Etiquette: Something long dead?


Do you R.S.V.P when people ask you to events? Do you turn off your cellphone at the movies and the theater? Wipe your sweat off machines at the gym? Refrain from talking loudly in public on your phone? How polite do  you think you are, and describe what breaches of etiquette drive you crazy.

Here’s an etiquette experiment for you: E-mail an invitation for a party, one month out, to 45 friends. Request an R.S.V.P. Provide a follow-up e-mail message, two weeks later, politely reminding them to get back to you.

How many will?

My experiment arose from plans for an evening of food, drink and good conversation with friends , at a restaurant. Not exactly a drop-in-if-you’re-around kind of thing, so I asked friends to R.S.V.P. My initial message brought in a dozen responses, and the follow-up a few more, but days before the event I had a paltry 23. Not 23 who planned to come, but 23 who had bothered to respond. Half my invitees had blown me off. Why? I wasn’t peddling life insurance, after all.

Asking around, I discovered that the phenomenon is widespread.

 How do you  think you rate on the politeness scale? Do you think people of different ages have different standards? What breaches of etiquette especially bother you? Why?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Aprohaska May 27, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Agreed!! It is sad that i'm 48 Paula, and that i find myself saying "when i grew up, we were taught this, or that" quite frequently. I also believe that manners are something that are passed along generation to generation....Something i think society could benefit from greatly....And Paula, thank you for your comment. AP
LadyDi May 27, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Being raised by parents who installed the social graces of good manners, I was in for a rude shock to run into people who were denied these basic rules of a polite society. Table manners seem to be a thing of the past for many parents have failed to pass on the basic elements of proper use of utensils, elbow rules, chewing with your mouth closed and not talking with your mouth full of food etc. etc. I was once asked why I thanked the person refilling my water class at a restaurant. Unfortunatelky the family I was with were never thaught to even say "please" or "thank you" for any reason. Unfortunately they give off the impression of being ignorant and unschooled and their children and grandchildren have learned nothing to pass on to their generation. So I make a point to thank those who hold the door open for me, provide a service, give a compliment, share etc. Also, hopefully some will learn by example as I hold the door for them, give them a compliment, smile, bless them when they sneeze, and treat other drivers and pedestrians they way I wish to be treated. If this makes me old fashioned, so be it. I will not lower my standards to be modern or hip.
Aprohaska May 27, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I couldn't agree with you more LadyDi. There is no substitute for basic manners. As a parent, i feel it my responsibility to hand down more than just family heirlooms & photo albums. Thank you for sharing. AP
Jean Mattey May 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM
I'm in my early 30's and was taught the meaning of manners. It's scary to see my generation out in public - it's embarrassing! As for the party RSVP, it happens oh to often now days. Generally most people get to wrapped up in their own daily routine to remember a dinner, no matter how hard you worked, even them acknowledging their mistake might make up for a bit of it, but the reality is - it does not take long these days to call or text someone that you cant make it or will be late...ugh!
The Merry One May 31, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I also agree with the previous comments that good manners seem to be a dying art these days. I have found, however, that politeness is infectious. I have found that even the most sour of faces will soften when treated with kindness and politeness. What is driving me crazy these days are all the folks that insist on bringing their dogs, often very large ones, to public places. I love animals dearly and certainly understand the need to acclimate service dogs to public life. I'm talking about the folks that think it's perfectly okay to lead their leashed larger dogs into the grocery store, bank, post office, etc. and think that this is acceptable. It all started with Paris Hilton and her small dogs. I can look away when someone has their small dog tucked under their arm or in a small carrier. But a large dog??? Personally, I am terribly allergic to dogs and find it totally inconsiderate of people to think that this is acceptable behavior. Last week, I visited my bank (with a very small counter area) and was confronted with a Golden Retriever, who I later found out was the bank manager's pet! Later that same day, I ran over to the pharmacy and another customer had her Scotti on a leash at the window in front of me. Am I being overly sensitive here or do others feel the same way that I do? And do we complain to the store manager? Gee, I don't want to have to complain everywhere I go.


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