Smile and…..TALK ALREADY!

In the regular give and take throughout each day of our lives, we are all alternately service providers or service consumers.  I’ve been noticing what can only be called a trend over the last several years. A serious lack of customer service, or more specifically, a lack of customer courtesy.  Certainly there are plenty of people who are polite, but more and more the cashier ringing you out, the waitress serving your table and the guy selling you tires seems a bit sharper, maybe a little edgier.   It begs the question –

Why are we being so rude to one another?

Today I might be your customer and tomorrow there’s a very good chance that you might be mine.  Common courtesy, however, seems far less common than I remember it being in the not so distant past.  Is it possible that we as a society have become more harsh toward one another?  If so, what has contributed to such a shift in behavior?

A full 79% of Americans indicated in a recent poll that people are behaving more rudely in public.  That high a percentage indicates that some of those people are also perpetrators of the rude behaviors they are complaining about!  Rude can be anything from allowing your children to run wild and disturb other peoples peace to tailgating on the highway.

I remember sitting in a restaurant just at the beginning of what has become the universal and habitual use of cell phones.  A man and a woman, obviously on a date, took a table across from where we sat.  The gentleman began a conversation with a smile on his face.  When suddenly, what has since become a familiar jingle shook the air.  The woman never missed a beat.  She smiled weakly and with a shrug of her bared shoulder ANSWERED THE PHONE!  Right in the midst of her companions dialog, she began one completely separate from him on the little device in her hand.  Their meal was served, and she continued to “chat” into the phone, rather than with the young man across from her.  I give him credit.  I would have gotten up without a word to her, and GONE HOME!

Since that incident cell phones seem to have become extensions of ourselves for most of us.  People would rather text or email instead of talk.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve attempted to call someone, got no answer, but then I sent a text within 1 minute of hanging up and INSTANTLY received a text back!  Why didn’t they answer the phone?  Texting has become an incredibly dangerous activity WHILE OPERATING A MOVING VEHICLE.

Between Facebook, Twitter and the rest, online interaction has become a serious threat to personal contact.  What is it about this style of social interactions that it appears to have changed our behavior so drastically?  This Ghostblogger loves Social Media and as a content provider, believes strongly in its usefulness in our businesses.  I do wonder though, if this tendency toward a harsher society has been exacerbated by these same sites?   Are we less courteous publicly because we interact face to face so much less?man and woman talking

Take some time this week, won’t you,and look someone in the eye, smile and have a conversation!

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6 thoughts on “Smile and…..TALK ALREADY!

  1. Neal Browne • Absolutely. I find it ironic, as well, that the millenials seem so “connected” electronically, but they also have a tendency to be the most me-centered, and too many times ignore even what is considered common courtesy. I think it seems far easier to have Facebook friends than actually duplicate that in “real” life.

  2. Mary Jarrett • Manners class is one of the first classes now taught to young lawyers who are recruited to a law firm. Given that a lot of behavior that is accepted on TV is not accepted in real life, I believe the wrong examples are beginning shown everyday to our youth.

  3. Steven Groves, EGc(SM) • “Seek first to understand and THEN to be understood”

    I’d add that I see ‘rudeness’ as a perception. Whereas in instances some people might see the opening of a door for a lady as dis-empowering, others will see it as polite. We can drill into cultural difference that cite burping at the table as rude whilst other cultures see it as a complement to the cook, but that’s not the point.

    In this day and age of split second, global communication the best tactic (and one that gives me peace of mind) is that of tolerance. We really do not know what experiences or culture the other person brings to the exchange, nor will most of us understand what cultural norms the other person carries with them. Too few people think globally yet.

    Applying the same tolerance in off-line also brings me the same kind of understanding. Millennials see texting as communication while boomers see it as dis-engaging. We’re in a very dynamic cultural re-birth right now and learning how to connect and be connected online, offline and around the world.

    Tolerance my friends, tolerance…

  4. Behymer Billie • I think in todays fast world, we so forget and think it is all about (my time) and everyone is in such a rush, we want things done yesterday. I like what Steven wrote – Tolerance needs to be the key in todays world – smile and the out come turns out so much more pleasant!

  5. Neal Browne • Perspective and context are important. Good observations. I was with a father earlier today talking about taking his teen daughter and two of her friends in the car. Nobody in the back seat was talking, even though they were sitting next to each other—they were all texting each other. For what it’s worth (and it helped my perspective) he figured out they didn’t want HIM hearing what they were saying. There are certainly worse things in the world!

  6. Scott Foshag • Far as rudeness, I believe it is more rooted in self absorption. Smart phones may serve many useful purposes, however, there is no discretionary considerations when using them. The users seem to develop an invisible soundproof bubble that envelops them, alienating them from the environment around them. Also, it as though theses devices have become a third lung in peoples’ lives and the only way to separate them from their users is to do it surgically.

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