What happened to using manners?

Illustration by Emily Hsu

Remember back in the day when your grandparents or parents were constantly reminding you to say please and thank you? You probably thought that vital life lesson of using manners would stick with you forever. However, too many times have I seen people grabbing, pushing, slamming doors into people’s faces and overall acting very rude and inconsiderate to others.  Just because you’re having a bad day, or you feel like the world is turning against you, doesn’t make rudeness acceptable in any way.  A simple “thank you” can go a long way and sometimes even make someone else’s day a little bit brighter and more optimistic.

I’m an avid people watcher, and lately I have noticed the lack of etiquette around campus. For example, while ordering a coffee or sandwich at the café on campus, most people never say please or thank you to the person serving them.  That should be a simple and respectful thing to remember, yet so many people don’t say it, and I’m not sure why.  I don’t fully understand what the reasoning behind not using manners is, but everyone, especially around campus should be more aware of their actions and how it affects those around them.

What makes things even worse when it comes to manners and respect is the lack of chivalry in today’s society. I am someone that believes that chivalry is never truly dead, but that it has to be re-awakened from a dormant sleep. Chivalry, in some shape or form has always existed and it will continue to exist in a much lesser degree than what it used to be.  What happened to the days when men would take off their jacket and place it in the street full of puddles so the lady wouldn’t get her elegant dress and shoes dirty? Most likely, this gesture never occurs anymore because of its extreme nature, but it’s kind of cute. In our modern times a simplier gesture of opening a door, or letting a women get on the bus ahead of you is equivalent to covering up a puddle with a jacket. Despite the increasing feminist movements and women empowerment, deep down even the most independent woman can appreciate recognition and respect from the opposite sex.

It’s always a pleasant surprise when someone does a little act of kindness for you when you least expect. I’m a very independent woman, but I still love being treated like the lady that I am, and a few days ago I was pleasantly surprised. While walking out of the Student Union building with my overly heavy backpack, and large books in my arms, a gentleman opened the door for me because I wasn’t able to open it myself. That very short and rare moment of kindness and helpfulness gave me hope that not everyone has forgotten their manners or respect for women in general.  That simple act made my day a lot better knowing that someone was willing to help me out in a time of need.  So, say something nice or do a simple act of kindness everyday to a complete stranger and hopefully the world will be a better place. Whether you are a man or woman, please don’t forget to your manners on a daily basis, because they really do affect people more than you might realize.