Have you ever wondered where our much admired and universally recognised British manners have gone? My hubby cam home from the supermarket yesterday spitting feathers at the world due to the ignorance of a few! He is a typical grumpy man but as I listened to him, on this occasion, I had to admit he had a point! Apparently he was just going about his business and as he does without a thought he held the door open for a lady following him into the store. She was so affronted by this and said to him ‘You don’t have to hold the door open just because I am a woman you know’ then snatched the door handle from him angrily. He quickly replied ‘I am not holding the door open for you because you are a woman. I am holding the door open because I am a gentleman.’ Ha! One nil to Tony I would say! But what has happened to every day manners…..
Please, thank you, excuse me, I am sorry, hello and goodbye. For some of our younger generation a simple greeting is often asking too much and don’t even get me started on social graces and the art of conversation!
Checking to see if there is anyone behind you when you step through a door is not a point of chivalry it is basic good manners but I challenge you to observe how many people do this the next time you are sat in a coffee shop or public place. It is astounding how many people just walk on by, in many cases leaving the door to slam into another person behind them without any awareness or care.
Are we really so busy and self absorbed? Is everyone so stressed and pre-occupied that the simplest courtesy is just too much?
Sometimes we need to step back and consider our actions. I am not suggesting you accost every stranger with smiles and over the top greetings nor am I demanding the return of Miss Jean Brodie! But politeness costs nothing and social grace is as much part of our heritage and culture as exuberance is to the Italians.