Etiquette sounds so old fashioned, quaint. Our grandmothers talked about it, but does it really have any value today? Based on observed behaviors few people care about etiquette, if they even know about it.
Etiquette Involves Considering How Your Actions Affect Others
When you do something, your words and actions have an affect on others. The effect can be good, as when you make someone feel good about him/her self, keeps them safe and comfortable, and otherwise honor their needs and interests. It can also be bad, as when you make someone feel bad about him/her self, endanger them, make them uncomfortable, or otherwise violate their needs and interests.
You clearly have the right to do and say what you want. However, you ought to seriously consider how you affect others. You can far too easily cause serious conflict at the personal (or larger) level. You can seriously harm a person or even kill them through negligence.
Your rights come with responsibilities. First and foremost, you have to recognize the rights of others. The old adage, still valid, says your rights end where another person’s begin. Others have the same rights you have. And dignity is the number one right everyone has.
Etiquette Is Declining
Look around and you can see etiquette violations everywhere.
On the road, people are so focused on their destinations and timetables they “bend” many of traffic laws. People speed through “pink” lights, pass cars on the right in intersections, change lanes without notice or regard for other traffic, and make all sorts of other dangerous moves.
The gym provides a wealth of examples. People leave towels they do not need all over the place for others to deal with. They climb over people to use the locker next to someone already there instead of using one a few down so they don’t get in the person’s way. They don’t clean the machines when they finish. And worse.
Theft, scams and other crimes also reflect a lack of consideration for others. People increasingly take what they want and pay no attention to anyone else.
Simply keeping your eyes open and paying attention to those around you makes it easy to act responsibly.
Etiquette Makes Society Work
The rules of behavior exist for a reason. They enable people to live in close proximity to others cooperatively and peacefully. They prevent a descent into bedlam. This is the essence of a civilized society.
Challenge yourself to focus on others more and finding ways to meet your wants and needs without violating on those of others. Help make this a more civilized nation again.