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Common Courtesy

Joined
Oct 26, 2012
13062_341120219326398_1140319956_n.jpg

I saw this photo a few weeks ago and it's resonated with me ever since. History books and other types of media have shown us that less than a century ago, it was socially normal to, not only acknowledge others' presence but to know the people around you--in your town, neighboring towns, schools, etc. There existed mom-and-pop shops and there was an unspoken trust between members of the same community. My dad likes to share an anecdote that he used to be able to walk to the corner store as a young child and pick up cigarettes for his father. Today, that is absolutely unheard of. That's only an example, of course, as kids today would abuse that privilege if society were in the state it is now.

Other activities like lending and borrowing between neighbors is also obsolete. There's no such thing as borrowing a cup of sugar. As a matter of fact, when I was in middle school, my mother asked me to borrow a cup of milk from a neighbor while realizing she'd run out while baking a birthday cake. To this day, I remember the experience. The neighbor answered the door, perturbed, and treated me as I was terribly inconveniencing him. At the end of the exchange he told me that next time, my mother should go to the store if she needs groceries.

I've found the words in the image to be very true. Too often, I feel like I must implicitly make a gesture clarifying that my words or actions are friendly and contain no ulterior motives. How sad it is that kind actions are always questioned. Human beings don't even say hi to each other anymore when passing on the street. We'll do anything to avoid eye-contact with strangers.

I'm speaking, of course, only of the US because it's the culture I experience everyday. But when did we adopt, as a society, the "This is mine. Get your own." mentality? How much worse can it get? And can common courtesy, trust, and compassion ever return?

Very sad, indeed.
 
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Azure Sage

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I've noticed this, too. I always try to be nice to everybody simply because 1. I feel like it's the right thing to do 2. I don't have a reason NOT to be nice. I share a lot of things and I go out of my way to do things for other people. But I rarely see other people do the same. Referencing the picture you posted, I sometimes notice that when I try to do nice things for people (i.e. hold the door for somebody), particularly girls, they sometimes have this look like "Is he trying to flirt with me?", and I'm not. It makes me feel like I'm bothering them or making them feel uncomfortable by being nice.

It really is sad. I wish people didn't have to question the nice things others do for them. I do understand that there are probably plenty of people with ulterior motives, but not everybody has them.
 

All Might

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If you were to ask me, television is a huge blame for instilling a self-centered mentality on society as a whole. There's an egregious lack of shows that teach us the principles of goodwill and politeness these days; as a matter of fact, I can't think of a single one. The majority of TV today is just loaded down with stereotypes and senseless stupidity, yet people have the gall to call it "entertainment". One big example is Disney Channel, which typically (or all the time, rather) focuses on a main character, usually in a high school setting, who always tries to get their own way. They're not looking out for others, only themselves. Nearly the same occurs in adult comedy series, where parents are made to look like imbeciles and the kids somehow wind up on top.

Common courtesy is dying because we, as a whole, are looking to ourselves and what we want, as opposed to what we can do for others. Bringing a smile to someone's face really is more fulfilling than pursuing trivial desires. Sooner or later, the more stuff that you wanted and now have will merely leave a gaping hole in your gut, and you'll only come to feel miserable and empty. But helping out another person can be uplifting to a wearied soul. Spread the word: Seek pleasure, you'll find misery. I don't believe life was given to us just so we could squander it selfishly, but rather selflessly.
 

Dr3W21

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So I'm not the only one who's noticed this.
This reminds of me of Of Mice and Men, when Slim suggested that “Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.” I always distinctly remember this quote, because honestly, it's true. And the even sadder thing about this is, this book was written in the 1930's!! It's honestly truly sad.
 

Castle

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Yup. This is the world we know today. Unacceptable and inappropriate rude and inconsiderate behavior is the norm rather than the exception. People are mistrustful of others. I am mistrustful with others. I wish I didn't have to be, but in a world where the "me first" mentality rules and screwing others for laughs or to get ones way is practically accepted I am forced to approach every human being with the notion that they are guilty until proved innocent and that they must earn my trust and my respect before I will give it to them.

It makes me sad. I wish I didn't have to live in a world where I am forced to be so defensive. This rampant entitlement mentality has given most everyone the notion that they themselves are the only thing that matters and everyone else exists to cater to them. Throw in a world economy that's in the dumps where more and more people are poor and desperate and crooks are taking advantage of that instead of anyone trying to actually do anything to fix it and you've got an entire populace of @#$%ed off malcontents who couldn't give a fart about anyone else at best and are actively vindictive at worst. And at times, I don't care about anyone else, especially if they've given me good reason not to. At one point I would have, and I'd love to be able to again, but I've got enough to worry about myself. It has become the figurative dog eat dog world.

Technology sure hasn't helped. People turn to facebook and myspace and online forums and chatrooms and other social networking sites to ***** and moan and groan and bully and troll and kids never learn how to interact with others face to face. They develop to become people who are completely incapable of functioning in personal relationships.

And our so-called "education" system is the pits. Here in the States, it practically ranks third world. What passes for "education" in the US is absolutely abysmal. Students that "pass" never learn how to function. Everyone else is simply forgotten because what passes for "educators" just cannot be bothered with them. So called "educators" have no interest in what they're doing and barely know how to do it. But what's the point anyway, when there isn't even any application for a half decent education later in life with jobs and careers for that matter being as scarce as horns on a jackrabbit?

And then there is the matter of accountability, or lack thereof. Everyone from criminals to bullies to people who are simply unpleasant are practically given a free pass to exhibit as much inappropriate and unacceptable behavior as they want and no one can, will, or is even permitted to do the slightest thing about it. It is as though being an @$$hole has become a human right, and anyone who is in the least bit interested in maintaining a minimum standard of respect is simply forced to put up with it.

So, yeah. There are a whole myriad of complex problems all involved at once. I wish society the best of luck sorting all that out.
 

Ventus

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Would be pessimistic post:
Eh...the fact of the matter is, if I take my time to do something that benefits someone else and not myself, it's a waste of my time. That's the cold hard fact: if the objective is to succeed but I'm doing side things that neither benefit nor harm myself, I'm sucking up time that could've been put toward my objective.

I am not promoting that mentality, but I acknowledge its truthfulness. What good is saying "hi" on the street? Mayhaps the person you nicely greeted saves you from a car accident, but what's the likelihood? Simply put, being nice and involving oneself in other peoples' affairs is an inconvenience putting morality to the side.


my actual post:
I personally do not think the way people behave nowadays is totally from the shunning of common courtesy. I myself avoid most social contact because I'm shy. I'm afraid people won't like me. So I do not typically approach my neighbors or some pedestrians or any of that - I'm not trying to say that I'm a bigmachoman or any of that, I'm just afraid of other people's perceptions of myself. I WOULD be nice to people...but I'm just afear'd. :I

I promote common courtesy with friends since I'm close to them. Yeah, we take jabs at each other, but if we do need something and giving said something to someone isn't HURTING yourself, why not do it? Using your example with the cup o' milk, linkerbelle, I have to say your neighbor was quite the jerk. It's a cup of milk, how will being a good neighbor harm you or himself at all? I'm not saying to abuse people for their niceties, but a small favor here and there wouldn't kill.
 
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I think there is still some common curtesy but it has become super warped. Heres how two people now a days in my town Philidelphia greet each other. " Hey s*** breath hows it going?", Nothing Mutch c*** sucker how about you?" "Just been around town and your mom." Like wtf. i mean im guilty of this to but still how did this become socialization?
 

Castle

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I think there is still some common curtesy but it has become super warped. Heres how two people now a days in my town Philidelphia greet each other. " Hey s*** breath hows it going?", Nothing Mutch c*** sucker how about you?" "Just been around town and your mom." Like wtf. i mean im guilty of this to but still how did this become socialization?
It's sarcasm, a vocation in which I am well versed. Although this is not a standard greeting for me you can tell two people like each other when they address each other this way and don't end up kicking each others skulls in ... especially in Philly.
 

misskitten

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It's funny, because the OP makes me think about something my flatmate (who's from France, but moved to Norway this fall) said to me while we were out walking. A couple of people passing by me had said something to me, asked a question or something and I had just answered and chatted away with them. He asked me if I knew that person, which, of course, I didn't. I had never met them before. He then said that what he had just witnessed wouldn't have happened in France.

Now, of course a lot of us here, as well, don't really make contact with each other, at least not in situations where it wouldn't be natural for us to start up a conversation. Like passing each other in the street, especially not in larger towns, like where I live. But I find myself often striking up conversations with store clerks, sometimes other customers, like if I overhear someone talking about something I'm interested in as well or overhearing someone asking questions about a movie or game or something that I'm familiar with.

Now, people are different, but at least over here I find that most people, if someone they don't know initiates contact, would respond with some form of politeness. If we see someone who either trips or seem to be in need of help, there's usually someone who asks if they are alright, if they need help. If I'm not the only person witnessing it, I often don't even get the chance to ask, because someone else is already on it.

As for borrowing from your neighbours, I think over here it depends on the neighbourhood. I know one of my parents' neighbours came over to borrow some sugar some years back, and just a couple of weeks ago I had my downstairs neighbour (who I hadn't met or talked to before) knock on my door, asking if I could check my TV signal because she had lost hers. I ended up coming with her to reinstall her channels, and she was so grateful that she said if I ever needed to borrow some sugar or something to just come knocking, lol. I also think, judging by the impression I have of my neighbours on my own floor (I've only talked to them a couple of times) that had I ever had a crisis of some sort, I could probably count on them to help. My sister and her husband have a pretty good relationship with their neighbours as well, and have both assisted them and been assisted in a moment of crisis (like when my dad's car broke down as I was there to pick up my sister and niece to drive them to the emergency room - one of their neighbours happily drove them instead).
 
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It's sarcasm, a vocation in which I am well versed. Although this is not a standard greeting for me you can tell two people like each other when they address each other this way and don't end up kicking each others skulls in ... especially in Philly.
I know its sarcasm but I'm wondering how that became the standard way of talking?
 

Moonstone

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I agree with Ventus- I avoid people because I'm shy and don't think they'll want to be bothered with me. I take care of myself because I think it's the best thing to do. However, if someone comes to me for help, I'm a total sucker- I do most anything in my power to help and it's something that can really be an issue.

I can understand why the mentality is the way it is now. Most people aren't rude- they're looking out for themselves, and that's absolutely fine. Living in the city with the mentality I have ("help everyone who asks") is hard. There's too many people who want and need things, and there's only so much one little me can give. And even then, what I can and do give can go unappreciated or even earn some unacceptable responses. Why should I bother trying to help when I can't even feel good about giving it?

I don't think technology is to blame, though I agree it contributes to the problem- people prefer to stay indoors and talk to people they may never meet instead of meeting their neighbors. It also gives people unrealistic ideas about people in general that they take with them into the real world.
 

Castle

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I know its sarcasm but I'm wondering how that became the standard way of talking?
Well, the way I see it, being all "top of the morn" and pleasant to someone you already know likes you is kind of beside the point and it is more fun and more interesting to throw pretend insults at them because they know you're all full of @#$% anyway. Besides, it says something when you can talk to someone that way and be alright with it. I make fun of my mother in ways that would insult others because she's a stand up lady and she does the same to me and we laugh about it. I treat my best buddies the same way.

Marine companies tend to show affection through insults. Sports teams too. I wouldn't say this behavior has become "standard" ... maybe in Philly but it's not something I seen done more often than not.

LOL my highschool had a fund raiser for senior prom called "rent a senior" where students could bid to rent a senior for a day and have em dress up in weird ways or buy em lunch or whatever silly thing just for fun. Well this kid who sat next to me in class had a friend of African decent who was going to participate in rent a senior. Well, it was pretty obvious these two guys were friends because he was joking that he was going to buy him and dress him up as a slave. They were both laughing their butts off. It's just a way to be real and have fun. Friends don't have to say what they really mean cuz they just know anyway.
 
Joined
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Every generation since the dawn of time has lamented the death of human decency and politeness. People like to romanticize the 'old days'. I don't feel this generation is any worse than past generations in this regard.
 
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I am guilty of believing that genuine common courtesy no longer exists. In high school, I used to think that people were weird when they were nice to me, seeing as the majority of kids during that time were total jerks. This sentiment still reverberates now that I am an adult. For example, I tend to think that people are trying to flirt with me, or trying too hard to get me to notice them when their nice to me, even guys. No matter what I do, I can't seem to shake this feeling. This is particularly odd, considering I am usually the guy advocating against negative overgeneralizing, stereotyping, presumptions of others. I guess this is one of those learned behaviors that are neigh impossible to change...
 

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