Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mind Your Manners...!

When I was a little girl, my parents spent a good deal of their time teaching my brothers and me how to behave in an acceptable manner in public, and specifically to have good manners towards other people. There were certain rules and regulations that one followed in polite society. Expelling of bodily fluids and noises was to be done in private, "please" and "thank you" were de rigueur, as were good table manners.  High on the list of etiquette was never to interrupt a private conversation.  E-v-e-r.

Yesterday at the end of the day, a colleague and I were having a conversation about our weekend plans. Both my friend and I like to draw and paint, and we were discussing which media we like to use best, how relaxing it is to utilize the creative part of our brains ~~ just the usual chit-chat and blah-blah-blah. Suddenly a third person barged into the conversation, elbowed me out of the way, and changed the topic completely. Both my friend and I were a bit taken aback by the abruptness of the "buttinski", but I withdrew, and my friend politely engaged in conversation with the intruder. The conversation lasted for quite a while. Afterwards my friend said to me, "That was strange, but I have noticed that happens quite a lot around here. People just barge into conversations and take over..." And it's true, I have noticed it happens more often than not. Have these folks forgotten their manners, or were they never taught?

We have all experienced the awkwardness of being at a party, and trying to include ourselves into groups of conversations.  Do we hold back and look like a wall-flower?  Or do we walk right up to a group, smile, and start chatting?  That first step can be nerve-wracking, and for some folks there is no easy way to do it.  But barging into a conversation between two people, elbowing one person out of the way and taking over the conversation with an entirely new subject is just boorish.  My mother and father would definitely have a chat with her.  "Mind your manners...!"


myletterstoemily said...

yes, you're so right, manners make things
so much easier for everyone.

what to do with those who have not been
taught or refuse to follow these thoughtful

my mother in law would be gracious and
let the conversation flow where it has been
hijacked. and then subtly bring it back
around. the rude person would never even
know what happened.

but the rest of us would. :)

i loved your comments about "doubt" and
was also surprised no one else had seen
it. i was anticipating a lively debate, but
you were the only 'taker.'

Single and Sane said...

Interrupting conversations is definitely on my list of pet peeves, and it seems to be more and more frequent. Although at a party, I think people should be open to including people in the conversation when they can, because - as you have pointed out - it is terribly awkward to flit from private conversation to private conversation with no place to land. ;-)

Teri said...

I've noticed that with increasing frequency. I've gotten to the point that I just say "Excuse me, we weren't finished" and continue on with the conversation.

I don't mind at all if someone JOINS the conversation on the topic being discussed. But no hostile takeovers allowed.

Rosaria Williams said...

Manners have disappeared, but they are needed more than ever!

Paula Slade said...

As I was reading your post Jo, the word "boorish" popped in my head before I got to your comment. (We're definitely on the same page here.) I sometimes wonder if it's a generational thing. I was brought up with the same emphasis regarding proper manners and it seems to me it's gotten overly relaxed these days.

Lorac said...


Nancy said...

Very good point - I think manners have not been taught equally to everyone.

DJan said...

It's that whole thing of walking up to a conversation in progress and deciding that they need to be included in the conversation I'm having in MY head. Not knowing that they are being rude, or boorish, or terribly insensitive. I've been there, on both sides. :-)

Amy said...

Jo, I agree with Paula, "boorish" definitely comes to mind when describing behavior like that.

I hosted a luncheon for 7 of my closest friends last week and I must say there was not one example of "boorish" behavior. Unlike some other gatherings I can recall recently!

Manners is high up on the "good parent" job description - my father used to say, "It never hurts to be polite."

Kathryn said...

Manners make it easier to live with one another, & i hope they continue to be taught for a long time!

I tend to be too shy. When i'm needing to speak to someone, i often will wait on the fringes for a long, long time. There have been occasion where i do want to say, "Excuse me, can i interrupt for a moment," because otherwise the folks seem to just ignore me.

I sometimes think that is kind or rude, too. I have a friend that assures me when i hit menopause i'll suddenly be full of confidence, but i've my doubts about that. :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

You are so right. Times seem to realllly have changed. I think the third person was rude, plain and simple.

Hope your weekend is going great.


Brenda said...

I have had that happen to me a few times. They act as if you are not even there...or as if they are so much more interesting than you are. Very odd. I just kinda look at them oddly and shake my head. There seems to be an abundance of rude people in the world at times.

JoMo said...

Hi Jo! Manners are so important. I find most people are pretty polite, which is why when someone isn't, it really sticks out.

Without knowing the personalities involved, it almost sounds like the buttinski was relying on your good manners, taking advantage of your graceful response... and putting their needs in front of everything else, including politeness. If so, that's beyond rude.

You showed yourself to be a class act, and we can only really control our own behaviour in the end I guess.

Donnetta said...

Josie: Although we were very poor, my mama taught us to have good manners. We knew how to cut our meat correctly. We appreciated all music. We respected all religions. We said thank you. We had a good teacher. D

Pamela Kieffer said...

Excuse me, sorry to butt in here and change the conversation but would you really like my recipe for the worlds best eggplant Parmesan. It is special because it is not fried but oven baked. The trouble is I am not sure how to get it to you. Any suggestions?

Unknown said...

Sadly, manners appear to be extremely old fashioned. I have always insisted my children comply, my boys give up their seats, hold open doors, my children look at a person when speaking, etc.. and they do for the most part.

Just a few weeks ago when they were at VBS, I would not let my son wear his baseball cap in the church. He thought I was ridiculous, and grudgingly removed it, only to point out the vast amount of boys INSIDE wearing their hats. Oh well, I have digressed.

But I have noticed more and more, adults, not just children, seem to have no sense of politeness at all. And I agree, to interrupt is just plain rude.


Pear tree cottage! said...

This generation of ours for the most part have learn't the correct ways.Manners are so important not only for yourself but it shows a respect for others......I work in a thrift store and never judge anyone calling all men Sir, but I cannot tell you how many times they do not accept the manners I too have grown up with......Lovely post Jo, and ALWAYS lovely to be visiting you. Lee-ann

PhilipH said...

Yes Johanna, boorish and often boring are these 'butting-inners'. I was watching a tv show where a group of four were discussing/debating whether Islam was 'taking over' in the UK. One of the four people was so ANNOYING in that he constantly interrupted the point being made by any of the other three. I wanted to punch him in his big mouth! He obviously knew that HIS view was right and would not allow any other point to be put.
Yours (Mr. Angry) Phil

Jennifer D said...

Oh Jo I swear sometimes you speak from my heart! ;0)

P.S. sounds like we all have good manners here! he he he

eric1313 said...

Agreed. Good manners are at a total premium these days. Even in a dirt poor economy, they cost very little except consideration. Same for ethics. But that's a bit different.

Paul said...

Manners maketh the man

You now have a majority of three

We are in quorate

FREE iPhone

KrippledWarrior said...

Well EXCUUUUSSSE ME. But your friend owedme money. And she's been dodging me for weeks now and this was my only chance to get her attention.


@ly said...

I just had this done to me the other day at work and I went back to the person who I was originally talking to and we both discussed it and said how rude. But from what I am told...this person does it all the time. Some people just are not brought up right!!!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I've noticed a tremendous increase in rudeness and wondered if it was just because I'm getting older. People seem to lack any kind of social graces, and I wonder if I'm just noticing it, or if society is changing. I suspect it's the latter, but would actually prefer that it be me, getting grumpy.

fiftyodd said...

I am so thrilled that so many of us still try hard to instill manners into our children. 'Listening' seems to be a rare skill. Everyone wants to talk. I do go up to people at parties or weddings and inititiate conversations, but they are always the ones who seem to be on their own. Some fascinating conversations have ensued. Let's keep persevering with the manners thing. All we can do is set a good example wherever we go.

A.M. said...

Now if you can only post that in the office, maybe in the bathroom ;o) lol but you're absolutely right and some people are just not classy.

Alicia said...

I have noticed that more and more! Now I want to know how to stop or prevent it. It happens all the time where I work as well and it's so hard to be polite and just step back as you did.