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Save The Manners! - Etiquette dying out that we need to protect (or not?)

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Softly Spoken:
I have a pet peeve that keeps getting triggered and I wanted to see if it is just me or am I justified in mourning the decline of basic etiquette. I have read the debates about thank you notes being passe and outdated etc. A lot of etiquette questions on here include something along the lines of "Is this still done/not done? Am I out of touch?"

I believe that some rules of etiquette should NEVER go out of style and there is no excuse for not observing them whenever possible.
My personal Manner to protect? Keeping to the right.

In my elementary school there were two very wide flights of stairs on either end of the building, with four classrooms on each floor of the 3 stories. To get anywhere (recess, gym/cafeteria, etc.) we had to go up and down those stairs. To prevent total chaos, we were taught to keep to the right so one side of the stairs was going up while the other was going down - the classrooms would take the flight of stairs they were closest to. This is where I learned how helpful and important is was to stay to the right when you are walking in order to let other people pass by you, even if they are going in the same direction. There is a wonderful story by Dr. Seuss that addresses the silliness and rudeness of being unwilling to yield to another person.

ALMOST NO ONE DOES THIS WHEN THEY WALK DOWN THE STREET!  >:( I have been pushed into gutters and onto parking strips/flower beds by people walking 3 to 6 abreast of each other. The SS thread is full of anecdotes about drivers, but it seems if I want to find an SS all I have to do is walk down the street until I meet another human being. I see it at crossing walks, at the mall, walking downtown...I never see this wonderfully practical and polite method of space-sharing used any more! :'( :'(

So what about you ehellions? What etiquette you were brought up with and appreciate seems to be going by the wayside? Which rule or manner will you mourn if more is not done to educate and protect it?

Conversely, is there any fussy rule of etiquette would you happily stick the proverbial fork in, because it is done to death and has become bloated, over quoted and misused?


--- Quote from: Softly Spoken on June 29, 2013, 08:51:41 PM ---My personal Manner to protect? Keeping to the right.

--- End quote ---

I teach in middle school, and hall manners are also big issues for me  Very few middle school students (at least, from what I see) observe the "stay to the right" rule.  In fact, they will barrel down the hall two and three abreast.  They don't move to single file when traffic comes from the opposite direction, and they will knock into others (often painfully, and without apology).  The problem is just as bad in May as it is in September.

When I have time to stop, I stand in the middle of the hall and direct students to the appropriate side of the hallway.  Some try to cut across traffic in front of me anyway and others look at me like I'm making a huge imposition on them.  Other teachers use "stay to the right" signs.

I wish I had a solution for this.

I completely agree with the keep the the right thing. I hate it when there are double doors and one of them is kept locked so everyone is going and coming from the same door. It is really bad when it is a crash bar type door but still locked (usually a bolt at the top). Because of the peanut allergy I tend to hit the bar with my hip, arm if I have long sleeves on to avoid touching the bar. More than once I've pressed the bar down only to slam into the locked door.

The rule I would like to stick a fork in, is a bit of a joke now anyways. The no whites before Memorial Day or after Labor day. Fine for you all that live in places that actually have 4 seasons but we have Summer, July, and August. On average we are still hitting 90s in september and 80s in October. Then we start hitting hitting 80's again in April. I dress for the weather not an outdated rule.

I'd like to remind people that thank you notes are especially important when someone sends you a gift and you can't thank them in person. Thank you notes are polite and also function as a confirmation that the gift was delivered and received. It's rude to leave a gift-giver wondering if you ever received the gift.

I'd like to say farewell to the rule that one can not mention gifts on an invitation, even to say "Please, no gifts." If I don't want gifts, I do want to be able to tell people in a clear way, but according to official etiquette rules, I can't. Ridiculous.

I think most of our etiquette rules evolved for three reasons:

1) to keep people safe

2) to keep people from hating each other

3) to help one group of people insulate themselves from other groups of people

I'm all for hanging on to the first two, but so-so on the third :)  Things like staying to the correct side of the street/sidewalk/hallway are a safety thing, and they totally make sense.  Things like "don't insult people to their face" are a social grease, designed to facilitate community, and those make lots of sense too.  A lot of our modern manners, though, are hand-me-downs from Victorian (and earlier) times, when the well-to-do could afford to spend large portions of their lives learning which order to use their forks in for the sole purpose of picking out pretenders who didn't have the "breeding" (i.e. time/money/background) to learn that kind of thing.

On the other hand, some amount of discrimination is a good thing.  I don't feel bad about thinking less of someone for using textspeak in a business communication, for example, or for showing up to an interview in cutoff jean shorts - those are an example of not caring about etiquette as much as they're an example of "breeding."


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