Friday, November 21, 2008

Shouting on Mobiles is Still Most Annoying Trait

cell_booth.jpg According to a new survey, speaking too loudly on mobile phones remains the most irritating thing about people using them in public. Cellular News reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Modern Mobile Manners survey reveals that more than half of those questioned found loud talking more annoying than ringtones or even taking calls while at the dinner table.

Nearly two thirds of those researched ignored calls from people when they saw who it was that was calling – with more than 80% lying about it afterwards. And more than three quarters regularly answered calls while having a meal with friends and colleagues – despite 60% of those same individuals thinking this was a sign of bad manners.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related: - Businesses putting lid on cellphone chatterboxes
emily | 6:23 PM | permalink

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Op-Ed Contributor
All Apologies

The New York Times

Published: November 10, 2008

I SOMETIMES find strangers’ manners so lacking that I have started engaging in an odd kind of activism. I call it reverse etiquette: I supply the apology that they should be giving me.

When the ebullient young woman behind the cash register at the grocery store dropped my apple on the ground, she smiled nervously, picked it up and put it in my bag, but said nothing. So I offered, in a neutral tone of voice, “Oh, I’m sorry.” This did not elicit the remorse I hoped it would — she simply grimace-smiled and said, “That’s O.K.” So I added, “Sorry about that — I really didn’t mean for you to drop that.” At which she stared off into the mid-distance as if receiving instructions from outer space.

A few weeks later, the skinny, 20-something gentleman manning the cash register at the pizzeria told me, “I can’t break a 20.” So I asked, “Would you mind terribly if I went next door and got change?” He said, “That’s fine.” When I returned, no thanks or apology forthcoming from him, I said in a flat, non-sarcastic voice, “So sorry — I hope I didn’t keep you waiting?” Confused, he shook his head no. “I forget stuff sometimes,” I said — a cue that went unmet.

How did I get here? I’d feel like a marm or a scold if I told a stranger that he has bad manners; so instead I wage a campaign of subtle remonstrance. That this subtle remonstrance was, in its initial forays at least, mostly lost on my interlocutors did not faze me: being able to sublimate my irritation was its own reward.

But I like to think that in some instances my behavior, by causing others to wonder what I’m going on about, may help to carry out etiquette’s mandate: to promote empathy. It’s my distinct hope that the person who is apologized to when she drops my apple is a person who will have an epiphany the next time someone drops her apple.

And yet, placated though I am by the realization that I am providing others with gentle, time-released lessons, sometimes the angry little man inside me wants more. Much more. To wit, an apology.

So I have become more explicit in my acts of reverse etiquette. The other day I apologized to a tall, bearded man who slammed his duffel into me at Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street. Then I told him, “I’m saying what you should be saying.” He responded, in toto, “Oh, right.”

Though this response could not be described as “blanket-like,” it nevertheless gave me enough ground to see that I was on the right track. I realized that I just need to be even more explicit with people. So the other day, when a stroller-pushing mother semi-vigorously bumped into me at Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street — this corner is apparently the Bermuda Triangle of manners — I expressed remorse, and added, “No one says I’m sorry anymore, so I do it for them.”


“My idea is that if I say I’m sorry, then at least the words have been released into the universe.”

She stared at me with equal parts irritation and faint horror, as if I had just asked her to attend a three-hour lecture on the history of the leotard.

I continued: “The apology gets said, even if it’s not by the right person. It makes me feel better. And maybe you’ll know what to say next time.”

“Wow,” she said. (The tickets for the leotard lecture were $200, or $500 at the door.)

And then, finally, came the words I have longed these many months to hear: “I’ll think about it.”

Henry Alford is the author of the forthcoming “How to Live.”
More Articles in Opinion » A version of this article appeared in print on November 10, 2008, on page A29 of the New York edition.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Manners Keep the World Civilized

Chris Lowrey

Manners are more important than simply not repulsing the person next to you when you eat. They are a part of a larger picture and come around like a carousel when passed on. When you pass on good manners, a helping hand will come your way when you’re down. When bad manners are passed on, it will come around to slap you back down when you think you’re invincible on your pedestal.

If we stop teaching our children manners, our society will be in a heap of trouble! Practicing manners leads to caring about others which in turns makes this world a better place to live. Teaching manners is the front line of kindness.

Have you ever had a stranger pick up something you dropped? They were taught manners which led them to be kind to you. Holding the door for the next person, giving up your seat in the waiting area of the restaurant for an elderly person, helping your neighbors search for their lost pet, pitching in when your coworker is having a bad day, donating to a worthy cause, supporting our troops regardless of your position on the war, serving at a food line for the homeless and hungry, forgiving even when we can’t forget, these are acts of kindness beyond resting the napkin on your lap while you eat. Practicing manners is exhibiting kindness. If we gradually become a world of people who have not been taught to care about how their actions can make others feel, as a society, we slide down a slope that will be most unpleasant when we hit bottom.

Manners are very much a part of our world. It is the gift of compassion that we can generously share, regardless of wealth. Manners are the heart and soul of the human race.

Even when you’re having a cloudy day and the thought of doing something for someone else is exhausting, (we have all been there), think about doing it for yourself. I was once told that there is no such thing as a selfless act, and I still have not been able to prove that wrong. Even when the kind generated for someone else, there is always a feeling of satisfaction and pride when you help others, thereby benefiting yourself. When all is said and done, the person you helped walks away pleased and you feel better about yourself. It’s a win-win result.

How is the best way to teach manners? By example! Of course with young children, words are required but more often than not, children will use their eyes much more often than their minds. Show them how good it feels to ‘do unto others as you would have other do unto you.’ Take some fresh baked cookies to the elderly person down the street, remember to say thank you to the waitress who serves the meal, give the stressed out mom in the grocery store a gentle smile that says you have been there, make a get well card for the friend in the hospital, or cut some fresh flowers for a random nursing home. Whatever you do, give some kindness direct from your heart.

There is not much difference between acts of kindness and manners. They are entwined into the core of humanity. Strengthen the ties that connect us and teach manners by both words and actions. Add to the glory of the human race.