acts of courtesy to be forgotten.  Perhaps we’ve become oblivious or too preoccupied with what we have “going on” to pay attention to the needs of others.

Have we become slaves to our 21st Century lifestyle? Are we so besieged and inundated with tasks that we lack the observational skills to notice anyone else?

Or could it be the speed of time that keeps us running at a “feverish” pace? Has time become such a precious commodity?  Are we inundated with increasing responsibilities that must be completed in ever faster periods of time?  Are we no longer able to take the time to stop and help someone else, much less “smell the roses?”  But I feel I’ve digressed…

The real point is that it doesn’t take any time at all to provide a free hand to someone in need. And as far as gender stereotypes, we need to put aside old fashioned notions of only men holding doors for women. It’s more than that. We’re talking about human acts of kindness and daily consideration for one another. Believe me, the person who’s about to be late for work, running for that bus or grabbing that elevator door, will be highly grateful for your extended hand of help. And if one fails to say thank you, you could simply smile and say “you’re welcome.”

I understand this will sound odd, but for reasons that are too in depth to discuss in this blog, there are people, women included, who for whatever reason dislike a door being held for them. So just in case, please ask politely, “May I get the door for you?" This will give the other person an opportunity to accept or decline.

In the meantime, let’s keep working to return simple acts of civility to our society. I believe it’s not too late…

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Scroll on the far right side to get to prior entries. Enjoy the topics!

May 29, 2014
Hold the door please!

May 24, 2014
 Incessant Tattling: 
What can a parent do?

March 23, 2014
Could chores be one approach to teaching responsible behavior to our children?

March 15, 2014
Are our values reflected  in our manners towards others?

March 14, 2014
When is teasing no longer a joke?

October 2, 2013
Is it really necessary to YELL at
 your teen in public?

July 10, 2013 
Have We Become That Addicted? 

March 17, 2013
Are You Really Listening?

December 12, 2012
Setting Patterns Early Will Keep The 
Family Sane!

August 28, 2012
Why Don’t You Tell Us How You Really Feel?

July 22, 2012
It Is Not "One or the Other"

July 15, 2012
Please Keep It to Yourself

June 25, 2012
It's Not About Being a "Pick-Up Artist"

June 6, 2012
Good Genes by Chance, Bad Jeans by Choice

May 15, 2012
How easy is it to annoy your fellow train passengers? Let us count the ways...

April 27, 2012
Why Etiquette is Relevant in 2012

​April 21,2012
Has casual dressing gone too far?

April 12, 2012
Yes!  Even a toddler can learn...

March 28, 2012
Don't hit that "send key" without thinking!

March 23, 2012
I was happy in my pink and yellow dress, until it started...

March 15, 2012
Flying that comes with "no peanuts" but plenty of kicking and crying!​

March 13, 2012
Really?!...In the bathroom stall? 

March 8, 2012
 Should there be places that are just for   
 adults -- No C'hildren Allowed?

 March 7, 2012
 "Fingers or Forks with French Fries?"

​ March 5, 2012
 "Is a table a good place to learn  manners?"
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