I don’t know why it’s so hard for people to be nice to each other. This has always been a problem but with the advent of social media, it’s gotten worse. Social media allows people to be connected to anyone/everyone in the world, at all hours of the day or night, on many different devices, etc. It doesn’t teach people manners or encourage common courtesy. In fact, since the invention of cellphones, people have gotten ruder in public. They take calls in restaurants, in aisles of stores, while driving, etc. They talk loudly and pay no attention to others in their vicinity who don’t want to be privy to their personal conversations. They also ignore the people they’re shopping, riding in the car or eating with in favor of the electronic device of their choice. Earth hour was a feeble attempt at public awareness. “Dare the world to save the planet” seems lame to me. What good is saving the planet if the people on it don’t care about each other? What about having an hour daily when every household turns off iphones, ipads, laptops, pcs, etc? DARE THE WORLD TO SAVE MANKIND. We don’t share our day with people unless it’s texting as things happen. There doesn’t seem to be anymore of the “how was your day?” to the kids after school or the spouses after a long work day.
The civility is fleeting in our society. I understand being rude to telemarketers if you’re getting a bunch of calls a day and you’re on the “do not call list”. True, it’s not nice to hang up or say something mean to them when they’re just trying to earn a living. However, they are invading your home, your personal space. It’s a different story when you’re in public where everyone is welcome or should be. Like public sidewalks, parks, stores, etc. It has always made me uncomfortable when I was in school and would say “hi” in the halls to people and they wouldn’t say hi back. It’s only some that refuse to answer and I would cut them slack, thinking they had a bad day, etc. After a few times I would give up and not say it anymore but it would always make me feel bad about myself. I realize how busy people are and I wasn’t trying to engage them in conversation. Just a polite hello to acknowledge another human being’s existence. I would categorize them as snobs who thought they were better than me.
The same thing happened when I was working at a job in a factory type atmosphere. After awhile you basically know everyone on sight, even if you haven’t had any dealings with them. I’d say “hi” getting in or out of the elevator or passing in the hall and the same thing would happen. Now I encounter it when walking the dogs. I guess I’m friendlier than I thought because I try to greet everyone I see. It isn’t always the cheeriest hello but it’s always a kind one. I want people to know I saw them and didn’t dismiss them. Not getting a hi back still makes me feel bad.
Now as an adult (really? despite my age, can I really call myself that?!), I have given this a lot of thought. Like in the past when I’ve had chronic physical pain not visible to the naked eye and only I knew how much agony I was in. It got me thinking how everyone is struggling with things that are giving them grief. No one can see by looking at anyone else what trials they’ve endured or what could possibly be going on in someone else’s lives. Unless we tell them. Which we don’t unless we’re very close to them or we blog about them which means telling the whole world. I know for a fact I need to be more tolerant of others and maybe cut them more slack. A woman who cuts me off in traffic could be upset about a fight she had with her husband. Someone who rams my heel with her grocery cart and doesn’t apologize could be thinking about her mother being diagnosed with cancer. A guy who let his giant sheepdog crap in my front yard and not pick it up could just be an asshole! Ha. Gotcha. Seriously, you get the idea. We don’t know if people are doing these discourteous, rude things by accident due to being distracted by mounting problems (and debt) or if it’s on purpose because they think they’re entitled or above the law or just lazy or…
Does having an excuse give you a free pass to treat others like crap? No two people are dealing with the same thing so compassion and empathy need to be in play. Unfortunately, they seem to be in short supply or a ton of people were “behind the door when they were given out” as the old saying goes. I don’t know if anyone goes by the Golden Rule anymore but I still try to.