With the abscence of manners

This post was inspired by a message back from a women whom I had been conversing with after seeing her classified ad about white wicker chairs and a rocking chair.

Arranging a phone call to discuss the price of her furniture and possibility of coming out to see them, she told me about her work refurbishing items and that given the time and cost of re-spraying each chair she felt the price was fair; she particularly wanted to sell the rocker. I agreed they look great but I needed to consider it and talk with my husband about driving out that way. The call was very friendly. In the end we decided that adding up the cost of items (which can be found for cheaper) and the cost of gas, it wasn’t worth the hour-long drive.

I sent back a quick email thanking her for her time and offered this “After great consideration we have decided that the rocker price is too high for us right now and adding the cost of a trip to Chilliwack doesn’t help on these items. Good luck with the sale, they look very nice.” Signed as I always do…Warm Regards, Jennifer. What I got back was a snarky remark saying…”You make it sound like you are about to broker a Billion Dollar Yacht Deal……….seriously.” It occurred to me in that moment that some people aren’t used to acknowledgment, actual discourse and in particular manners.

Manners are respect in action. Manners send out the message that a person, their space or time is being considered. With the absence of manners we see people who put out negative energy towards others, they command a space with little consideration for those around them and they believe their personal time is all that matters. In the absence of manners we see children and adults who push by without uttering two very easy words…excuse me. We hear conversations with expletives booming out as if they were speaking through a megaphone. We have people who stand in front of service clerks with their cell phones or iPhones commanding full attention rather than acknowledging the person before them.

This woman’s reaction was odd but maybe she is not used to someone who speaks and does what they say they are going to do which in my case was get back to her. I could easily lie, dumb myself down, talk and write in acronyms and generally display little care for others, but I choose not to do so. I refuse to be bullied into being someone I am not. I am OK with more than two words to describe what I’m experiencing, I’m interested in brightening someone’s day rather than ruining it. I’m aware that my presence or conversations can have a wider impact and I’m thrilled to speak with like-minded people.

I pity the children who grow up with parents who don’t teach them the value of respect for others through manners. I feel sorry for those that are limited in their conversation skills and unable to express themselves in a way that engages others not because they are shy or can’t speak the language but because they choose ignorance. It is a big world out there and not everyone stays in their tiny bubble. It is through our ability to communicate, to use our intelligence, to be respectful, to demonstrate civility, and to want to put out the best energy that we are able to meet incredible people and have so many beautiful things in life.

I think, for me, this woman’s comment epitomizes what happens when we live without consideration of other’s feelings. It is also easy to act this way with relative anonymity as it pertains to email. What I’m thankful for is the opportunity she gave me to explore this topic and so it became meaningful.

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