I am constantly judging the manners of people.
Sometimes, it sounds like I fancy myself as the superior rule follower, the person who knows all about what manners people are supposed to exhibit.
Shame on me. I shouldn’t behave that way.
I feel like a lot of folks who are educators may have unreasonable expectations of people. I mean, we spend so much time teaching that I guess we want to depend on some people to simply know better.
That probably sounds incredibly snooty and judgmental. Sorry.
But I regularly get crabby about the way people conduct themselves. I wrote not long ago about people waving to one another (or not) on country roads. I’ve written about how people can walk past others and make no eye contact or smile or say “Hello.”
You see, I take it personally.
Since I take it personally, I am self-centered. For whatever reason, I’m offended and I make it about me. The other person is most likely oblivious.
When I was a kid, if you took food to someone’s home, you left it there. You could take an entire cake to someone’s home. Maybe someone ate only a piece or two. You left the cake there, regardless. The host would then bring you the plate back after the cake was finished. The only way you brought the cake home with you is if the host insisted.
I’ve been around people who think nothing of packing up the stuff they brought to your home in addition to taking whatever you offer.
Should I be offended? No. After all, if I offer to send something home with someone, I should not be upset if they take me up on the offer. Most people don’t, but why would I offer it if I don’t expect someone to take me up on it once in a while.
There was a group of ladies who got together and made an abundance of food once, and one of the ladies ended up taking a good portion of what was produced home with her, in addition to even more stuff. Some of those involved ended the day getting very little.
Yet most likely, there was discussion and this woman found nothing wrong with taking her share and then some.
There are plenty of people who rarely say “thank you.” Have you ever known these people? I personally know several.
I’ve heard a couple of folks in this category say things like “that’s fine” if they are accepting a gesture, but they rarely express gratitude or say anything that resembles “thank you.”
For whatever reason, the world they live in or the way they were raised does not or did not include learning to say “thank you” or being grateful.
Only a fool would purposely refuse to be grateful or say thanks. Right? So they aren’t doing it on purpose.
So, we can only assume people don’t know any better. And shame on us for expecting people to have the same ideals, upbringing or manners that we have. We are all different.
And why again, are we taking it personally?
As usual, I am writing all of this as a conversation of sorts with myself. I find myself getting my feelings hurt or my jaw set when someone dares to withhold proper manners. I immediately think they are choosing to disrespect me.
From here on out, I’m going to cool my jets when it comes to how I respond to others. You never know what it’s like in that person’s shoes. You certainly do not know what they are focused on or what they are thinking about. They may be having a terrible time and certainly don’t mean to be laxed in their response to us.
Let’s have compassion. When someone forgets to display good manners, let’s give them more grace. Let’s assume people are simply trying to get through life and are often doing the best they can do.
Did you hear me, Mark Tullis?