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Rudeness, let's talk about it


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Been an interesting little journey getting home. Got stuck in Atlanta airport for 15 hours. Found my mind wandering and reflecting on humans being rude as I gazed at situations. It was like Judge Judy Gone Wild in there.

 

Have you ever witnessed breaches of civilized behavior, tactless or rude actions in public or private situations? How do you respond? When basic etiquette, or even formal situations gone bad happen, how do you deal? Shopping cart games are fair game for chat too... ;)

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How I respond depends on the specific circumstance. I try not to be rude back, which doesn't mean I can't react to the rudeness. Miss Manners says it's ok to act shocked when someone is rude to you, which could include staring open-mouthed at the perpetrator until he realizes he has behaved badly. I like that one, myself. :D

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I find it easy to recall instances of people's rudenesses to me, but I tend to think of myself as polite and considerate. Extrapolating and generalizing from this, and assuming I'm actually a fairly average specimen of humanity at best, I come to the twin conclusions that (a) I'm much less considerate and more self-absorbed - bluntly, ruder - than I think; and ( b ) much of what I consider rudeness looks very different to the other person, who would very likely be mortified to see their behavior from my vantage point.

 

Following from these, I think I can best contribute to making the world less rude by paying more attention to my own behavior and how it affects others; and by being less quick to assume rudeness as the best explanation for others' behavior (or, when that's just not possble, quickly forgiving it and moving on).

 

I expect I'll continue to fail at both of these. On behalf of all the rude people in the world, to those on this thread whose lives are made less pleasant by rudeness, I apologize.

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Well, moving to another country has given me a whole new perspective on rudeness. Looking through my American mindset, I witness at least a hundred rude acts every day...things that really blow my mind. But no one here seems to even blink. What I consider rude, they consider perfectly normal.

 

It really is about a majority. If 51% or more of the people think it is ok, then it is, I guess. Like it is perfectly reasonable to belch LOUDLY at a restaurant, at the dinner table, or just wherever. No big deal. Or spit a disgusting blob on the ground. Or let your kids pee right in the middle of the sidewalk. Or throw trash out your car window.

 

And traffic? Wow. I can't even describe how bad it is here. Rude and dangerous.

 

And the lying. They will do anything to save face including lie to you. If you stop and ask someone for directions, rather than tell you they don't know, they will give you fake directions. Ask the Internet or cable company how long it will be before it gets connected and they will tell you "tomorrow" when they KNOW it won't be for 3 weeks. They know that answer will upset you, so they lie and say something to appease you in the moment.

 

Last night at the movie theater, one man took 4 phone calls. As in answered them and proceeded to have long, loud conversations. No one seem perturbed but us weird Americans.

 

OTOH, they think we are rude because we expect good customer service and common courtesy. So go figure.

 

Can you tell it's been a rough couple of days? :)

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I've noticed cell phone use in waiting rooms to be increasing, whether it is having extended conversations in a normal or loud tone of voice, or playing games and not silencing the phone. So annoying. It's obvious they are oblivious, or don't care about anyone around them. To me that's rude, but what do I know? I see "no cell phone" signs on some office doors, and while it seems kinda strong when I first look at it, I think it's necessary these days.

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My response depends on whether the person 'should know better'. And 'knowing better' really means, probably, behaving like most people do in their society.

 

I remember, many years ago, an American chaperone of a group of teenagers pointing at my table manners (we were in Wales at the time) and talking to her charges about how they differed from the American standard.

 

If you unpack the incident:

 

- I wasn't being rude - there was no way that I could 'know better'. The manners I was using (not switching the fork to the right hand before bringing food to the mouth) were perfectly polite in my own society; I had no idea that someone else might find them odd/distasteful. And I was in my own country.

 

- The woman pointing out my manners really should have known better - she was in a foreign land, where one will always come across differences, but normal Western politeness should have lead her not to make an exhibition of me.

 

For the sake of balance: Brits abroad embarrass me regularly. I tend to respond by running away.

 

Oh, and knowing that these things are arbitrary, we have taught the boys two sets of table manners: one for eating with a knife and fork; one for eating with chopsticks.

 

L

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We encountered it a bit yesterday. I'm always a little amazed at what many families allow children to do in restaurants, but yesterday I had to say something. We were seated at a table in front of a family with two young children (they both looked to be in the 5-7 year range). Their oldest was standing at the table and had his chair pushed almost all the way back to our table. Oldest dd had to squeeze in to her chair and they never did anything. Their son kept hitting the back of dds chair with his when he would take steps backward. These were not close quarters and all could have sat comfortably. I finally got up and moved his chair up some since he was standing and looked the parents in the eye and told them my dd had no room and was being hit. They didn't seem to care at all. I think restaurants and kids are one of the things that bug me most, though. I'm not bothered by babies and their babbling/crying, but older kids running circles around their table or wandering over to mine just really bother me.

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If it doesn't directly affect me, I tend to let it pass. I do my best to raise kids with good manners, and am told often that they are good kids, so I must be doing something right. :) Really...at the end of the day, as long as I am doing the job right in my house, I can't control what others do. No use stressing over it because all it does is bother me. The rude people could care less and certainly aren't losing any sleep over it.

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I pretty much never notice rudeness unless it is really really obvious. Having just moved to TX, though, I can see why people say the DC area is exceedingly rude. I am continually amazed at how incredibly polite people are here and very aware of myself and kids making sure we don't act like we always have and are also equally polite.

 

Laura, I had to read what you wrote about 16 times. Are you saying she made a spectacle of you (RUDE!) and had an issue with you not moving your fork from the left to right hand to eat your food? Is that a manners rule? What about left handed people? It never even occured to me that my lefty son should use his right hand to bring food to his mouth.

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Ohhh.....the Atlanta airport. AKA, my Home Away from Home. I spend so much time there I think I should have my own concourse and private bathroom!

 

But, I have to say....no, I can't think of a time when I've noticed excessive rudeness there. In my experience, that sea of humanity is so caught up in getting where they need to be that there just isn't time for it. I've seen people give up seats for the elderly; I've seen people let others who claim they're going to miss their flight move ahead in the security line (which, frankly, bugs me); I've seen TSA agents go after people who've left something in the bin at security. The only rudeness I can recall is how I see passengers treat the gate agents when there are flight difficulties, as if it's their fault or they can do something about it, or some rude gate agents when they're having a bad day and happen to be on a power trip.

 

I'd be interested to know what you saw.

 

I do think I'm a bit oblivious sometimes to these things. It isn't intentional, I just tend to stay in my own mind and world unless something is egregious enough to break me out of it.

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Actually, the most appalling interaction I have ever seen was at the Atlanta airport. A mom of two very young children was in the restroom that had a long line. The children were about 6 months old and a young 3, I think. The 3 year old was obviously very tired and hungry. He was melting down and there was really nothing the mom could do about it. I guess she was traveling alone because she had the stroller and many bags with her. She took the babies into a stall and calmly did whatever they needed in there while the 3 year old was becoming more and more upset. I felt terrible for her! But, when she came out of the stall an elderly woman with a very strong accent walked up to her and began screaming just inches away from the child's face that he was a brat and should be taught how to behave and she was a horrible mother. But, none of this was directed at the mother it was all at the child. Not that it would have been ok to berate the mother, but it was shocking to see this little boy be yelled at in that way. The poor mother put her head down, pulled the child close and had to push past this woman to get out. When I left the restroom she was sitting in the hallway against the wall obviously extremely shaken. I asked if she was ok and told her that it was obvious they had a long day. I offered to help in any way. She was so grateful and just burst into tears. It was really terrible and has been something I have thought about often the past 8 years.

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Actually, the most appalling interaction I have ever seen was at the Atlanta airport. A mom of two very young children was in the restroom that had a long line. The children were about 6 months old and a young 3, I think. The 3 year old was obviously very tired and hungry. He was melting down and there was really nothing the mom could do about it. I guess she was traveling alone because she had the stroller and many bags with her. She took the babies into a stall and calmly did whatever they needed in there while the 3 year old was becoming more and more upset. I felt terrible for her! But, when she came out of the stall an elderly woman with a very strong accent walked up to her and began screaming just inches away from the child's face that he was a brat and should be taught how to behave and she was a horrible mother. But, none of this was directed at the mother it was all at the child. Not that it would have been ok to berate the mother, but it was shocking to see this little boy be yelled at in that way. The poor mother put her head down, pulled the child close and had to push past this woman to get out. When I left the restroom she was sitting in the hallway against the wall obviously extremely shaken. I asked if she was ok and told her that it was obvious they had a long day. I offered to help in any way. She was so grateful and just burst into tears. It was really terrible and has been something I have thought about often the past 8 years.

 

 

Wow. And people talk about rude kids. That woman (the elderly one) would have gotten an earful from me, for sure. Geez.

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The Atlanta airport - the place where my boys picked up on situational rudeness and commented on it. We were arriving home from a vacation in England. The boys were 12, 9, 7, and 6. It was about 10 pm when we finally arrived. We were headed to the escalator as a family. I cannot tell you how many people tried to get ahead of us by cutting between the boys and us, the parents. We weren't slow...the boys have traveled a lot and know the drill. But we ended up separated on the long escalator - by quite a distance. The boys waited for us at the bottom and remarked how rude Americans were in comparison to the British. They had experienced something totally different in London and other places in England. When we walked down the streets of London or tried to board a bus, the crowds parted and made way for us as a group. Comments of "wait, let the family go ahead" or "it's all a family" were frequently heard. I think seeing 4 kids in tow in London is probably a rarer sight than in America.

 

There was nothing we could do in the situation, but we discussed it later with the boys. We talked about how busy and self-centered we are as a society and how we need to think of others and the problems they may be encountering rather than just about how fast we want to get somewhere or how inconvenient it is for us to wait for a small group to pass. The boys still talk about this...they were very impressed with how the British treated us and embarrassed about how their own countrymen behaved.

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- I wasn't being rude - there was no way that I could 'know better'. The manners I was using (not switching the fork to the right hand before bringing food to the mouth) were perfectly polite in my own society; I had no idea that someone else might find them odd/distasteful. And I was in my own country.

 

 

 

This reminds me - I was raised in the US in a "european" household. We were taught the european way to use eat, keeping the fork/knife in the same hands when cutting or bringing to mouth. I've been doing it this way my whole life. I knew that it was different from the US way, but assumed that people would know that my way was also a perfectly legit way of doing it - I even was taught that the european way was "more formal" (not sure where this came from) so in a sense, better. Much to my surprise, I find out from a friend that many people here consider my way to be bad table manners. Who knew? Too bad I've already taught my kids the euro way. shrug. People will criticize anything. The bold in your story flabbergasts me. Just goes to show, oftentimes it looks like rudeness but its really ignorance.

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- I wasn't being rude - there was no way that I could 'know better'. The manners I was using (not switching the fork to the right hand before bringing food to the mouth) were perfectly polite in my own society; I had no idea that someone else might find them odd/distasteful. And I was in my own country.

 

 

 

Wow! I like Emily Post's comment: Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.

Emily Post

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I pretty much never notice rudeness unless it is really really obvious. Having just moved to TX, though, I can see why people say the DC area is exceedingly rude. I am continually amazed at how incredibly polite people are here and very aware of myself and kids making sure we don't act like we always have and are also equally polite.

 

That's one of the things I love about living in the South--the general politeness. :-)

 

Laura, I had to read what you wrote about 16 times. Are you saying she made a spectacle of you (RUDE!) and had an issue with you not moving your fork from the left to right hand to eat your food? Is that a manners rule? What about left handed people? It never even occured to me that my lefty son should use his right hand to bring food to his mouth.

 

 

The American way of eating (when cutting food is involved) is to cut the meat with the fork in the left hand, tines down, the knife in the right, put the knife down, move the fork back to the right hand, and eat (obviously, that would be the reverse if you're left handed). The European way is to leave the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right and eat. Clear as mud? :-)

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The American way of eating (when cutting food is involved) is to cut the meat with the fork in the left hand, tines down, the knife in the right, put the knife down, move the fork back to the right hand, and eat (obviously, that would be the reverse if you're left handed). The European way is to leave the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right and eat. Clear as mud? :-)

 

 

Well, my lefty isn't cutting his own meat yet, but someone could construe it as rude if he cut and ate with the same hand? Wow. I can't say I have ever actually noticed how someone cuts their meat and then eats it because I am generally, you know, eating my own food. i have been told that I eat meat rudely because I cut it all up at once and then eat. It seems like such a waste of time to cut a piece, switch hands, cut another piece, switch hands, and so on. So to me it makes sense to either cut at once and then eat or cut and eat but not switch hands. I vaguely remember when my brother got back from spending two years in Germany something he said about cutting meat and preferring the European way (I have no idea if he still does it that way). My left-handed cousin once commented that she cuts and eats with the same hand and so does not switch her fork to the other hand. I guess this is what she was referring to. I just can't fathom sitting somewhere and pointing out someone else's table manners at all, let alone in their own country where they are doing what is traditionally acceptable. That just seriously blows my mind.

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I don't usually notice. The times that I do, it's usually rudeness directed to someone else.

 

Once we were in a convenience store waiting on DH's coffee to brew. There was a group of construction workers waiting for their breakfast sandwiches to be made up. They were primarily Hispanic looking. A white male comes in with a couple of buddies and his wife/girlfriend. They go over to the touchscreen monitors and order some food for themselves, and then they move between us and the construction workers to wait for their number to be called. The group was whispering and snickering to themselves for a few minutes and then one guy said loudly, "Jeebus! It's like their whole damn country just moved right into this place! Mobs of them roving around just standing around and looking like assholes. I wonder if there's a few more pickup trucks outside packed to the gills with them?" DH had prepared his coffee by then and we were at the register with the jerks behind us. I turned around and said just as loudly as he was talking, "Nope, looks like all the assholes are in here with you, unless you left a few buddies of yours out in the truck?" We left and avoided that convenience store for a few weeks.

 

I dislike bullies.

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- I wasn't being rude - there was no way that I could 'know better'. The manners I was using (not switching the fork to the right hand before bringing food to the mouth) were perfectly polite in my own society; I had no idea that someone else might find them odd/distasteful. And I was in my own country.

 

- The woman pointing out my manners really should have known better - she was in a foreign land, where one will always come across differences, but normal Western politeness should have lead her not to make an exhibition of me.

 

For the sake of balance: Brits abroad embarrass me regularly. I tend to respond by running away.

 

Oh, and knowing that these things are arbitrary, we have taught the boys two sets of table manners: one for eating with a knife and fork; one for eating with chopsticks.

 

L

 

 

WHAT???? You have got to be kidding. How RUDE of her. I always eat like this because it's easier and seems silly to switch the fork back to the other hand.

 

Living in Germany, I've realized rudeness seems to be relative. Germans generally don't smile at each other or say hello, unless they are entering an elevator or waiting room, which seems weird to me, but I've gotten used to it. I found out in Aldi the other day that the customer isn't always right and apparently, after several minutes of trying to reason with said customer, if they keep yelling at the cashier, it's perfectly acceptable for the cashier to give it back as good as they are getting. I couldn't understand all of the words (they were speaking quickly and my German isn't great to begin with), but I certainly got the gist of it. BTW, turns out the customer was in fact wrong.

 

When we were trying to get back to Germany after visiting the States last year, we got stuck in Houston because of severe weather. Many flights were cancelled and loads of people missed connections due to late arrivals. That truly brought out the rudeness in people. Waiting in the reticket line was an eyeopening experience. They were full on yelling at the counter agents as though they had personally conjured up the storm. It was bloody awful. In the grand scheme of things, missing a flight isn't all that horrible. It's an inconvenience and can mess up plans, but yelling at someone isn't going to change it. I stood there and listened to all these people yelling and whining and thought how rude and insensitive they were. When I got to the counter I was perfectly calm and the woman apologized to me for missing our flight. I told her it wasn't her fault and there was no apology needed, just get us on a flight. James Bond was headed off for Afghanistan in a few weeks, and while yes, our travel plans were a bit messed up, in perspective, it was a pretty minor thing IMO. BTW, they offered us hotel and food vouchers, while many (especially the really rude ones) weren't. I don't know if this is because we were on an int'l flight, because we had a baby (Han Solo had just turned 1 at the time) or because I was nice. Flies, honey, all that.

 

I HATE to see people on the phone while they're trying to talk to someone in the service industry. That is so rude it makes me want to smack them (though I wouldn't, because not only would that be rude, it would also be assault). If you have to talk on the phone, let the next person in line go ahead until you're done with your conversation, or tell the person on the other end to hold on. If they ever allow cell calls on planes, I'm never flying again. Ack.

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I've lived in the DC area for the better part of the past 25 years (wow...can't believe it's been that long!). I moved from the SF Bay Area to Atlanta in 1983. I didn't like it, because people were very fake...especially girls/women. The following year we moved to Ft. Lauderdale. I had thought that being a "beach" area, the people would be a bit more laid back like they were in CA...but I knew nothing about all of the transplants from NJ and NY. I learned a LOT about rude those three years. Then I moved to VA (central VA at first, then DC/No.VA), In general, people were pleasant, it was a bit more like what I grew up with in CA. I felt fairly at-home.

 

That said, No.VA in 2013 NOT what it was in 1990. People are a lot more rude (driving to DC is so much worse today than in 1990...shopping is worse...going anywhere with kids is worse). Some of the shopping cart incidents really aren't people's fault, the grocery store aisles have shrunk (you really cannot get two carts down an aisle side-by-side...and inevitably, wherever you "park" your cart to grab an item (or look at a group of items to compare), you're blocking someone else, or the stores have such huge bulk-outs you can't see around them to even know someone is heading your way...

 

It's even bad in Richmond! There was a huge accident on I-95 on Saturday, a few miles from where I happened to get on the highway. Cars were flying down the shoulder and then attempting to cut into the right lane. About a mile from where I got on, I was attempting to exit (I knew an alternate route)...there was a car on my right trying to get over...and I wanted in the exit lane. My indicator was on, and I nosed over...a man in a Jag moved forward in the exit lane... I nosed over a little more (the vehicle that was trying to get into my lane was still not able to merge). The Jag moved forward more...we could see eye-to-eye. I asked if he would let me in, and he just stared at me...and then BLOCKED my entrance into the exit lane. Thankfully, the car behind him let me in. That. was. rude. But, things like that (driving manners), people honking because you don't IMMEDIATELY pull forward 5' when traffic is backed up...not allowing a group to cross an aisle in a store... a large group walking side-by-side in the mall, or in the street and not moving to one side or the other to allow people walking the other way (or vehicles) to go past...really get to me. It used to be the exception. Now, it seems like the rule.

 

Now, as for how to eat properly...I eat "American style" at home, but I usually eat continental style (non-switching) at more formal occasions (which I don't attend as much any more). My children are just as apt to eat Viking style most of the time...I try...I really do. It's gotten better since we moved into our house. We need to institute "formal" Sunday dinners, I think.

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I've lived in the DC area for the better part of the past 25 years (wow...can't believe it's been that long!). I moved from the SF Bay Area to Atlanta in 1983. I didn't like it, because people were very fake...especially girls/women. The following year we moved to Ft. Lauderdale. I had thought that being a "beach" area, the people would be a bit more laid back like they were in CA...but I knew nothing about all of the transplants from NJ and NY. I learned a LOT about rude those three years. Then I moved to VA (central VA at first, then DC/No.VA), In general, people were pleasant, it was a bit more like what I grew up with in CA. I felt fairly at-home.

 

That said, No.VA in 2013 NOT what it was in 1990. People are a lot more rude (driving to DC is so much worse today than in 1990...shopping is worse...going anywhere with kids is worse). Some of the shopping cart incidents really aren't people's fault, the grocery store aisles have shrunk (you really cannot get two carts down an aisle side-by-side...and inevitably, wherever you "park" your cart to grab an item (or look at a group of items to compare), you're blocking someone else, or the stores have such huge bulk-outs you can't see around them to even know someone is heading your way...

 

It's even bad in Richmond! There was a huge accident on I-95 on Saturday, a few miles from where I happened to get on the highway. Cars were flying down the shoulder and then attempting to cut into the right lane. About a mile from where I got on, I was attempting to exit (I knew an alternate route)...there was a car on my right trying to get over...and I wanted in the exit lane. My indicator was on, and I nosed over...a man in a Jag moved forward in the exit lane... I nosed over a little more (the vehicle that was trying to get into my lane was still not able to merge). The Jag moved forward more...we could see eye-to-eye. I asked if he would let me in, and he just stared at me...and then BLOCKED my entrance into the exit lane. Thankfully, the car behind him let me in. That. was. rude. But, things like that (driving manners), people honking because you don't IMMEDIATELY pull forward 5' when traffic is backed up...not allowing a group to cross an aisle in a store... a large group walking side-by-side in the mall, or in the street and not moving to one side or the other to allow people walking the other way (or vehicles) to go past...really get to me. It used to be the exception. Now, it seems like the rule.

 

Now, as for how to eat properly...I eat "American style" at home, but I usually eat continental style (non-switching) at more formal occasions (which I don't attend as much any more). My children are just as apt to eat Viking style most of the time...I try...I really do. It's gotten better since we moved into our house. We need to institute "formal" Sunday dinners, I think.

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Worst rudeness I've seen on a plane-

 

A woman was in my assigned seat because didn't realize there were assigned seats. She refused to get up when I showed her my ticket and let her know she was in my seat. When the flight attendant asked to see her ticket, she told her that she didn't have one. The flight attendant told her she wouldn't be on the plane if she didn't have a ticket. After she refused to produce a ticket, the two flight attendants escorted her to the back of the plane. She was so belligerent that the main flight attendant called the air marshal and walked her off the plane. A police officer was waiting to arrest her when they got off of the plane. She had two young boys with her. :(

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That's one of the things I love about living in the South--the general politeness. :-)

 

 

 

The American way of eating (when cutting food is involved) is to cut the meat with the fork in the left hand, tines down, the knife in the right, put the knife down, move the fork back to the right hand, and eat (obviously, that would be the reverse if you're left handed). The European way is to leave the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right and eat. Clear as mud? :-)

 

 

I genuinely had no idea this was a thing. It never occured to me that anyone would even notice, let alone care, what hand someone uses to lift a fork. It boggles my mind that people make up random stuff like this and then use it to judge others. (I'm NOT saying that's what you're doing by any means, Ellie. But apparently some people out there are, which is just ludicrous to me.)

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Once my sister was flying from BWI to San Antonio. This was in the late 90s. She lived in SA and had been visiting us. It was pre-9/11 so you could still see people off right onto the plane. Anyway, there had been a lot of bad weather in many parts of the country and so planes were delayed, flights were cancelled. It was a mess. The DC area and San Antonio both had fine weather, but of course just because the origin and destination are clear, it doesn't mean the place your plan is coming from is. But apparently that bit of common sense was lacking and people were frustrated and screaming and yelling at the counter people. I still remember being amazed at how calm the counter people remained. They must've been incredibly well trained (or, maybe, used to it). My sister got to the counter after her flight was cancelled and was very nice and everything. She figured this meant she got to spend a few more hours with family. Bonus. We had seen others just get rebooked on other flights, but my sister (and other very polite and patient people) got perks. She got a voucher for a future free flight (which she used a few months later to come visit us again) and a couple upgrades to first class (which she said was totally awesome). In situations that bring out the super frustrated crazy, it's been my experience that being patient and polite will get you what you want/need much faster than being nasty will, especially when it is a situation beyond the other person's control.

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Worst rudeness I've seen on a plane-

 

A woman was in my assigned seat because didn't realize there were assigned seats. She refused to get up when I showed her my ticket and let her know she was in my seat. When the flight attendant asked to see her ticket, she told her that she didn't have one. The flight attendant told her she wouldn't be on the plane if she didn't have a ticket. After she refused to produce a ticket, the two flight attendants escorted her to the back of the plane. She was so belligerent that the main flight attendant called the air marshal and walked her off the plane. A police officer was waiting to arrest her when they got off of the plane. She had two young boys with her. :(

 

 

What is WRONG with people?

 

I'm on planes a lot, and I'll say that the rudeness I come out of my own head long enough to notice is there. Something about being strapped into a flying metal tube makes people act like animals.

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I'm on planes a lot, and I'll say that the rudeness I come out of my own head long enough to notice is there. Something about being strapped into a flying metal tube makes people act like animals.

 

 

Stress and being outside of your comfort zone. Not an excuse to be rude of course, but it's the reason.

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When I moved from Atlanta to Boston, I was appalled at how rude people there were. It took me a decade to get used to it.

 

When I moved here, I relaxed for the first time in 20 years ... the people here are polite, considerate, and friendly. Kind of midway between Boston and Atlanta in attitude. When DS1 and I were in Atlanta, it got so DS1 wouldn't go to shopping with me after the first week because it took so long. He couldn't understand why people hold lengthy conversations with complete strangers. It was natural to me, because you can take the woman out of the South, but you can't take the South out of the woman. Here, having short conversations about something to do with why you are in the store is normal, but no one standing next to me at the dairy case asks me whether I think people are born being gay!

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I love talking about rudeness because sometimes I feel like such a Pollyanna in the real world. I'm sure I myself am rude all the time, too, but there are so many lame things people do and do proudly that I often feel like a misfit even noticing it!

 

Don't you think it's all much more noticeable when you have children?

 

I've noticed my sensitivity to rudeness being heightened since having kids. I think trying to constantly explain to them how to treat others well and be considerate makes me realize how many times this ain't happening all around us. The second part of that lesson (for our house) is to always point out that one form of good manners is to let the infractions of others just slide on by without comment and without scorekeeping. We talk a lot about giving grace and that being friendly means trying to not notice small rudenesses in others and definitely not repaying them or pointing them out.

 

My sister is like me with similar personal "rules" and a sensitivity to poor manners. For her, however, each thing becomes a personal affront and she will relive and retell the stories many times over. I really try not to end up on that slippery slope- I know it's in my nature.

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Well, moving to another country has given me a whole new perspective on rudeness. Looking through my American mindset, I witness at least a hundred rude acts every day...things that really blow my mind. But no one here seems to even blink. What I consider rude, they consider perfectly normal.

 

It really is about a majority. If 51% or more of the people think it is ok, then it is, I guess. Like it is perfectly reasonable to belch LOUDLY at a restaurant, at the dinner table, or just wherever. No big deal. Or spit a disgusting blob on the ground. Or let your kids pee right in the middle of the sidewalk. Or throw trash out your car window.

 

And traffic? Wow. I can't even describe how bad it is here. Rude and dangerous.

 

And the lying. They will do anything to save face including lie to you. If you stop and ask someone for directions, rather than tell you they don't know, they will give you fake directions. Ask the Internet or cable company how long it will be before it gets connected and they will tell you "tomorrow" when they KNOW it won't be for 3 weeks. They know that answer will upset you, so they lie and say something to appease you in the moment.

 

Last night at the movie theater, one man took 4 phone calls. As in answered them and proceeded to have long, loud conversations. No one seem perturbed but us weird Americans.

 

OTOH, they think we are rude because we expect good customer service and common courtesy. So go figure.

 

Can you tell it's been a rough couple of days? :)

 

LOL - are you in India?

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Stress and being outside of your comfort zone. Not an excuse to be rude of course, but it's the reason.

 

I know that's some of it, but some of the poor behavior on airplanes is reasoned back to this: people feel entitled. I want what I want.

 

I'm a top-tier elite flyer on my airline of choice. I'm on airplanes over 300 days of the year. I have siblings who are flight crew at my airline of choice (;)) and we are dumbfounded by some of the behavior we see. Someone who doesn't fly often, or is a foreigner trying to navigate - that's excuseable. Holiday travel or certain airports with notoriously awful TSA screening - that's understandable, too, to a point. (I mean, we all went through the same checkpoints and some of us managed to remain civilized despite the stress of it all.)

 

But some of the worse behavior comes from people who simply feel entitled. I just typed out a zillion examples, but realized that wasn't the point of this thread (though it felt good to get it all out LOL). Most of the ill behavior I see in the air is due to issues of entitlement and feeling exempt from the rules. Those might sometimes be exacerbated by stress and being outside one's comfort zone (especially for foreigners or people traveling with children/elders/special needs) but for the most part it's about people feeling they can do what they want because they want to.

 

There are entire rants about this on another forum I'm on. It's a bunch of other elite passengers, and some of the worst offenders can be from my own peers. We call them DYKWIAs - Do You Know Who I Ams.

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This is an interesting topic as I am currently on an Extended business trip with dh in Europe. It seems the further south in Europe you go, the more people are in a hurry :) Everywhere hotel and shop staff are very polite. As somebody else mentioned, I think cell (mobile) phone useage has made people very egocentric. Once my dh heard the sordid details of a woman´s experience from the previous night. He was sitting beside her on a commuter train and had nowhere to escape! My favorite pizzeria has a sign "We will gladly take your order when you are done with your phone conversation" ;)

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Worst rudeness I've seen on a plane-

 

A woman was in my assigned seat because didn't realize there were assigned seats. She refused to get up when I showed her my ticket and let her know she was in my seat. When the flight attendant asked to see her ticket, she told her that she didn't have one. The flight attendant told her she wouldn't be on the plane if she didn't have a ticket. After she refused to produce a ticket, the two flight attendants escorted her to the back of the plane. She was so belligerent that the main flight attendant called the air marshal and walked her off the plane. A police officer was waiting to arrest her when they got off of the plane. She had two young boys with her. :(

I don't think I would call that rudeness. It's just stupidity!

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Well, my lefty isn't cutting his own meat yet, but someone could construe it as rude if he cut and ate with the same hand? Wow. I can't say I have ever actually noticed how someone cuts their meat and then eats it because I am generally, you know, eating my own food. i have been told that I eat meat rudely because I cut it all up at once and then eat. It seems like such a waste of time to cut a piece, switch hands, cut another piece, switch hands, and so on. So to me it makes sense to either cut at once and then eat or cut and eat but not switch hands. I vaguely remember when my brother got back from spending two years in Germany something he said about cutting meat and preferring the European way (I have no idea if he still does it that way). My left-handed cousin once commented that she cuts and eats with the same hand and so does not switch her fork to the other hand. I guess this is what she was referring to. I just can't fathom sitting somewhere and pointing out someone else's table manners at all, let alone in their own country where they are doing what is traditionally acceptable. That just seriously blows my mind.

 

In Europe, no. In the U.S., maybe, although as far as I can tell, based on my casual observations of other patrons in restaurants, boatloads of people are entirely clueless about how to use their eating implements, so probably no one would notice how your ds eating.

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I moved from LA to Charlotte.

 

It was funny, when we first moved here I told DH I was going to have to learn to be nice as people were so nice here!

 

Now that I have been here a while I see it really can be a facade, more of a "I am Southern so I am polite but the minute you walk away I am going to let loose on how ugly your boots are!" thing.

 

hahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!

 

I live in Los Angeles, but I'm not from here. I'm shocked by the rudeness everyday.

 

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Wow!

 

I read my ticket wrong once and sat in someone else's seat......but I moved as soon as I realized what I had done.

 

Worst rudeness I've seen on a plane-

 

A woman was in my assigned seat because didn't realize there were assigned seats. She refused to get up when I showed her my ticket and let her know she was in my seat. When the flight attendant asked to see her ticket, she told her that she didn't have one. The flight attendant told her she wouldn't be on the plane if she didn't have a ticket. After she refused to produce a ticket, the two flight attendants escorted her to the back of the plane. She was so belligerent that the main flight attendant called the air marshal and walked her off the plane. A police officer was waiting to arrest her when they got off of the plane. She had two young boys with her. :(

 

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This reminds me - I was raised in the US in a "european" household. We were taught the european way to use eat, keeping the fork/knife in the same hands when cutting or bringing to mouth. I've been doing it this way my whole life. I knew that it was different from the US way, but assumed that people would know that my way was also a perfectly legit way of doing it - I even was taught that the european way was "more formal" (not sure where this came from) so in a sense, better. Much to my surprise, I find out from a friend that many people here consider my way to be bad table manners. Who knew? Too bad I've already taught my kids the euro way. shrug. People will criticize anything. The bold in your story flabbergasts me. Just goes to show, oftentimes it looks like rudeness but its really ignorance.

 

 

See, to me, this type of "manners" is totally absurd. I could not possibly care less whether someone has their fork in their right or left hand, as long as they are eating with utensils in a neat fashion. Other "rules" like this are silly in my opinion, too - napkin in your lap or on the table by your hand? Why must it go in your lap? What does it hurt if it's on the table?

 

Politeness is supposed to be based on increasing the comfort and pleasure of others. So - not picking your teeth at the table makes sense. How close your drinking glass is placed - who cares?

 

ETA: My dh's uncle, who ran a modeling school, fixated on all these dumb things. Supposedly, if you are having butttered bread with your meal, you are supposed to only butter the portion you are about to bite. This makes no sense to me at all. Don't you often have to share the butter anyway?

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So - not picking your teeth at the table makes sense.

 

 

It's even more arbitrary than that. In China, picking your teeth at table is perfectly polite - one puts a hand in front of the mouth while doing it. There are toothpicks on most restaurant tables.

 

I go back to 'what most people in a given society think is polite'. And, as Heather has discovered, it can be very frustrating when one lives within a completely unfamiliar set of rules, where (for example) saving face and being amenable is more important than speaking the exact truth.

 

Laura

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It's even more arbitrary than that. In China, picking your teeth at table is perfectly polite - one puts a hand in front of the mouth while doing it. There are toothpicks on most restaurant tables.

 

I go back to 'what most people in a given society think is polite'. And, as Heather has discovered, it can be very frustrating when one lives within a completely unfamiliar set of rules, where (for example) saving face and being amenable is more important than speaking the exact truth.

 

Laura

 

 

 

No doubt. I have not lived anywhere but the same lil' old state in the same lil' old country. :laugh:

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Supposedly, if you are having butttered bread with your meal, you are supposed to only butter the portion you are about to bite. This makes no sense to me at all. Don't you often have to share the butter anyway?

 

 

I was taught English manners and French manners for this (we used to spend summers in France).

 

English manners: butter the whole slice and take bites.

 

French manners: tear off individual hunks of bread, butter them (if you want to) and pop in your mouth whole.

 

I tend to use English manners for slices of bread and French for rolls,etc. I'm sure that's all wrong.

 

Laura

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My own person rudeness pet peeve is when people expect the phrase "excuse me" to pardon rudeness.

For instance: instead of waiting for me to move out of their way, someone will say "excuse me" and continue to blow past me and nearly knock me over.

 

 

OKay so if you are in the grocery store aisle and someone is trying to cart through should they wait for you to notice them or should they say "excuse me" so you know they are there and then they proceed?

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Jamajo, the way I read Laura's post was not the "excuse me" term so much as the way it's said as the person barrels by.

 

Kind of like how people on the road sometimes think their blinker is a right-of-way and just barge in. "Oh, but I had my blinker on!"

 

It's not the "Excuse me"-pause-for-Laura-to-move so much as it is the "Excuse me"-as-they-shove-by-Laura.

 

If that makes any sense LOL.

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Laura, I had to read what you wrote about 16 times. Are you saying she made a spectacle of you (RUDE!) and had an issue with you not moving your fork from the left to right hand to eat your food? Is that a manners rule? What about left handed people? It never even occured to me that my lefty son should use his right hand to bring food to his mouth.

 

That's odd - I've always known that people in the UK ate in that manner...I thought it was common knowledge that Americans were the ones who "ate differently" (fork in the right hand). Not that there's anything wrong with either way, but the English *were* eating that way before our country was founded. It was certainly distasteful of that woman.

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My own person rudeness pet peeve is when people expect the phrase "excuse me" to pardon rudeness.

For instance: instead of waiting for me to move out of their way, someone will say "excuse me" and continue to blow past me and nearly knock me over.

 

They do that a lot here too and when you actually are being polite and say "excuse me" they just glare at you and do nothing. It is like you are speaking a foreign language to them or something.

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I've noticed cell phone use in waiting rooms to be increasing, whether it is having extended conversations in a normal or loud tone of voice, or playing games and not silencing the phone. So annoying. It's obvious they are oblivious, or don't care about anyone around them. To me that's rude, but what do I know? I see "no cell phone" signs on some office doors, and while it seems kinda strong when I first look at it, I think it's necessary these days.

 

 

When I was walking into the library a few minutes ago, a lady was walking out literally screaming at someone on her cell phone. I guess she thinks the world needs to know she is having issues.

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I've noticed cell phone use in waiting rooms to be increasing, whether it is having extended conversations in a normal or loud tone of voice, or playing games and not silencing the phone. So annoying. It's obvious they are oblivious, or don't care about anyone around them. To me that's rude, but what do I know? I see "no cell phone" signs on some office doors, and while it seems kinda strong when I first look at it, I think it's necessary these days.

 

 

When I was walking into the library a few minutes ago, a lady was walking out literally screaming at someone on her cell phone. I guess she thinks the world needs to know she is having issues.

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