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Rude Behavior – Is There an Epidemic?

If the authorities on social graces, Emily Post and Miss Manners (Judith Martin), define manners and etiquette as:

— “a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use.”

— “a little social contract we make that we will restrain some of our more provocative impulses in return for living more or less harmoniously in a community.”

Then I wonder if we are in the midst of an epidemic of rude behavior? Is there an increase in appalling behavior? Is it more prevalent in certain areas, like big cities, where accountability is improbable? How widespread is this affliction?

Are we, as a society, poised on the precipice awaiting an imminent descent into a boorish abyss? Or have we already plummeted over the edge, headfirst, into the mire of a Rude Behavior Crater?

Reflecting on some of my experiences and those of close friends, coupled with evidence posted on blogs and in articles, it appears common courtesy is in rapid decline and perhaps, even out of style. Maybe those of us who would love to eradicate this manners deficit epidemic should create a “Social Graces Secret Society” and continue to practice the “rituals” of gracious living. Would we have a chance of overcoming inconsiderate behavior?

Identifying declining courtesy issues is easier than determining how to respond to rude behavior and how to restore common politeness, respect and good manners. I believe it must start with us, in our homes and with our families.

What do you think? Do you believe we are in the depths of a rudeness epidemic? Does it matter? And if adjustments need to be made, what do you think should be done? You can’t legislate good manners.

The Advice Goddess, Amy Alkon, shares her perspective on Beating Some Manners into Impolite Society:

Kathryn Barker has never met a child, a tea, or a baby animal she didn’t love. With her Sweet Husband of 43 years, she has: raised three extraordinary children, doctored all manner of farm animal, driven a team of horses, made soap, spun wool and opened a tea room. An avid photographer, Kathryn has had tea in a ger in Mongolia, viewed the Three Gorges Dam in China and waved to the Queen of England. She maintains a tea booth at the Oregon St. Antique Mall. Visit her at www.tea4kate.com or on Facebook and Twitter at tea4kate.

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