Smiles, manners and courtesies : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

Howdy yaw'll,

Not so much of a rant but an observation that somewhat troubles this ol' boy.

People, at least around here, in my transplanted land of sunshine, seem much lacking in everyday manners and even stingier with smiles and thank ya's.Now maybe it's just because I'm a lil more scrutinizing in the differences from the "south" to here where the majority of people are from up north, but I declare Iv'e been genuinely aghast at the lack of basic manners and the surprised looks I recieve when offering a "thank you" or say "yes sir", "yes maam".

Is it *that odd* for people these days to be courteous? Is it a sign of weakness to be nice and personable to people? Is it in vogue to be standoffish?

This would be unacceptable to moi and I can only take it as my daily challenge and duty to kill'em with kindness, in hopes that maybe, just maybe they will have a change of heart or some kind of epiphany that jolts them back to yesteryear when being courteous was the norm.I know this is probably naive but is there any other recourse? Other than to become just as jaded and impersonal as those blank,tunnel visioned faces.Mayhaps I was born 50 years too late.

Yaw'll have a good day and be most excellent to one another : )

-- capnfun (, November 20, 2001



I know exactly where you are coming from. I am right there with you... Oregon folk aren't near as polite or friendly as they are in NM, or TX for than matter. I was standing in line at a store the other day, when I made a friendly comment to the woman in front of me, you know small talk, and she looked up at me with this horrid look, like I was hitting on her or something, when I was just trying to make friendly conversation...

Big silver bird, please get me outta here...

Chasin' the beaver around the tree...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, November 20, 2001.

As someone born and raised in the North, Cap'n, I can tell ya that you're not experiencing rudeness, but FEAR. Folks in the North don't much talk to strangers. In fact, they're afraid to make eye contact for fear that their "look" will be taken the wrong way. Because of that, when one enters an elevator in the North, most people will be staring at their feet.

Since the customs are different, folks from the South think folks from the North are rude, and folks from the North think that folks who look at them, smile, and say, "How ya doin' today?" are nuts. Actually, when folks in the North say things like that, they usually ARE nuts, and I spent many a day watching my back to see if that little puppy was following me.

As people get to know you better, they'll realize that you're not REALLY nuts, just a lil bit nuts, and start to respond in time. It IS quite an adjustment. I guess it's your choice whether you decide to put a stick up your ass or keep being friendly.

-- Anita (, November 20, 2001.

Screw 'em, capn ;)

As long as you know you have manners...try not to let the ignorant ones bug ya.

They're the ones that are missing out!

-- Peg (the nicest lunch l@dy. you'll ever wanna meet ;)), November 20, 2001.

Sorry Anita,

I just can't live that way. Where I was raised, (west TX), it was impolite not to say "good day" or "good morning" to people you met on the street, stood in line with, etc... Standing there and ignoring was the epitome of rudeness. Small talk while in a crowd merely passed the time. It was also considered rude if you began to talk of personal topics as well.

Scratchin' at the door...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, November 20, 2001.

I talk to people all over the country almost every day. The "rude" northerners are usually very nice on the phone, so maybe it's an issue of being too close physically when in person.

-- helen (miss@manners.still.lives), November 20, 2001.

Do you suggest capn is a Close Talker? ROTFL!

I didn't get that from meeting him. And that's a good thing.

-- Rich (, November 20, 2001.

IMO people in general are more friendly since Sept 11.

Even before that sad day, I had belatedly learned that most people readily respond to a direct smile and a simple greeting, even a trite comment on the weather.

North vs South? There are probably more northerners in FL than in TN.

-- (, November 20, 2001.

TN was gettin' run over with Californian's, a different attitude altogether but there are a boatload of "yankees" down here.Still, no excuse for rudeness.I guess I will always be puzzled when the reaction to "Hi, how are you today?" is a blank expression or a short "ok" with dead silence behind it.

Yep Rich, I always hate it when confronted with "close talkers", I have to put my arm out and say "This is my space, stay out of it.Thank You".

-- capnfun (, November 20, 2001.

capn, I've spent time up and down the eastern seaboard. Generalizing, yankees ARE rude, southerners ARE friendly (on the surface). I don't consider Florida a "southern" state.

-- Rich (, November 20, 2001.


TN was gettin' run over with Californian's,

Last year, I went to a meeting of faculty members in my unit. Maybe 150 people. The speaker asked how many people grew up in the state. One person put up their hand. He asked what state they came from. When he hit California, half of the people responded. TN has a long way to go to reach where we are. Now where I work in Washington, everyone came from California. They are ahead of us. ;o)))

Best Wishes,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, November 20, 2001.

yankees ARE rude


Please don't generalize ;(

I be a nice one, 'yankee' that is! :)

Frankly, my young man. You've have shown a lack of R- E-S-P-E-C-T to the resident Lunch get In House detention AND a Bad-Boy there..harumph!..and I ain't tellin' ya what's in it ;)

-- Peg (revenge of the lunch l@d.y), November 20, 2001.

I know lots of "yanks" and some are among my bestest friends, they overflow with personality and are far from rude.I have a hard time with mass generalizations, just like when southerners are portrayed as barefoot and stupid.I refuse to go there either, it's almost as bad as the rudeness displayed that instigated this thread, I'll have no part in it.

Wonder what they'd think if I stepped back a few feet, held up my hand and "squished their little heads"?

-- capnfun (, November 20, 2001.

Dog: I understand what you're saying. Many of the Southern ways are still being maintained by black folks in the North. I had a black neighbor who complained that my kids didn't address her before running off to play in her apartment. We sat on the patio and discussed that one night. Heh. I thought that HER kid spent too much time in my face before running off to play when he came over.

It's all in the upbringing. SO insisted that my kids and my kids' friends address him before doing anything else in the house, and they taught their friends well. Lessons were held outside the door. When my second daughter brought her beau home recently, she told him that if Em was home, he needed to address him as Mr., Sir, etc. I'm sure his not being home took a load off the young man's mind.

I think I learned my "be friendly to everyone" from SO. We've traveled the world together and both he and I spoke to anyone and everyone. Hell, sometimes we'd even have a disagreement on the street and stop passers-by for their opinion. In Chicago, most folks would simply say, "I don't want to get involved." and walk on by. In other parts of the world, folks had more time and less fear.

-- Anita (, November 20, 2001.

Like it or don't, generalizations from life experience are what I got. I'm not going to ignore these generalizations and I sure as hell believe one day in the distant future, when there's a New World Order, and regional cultures are considered merely myths from the past...there'll be OTHER generalizations applicable.

I don't buy into the generalizations of others. Personal experience is lifeblood for me. BTW, I'm glad I'm getting flack on this. Shows you people are awake and willing to speak up. It's why I like ya's so much. :)

When I moved from my native NJ to NC & then VA you better believe there was a MASSIVE difference in simple social behavior between the populations IN GENERAL. I spent adolescent summers in NC and GA, living school years in NJ. You better believe there were MAJOR differences in simple social behavior between the southern and northern populations with whom I interacted.

I've spent many, many years in customer service, speaking with people from all over North America on a daily basis. Give me choice of a list of people not known to me to call, I'd take Canadians first, U.S. Southerners 2nd, U.S. non-yankees 3rd. Mexicans 4th (telephone lines suck), yankees 5th.

I deal with individuals on a case by case basis, based on their actions. Period. I would think I wouldn't have to state something so obvious, but there it is anyway.

Peg, I have food tasters in my employ. To poison me you'd have to use a slow-acting agent. I see much research in your future. :)

-- Rich (, November 20, 2001.

Don't get me wrong, some of my closest friends are "yanks", but they seemed to have made the transition fairly rapidly to the friendly, "non-scared" state, as working with them in NM, they are as open as anybody. Maybe it's the latitude, LOL...

Checkin' out the neighbor...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, November 21, 2001.

I not only observe the truth of these gross generalizations, but wonder WHY. Could it be the climate? The further south, the more easy with strangers. True of Europe too. Brits are, well you know the reputation. Finland has a high suicide rate. So does Vancouver, BC for that matter.... Very little sun. Something to it ???

When I moved from MA. to CA I was delighted with the friendliness. It was a pleasure to give up my standoffish ways. Although they do come in handy sometimes.;-)

-- Debbie (, November 21, 2001.

I'm trying to get a handle on the "scared" angle and for the life of me can't see how anyone would be scared of a smile and a happy salutation, I mean it's not like I would walk into a place and say "Hello...Bwahahahahahahah" while shifting my eyes all around.

Now as to generalizations, I reckon there is a basis for'em or we wouldn't be discussing it.There is, like it or not, truth to the sterotypes, but like Rich I take each person on a case by case basis.

Generally, I think most people are too wound up, caught up, speedin' all over trying to get somewhere fast, all the while missing the little things that really make this ol' life worthwhile.Even in Nashville I sometimes wanted to scream out "slow the fuck down, people", maybe it's just a part of living in these modern times.Maybe that's why I dig this forum, it has a better sense of community than alot of towns I ve encountered.Maybe I long for something that only exists in my utopia or ina movie or story told to me by Graama.

Wish in one hand, shit in the other, see which one gets full first.???

I just gotta keep on tryin' and hope in the process I don't scare anyone : )

-- capnfun (, November 21, 2001.

"Generally, I think most people are too wound up, caught up, speedin' all over trying to get somewhere fast, all the while missing the little things that really make this ol' life worthwhile."

Couldn't agree with you more, Cap'n. We need to re-think our priorities from time to time.

-- Pammy (why@such.a hurry?), November 21, 2001.

Debbie, I do not think sunshine matters a whole lots.On moving to Ireland last year at the same latitude as say Manchester,England,the difference in friendliness was just amazing.I think that the degree of friendliness depends on the community desire to maintain the cohesiveness of the community.We have learnt to build in time to talk whenever we go into town or out for a walk as conversations can go on for hours.

But if I go to London then the last thing I do is make eye contact with people in the street or in the underground.It can be really dangerous especially for a woman alone.

-- Chris (, November 24, 2001.

I have my own theory, Cap'n. I think that urban living saps courtesy and friendliness. The USA is getting very urban these days.

I think when you live among crowds of strangers and meet few of the same people on a daily basis, you get fatigued trying to maintain eye contact or any human contact and eventually give up, except among those few family, friends and coworkers you feel really close to and assured of.

I mean, it makes some sense to greet a neighbor on the street who you recognize a connection with. It becomes impossible when you walk down the street and 500 people pass you in the space of 15 minutes. Which ones do you acknowledge with a nod or a smile or a "hello"? All? Or none? In the city, "none" wins out pretty quickly.

This learned behavior is hard to throw off when city people move to more rural settings, as many do. If a lot of city types move to a small town, the town standards of behavior will become more polarized, cold and distant.

A lack of roots in the place where you live will produce similar results, since each time you move, you lose your investment in local friends and acquaintances. Even in a small town, when you arrive, everyone is a stranger. The more often you move, the less you value making those connections. Rootless people aren't so friendly.

Californians seem to carry the brunt of this stereotype, but really I think it is just because they have numbers, mobility and urban folkways. Are folks from Dallas really any friendlier than folks from New Haven? I kinda doubt it.

Just my theory.

-- Little Nipper (, November 29, 2001.

In ways I agree whole heartedly LN but Nashville was a fairly large metro area and it was mostly abundant with generaly nice people.This town down here sure as hell ain't the big city but sometimes you sure think you must be in one.

The roots angle is interesting but being an asshole ain't exactly the way to grow those roots.Nonetheless, I'm determined to grow the roots and spread the southern hospitality around,wheather they like it or not.the way I got it figgered, if this is their natural state, then it might work in my favor bein such a friendly feller.

We'll see...I ain't goin nowhere.

-- capnfun (, November 29, 2001.

I dunno what it is, Capn, but I sure love it. I just made a beer run and exited my car to hear, "How ya doin' woman?" I turned around, doing my normal "Duh", and saw a young man that had worked at the convenience store 6 months ago or more. He was in a bad car accident and quit the job, but now he's got another job glazing glass in malls, and he's dyed his hair RED. Heh. He went to the opposite counter while I got my beer, but when I went to pay I said, "John, are you still in school?" He responded, but I'd already gained the attention of Johnny [my clerk] and James [his clerk], who both greeted me by name and spent a few minutes exchanging pleasantries. These folks are icons in my life, and I never buy so much beer that I miss them for too long.

-- Anita (, November 29, 2001.

I have lived in 6 different states and dozens of different towns ranging from populations of 20,000 to 12 million, and climates ranging from blizzard country to burning hot deserts and beaches.

I can tell you from my experience that the attitudes of the people has nothing to do with geographic location and everything to do with the size of the city you live in. Bigger cities have a lot more dangerous people and a more stressful atmosphere, so people who live there get used to minding their own business unless they know you.

-- seeker (searching@low.and.high), November 29, 2001.

I'd concur with what seeker said. When every errand entails waiting in line, and traveling between errands entails still more waiting, it's hard not to start acting as if every second counts. And in a sense, maybe it does.

Glad I'm in the country!

-- David L (, November 29, 2001.

Glad I'm in the country

Ah, the mystery of your handle begins to reveal itself. ;-)

-- Debbie (, November 29, 2001.

I don't know if being in "the country" or rural areas is that great. People might be more civil but generally that is so they can grill you about your personal life so they have something to gossip over. Anita, I advise you not to move up here as people would have a field day.

Of course this annoying occurance is offset by the marked lack of drive by shootings and road rage. I guess if you know everything about someone and their family it is harder to snuff them out without a thought.

Then again people do snap. My next door neighbor killed her husband then cut him up with a chainsaw and spread him around the farm. After a few days she reported him missing. While the cops were out at the farm investigating a cat came walking up carrying his penis in it's mouth. After searching the farm and collecting the pieces of Harold that the animals and wildlife hadn't chewed up, they arrested her.

This caused quite a stir in town. The guy was an asshole and known to have abused his previous three wives (apparently he was quite the ladies man, explain that to me). The concensus was that he probably deserved to be killed, but the cutting him up with a chainsaw did cause a split between those that thought that was a little extreme and those who thought that the woman was just overwrought and had gotten carried away.

After a trial that lasted about a week she got acquitted of murder but had to go into counseling (in order to learn that it really wasn't okay to kill people and carve them up like Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre I guess).

Several months later, after collecting a large of amount of insurance that she had sold to him (this was prior to their marriage I believe) she bought the house next door. Again, the neighborhood was split between those that thought she was okay and those that weren't quite sure if they liked this idea. My wife and I fell into the latter group. About a week after she had moved in we were sleeping in on a Saturday morning and were awakened by the sound of a chainsaw next door. Needless to say this caused me to leap out of bed to see what was going on (it was worse than when they have the tornado siren drill and I forget about the siren test). She had her son over to cut down a dead tree so it was nothing to be alarmed at.

However, she has proven to be quite the conversation piece. Especially when she married the man that lived on the other side of our property. But that is another story as they say.

-- Jack Booted Thug (, November 30, 2001.

Wow, JBT. I can't believe she got off. Texas would have fried her in a NY minute. Y'all MUST be really craving for gossip.

-- Anita (, November 30, 2001.

Rural ain't better than urban. It's just that each one has its unique side effects. In the country, a feud can turn real ugly and last for decades - but that kind of deep, personal feud is less common in the city (not unknown, just less common).

Neutrality is not often an option in small rural communities. When things come up, everybody has to take sides. Neutrality is just a way to antagonize everybody when the mentalioty is "if you ain't with us, you're against us". If you live in a small, small place, then god bless the peacemakers! The flip side of that is it's more natural in a rural setting to make lifelong friends who stay loyal to the bitter end.

Different strokes, y'know.

-- Little Nipper (, November 30, 2001.

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