Modern Etiquette: Tips on How to Reform a Rude World

Tue May 17, 2011 4:54am EDT
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By Mary Mitchell

SEATTLE (Reuters Life!) - Rudeness is epidemic all over today. And I'm not even talking about cyber-rudeness.

People steal each other's cabs. Telephone receptionists are nasty. Sales clerks act like they're doing you a favor when you buy something. Waiters exhibit an attitude. Vicious gossip sells newspapers. Decency is considered boring.

Look outside and you'll see litter everywhere except in trash cans. Sit down in a restaurant and you'll find gum is underneath every table. Go into an office and you'll see bosses who don't treat their teams like human beings - foregoing simple little things like acknowledging their presence with introductions to visitors and clients.

The list could go on forever. I know because I pay a lot of attention to these things. I also know because any number of people call or write to tell me their latest manners travesties.

And all of it begs a question.

Hasn't anyone noticed that if we want to change anybody else, we first must change ourselves?

Books can be written. Speeches can be made. But I ask you: Who ever learned to ride a bicycle by reading a book?

The point is that any significant, lasting change must come from within, not from without. I can rattle off information about etiquette skills, but they ring hollow if we don't honor some very basic principles for success. 1. Every living thing deserves respect. 2. A person's wealth really is determined by the quality and integrity of his relationships.   Continued...