Recently I was attending a meeting in Elizabethtown and realized I needed to make a quick phone call. Being as the meeting had not yet started, I stepped outside the courthouse and dialed the number. I stepped outside so as to not disrupt the happenings inside the courthouse building.
As I was speaking with the person on the other end, three nicely dressed ladies came out of the courthouse talking rather loudly and laughing. Apparently, these ladies didn’t realize the need to moderate their voices while still inside the building. Their voices drowned out my conversation and the lady on the other end of the telephone asked me where I was.
“It sounds like you are at a party somewhere,” she commented.
“No, it’s just some people apparently leaving work,” I replied.
The three ladies were oblivious to the fact of how loud they were. I’m sure they intended no harm nor did they intend to disrupt the late afternoon functions of the office staff who were still working or the meetings that were taking place in the building.
It comes down to simple good manners and being thoughtful of the others that may still be at work around you. I know sometimes it’s hard to control that outburst of laughter, or to keep some type of good news to yourself.
Good manners are something that seem to be disappearing from society at a rapid rate.
I can recall when I was a child in about the third grade, our teacher brought a telephone to the classroom one day. Everyone was curious as to what she planned to do with that phone.
She began to use that telephone to teach us proper etiquette when answering the telephone. Instead of “What do you want?” or “Yo” it should be “Hello” or “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” and then ask the caller the nature of his call and to whom he wishes to speak.
Haven’t we all experienced “cell phone rudeness?” You know, where you and your family or significant other are trying to have a peaceful dinner and the person at the next table has his cell phone ringing constantly. While he is gabbing away on his phone, he is loud and obnoxious and totally oblivious to those seated around him.
There is a time to talk and a time to put the cell phone away and focus on the person or persons with whom you are having a meeting or sharing a quick meal.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that in an emergency, you need to talk to that person on the other end. But, do you really need to talk to that friend about your plans for the Carolina Panthers game during dinner so loud that your conversation can be heard three tables away?
Good manners used to be taught in our classrooms and at home, but with the family unit breaking down and the schools becoming more focused on testing, and rightly so, manners and good etiquette are being left behind.
Children are expected more and more to entertain themselves in front of the television and computers or with hand-held video games. Those things are no substitute for teaching a child how to properly conduct himself in public. They think it’s acceptable to yell out across a room or to yell in a hallway of a building.
No one is teaching them from an early age how to properly answer a telephone, how to greet someone in public, or how to moderate their voice when indoors so as to not disrupt an entire business or classroom.
When these young folks reach adulthood, they simply don’t understand that they are disrupting the daily functions of the office or disturbing other diners in the restaurant with their behavior.
No one is born with good manners or proper etiquette. These are things that need to be taught when our folks are young. They are lessons that will help you in life and will always impress upon others that you are neither rude nor obnoxious and you are considerate of others.
— Erin Smith is a staff writer at the Bladen Journal. She may be reached at 862-4163 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.