30 May 2005

Excuse me, please.

When did rudeness and bad behavior become acceptable? Why is some measure of personal reserve considered uppity? What makes people openly burp at restaurants, divulge private information to strangers and criticize on a whim?

It isn't really difficult to be gracious. You smile and nod. You listen and ask simple, non-prying questions. You offer assistance if appropriate. Don't offer advice or eagerly await your chance to tell your own story, trying to outdo the other person's happiness or misery. Smile and nod. Possibly touch someone's sleeve if they need some support but do not assault them with a full-frontal hug unless that person is your child or significant other. In that case, ask first.

You have gas? Go outside. Really bad gas? Go home.

Don't spit. Carry a tissue, handkercheif or go to the restroom. Reaquaint yourself with the words, "thank you." Don't be condescending to a someone's face or embarrass them intentionally. Be the bigger person.

Practice several different ways of smiling and nodding and make up some new combnation smile/nods. There, you have just become more polite and pleasant to be around.

Thank you.